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Dear all,
I was hoping to use your collective wisdoms to help identify a Luger P.08 which we have found amongst my late grandfather’s stuff. My Grandfather was born in Ahar- Iran (1920) and moved to Tehran at some point in the late 1970’s before the revolution in Iran. Nobody in the family had any idea this thing even existed until sadly my Grandmother also passed away a few weeks ago and we came across this gun a week or so ago at the bottom of an old metal trunk.

I should mention that I have some limited experience with guns, mainly through being a member of a gun club near where I live in the UK but I am not that experienced with pistols as these are essentially outlawed in the UK. I’ve fired a few Glocks, Colts and Sigs etc. but this pistol looks nothing like any of those, so please excuse my ignorance when it inevitably is made evident by something silly I am bound to say/ask. I appreciate your patience in this.

I am aware that some Persian contract guns were produced for Iran (Persia) and carried Persian markings. This gun does not carry any Persian markings. The gun is very rusty and since its very existence totally freaks my relatives out I can’t get to it that often. But from what I’ve been able to figure out. It carries the serial number 7752 which matches numbers 52 stamped on all other parts. See photos. The letters ‘byf’ are stamped on top of the slide. I understand this means that the pistol was produced by Mauser sometime between 1940-1942 but other than that I can’t find any more information on this.

I really want to figure out how this gun ended up in my grandfather’s possession. At the moment, it’s a complete mystery since he is no longer with us and no one it seems (apart from my Gran) was aware he even had it. How the hell did this thing even make its way to Iran all the way from Germany?!?! Iran didn’t participate in WWII and was invaded by the allies as a pre-emptive measure before even a single shot was fired in anger.

The gun was not looked after very well and is covered in rust especially around the magazine port and the slide both of which are totally seized. The brown leather holster is also quite crusty and dry. I don't seem to be able to unsnap the button on the extra magazine compartment.

Some of the markings are covered in rust which make reading them rather difficult. Should I attempt to clean these up so I can read all the markings? If so what should I use? Apparently some chemicals damage the bluing.

I would like to release the magazine/slide also to ensure there are no rounds in the pistol. I was thinking WD-40 which I can get hold of here in Tehran but some of the more specialist liquids I’ve read about online would be difficult to find here. I’m in Tehran for 3 more days before I have to leave for the UK and I would love to make a start on solving this mystery on this visit. I would appreciate any and all help. thanks in advance. :)






















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The extractor is seemingly in the "up" position, which means there is a round in the chamber.

BE VERY CAREFUL !

For the P08, the extractor not only extracts the spent brass casing after a round is fired, but it also rests in its "up' position when a round is in the barrel/chamber and the gun is ready to fire.
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Pete is correct, there is a round in the chamber. Until you can successfully unload the pistol do not attempt to move the thumb safety lever so that it covers up the GESICHERT marking which would make it in a firing condition. If it is not frozen in place remove the magazine. You could also remove the grip panels if the screws are not frozen. Immerse the entire gun in any kind of oil, even motor oil will do and leave it for a few days (or as long as you can before you have to depart) to penetrate the rust. If the penetration is successful you should be able to retract the toggle assembly and eject the round from the chamber. Once the gun has been rendered safe you can proceed with disassembly and rust cleanup. Much of the oil soaked rust can be removed using 0000 grade steel wool without significant damage to the blue.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Oh dear! what was it I was saying about my ignorance! :)

Thanks for the quick reply and pointing out the safety issue Pete.

I did not know that about the extractor so I was unsure if the gun was loaded. Thanks a lot for the heads up. I did try to observe the safety rules re the muzzle and trigger etc. but it's good to know for sure.

I've not been able to release the magazine or cycle the action at all due to the corrosion so I wasn't able to check. For the time being I'm not able to make the gun safe until I can figure out how to get the things moving again.

As far as I can tell the safety is on. please let me know if this is not the case.

any tips on how to proceed would be appreciated.

Cheers and happy new year folks
Yash
 

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Stick something down the barrel to see how far it goes .

Maybe it is just a spent casing or the extractor may be just stuck up some .

It doesn't look fully up to me .

Like posted above BE CAREFUL until you find out what is really going on .

Saftey is ON .
 

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Hi Yashar,

Your gun should have either a date of "41" or "42" on the round top of the receiver fork...just forward of the extractor we have been talking about.

Your gun has the black bakelite grips...we call those guns "Black Widow"Lugers here in the USA.

Your gun has the Mauser "hump" at the back of the frame. If you do a search for the term "Mauser hump" you will find more info.

Your gun would probably have a letter suffix below the serial number stamping on the front of the frame. It might be hidden by rust if that area is rusted-over.

The small parts (trigger, take-down lever, thumb safety lever, magazine release) of your Mauser Luger are blue-finished; which is appropriate and correct for this Military gun.

Hopefully our Mauser collector members can give you lots more info. on your gun.


This USA retailer has many "byf" Mauser Lugers for sale...so you can review their photos and compare to features on your gun.

Your gun would have acceptance and/or firing proof stampings on the right side of the receiver and barrel. If you look at some of the guns on this retailer's site, you can see what those look like and compare to those on your gun.

http://www.simpsonltd.com/index.php?cPath=179_215&sort=2a&page=2

http://www.simpsonltd.com/index.php?cPath=179_215&sort=2a&page=3


And this auction site had a nice one with some very good photos which enlarge for a detailed view. Especially the letter-suffix under the gun's SN on the frame front.

http://jamesdjulia.com/item/1135-369/
 

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Forget the oil and buy a shovel. spend the next 3 days digging a hole. throw it in, fill it up, and get on the plane and go home. I`m sure weapons are frowned upon in Iran, and its not worth the trouble it may cause you and your family. Perhaps there is a way to turn it in to authorities and not get in trouble, but you should be in London when that happens Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Cheers guys.

I'll give these a try.

I have to admit , I'm a little apprehensive about trying to stick something down the barrel. I'm not sure if it would help a novice like me as I'm not certain how far it is meant to travel to the point that I can definitely distinguish between a live round vs. empty casing.

I might head down there at some point tomorrow and stick it in some oil for a couple of days and see if I can get it unstuck.

Thanks again fellas
 

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Forget the oil and buy a shovel. spend the next 3 days digging a hole. throw it in, fill it up, and get on the plane and go home. I`m sure weapons are frowned upon in Iran, and its not worth the trouble it may cause you and your family. Perhaps there is a way to turn it in to authorities and not get in trouble, but you should be in London when that happens Good luck!
Ah yes, the voice of pragmatism rises. :)
 

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The holster may be worth more than the gun. Don't throw it away.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Forget the oil and buy a shovel. spend the next 3 days digging a hole. throw it in, fill it up, and get on the plane and go home. I`m sure weapons are frowned upon in Iran, and its not worth the trouble it may cause you and your family. Perhaps there is a way to turn it in to authorities and not get in trouble, but you should be in London when that happens Good luck!
HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! I laughed so hard I think a little bit of pee came out!

you might well have a point, as with any jurisdiction I'm sure it could potentially cause a proper headache for us. Having said that I've been told (by the Iranian version of the proverbial 'a bloke down the pub') that unlike the UK it is possible to obtain the proper permissions to keep a pistol. It would be good to try to keep it in the family. I'll have to ask around quietly and see if it is in fact a possibility.

Even if it didn't have a family connection I couldn't imagine burying such a magnificent bit of kit. it would break my heart!
 

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Wow, I'm totally blown away by the response. I never imagined I would get so many replies. thank you all.

Pete, thank you for the very detailed response. I had a look at those websites and identified the places were I need to look around for the rest of the numbers. I wonder what sort of information could one find out given those numbers to try to figure out how this might have ended up in Iran.

was this batch issued to a particular branch?
 

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Hi Yashir,
I don't think Doug's warning is any laughing matter. I don't know what your legal status is in Iran but you are certainly not a resident. The authorities there might take a dim view of a "foreigner" walking around with a loaded pistol, functional or not. My advice is save the holster but ditch the gun, in the condition it's in it's not worth much.
Regards, Norm
P.S. I have many Iranian American friends and I have some idea of what conditions are like over there.
 

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Hi Yashir,
I don't think Doug's warning is any laughing matter. I don't know what your legal status is in Iran but you are certainly not a resident. The authorities there might take a dim view of a "foreigner" walking around with a loaded pistol, functional or not. My advice is save the holster but ditch the gun, in the condition it's in it's not worth much.
Regards, Norm
P.S. I have many Iranian American friends and I have some idea of what conditions are like over there.

Oh absolutely, I was in no way being dismissive of Dc's warning, it's unquestionably sound advice. The fact that I could get into real trouble though doesn't diminish from the humor in his post . the '3 days' just killed me!

I am all too aware that things could go turbo very quickly over here. I have no intention of removing it from it's current location where we might have a semi legitimate excuse for it being there.

I just couldn't bring myself to dispose of it even though there is a real risk that its presence might cause a erm.... 'misunderstanding'. It is a dilemma!
 

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Sure, it’s not in great condition by any stretch of the English language in any locale. But then again I’m really not interested in selling it so the condition in as far as it impacts the sale value is irrelevant. I’m not that interested in shooting the thing either. Even if it could be cleaned up to the point that it was safe to shoot I’m not even sure if there is a range over here where people can turn up and say fire their great grandfather’s muskets. I’m going to go with probably not. I want to find a way of keeping it in the family (legally) and trying to track down its history if at all possible. It is just possible that I am being too optimistic! It has been known to happen. I’ve been told there is a way of doing this legally. It will undoubtedly involve some Olympic level gymnastics! I'll know soon enough one way or another. :eek:S
 

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Hi Yashar,

" spend the next 3 days digging a hole "

Yank, red-neck humor. One shovel-full, drink a beer,...another shove-full, drink another beer...repeat until done or after you wake up.


Do not think you will ever know for sure how this German military/army gun came to reside in Iran.

Capture gun, war trophy gun, rebel gun, tourist gun that "traveled" as the owner traveled ? Black-market gun ? Many possible scenarios.

Or maybe your Grandfather was a German agent ??? Joking of course...


I do not collect in the WWII era, much, so am hoping others might contribute.

The exact suffix letter (as part of the serial number) might give our more advanced Mauser-folks a chance to nail down the month your gun was probably made in the year stamped on the top of the chamber.

The acceptance proofs on the right side could either be all Eagle/655 stampings, Eagle/135 stampings, or more rare...a mix of both. Does not give a clue to whom the gun was issued...but collectors place a higher value over the presentation of some of those stampings over the others.

Since the gun is in such poor shape, many "elite" collectors would not give it "the time of day"...unfortunately.


Since the gun has some family-ties, it might have some value to a family member who might possibly be able to own it, officially, in Iran...(???)...if that is possible.

Another option if no one has interest in the family...take all the small parts you legally can travel with back to the UK and sell them on eBay.

Holster, grips, screws, springs, toggle pins, take-down lever...depending on what is allowed.


And bury the other parts in the deep hole and cover with cement. :) Along with all the empty beer cans !
 

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Yashar, Any attempt to report or register the Luger should be done by a resident family member, not a tourist from England. Hopefully you will be home before anyone attempts that. I would not take any parts with me, not even the holster!The 3 days of digging is to get you in shape to tunnel out of prison with a spoon, assuming they give you one. Of course it helps that you will have 10 years to do it. I wouldn't be talking about this to the "bloke at the pub" either. Please let us know when you get home, and again, best of luck to you. Doug
 

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Hi Pete,

Ha! I thought the 3 days Doug was referring to was the 3 days I had mentioned I still had left in Iran. Which totally cracked me up. I’m unfamiliar with the beer–assisted method of digging you speak of. It would take far longer to dig a hole here using this method with Iran being a ‘dry’ country!

Thank you for your informative replies. I appreciate the time you have spent on your very informative posts. I’m beginning to realise that there are too many of these things around and we know have far too little to go on and you are probably quite right in saying I will probably never know how this got here. But it’s about the journey not the destination right? (well, as long as the destination is not jail!!) Perhaps as you say my grandfather was indeed a German agent or maybe he was not the mild mannered man we though he was but rather a bad *** gangster in his younger days and this gun is even hotter than we know!
 

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Hey Doug, Thank you for your concern and advice on this. I very much appreciate it. I’ve certainly not dealt with anything like this before and to an extent stepping into the unknown. I will certainly not be attempting to register this on my own as you rightly pointed out my legal status as a non-resident might cause an unwelcome confusion. My father who is a resident will report this as he knows the lay of the land here and is very keen to keep the pistol. We’ll go through the appropriate channels to report this rather than put it (and a spoon) in our pocket and making our way to the police station. We have since our last correspondence consulted other people (in the know) that have assured us that this is a very common occurrence and a manageable situation if handled correctly. Apparently, these things turn up everyday over here and in some cases (where one knows someone who knows someone) the appropriate licenses can be issued to the family. I will take your advice on this and do the digging anyway just to keep in shape. You never know.

If all goes well and we manage to somehow avoid our very own personal "Shawshank" experience, It is possible that the authorities will insist on permanently decommissioning the weapon. If it comes to that and if we are given the option to choose, what is the least destructive way of doing this with this weapon? so that we can try to persuade them not to totally butcher the bloody thing.
 
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