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Would somebody help me out with 1911 Erfurt?

2784 Views 11 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  werepig
Hello everybody!

Well, to make long story short - few days back I went out and bought myself a 1911 Erfurt for approx. 700$ (don't tell my wife!)
Although being an army officer I have some experience with firearms, I've no previous experience in gun collecting or Luger pistols.
Naturally my curiosity is arised and I want to know as much as possible about the gun.
As there are nearly no literature about Lugers locally available, I'd aprecciate it greatly if someone would guide me through this one. I've done some reading on forums, so I have some vague overall picture.

OK.. About the pistol..
-Manufactured 1911, Erfurt
-S/N 7587
-All parts (as far as I could determine) matching. The only exception being magazine where I found no markings whatsoever.
-Blueing intact on over 90% (how do I determine it correctly?) no reblue as far as I could determine.
-Strawing faded but intact on 60-80%, on some parts requires good lighting to be seen at all.
Slight pitting on the left side of frame (sideplate, takedown lever etc.)
-Bore OK - no visible marks. Looks good to me but is kind of dark.
-Markings: serial and proof marks on all parts, including grip screws. Eagle on top of the barrel. On the downside the barrel looks like this:

<center>r</center><center>/// \\\</center><center>3 25</center>
<center>3. 82 </center>

Three crowned letters and eagle on the right side of the frame.
On the forward part of the front sight a mark reminding D or big n
A mark reminding 8 near the left grip screw.

Well, those are the ones that I remember and I hope that's enough for starters. I'll post some images when I get digital camera.

Every bit of information about the guns origin, value etc. is greatly appreciated, also few tips about how to proceed from here would be welcome.

Best wishes to you all
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Werepig. Pictures are always helpful.

From your description your 1911 Erfurt may be a veteran of two wars. The eagle over 325 would appear to be a Nazi era acceptance or proof although I do not find that marking in my references. Others here may know this mark. The 3.83 is probably 8.82 indicating the land to land bore diameter.

regards, heinz
I will post a series of photographs of a 1911 Erfurt by tomorrow with an explanation in the Imperial Lugers section. If you can post photographs they would be very helpful.

Jan C Still
Site Owner - Operator
* Current asking price for a contemporary 1911 Erfurt from Simpson Ltd. can be found at the following: http://www.simpsonltd.com/erfurt_lugers.htm
* If all</u> matching except mag & 90% original rust blue/60+% Straw, it will be easy to justify to the Mrs'. Any unrefurbished 1911-1914 Erfurt above 90% is becoming a difficult find. Not that many made & 90+ years does take its toll.
* However, Heinz is correct. The droop wing eagle over a number(3 25??) suggests this piece was refurbished at some time after WWI's end. Possibly during the 20's when many WWI battlefield laydowns were resurrected from storage to serve with the Weimar Army/police/others. This can alter the price you may find for an all original example.
* The sight's "D or big n" and the frame's numeral "8" are likely Factory worker acceptance marks signifying completion of manufacturing steps in the area where they appear.
* The crown/letter marks on virtually all the individual parts indicate Army Inspector acceptance of that component. As you may know Erfurt was an Army Arsenal during WWI. The three crown/letter sequence on the right receiver is the progressive assembly Inspector's acceptance of the pistol by the Army. These are not referred to as "proofs". The Eagle on the right receiver, barrel, and left breech block(above the sideplate), however, is the Army proof acceptance.
* Does the toggle lock open (hold back) with an empty magazine inserted? Originally, a 1911 P.08 will not; but, many were retrofitted with a hold open device in 1913.
* This example probably does not have a stock lug on the lower back of the grip (frame). Look for this in Jan's photo's.
* You've probably field stripped the piece. Internal parts which should bear the last 2 digits of the S/N (87) are the trigger, hold open(if present), front breech block of the toggle train, firing pin, and each of the wooden grips. If you are unfamiliar with this take-down proceedure, the other forum you posted has detailed instructions and a number of other sources can provide Instructions. When you come to grip stock removal, be especially careful in removing the left grip as the upper right portion of this grip panel's wood is fragile and can catch/break on the back of the strawed safety lever. Start with removal of the right wood panel. The inside numeric/acceptance markings of the left panel are usually visible when looking through the mag well of the frame once the right panel is removed. Keeps from ever taking the left panel off except for an occasional thorough cleaning.
* We'll look forward to your photo's which will help establish this pistol's condition/lineage.

Good Luck & Great Hunting! Bob
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Well, here they are finally - photos of my 1911 Erfurt

Download Attachment: HPIM0049a.JPG

Inspectors acceptance and proof marks, right?
Download Attachment: Hpim0025.jpg

Retrofitted hold-open seems to be there:
Download Attachment: HPIM0050a.JPG

Download Attachment: Hpim0030.jpg

Download Attachment: Hpim0041.jpg

Download Attachment: Hpim0039.jpg

Download Attachment: Hpim0038.jpg

Here are the markings I'm really curious about. The numbers below the droop-wing eagle are - 3 and 25 - Eagle seems to be indicating reworking during 1930'es. Am I correct?
Download Attachment: Hpim0028.jpg

Here is the mark slightly reminding 8 near left grip screw:
Download Attachment: Hpim0032.jpg

Here comes the mag - even I understand this one is not matching ;)
The base of the magazine is made of aluminium, but it seems to be really rough workmanship - I could do about the same in my garage. There are tool marks all over the place:
Download Attachment: Hpim0034.jpg

Download Attachment: Hpim0035.jpg

Download Attachment: Hpim0036.jpg

Well, that's all for now - I guess now there is time for me to sit down and wait for feedback :)
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Thanks for your excellent photographs and presentation.
Your Luger was manufactured in 1911 by Erfurt, for the German military. Erfurt was a Prussian government owned arms factory located at Erfurt Germany.

It bears crown / scriptic letter inspection stamps on all parts including the grip screws. The right receiver markings consist of three inspection stamps and a test proof. These indicate that your Luger passed all inspections and power proofing. As near as I can tell from the photographs, your Erfurt is all matching except the magazine, which is a post war replacement.

The barrel is a Weimar era/ or later replacement. It bears the full serial number, 8.82 barrel gage, and what are apparently Weimar era eagles.

1911 was the first year that Erfurt produced Lugers. It is a scarce World War I military Luger and you are fortunate to have found one.
Thank you for information, most of it I had found out already myself but the new barrel thing was new to me.

One of the reasons I bought this pistol was that it once belonged to a Estonian shooter Elmar Kivistik. He is still most achieved Estonian sportsman who won 14 World Chamionships, 6 of them individually if I remember correctly. He also established few world records, one of which stood for 17 years.
His glory-days were World Championships in Rome, Helsinki, and Luzern in the end of 1930'es, where Estonian rifle team shone and twice came back with silver Argentine Cup presented for best country.
WWII ended his career though. As an acomplished sportsman and Master Sergeant of Estonian Defence Forces he was persecuted by new power. He managed to avoid recruitment to Red Army in 1941 and joined forest brothers resistance movement after the war, but was trapped by NKVD while attemting to flee into Sweden and was exiled to Siberia.
He was able to return after death of Stalin in 1956 and lived to the end of his days at his home county, working as handyman and welder until his death in 1973. His leg was amputated in his old age because of strenuous exercises to deaden his knee-nerve (his favourite shooting positsion was kneeling).

I bought the gun from Kivistik's grandnephew and now an trying to establish wether Kivistik came into possession of it before or during the WWII.
Rebarreling during Weimar era seems to indicate that this Luger was used by German Army in both wars and Kivistik most probably got it during his forest brother days.

Am I on right path? Any suggestions?
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quote:Originally posted by werepig
I bought the gun from Kivistik's grandnephew and now an trying to establish wether Kivistik came into possession of it before or during the WWII.
Rebarreling during Weimar era seems to indicate that this Luger was used by German Army in both wars and Kivistik most probably got it during his forest brother days.

Am I on right path? Any suggestions?
What a history!! How fortunate that you are to have acquired this piece! Given the replacement barrel, I believe that you are correct in assuming that Kivistik acquired this pistol during WWII.
Thanks for everybody for helping me but.. well - I've got another question now.
Today I played around with my Luger, taking it down and studying the chisel marks on reciever and barrel and so on. Anyway, while assemblying it again I noticed something I hadn't noticed before - the Receiver Axle had full serial number and proof heraldic eagle stamped on it.
I mean I understand why proof is applied on barrel, reciever or toggle, but why on axle? Is it so important part that it has to be proofed??
I'm a bit confused here..
Some Erfurt main axle pins are marked with the eagle(observed 1912-1913). Doesnt seem to make sence, but the Germans did it.

As the Erfurt axle pins were not serial numbered at the factory, I would suggest that it was accomplished post World War I.
Have seen and heard of ErFurt pins having the eagle but not a full serial #.
Well, it was relieving to hear there are other proofed axle pins around. I was beginning to wonder if somebody had been goofing with the gun.
I mean I looked around for reference for this and found none - it was always barrel-reciever-toggle, but nobody mentioned axle pin.
As for SN, well it was a bit faded-looking and came in two parts - first two digits slightly above the eagles head and last two below.
You said that SOME Erfurt pins were with eagles - I guess it means that most didn't. Was this axle-proofing practiced on earlier models and abolished later or what? I mean - what distinguishes the guns with proofed pins from ones that don't have them?
Sorry about stupid questions, but I'm a curious person and like things being clear and logical :)
I can post a photo if it helps. Is there any way to determine if this SN was there from beginning or was struck later?
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