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I have inherited a commercial DWM Luger that says Made in Germany and has a crown/N. It has matching numbers "65" in various places. Does anybody know what I have more specifically?

642786
 

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More pictures are needed, but you likely have a mid 1920’s DWM made Luger in 30 Luger (aka 7.65mm luger). See the faq for more information.
the Germany was a requirement of the USA, so it came to the USA market..
 

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Discussion Starter #4
More pictures are needed, but you likely have a mid 1920’s DWM made Luger in 30 Luger (aka 7.65mm luger). See the faq for more information.
the Germany was a requirement of the USA, so it came to the USA market..
Thank you! I posted more photos above...
 

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Hi Mkie, and welcome to the forum.

You have what looks to be a very nice example of the DWM Alphabet Commercial Luger from the 1920's. It is in very high condition. You need to verify it's all matching (which is likely). It's also probably in 7.65mm Luger caliber (Not 9mm Luger). please confirm that.

You can find extensive reference information in our Lugerforum FAQ PDF document, which is free to download.


Do you have any specific questions? We can give you a closer age with details of the serial number and suffix letter on the barrel and front of the frame (which are the legal serial number). You have this in the first photo you posted, but I can't make out the detail with these old eyes.
 

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Oh wow! What great information! Thank you so much for this as the variance on these guns is quite high! I've attached a better photo of the serial and suffix letter here. I haven't been able to find any information on the suffix letters. The serial is 3465 and the suffix is "h" but it's possible that's actually a "k" as it's in a very strange font style. I'm not sure how to verify the caliber. I don't believe it's a 9mm, though, so think you're right. The parts appear to be oiled and all the numbers are matching with "65".

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The suffix letter is a "k". The alphabet Lugers began production in the "i" block so the suffix letter "h" wasn't used. The explanation is that when commercial production reached 92,000, DWM made the decision to begin using suffix letters so that they could produce commercial Lugers in blocks of 10,000 just as they did military guns. Conventional wisdom is that they didn't want to use six digits so they began with serial number 2000 i which corresponded to 92,000. (Some believe that the alphabet Lugers began with serial number 1 i as examples lower than 2000 i do exist) The letter "j" is never used because the i & j are interchangeable in the German alphabet. Therefore, your Luger was part of the second block of letters used for the alphabet Lugers. Date of manufacture was likely 1922 or 1923.

The alphabet Lugers are well made and if yours has a good bore, it should be very accurate. They are the most common model of Luger seen and often in better than average condition. Yours looks to be in excellent condition and one you can be proud to own.
 

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Oh my gosh! I’ve been admiring this gun for 35 years and had no idea it was almost 100 years old! This is amazing! You are so knowledgeable! Thank you! So now I have more questions for you, of course! What might this gun be worth? I am going to insure it! Also, is that caliber bullet easy to find? And might I assume this gun is safe to fire if so?

Mike Kohl
 

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My first Luger was a post war commercial, but still a 5 digit (in the 80000 range) in lesser condition than yours. Assuming it is in .30 caliber, your pistol is worth probably $1200 or so. Up to $1500 if in 9mm instead. (pre-pandemic pricing of course, the market for any 9mm handgun regardless of age seems to have shot way up over the last year).

Typically, .30 Luger was more expensive and hard to find but at the moment is is cheaper and easier to find than 9mm. So long as your springs are in good shape the gun should be fine to fire, but note that if you break a numbered part of the gun it would get its value instantly halved as a shooter. Your property to do with as you please, but many would advise against shooting a collectible pistol, which yours certainly falls into the category of.

Welcome to the forum, enjoy your heirloom, and trust me, the urge to collect a few more (especially a designated "shooter" pistol) will come at you hard and fast.
 

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If you intend to fire it, I'd suggest that you buy a MecGar magazine to use. They are good mags and will protect the original mag from possible damage. Original mags are valuable. Original mags also don't always work as well as a new MecGar mag. Here's one place they are available. Mec-Gar Luger P08 9mm 8-Round Magazine

I pretty much go along with HerrKaiser's post. If the bore is excellent then $1200 is a fair evaluation for an alphabet Luger in .30 caliber in the condition yours appears to be in.
 

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What an amazing and knowledgeable site! And you guys are so responsive!! Okay, so I won’t be firing it and will be keeping it. This gun has been in our family a long time. I’m also going to try to insure it for $1200. Thank you so much!!!
 

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I find the clean looking lighter grips appealing...beech?. I do not have a pistol with such light grips, closest I can come is to two low use late banners. I'd guess lesser handling would contribute to the cleaner look also.

PJH
 

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Doubs, don't forget the Abercrombie & Fitch Lugers with the i suffix, and the i suffix 1920 Swiss Lugers. I don't know if these would be included in the alphabet Lugers. Your opinion regarding this. Thanks, Jim Cate
 

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"j" is the suffix letter that DWM skips...

BTW, my own DWM Alphabet Commercial is in the "m" block (1923-4) and it's the Luger that got me started in collecting them... The fonts Mauser used on magazine bases are toward the end of the FAQ. The early ones look a lot like the ones that DWM used (and the DWM factory tooling, gauges and supplies were relocated to Mauser Oberndorf in the early 1930's).

Yes - Beech and Walnut were both used in DWM grips.

Glad you have the information you need to properly care for and appreciate this fine firearm. Age doesn't necessarily decrease the beauty of history in your hands.
 

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Doubs, don't forget the Abercrombie & Fitch Lugers with the i suffix, and the i suffix 1920 Swiss Lugers. I don't know if these would be included in the alphabet Lugers. Your opinion regarding this. Thanks, Jim Cate
Hi Jim. If I'm reading Gortz & Sturgess correctly, the A&F and Swiss i block Lugers all came from the same alphabet commercial run. If you have G&S, there's a great deal of information about them in chapter 10 on page 609. It's also there that they question the conventional wisdom that the i block began at serial number 2001 i as they offer lower number examples in the i block and offer the suggestion that the i block actually began at 1 i..

Walker
 

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Discussion Starter #16
"j" is the suffix letter that DWM skips...

BTW, my own DWM Alphabet Commercial is in the "m" block (1923-4) and it's the Luger that got me started in collecting them... The fonts Mauser used on magazine bases are toward the end of the FAQ. The early ones look a lot like the ones that DWM used (and the DWM factory tooling, gauges and supplies were relocated to Mauser Oberndorf in the early 1930's).

Yes - Beech and Walnut were both used in DWM grips.

Glad you have the information you need to properly care for and appreciate this fine firearm. Age doesn't necessarily decrease the beauty of history in your hands.
This is amazing! I am blown away (no pun intended) that this gun is 100 years old!!!
 

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Doubs, My 20 Swiss commercial has the long frame, gripsafety, Swiss Cross, and the 'up' safety lever to place the Luger in a safe position. It has the 98/100mm 7,65mm barrel with only the Crown N noted...no serial number on the barrel. It is a quite nice original Luger. Are there others reported that you are familiar with? Thanks much, Jim
 

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Doubs, My 20 Swiss commercial has the long frame, gripsafety, Swiss Cross, and the 'up' safety lever to place the Luger in a safe position. It has the 98/100mm 7,65mm barrel with only the Crown N noted...no serial number on the barrel. It is a quite nice original Luger. Are there others reported that you are familiar with? Thanks much, Jim
Jim, pictures would help. Post WW1 Swiss Lugers were both commercial and made from left over Imperial German military parts. It would be easier to evaluate what you have by seeing it. The Swiss bought many Lugers from DWM without barrels and installed their own because the Germans were limited to 95mm barrels and the Swiss wanted longer ones.
 

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That is my understanding also regarding the barrel situation you mentioned earlier. I seem to have failed to mention my Swiss pistol is in the "i" range. The pistol is safely secured with the safety lever in the up position, with only the 'bright' indication noted on the steel frame. It has a long receiver and frame like I noted earlier in another post herein. The receiver is numbered on the left side of the sideplate. The 7,65mm caliber barrel appears to be 100mm in length and only has the Crown N and is unnumbered as noted earlier. Obviously, the Swiss did not want a longer barrel in this pistol. It also has a Swiss magazine in it. There doesn't seem any way this pistol was made from leftover military parts as you (and John Walter's book) have noted. Other sources note these pistols were newly made, but with shorter barrels in the 7,65mm caliber.
Comments, please. Thanks, Jim
 

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...Comments, please. Thanks, Jim
Jim,

In case you haven't seen it, this thread has more answers than you probably knew you ever had questions.


--Dwight
 
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