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Unread 08-16-2022, 02:24 PM   #1
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Default 1915 DWM (?) "Ground Dug" P08 Luger Info

I recently came across a 1915 P08, in a "ground dug" condition. Supposedly from a collection of Eastern front dug up weapons, although I don't know whose collection or why it was being sold. I'm sure some of you may have seen this one for sale. I'm trying to figure out what the history on this gun could have been, but the more details I uncover, the more questions I have.

While combing through the fine details, I've noticed many very peculiar things, which I'm hoping someone here may have some insight on. I've handled it closely, and come up with the following list.

First off, someone cleaned all of the rust out of this gun with great detail. I don't know if they just submerged it in a rust dissolver for weeks, or actually used a sand blaster or equivalent removal method. Either way, there isn't a spot of rust left on the outside despite heavy pitting. They evidently never removed the ejector, because it was caked with rust when I took it off.

Second, they seemed to have painted the entire thing in a nasty black paint. Maybe to make it look better? I don't know. It's been heavily worn off, intentionally or not, perhaps because it was bad quality paint. Since I've been handing it and cleaning, most of that paint has come off leaving the bare metal.

Third, the serial number has been defaced, poorly, on the side of the barrel extension and the frame. "2354" has had the 2 poorly peened away to look like "354". It probably did not show when painted with the black stuff. Clearly done after the corrosion.

Fourth, the top of the toggle has been ground off. This is where I would expect to see the DWM logo or other markings- After this gun was removed from the corrosion environment, these marks, whatever was left of them, were ground off. This was clearly after the corrosion.

Fifth, parts have been poorly "gunsmithed" back together to make it functional. The best example is the trigger bar/sear spring- The trigger bar tab which was held down by the original spring is sheared off. Corrosion on the frame would also suggest the sear spring had heavy corrosion, and the spring was probably toast. It was replaced with a NEW piece of spring steel- But not a real sear spring. It is ground sown by hand to fit. It reaches out and contacts the furthest out part of the trigger bar, not the original tab location. It does work, but will work it's way out and become useless. The bar was beveled here with a file to make it fit.

Sixth, I think that the trigger sideplate/transfer bar may have been replaced. It shows less corrosion than the rest of the gun, and has no serial number on it. On the backside, it has a single "7" stamped on it.

Seventh, the muzzle appears to have been put to a grinder or belt sander to smooth it out.

Eighth, the disassembly lever appears to be a WWII or post war part. It is not checkered. This could be correct for this gun if it was repaired in the field after WWI or had parts mixed up. Any insight on this?

Ninth, the firing pin was missing. The seller did not remove it. It could have been removed just because it would be unwise to shoot this gun, but are there other reasons?

Despite all of these odd points, the action is in rather good condition considering. Any location on the gun which was not directly exposed to the outside, such as the rails, lower parts of the toggles, the chamber and bore, under the grips, under the safety lever, the magazine well, toggle and breech block internals, are all in excellent shape compared to the rest. No pitting, no corrosion. I've always known the Luger is excellent at sealing itself up- But is it THAT good? These hidden location show original finish, which is quite good. Strong bluing, not much wear.

Some of these things, such as defacing the DWM, peening the serial number, removing the firing pin- Makes me wonder if this was a way to export it out of Europe at some point, getting around restrictions? I can't think of any reason you would do this in the USA. It seems like an attempt to conceal the identity of the gun for some reason or another, even though it failed. If this was faked corrosion, why deface the markings afterwards? Why take a good condition 1915 and corrode it, I can't imagine it would ever be worth more in any market than it was before?
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Unread 08-17-2022, 11:21 AM   #2
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Would make an interesting desk paper weight? I would not try to fire it!
I Build Custom Pistol Boxes
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Unread 08-18-2022, 09:24 AM   #3
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That would be a challenge for Thor
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Unread 08-19-2022, 12:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
That would be a challenge for Thor
Speaking of whom, does anybody have a progress report or update about Ted?
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