Lugers

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ed
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Lugers

Post by ed » Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:49 pm

The Luger is probably the most iconic firearm in the world. Maybe the AK is catching up but I'd wager that if you did a properly constructed test subjects would pick the Luger profile as being most recognizable. It is also one of those things that I think of as masterpieces of design. They are what they purport to do. You pick up a Luger it just points at the target.

Small digression. This is a model 1860 US Cavalry Saber
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If you pick it up, even a pansy assed snowflake, you immediately look for something to swipe. True fact, masterpiece of design.

Now, to collect Lugers is to fall into the Rabbit Hole. I have heard that you would need a collection of ~500 individual specimens to have all of the common Luger variations. I have around 25 books on the subject and my library is that of an interested amateur. I own around 15 Lugers and don't consider myself a collector of them, I simply "own some Lugers". Incidentally, these are definitively "Weapons of War" (the new snowflake buzzword) so would be, in a snowflake brave new world, taken away and melted down or something.

Among the many different Lugers there is a rare bird that might be referred to as the "Test Luger". I made that up since I don't know if there is actually a collectors designation for these things. They have, on the top of the weapon over the chamber (the place that accepts the cartridge for firing), a peculiar stamp. It looks like this:
download (3)a.png
The stamps are (L to R) the odd "Ub", the date and the last two digits of the serial number. Military Lugers were marked with the attention to completeness that one would expect from the bloody Germans, that is to say on every piece :D . Oh, note the faint "halo" around the "59". That occurs when a stamp is applied AFTER the metal is blued. The stamping forces the metal to flow up and around as it were, thus spreading the blueing out, thinning it and making it lighter thus creating the halo. Note that the date shows no halo. That means that the date was stamped BEFORE final finishing. This is important. Why? Because Lugers are faked regularly and with devious intent. I've had 5 of the critters who were not as represented. It happens. The many marks on a Luger are applied at different stages of the manufacturing process. No Halo = Fake (if a halo should be there. The problem is that Lugers, to quote my old pal TE Lawrence, are "a series of exceptions to some unrecoverable rule".

I digress ... as usual ...

Now that "Ub" stamp evidentially (always remember Lawrence when discussing Lugers) means Ubungswaffe, German for training/practice weapon. The thinking is/was that such weapons were available for shooting practice in the factory (Lugers had to be shot for accuracy before they would pass final inspection) or as examples of how the pieces fit to together and how the thing functions as an aid during assembly. There are some (one? two?) examples that have a hole on the top of the barrel for pressure testing. These have an additional "A" stamp on the barrel. "A" for Ausschuss (scrap or reject). How many of these "Ub" Lugers exist? Dunno. 10 maybe. 25? Not a lot.

Lugers tend to be sorta valuable. A dealer friend once told me that if I come across any Luger in decent shape for less than $1,000, buy it. He was/is right. Lugers, being Iconic, hold their value and appreciate. So when I came across a decent looking example at a show recently that was priced at $750 I, after a cursory examination, bought it. We collectors Luger owners amass what we refer to as "shooters". Pistols that are not of collectible quality (lousy finish, mismatched serial numbers etc.) that we can shoot without fear of damaging something that has an irreplaceable part. This Orwellian logic allows us to keep acquiring Lugers without adding to our collection. See?

Anyway, I got the thing home and took it apart (digression. When my son was around 10 or so I taught him how to take a Luger apart and then reassemble it. I told him that he was one of the very few 10 year olds who could do so. Thus it was an accomplishment and worthy of inclusion on his CV) and tried to figure out what it was.

Long (long long long) story short. The damn thing was what is referred to as a VOPO (Volkspolizei = East German Police) rework of a 1935 Mauser Luger. Rework = replacing worn/missing parts, restamping serial numbers so they all match (this is Germany remember), re-bluing and so forth and so on. There is one stamp that confirms this. Viz.
download (6).jpg
This is not from my pistol, the stamp on mine is far less distinct.

OK. So now we have a marginally collectable VOPO pistol. The really interesting thing is that on the chamber there is stamped a "U"
smaller.jpg
A "U", the same "U" as the "Ub" U but no "b". It is serif unlike the sans-serif of the other mark but remember Lawrence.
Clearly a factory mark. The only one that I have been able to find anywhere, including querying some major collectors and experts.
The "G" is a date code for 1935. See, the clever and devious Germans stamped Lugers with codes for date and manufacturer thus evading the repercussions of violating the Versailles Treaty. I know it is silly.

So, what is it? No idea. Was it some sort of "Test" Luger in the VOPO factory? Was it a test Luger during the Nazi era that was repurposed by the VOPO?

Thing is that it still has NAZI proofs on the barrel which would not have been the case if it was a test Luger during the NAZI era. Test Lugers were not proofed since they were not going into service. That suggests that this was a service weapon that was captured (along with millions of others) and THEN stamped and pressed into some sort of testing role. Maybe. Remember L.
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Fid
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Re: Lugers

Post by Fid » Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:45 pm

You really don't have to apologize for digressions.
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Re: Lugers

Post by ed » Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:50 pm

Fid wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:45 pm
You really don't have to apologize for digressions.
My life has been a digression.
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Re: Lugers

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:30 pm

East German nursery rhyme:
  • Weisst du was ein VOPO ist?
    Ein Schupo ist ein Policist.
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Re: Lugers

Post by Witness » Sun Nov 24, 2019 1:21 am

↑ *Polizist.





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:mrgreen:

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Re: Lugers

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Sun Nov 24, 2019 1:25 am

OK. It's ed triggering time.

Yeah I know about Lugers. Like the Luger Mini-14, am I right?

:BigGrin3:
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Re: Lugers

Post by Nyarlathotep » Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:40 am

I am not a gun guy, but if I WERE to start collecting guns, I'd want to start with Lugers and broom-handle Mausers. Just because they are such unique looking specimens. Most revolvers look roughly alike, to me at least. Most handguns also look pretty similar to my (admittedly untrained) eye. L shaped boxes of various sizes, essentially. Lugers and Mausers are exceptions, they look cool.

I did come across a reference elsewhere to a WWII era Japanese handgun called a Nambu. It looks a lot like a Luger. I have always wondered if that was intentional.

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The Luggage said nothing, but louder this time.

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Re: Lugers

Post by ed » Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:46 pm

I agree re. revolvers. Thing is that they don't jam. I sometimes carry this
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or the airweight version (frame is alloy/aluminum).

I never understood why any automatic pistol had anything other than the raked back ergonomic grip. Even the c96 is very awkward, it is round. Like a, wait for it, broomhandle.

I think that the japs observed german developments and came up with an improvement (in their eyes) to the Luger. Personally, the cocking device on the Nambu is superior to the toggle thing on the luger, probably cheaper to turn out too.

You should go to a show and pick up a used Ruger Mk1 in .22
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Feels like a luger but you can shoot it all day for a few bucks. I see them regularly at shows. Figure <$300. Maybe a lot less if you buy one that is "distressed" (bluing fucked up, cosmetic problems etc). I bought a High Standard .22 that was someones knockabout gun for $225. I keep it handy in case anything questionable emerges from lake ed .

You should get something. Just to fool around.
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Re: Lugers

Post by Witness » Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:53 pm

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Re: Lugers

Post by ed » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:00 pm

Witness wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:53 pm
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Looks like an air gun.

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Walther air gun.
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Re: Lugers

Post by Witness » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:04 pm

It is. (Some crappy Indian thing.) :mrgreen:

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Re: Lugers

Post by WildCat » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:57 am

ed wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:46 pm
You should go to a show and pick up a used Ruger Mk1 in .22
I have a Ruger MkII, bull barrel target model. Great shooter and I can even take it apart and put it back together without referring to the manual now. :wink:

If you've ever had a Ruger Mk series you'd know what I mean... they are notoriously a PITA to disassemble/reassemble.

The Ruger Mk series, btw, was based on the Nambu design.
Last edited by WildCat on Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lugers

Post by WildCat » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:03 am

This is a really cool looking pistol along those same lines, and it's from 1896! Never produced though, it's a prototype.

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Re: Lugers

Post by Witness » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:10 am

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Re: Lugers

Post by Giz » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:16 am

Lugers, rugers?

Pshaw, as a real American i plink with :
8FAC4DA5-FFF3-4FD8-91F1-6C5D1D83AF00.jpeg

Brownings 1911 in 22lr. 80% size and weighs about 1 pound. Hella cute.
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Re: Lugers

Post by ed » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:51 am

John Browning invented everything
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Re: Lugers

Post by gnome » Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:15 am

To truly hock a Lugie, the phlegm must come not from the throat, but from the soul.
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Re: Lugers

Post by Witness » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:04 am

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