Jan C. Still Lugerforums banner
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Hi Forum,
I followed 03man’s advice from my last post http://luger.gunboards.com/showthread.php?104610-How-come-no-barrel-SN
and have attached some images. I also used the search function on this site and was amply rewarded. I refer to the following threads that trace a discussion about German proof laws and factory practices as well as an apparent difference in the morphology of DWM-style c/n proofs and the Suhl proof house c/n proofs.
First, the difference in the ciphers was drawn for readers by Sauerfan, and I’ve included his drawing with my own images: the left cipher is the Suhl-style, and the right cipher is typical of a Zella-Mehlis proof, which is said to also resemble the DWM version

If you notice among my attached images the “GELADEN” indicator, please don’t worry, I had chambered a snap-cap earlier prior to the photo session. As you can see in the attached images, the gun has what looks to be a DWM-style proof on the left receiver. Then there is a Suhl-style proof on the upper left of the breechblock and again on the left frame. There is also an Imperial Waffenamt proof (DWM eagle, the so-called “raging squirrel”) showing very faintly on the left side of the breechblock. Finally, the barrel has a DWM-style proof on the bottom. This is believed to be a replacement 9mm barrel introduced at the time the gun was reworked.

There is a Mauser-style (see the Sticky: Sideplate Study, in New Collectors Board) curved-bottom sideplate, However, it is numbered correctly inside and out consistent with the original DWM-applied frame serial number. Examining the gun in my hands, that sideplate seems to have a lighter shade of blue than the remainder of my gun, and has by itself suffered spotting over its surface. There is also a Mauser(?) fluted firing pin. The left side of the frame has only a faint serial number, and several serial numbered parts are so light they may have been buffed (eg., front toggle image), although I only detect what I would call “normal” holster wear and use wear and tear on the sharp edges elsewhere. I’ve only handled a few lugers at gun shows, so I’m no judge of the presence or absence of buffing. The magazine well is in the white, the straw seems original (mostly rather faded) and there is patina visible here and there underneath the finish; the gun most everywhere has a dark, deep, blue, except the barrel which is blacker in hue and yet doesn’t seem as deep under magnification as the rest of the gun. If there was a reblue done during the rework, I surmise it was a rust blue applied to the receiver, frame, and toggle train.

My takeaway from all this is that the gun’s features are consistent with its starting out as a DWM 1920 alphabet commercial, which is described elsewhere as frequently using left over military parts, but it is also proofed with a commercial c/n on the left receiver. I’m still unclear about why this proof is lazy on my gun, when all specimens are said (in Davies’ Standard Catalog) to have a vertical c/n proof. If it was a commercial, it probably originally had a .30 luger barrel. The rear toggle, which is blued like the rest of the frame and receiver, may be original to the time of the gun’s initial construction, and it may not have been numbered after the commercial practice, but it has no visible number anywhere. The extractor maybe broke in service, possibly after the rework, as it was replaced with a mismatched-numbered one (a field expedient?).

Somehow that gun ended up in Suhl at the beginning of the Nazi-era rearmament. 03man stated in reply to my last post that there was a number of small and medium-sized firms doing reworks in the Suhl area at that time. I assume those parties would have used the proof house in Suhl, although why they would bother with commercial proofing is unclear if the gun was meant for military uptake. Perhaps it was to disguise the true intent of the rework as open rearmament would not be declared until 1936, perhaps 2 or even 3 years hence. When I purchased the gun the seller mooted the possibility that it had a Krieghoff connection (the lazy c/n’s?), being possibly an early Krieghoff rework, but I now believe that it took a slightly different route through Suhl.

In any case, the gun has a single inspection/acceptance mark by Luftwaffe inspector number 9, ie., LWaA-9, alone on the right side of the receiver, and it would make sense that that party may have been associated with the Suhl proof house. There is a thread started by Infanterist2
see also a post by Pommern
These posts develop a notion that identifies at least four guns, this one among them, with that particular Luftwaffe Waffenamt, said to be otherwise-unknown (Infanterist2 stated in the cited post “…I remember this stamp was used from 1935 up to 1938-40 from an unknown Luftwaffe inspector”). By the way, I have not included an image of the LWaA-9 because my (cheep-cheep) smartphone won’t show it in any useful detail (it is tiny!), but in the above posts there are several excellent images of that mark on several guns as well as an image of my own gun (sn 1682i) which is provided by Mr. Edward Tinker.

Since it left Suhl my gun saw a lot of use, judging by the holster wear on the barrel and frame, but there are no unit markings or ghost markings that my limited ability can detect on the straps. Likewise there are no import marks, so was it a GI bringback, or is it possible that it arrived with an immigrant? When my Gortz and Sturgess finally arrives, I may find out more (and by reading this forum, and eventually, the other fine books whose authors are part of our forum). I believe the images I selected are clear enough to back up my narrative; if not, I can only apologize. I had a nifty Kodak that I made my You Tube videos with, but it was projected into the Phantom Zone during a household move last year. The budget hawk I love and live with is already highly irritated with my purchases of a luger and an expensive book in the same month, so better photos will have to wait. Sometimes using my magnifier hood with loupe helps me with some images on this and other sites.

I must say, hunting down this info on what amounts to a rearmament-cottage-industry original-parts-gun rework (and a happy shooter!!) has been bracing as heck. My next luger might even be another rework just to be able to do it all over again!

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