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There is a question which has been rolling around in my head for awhile, but I have not until now figured out how to approach it. Sturgess has given me some focus.

In his discussion about the sn 350-400v Peruvian Alphabet Commercials, he states that these were originally in the transfer shipment to Mauser in 1930 with 7,65 caliber barrels, and were rebarrelled for shipment with 9mm DWM-manufactured barrels already bearing c/N proofs as spares.

My question is, is this even possible? I vaguely recall comments in the past about proofed spares (barrels and receivers, iIrc), and they have left a lingering doubt.

I have my own thoughts concerning Sturgess's comments about late Alphabet Commercial pistols, but this is a question about which I could sure use some knowledgeable input.

--Dwight
 

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Technically it would be possible. Many rifle barrels were proofed separately.

But from a legal standpoint I am not convinced. In 1930, Mauser would be subjected to Württemberg state laws, hence the crown/crown/U and the stuff that came from Berlin had been subjected to Prussian state laws, so crown/N.

Take this with the fact that the Württemberg state proof house was at Mauser in Oberndorf, so proofing would not have been a big deal. See Mauser assembled Dutch Lugers with DWM toggles and crown/crown/U proofs.

So, possible, yes. Probable? No.
 

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I believe this discussion may be a little simplistic, as it seems to assume “proof” to be a single action (i.e. one proof and done). Such is not the case.

In terms of commercial proof:

For barrels, there may be at least two separate test firings with proof cartridges.

The first (AKA preliminary or provisional) proof firing may be done at the maker’s request to a barrel that is chambered and bored, but otherwise unfinished. This preliminary proof firing is intended to detect barrels that have material or mechanical flaws that make them unsuitable for further work. This is a test of the barrel only.

The second (AKA final or definitive) proof firing is of the barrel but also includes all the parts of the firearm that keep the (prospective) firearm’s chamber pressure contained in the bore. As we all know, for a Luger these parts are the barrel, the barrel extension, and the breech block/toggle train. This is a test of all the parts responsible for containing the chamber pressure of a cartridge when it is discharged.

A barrel that passes preliminary proof must still undergo and pass the definitive firing to be deemed suitable for commercial sale.
 

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Its was and is very typical in Europe for manufacturers to provide pre-proofed barrels for commercial sale. This allows gun owners to avoid the time and expensive of the proof testing process if they want to change barrels.

But from a legal standpoint I am not convinced. In 1930, Mauser would be subjected to Württemberg state laws, hence the crown/crown/U and the stuff that came from Berlin had been subjected to Prussian state laws, so crown/N.
I doubt very seriously that Mauser or anyone else would need to reproof spare commercial barrels in Württemberg just because they were Crown/N marked, so long as they were for commercial sale.

For illustration here is a Mauser spare commercial Standard Modell barrel (pre-proofed) that was diverted to military production in 1936. The military required reproofing in line with its own requirements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ryan,

Thank you very much for these pictures. What is illustrated here is a very interesting digression of the 1892 proof law.

On June 22, 1892, The German Federal Council published an annex to the proof law instituting a smokeless powder proof. This revision came into effect July 23, 1893 with publication of detailed proofing procedures. Smokeless proofing was specifically intended for Gew88 military rifle barrels, utilizing a specific military smokeless powder. (Presumably this was done because the army did not yet have its own nitro proofing procedures--this is my own speculation, and I will be glad to be corrected.) Proofing procedures and marking certification followed the pattern of the existing 1892 proof law. The crown/N (nitro) proof was instituted to certify this special proofing.

It looks like the eagle/number inspection and proofs were added long after the fact--two proof law revisions after--, suggesting that this barrel was in storage for a very long time before being assembled into a weapon.

--Dwight
 

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It looks like the eagle/number inspection and proofs were added long after the fact--two proof law revisions after--, suggesting that this barrel was in storage for a very long time before being assembled into a weapon.
The barrel was made in 1936 from a Döhlen blank (steel lot 175), so it was a very new barrel that was diverted. Mauser used the BUGN proofing until 1939.

The WaA inspections were presumably added during the military assembly, but you do see some WaA parts diverted to commercial production from time to time.
 

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This is an intriguing question and I spent some time searching G&S for an answer. The best I can come up with is this: In 1928 there was a massive conversion of Lugers from 7.65mm to 9mm, especially for police who had acquired large numbers of Lugers in 7.65mm. I'm thinking the replacement barrels were newly made and the ones provided to Mauser were left over spares from the 1928 project. We've all seen Mauser spare barrels on repaired Lugers marked 42 indicating that they were sent out as spares for use at places other than the factory. They would have been proved by Mauser before leaving the factory and DWM/BKIW would have done the same.

I know it's all speculation but I think it makes perfect sense.
 

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To be blunt, this is one area in which Sturgess's conclusions cannot be taken at face value. --Dwight
I wasn't agreeing or disagreeing with Sturgess. I was trying to provide a possible logical explanation of the origin of the barrels and why they would have been proof stamped with the C/N when Mauser received them. Spares left over from the 1928 rebarreling project just seems reasonable. It's only a thought and not a conclusion.
 

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I wasn't agreeing or disagreeing with Sturgess. I was trying to provide a possible logical explanation of the origin of the barrels and why they would have been proof stamped with the C/N when Mauser received them. Spares left over from the 1928 rebarreling project just seems reasonable. It's only a thought and not a conclusion.
Any Crown/N barrels sent to Mauser would have been the stock of spares DWM sold to the commercial market. I don't think there was any major rebarrel project in 1928.
 

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They had to pay for proofing. Any good business would not keep proofed parts in stock. They got proofed when sold (and required proofing).

DWM parts did last. The French assembled LP08, as well as the smaller Mauser LP08 contracts were assembled using DWM LP08 barrels they still had in stock.
 

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Any Crown/N barrels sent to Mauser would have been the stock of spares DWM sold to the commercial market. I don't think there was any major rebarrel project in 1928.
G&S, pages 516 & 517. WRT the C/N proof marks, didn't DWM/BKIW have in-house proofing? Or, would the Peruvian Contract pistols have been sent to the Suhl proof house where the C/N was also used?
 

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Suhl had a subsidiary in Berlin, so DWM bits would have been proofed in Berlin.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
This is an intriguing question and I spent some time searching G&S for an answer. The best I can come up with is this: In 1928 there was a massive conversion of Lugers from 7.65mm to 9mm, especially for police who had acquired large numbers of Lugers in 7.65mm. I'm thinking the replacement barrels were newly made and the ones provided to Mauser were left over spares from the 1928 project. We've all seen Mauser spare barrels on repaired Lugers marked 42 indicating that they were sent out as spares for use at places other than the factory. They would have been proved by Mauser before leaving the factory and DWM/BKIW would have done the same.
I wasn't agreeing or disagreeing with Sturgess. I was trying to provide a possible logical explanation of the origin of the barrels and why they would have been proof stamped with the C/N when Mauser received them. Spares left over from the 1928 rebarreling project just seems reasonable. It's only a thought and not a conclusion.
Any Crown/N barrels sent to Mauser would have been the stock of spares DWM sold to the commercial market. I don't think there was any major rebarrel project in 1928.
Sturgess’s assertion of a “massive conversion of Lugers from 7,65 to 9mm” in 1928 passes beyond knowledgeable speculation. During the 1920s the German police had both 7,65mm Parabellums and 9mm P08s in their inventories at least through 1928, as revealed by contemporary police manuals. Universal conversion could not have been ordered before nationalization of the police in 1933, and stamping by the Berlin police armory demonstrate that the process was still underway in 1934. (If anyone has s police manual dated between 1928 and 1933 I would really like to see it.)

But, there was no 1928 “massive conversion (In 1929 the Prussian Landjaegerei returned their issue LP08s to be rebarrelled as standard P08s (9mm, 4-inch barrels). This however was a barrel length conversion program, not caliber rectification).

DWM had to scrupulously avoid manufacturing 9mm P08 barrels during the tenure of the IMKK. August Weiss noted that the IMKK paid particular attention to this every time they inspected the factory. By manufactured examples, DWM again produced standard Parabellums as soon as the IMKK disbanded in February, 1927. (Alphabet Commercial sn 9572r is a fully standard P08 with original 4”, 9mm barrel, and can be used to date this range of the pistols.)

DWM went on to manufacture 9mm P08s in the s, t, and u suffix ranges for the police and Reichsmarine. These pistols all have the characteristics of original 9mm production. A handful are reported as civilian, without any military or police characteristics. According to the notebooks of August Weiss (“The Mauser Parabellum,” cred. Rolf Gmider, Reinhard Kornmeyer, et al) 3,276 barrels, 9mm, finished in white and 1,000 barrels, 9mm, finished blued were sent to Mauser in the 1930 shipment. There is no notation of their inspection or proof status.

Returning for a moment to Görtz/Sturgess red edition p.750, lest the origin of the discussion be lost too far upscreenn. Sturgess’s assertion is that the Peruvian contract P08s were originally manufactured in 7,65mm, and rebarreled by Mauser in 9mm using pre-proofed spare DWM barrels. There are examples of DWM-made pistols, c/N proofed, demonstrably rebarreled at Mauser by their C/c/U Oberndorf barrel proofs.

Two final comments while I am here. The exclusive Weimar-era P08 production contract was awarded to Simson in 1925, making them the sole producer of P08 pistols and spare parts. The barrels of the 1929 LP08 rebarrel program are predominately Simson-produced, identifiable by their date code and Reichswehr inspector srtamps.

The Mauser S/42 and 42 code marked spare parts were produced from 1934 through the end of the decade. The only times they are found on DWM P08s is when the pistols made it all the way through to WWII service, and ended up needing repair. In addition to the manufacturer code the parts were inspected and stamped as required (not proofed). Pressure-bearing parts—breechblocks, receivers, barrels—required being proofed, and their replacement was required to be done at a repair depot (Heers-Zeugamt) which had proofing facilities.

--Dwight
 
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