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Unread 11-20-2019, 10:38 PM   #1
cyanghost
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Default 1938 Mauser S/42 Luger P08

I won an auction for a genuine WWII Luger P08 pistol and when I received the call from my FFL to go pick it up, I ran out of work faster than I ever have to get it! Complete with the original holster, two magazines (not matching but period correct), a small tool (I don't know its purpose is) and the pistol itself, I now have a Wehrmacht issue Luger P08 in my possession.

All serial numbers on this pistol are matching. The first thing I did when I brought it home is I pulled out the Hoppe's 9 cleaner and lubricant, field stripped the pistol, then cleaned and oiled it inside and out.

The pistol along with its holster smell like an old library book, much like my GI issue 1943 Remington Rand 1911 pistol did when I initially received it. Now that I cleaned it, the smell isn't as evident but it's still faintly there. In my opinion, that gives it character.

I have not fired this pistol yet, but I plan to as soon as I can. I purchased some GECO brand 9mm, 124 gr ammo for it. It's not only German made ammo (how fitting!) but I read that it burns pretty clean. I know some get concerned over older guns being fired, but I can assure that I will only fire it seldomly.

One of the mags I received with the gun does not have the little button slide, so I can't use it. I tried to force the 9mm rounds like you'd do with a modern magazine, but I couldn't get any in past the third cartridge. I ultimately ended up purchasing a Mec-Gar magazine and it seems to be pretty well made.

The holster has the following markings on the front and back: "F. S. Fransen 36971935". I figured "Fransen" sounded like a German name so I was convinced it was a German soldier that carved it. I was later informed that it was likely an American GI that carved their name into it.

I did some searching of WWII enlistment records on ancestry.com and I think I might have found out who carried it! I believe his name is Ferdinand Slogget Fransen from Eagan, IL! According to the information I found, he was drafted in late 1943. I did a Google search of his name and based on the information I found and discovered that he's still alive and currently resides in Byron, IL.

Originally, I had a list of questions I was going to ask him because I'd gathered an address and some phone numbers related to him. After giving it some thought and after reading some replies on another forum regarding the subject, I've decided the best action is just to leave it alone, as much as it pains me to do so. It's not my intention to upset or hurt anyone and I don't want to dig too far and end up doing just that. That would make owning this pistol become a bad memory for me, in which case I'd feel compelled to get rid of it.

To further the point, I reached out to the the seller I purchased it from a few times and he'd not gotten a response from the previous owner despite the previous owner saying they would give me some history behind the pistol. I reached out again a few days ago and seller said he still hadn't heard back regarding the history of the pistol. He also mentioned in the email that he'd gotten the impression that the previous owner did not really want to share any information. However, it's still possible that I may still hear back from the seller, but the outcome does not seem likely.

Ultimately, I think it's just best to leave the story up to the imagination.

For what it's worth to anyone reading this, whether it's the previous owner or even Mr. Fransen himself, I can assure you this pistol will remain in my hands for the rest of my life and I will take great care of it.

If I have more to say later on, I will reply to this thread. Some photos are attached - forgive me for the dust on the table, I didn't realize it was like that until I saw the photos. Thanks for reading!
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Unread 11-20-2019, 11:11 PM   #2
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Congratulations!
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Unread 11-21-2019, 12:25 AM   #3
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Nice rig. Good choice.
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Unread 11-21-2019, 03:39 AM   #4
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Default contact or not

Nice Pistol
I cant see any reason for not contacting the G.I. if in fact he brought the pistol back. that being the case you have a very rare oppertunity to talk about the history of the pistol if he can still communicate. That's an oppertunity only a few have the luxury of and it wont last long. There would only be 2 ways it left his hands either it was stolen or he or a family member let it go. I would want to know that either way. and if he is a ww2 vet he may be delighted that someone is showing an interest in his history. A missed try would haunt me forever. JMHO
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Unread 11-21-2019, 08:18 AM   #5
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Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on your new Luger.

We publish a useful FAQ document with quite a bit of reference information. It's free to download at:

http://forum.lugerforum.com/showthread.php?t=13121

Contact "G.T." (Gerald) on this forum to discuss repair for your magazine.
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Unread 11-21-2019, 09:00 AM   #6
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One possible downside to contacting the G. I. could be that if somewhere along the line the gun was reported to be stolen, in which case the current "owner" would lose it and be out their money too.
Just a consideration.
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Unread 11-21-2019, 09:43 AM   #7
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There is a fair chance too that the holster and the pistol were mated up much later down the line too. Pretty common that the holsters and guns get split off from each other.
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Unread 11-21-2019, 09:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidJayUden View Post
One possible downside to contacting the G. I. could be that if somewhere along the line the gun was reported to be stolen, in which case the current "owner" would lose it and be out their money too.
Just a consideration.
dju
How could that be a "downside"?
If it was stolen from the Vet, it should be returned-
loss to the present owner or not.
JMHO.

Any luger we buy "could" have been stolen somewhere along the line.
I know, one I bought did come back stolen after an NCIC check.
Took months to clear up that transaction; long story as the luger was "only" a frame by the time I got it. I've written this story on one of these luger sites.
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Unread 11-21-2019, 11:21 AM   #9
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How could that be a downside? Working hard and saving for the Luger of my dreams, only to have it and my money snatched away, might seem like a downside to some.
Maybe it was reported stolen by the Vet's meth-head grandson? Seeing the gun returned to him and my money being long gone might have some downsides.
Of course seeing the gun returned to it's rightful owner would provide some satisfaction.
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Unread 11-21-2019, 12:02 PM   #10
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Thanks for the responses all, I look forward to reading more. The reason why I ultimately decided against contacting the GI is because I know some combat veterans really do not want to reflect on their experiences. I've read a few cases where GI issue 1911 owners tried to contact the previous owner about them and they did not want to talk about it. Perhaps that's the case here. I even recall one of my history teachers in high school telling us that whenever he'd see his grandfather who served during WWII, his mother would always remind him "Don't ask him about the damn war!".

On another hand, if he would be willing to talk about it...well, I have no way of knowing that for sure. The risk is too great so I'd rather not open that can of worms, so to speak. Again, a bad outcome would tie a bad memory to this pistol for me.

If the gun was stolen, I assume that would have been cleared during the transfer. Correct?
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Unread 11-21-2019, 12:40 PM   #11
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Contact the guy.

I have contacted and spoken to veterans and also the families of those killed in action, and never had a bad experience. Worst they can do is say no. Best case is that they are thrilled someone cares to hear about their role in the war, or their loved one’s role. That has been my experience, that people love that someone is interested in hearing of their loved one’s service.

Stolen? Maybe. But how many times has anyone legitimately ever heard of that happening? Oh it could happen sure, but to me that response has always seemed more like “my uncle’s brother’s cousin’s dog groomers sister said that...” than anything else. The NICS check has nothing to do with the gun or the serial number.

If they tell you something that makes you feel bad, then sell the gun and get another, maybe one with capture papers and a unit named on the papers.

The vet could as easily have won the gun in a card game on the ship home too, who knows.

Go for it! And if you get to meet the guy (go see him in person!) be sure to get a pic of him and you with the gun too. Then write the entire story down.
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Unread 11-21-2019, 12:47 PM   #12
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If the vet is alive, and willing to talk with you, emphasize that you're interested in the history that accompanies the pistol he brought back to the US after the war, not anything political.

You can always try to locate a relative, and ask if they thought he would be willing to discuss the war and his bring back pistol with you.

If you bought it through a FFL, the seller would have responsibility for selling a gun with a questionable background, and you would l likely have a way to address the problem if it existed.
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Unread 11-21-2019, 02:34 PM   #13
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In this case, I would "let a sleeping dog lie". Let your imagination take you anywhere you want to go. JMHO
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Unread 11-22-2019, 01:03 PM   #14
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"The NICS check has nothing to do with the gun or the serial number."

You may be confused or just in error, when the serial number of the luger was checked,it kicked out as reported stolen. So it does have something to do with the serial number.

It has happened at least once, to me.

This was not a routine 4473 check, but a special serial number check as the dealer who transferred the luger was a pawn broker- who are required to report serial numbers that pass though their shop to local authorities. Who then check the nation wide data base.

It took about 4 months for the circle to close, but I did get a message from a detective in Missouri
that I had a "stolen" luger. And should return it to the owner's heirs.

Further complicating the issue is the fact that any 4 digit number can repeat on different lugers from different mfgs. and with or without a letter suffix. Letter suffixes do not always make it into reports.

Try explaining this to someone who knows nothing about lugers.

added 12-21-19:
As someone pointed out later, NCIS is for the background check and NCIC is for stolen items(serial number check).
More good info on "checking serial numbers" or not is in the posts below. Thanks to all for the clarification additional info and commiseration.
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Unread 11-22-2019, 11:03 PM   #15
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Pawn Brokers operate under some slightly different rules than an 01 FFL holder. As an FFL holder, I can tell you that in the process of an FBI NICS background check, the make, model and serial number of the firearm are NOT submitted to the FBI. Some states require the background check to be done by a state agency, not the Feds. This will bring about a slightly different situation as far as submitting the serial number of the firearm. A pawn broker is typically required by state law, (and of course, this can vary from state to state), to submit the serial numbers of ALL items received, (purchased or pawned), including stereos, cameras, tools, etc. to the LOCAL police for a serial number check for stolen items. If an item comes up "hot", then the LOCAL police will attempt to recover, investigate, and return the item to the lawful owner. The ATF is only interested in serial numbers when they are running a trace through the ATF National tracing center. These serial number traces are usually requested by local police agencies seeking info on a recovered firearm from a crime scene or a theft. Just thought I'd try to clarify the water here.
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Unread 11-23-2019, 09:05 AM   #16
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NCIC is where stolen checks are done on property items, among other things. NICS is only the background check on the buyer. Nothing more. Pawn would typically have a separate property system which is reported into and which police can access and check, depending on the locality and their local laws that pawn brokers have to follow.
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Unread 11-23-2019, 09:21 AM   #17
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Don, a pawn scenario like yours is absolutely where I could see that happening... in my state, pawn brokers have to track and record seller and property information and report it all to a pawn system that user police agencies and cities mandate by law and thus can access. But on the other hand coin shops, antiques dealers, jewelers, and non-pawn gun dealers do not. It is maddening to pawn shops that they have to follow a set of rules that other sellers who are basically different do not.

So a pawn shop being involved in your case is not surprising. And what a bummer!
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Unread 11-25-2019, 02:24 PM   #18
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Some organizations are more savvy than others.

When I was working in various gun shops in Michigan, we'd routinely get letters back from the State Police. Finally, we just included everything.

They would get registration (actually "safety inspection" but everyone knew the deal) forms with "Luger, 9mm, #1234" on them.

They'd then send the obligatory letter to the dealer, telling all the things they needed.

We finally just included a typed letter (the safety form only had room for make, model, cal, serial) with "BYF, 9mm, 4" barrel, 1234 (no suffix), blue, no unit markings" as an example, so it would not be kicked back as stolen, because the stolen report only said "Luger, 9mm, 1234".
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Unread 12-21-2019, 01:06 AM   #19
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Adding a bit more to this find. I did some more searching and found out that Ferd Fransen's brother, Henry Fransen (also a veteran) had passed on September 10th, 2019. That nearly coincides with when I purchased this pistol in October. https://www.everhere.com/us/obituari...ransen-9695214

One assumption I can make is that this pistol was given to him and when he passed, this pistol was probably included with the estate and sold onto me.

Additionally, here's a recent picture of Ferd Fransen displaying a "Quilt of Honor" at his church: https://www.facebook.com/davisjuncti...type=3&theater

He seems to be doing well!
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Unread 12-21-2019, 08:45 AM   #20
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WRT the small tool, it's a combo tool used as a screwdriver and magazine loading assistant.

The tool is turned with the blade upward and the tool is slipped over the mag button. The small shelf will be pointing outward and is depressed with your thumb. It saves your thumb as depressing the button with your thumb alone isn't easy.

WRT mags, I'd use the MecGar mag exclusively for shooting. They are well made and function quite well. I wouldn't risk an original mag.

As far as shooting an all matching Luger in nice, collectible condition, I'd hold it to a minimum or not at all. Just my opinion.

Last edited by Doubs; 01-10-2020 at 11:34 AM.
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