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Unread 11-04-2005, 11:07 PM   #1
Dwight Gruber
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Default Luger "Reinforced" Frame

A recent comment about reinforced Luger frames got me to thinking about a photo comparison I made awhile ago, and wondering if it related.

John Walter, in "The Luger Book" (1986, p.117, 217) and "Luger" (1977, p.209) asserts that Erfurt machined their P-08 frames with a steel reinforcement spur protruding into the recoil spring well under the spring guide, and that in 1915 DWM added this feature to their P-08 production as well.

Walter illustrates the difference, seen here scanned from "Luger"--unreinforced to the left, reinforced to the right (his frame illustration in "The Luger Book" is hopeless, and doesn't even show this feature).



Walter is in error in this regard.

The illustration below shows the evolution of the Luger frame from the 1906 model through the 1914 model. It is clear to see that the "reinforcing" piece is actually present on the 1906 Luger frame, and is associated with the tab which holds the holds the grip safety and grip safety spring. The P-08, in this case a Commercial, retains the metal spur, although the grip safety tab is no longer present. By 1917 the metal spur is gone, and the recoil spring well is faced off with a straight cut.

It is reasonable to assume that, at some time during Luger production, this metal spur was omitted in order to eliminate a machining step or two, with the added benefit of reducing the gun's weight by a couple of ounces.



In the course of research a number of Imperial Military Lugers were examined to see if they exhibited this feature, and to determine, if possible, when the frame whas changed. Subject guns included:

DWM
1908, four guns: two ns and two a suffix
1910: c suffix
1911, two guns: e suffix
1912, two guns: ns
1913: a suffix
1914: ns
1915, three guns: two c suffix, one d suffix
1916, three guns: two i suffix, one o suffix
1917, four guns: one b suffix, two LP08 g and k suffix, one Navy ns
Safe/Loaded Commercial
Alphabet Commercial, u suffix

Erfurt
1911, two guns: ns
1912, two guns: ns
1913: ns
1914: a suffix
1917: h suffix
1917/18: s suffix

The DWM guns through 1914 all had the spur in the recoil spring well. The 1915 guns and onward were all straight frame.

The 1911 Erfurts had the spur, 1912 and onward were straight frame.

Call For Data

Jan Still (correspondence) has established that the change in DWM production occurred between Lugers 1914 serial# 468, and 1915 serial# 3220c. Erfurt production chanaged between Lugers 1911# 7638 and 1912 serial# 454.

I am going to start another database, to try to refine the year and serial# of the changeover point. Anyone owning Lugers between those dates and numbers, please check your frames for the presence or absence of the recoil well spur. As always, post your information here, or email me dwightg@pacifier.com

It would also be useful to know where this changeover occurred in Commercial production, as it would help establish a production date in corrrelation with the military data. Owners of P-08 Commercials, 1914 Commercials, and the Army and Navy variations of those models, after serial# 46161, please report your guns' characteristics in this regard as well.

This has been an interesting discovery, and I thank everybody in advance for their information.

--Dwight
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Unread 11-04-2005, 11:53 PM   #2
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Dwight, 1914 Commercial 72353, straight cut. 1914 1839 spur.
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Unread 11-05-2005, 12:02 AM   #3
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Quick-draw Bill,

Thanks much.

--Dwight
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Unread 11-05-2005, 03:39 AM   #4
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Dwight:

1913, Dutch contract #2850 has the old style, as expected.
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Unread 11-05-2005, 06:26 AM   #5
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Hello Gents,
Please find hereafter an interesting photo discussed at page 43 of my book: "The Luger Artillery".
As already highlighted the grip of P08 was standardized starting from August 1913 including a stock lug. The internal area of the grips towards the bottom of the recoil spring changed. From right to left: a P08 made before 1913; a transitional model with the stock lug and internal working unchanged ; the final frame configuration.
Should be interesting to add to your research also the transitional model to figure out the serial number range where this model falls.

Mauro

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Unread 11-05-2005, 07:01 PM   #6
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Dwight, 1915 DWM; 8413b straight frame
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Unread 11-06-2005, 01:50 AM   #7
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My 1906 commercial #31883 matches your 1906 Dutch.

Steve
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Unread 11-06-2005, 04:53 PM   #8
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Dwight,

1911 Erfurt # 8699 Straight.
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Unread 11-07-2005, 02:42 AM   #9
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Ron,

Verrry interesting, thanks much.

Gerben and Steve,

Thanks for the numbers. Note, that for this transition I'm looking for 1908 and 1914 Commercials and their Commercial Navy and Commercial Military variations.

Mauro,

This is an interesting twist. Can you tell me, what is the year and serial# of the center "transitional" Luger?

--Dwight
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Unread 11-08-2005, 02:21 PM   #10
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Dwight
I have these 1908/1914 DWM Comm to add.
69911, 1908 DWM Commercial Army, spur
70149, 1908 DWM Commercial Army, spur
74200, 1914 DWM Commercial RG, straight
74596, 1914 DWM Commercial RG, straight
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Unread 11-08-2005, 04:57 PM   #11
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Jan,

Excellent, thanks very much for those numbers.

So, to date, we have the spur to straight recoil spring well changeover at:

Erfurt, 1911 between # 7638--8699
DWM Military between 1914 #1839 and 1915 #8413b
DWM Commercial between 70149 and 72353.

Can anybody provide observations within those ranges to fine-tune them even more?

Continued thanks for the info.

--Dwight
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Unread 11-08-2005, 05:20 PM   #12
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Dwight
Excellent. You have one Commercial at 72353 straight cut. So DWM Commercial between 70149 and 72353.
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Unread 11-08-2005, 05:39 PM   #13
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Let's narrow the gap some more. DWM Commercial 71247 with spur (also has a grip safety).
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Unread 11-08-2005, 07:41 PM   #14
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Dwight;

all have the spur;

1911 Erfurt 2155
1911 Erfurt 7686

1912 DWM 1064


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Unread 11-08-2005, 08:46 PM   #15
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Jan,

Oops, you're right, correction made in post.

Ed,

Thanks for the additional numbers. Interesting that the Erfurt statistic is narrowed down to within 1,100 guns.

Ron,

The spur is going to be a part of any grip-safety frame, an integral part of the grip safety/spring mounting tab.

--Dwight
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Unread 11-08-2005, 08:51 PM   #16
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Hi Dwight,
* Doesn't Heinz's post above narrow the DWM Military range between 1914 #1839 and 1915 #8413b??
Respectfully,
Bob
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Unread 11-08-2005, 10:07 PM   #17
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Dwight,
I know that, that's why I added the "(also has a grip safety)". Call it illuminating the obvious. Now, it remains to be seen if a Luger with a serial number lower than mine but higher than 70149 has the straight frame or if the continued production of grip safety models, at least up through 71247, retained the spur for all.
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Unread 11-09-2005, 04:48 AM   #18
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Bob,

You are right, of course. I'll have to do a better job of updating the post.

Ron,

One of the things I hope this survey illuminates is DWM's production flow. For instance, were there separate production lines maintained for P-08 (and 1914) military production and the corresponding Commercial production? Were there simultaneous Military production lines? Were Military and Commercial weapons interspersed, either individually or in groups? Are commercially numbered and proofed Lugers originally Military production which did not meet specification? (am I reinventing the wheel here and all this is documented somewhere?)

It strikes me that this kind of a production detail can provide a useful clue.

It is interesting to note that I have recorded no 1906-frame Commercial guns after #69111, except for your #71247 and a 1906 AE #93595(!). It is true, however, that DWM serviced Dutch contracts into 1914 (1906 frames), and provided Dutch parts to Vickers in 1921. Kenyon illustrates other sporadic grip-safety production into the Mauser era. Was a separate production line, or at least separate frame tooling, maintained for these purposes? Or did DWM perhaps have a several-thousand piece stockpile of these frames on hand? (unlikely, it would seem...)

--Dwight
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Unread 11-12-2005, 12:34 PM   #19
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After several entries from another Forum, here is where the changeovers now stand:

DWM 1914 3500a spur
DWM 1915 3220c straight

Erfurt 1911 7686 spur
Erfurt 1911 8221 straight

1914 Commercial Army 70362 spur
1914 Commercial 72353 straight

It is interesting to note that all the DWM 1914 LP-08 reported, three between 669 and 1612, all have straight frames. There are more, but I am waiting to get a couple of details on them.

I appreciate the numbers from everybody, and am looking forward to more. Please examine and report Lugers around these ranges, not just within them; it is a reasonable expectation that there might be an overlap in the change.

--Dwight
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Unread 12-02-2005, 06:07 PM   #20
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Just an update from a few more samples, in the hopes that it may drag some other guns out of the woodwork. Here is where the changeovers now stand:

DWM 1914 3500a spur
DWM 1915 3220c straight

Erfurt 1911 7686 spur
Erfurt 1911 8221 straight

1914 Commercial Army 70362 spur
1914 Commercial 72353 straight

There are seven 1914 LP-08 reported between 262(ns) and 7754(ns). None of them have spur frames. WAG question I wonder if this implies that DWM set up a new production "line" for LP-08 frames, or entire guns?

As before, I appreciate the numbers from everybody, and am looking forward to more. Please examine and report Lugers around these ranges, not just within them; it is a reasonable expectation that there might be an overlap in the change.

--Dwight
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