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Unread 09-24-2020, 08:48 PM   #1
Joe in Colorado
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Default why so many toggles swapped in VOPOs?

Hello forum members and best wishes.

We recently had a post with a VOPO G-date Luger with BYF toggle.

I have a like new VOPO, photos attached, it should have a Mauser banner toggle but DWM instead.

I've seen other VOPOs with swapped toggles.

My questions please-do members agree that a fair amount of VOPOs have swapped toggles and if so, is there a good reason such as financial incentive to do more rework or if the toggle was easily messed up and needed swapping?

Regarding mine-it has a Simson side plate so it has parts from several German eras. By the way, the fit and finish seem excellent to me.

I'll also add a period VOPO Luger photo and a photo of an East German subway ghost station-I got to ride through this station during a visit in 1977. It was creepy-the tile decoration right out of WW2, subdued lighting, the train slowed, and VOPOs with slung AKs like in the photo.

Best Wishes, Joe
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Unread 09-24-2020, 09:48 PM   #2
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I believe the reason is that the pistols were disassembled into parts, and later re-assembled after cleaning and refinishing.
Some that did not need extensive repair or were complete obviously escaped the "process".
JMHO.
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Unread 09-27-2020, 12:22 PM   #3
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Default reasons!

As far as I can tell, there were two main reasons to swap out a complete toggle train. The first is obvious, a broken, cracked or severely worn major part? Ok, we can see that, but the second reason is not so glaringly apparent, and that is head space? It is far easier to just swap out assemblies and check, then it is to ream the chamber ever so slightly to make it, (headspace) correct? Also, the barrel chamber is initially cut to a very precise depth and seems to be consistent throughout manufacture? (my experience is any Luger factory barrel will install on any factory receiver, and the head space will be very, very close! If not perfect!) It doesn't take much pin wear to make a toggle assembly that allows too much head space, that is followed soon by pierced primers and means, your Luger only has a few more rounds to live???... ... best to all, til....lat'r....GT
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Unread 09-27-2020, 04:37 PM   #4
tomaustin
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the only people who put a premium on matching numbers are the "collectors" on this and other sites...........the soldier in the field couldn't give a damn about checking the pedigree of his weapon...and we have too many on here who are searching for a matching part number so they can present their piece as an "all matching" and "all original".....bad business boys...don't do it...
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Unread 09-27-2020, 08:52 PM   #5
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I have a 1921 DWM that was kept all together during refurbishment.

Perhaps non-serviceable guns were batch parted, and that results in so many mixed parts guns.

The ones that were complete and in good condition just got a refinish and evaluation?
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Unread 09-28-2020, 01:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrerick View Post
I have a 1921 DWM that was kept all together during refurbishment.

Perhaps non-serviceable guns were batch parted, and that results in so many mixed parts guns.

The ones that were complete and in good condition just got a refinish and evaluation?
I tend to think as you do. My 1917 Erfurt VoPo has a replacement side plate, sear bar and grips. All other parts are original and matching including the barrel with an excellent bore.
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Unread 09-28-2020, 08:08 AM   #7
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I think happened more or less what happend to the M1911s and M1911A1s during refurbishing, so that they were disassembled into parts then reassembled without caring, and later reassembled with no thought to where the parts came from and whether they matched.
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Unread 09-28-2020, 12:06 PM   #8
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Mismatched parts is not confined to the P08. When the new double action 38 Colt revolvers performed poorly in the Philippines the army refurbished some 45 caliber single actions. They threw the parts in bins, shortened the barrels, refinished the pistols and reassembled the pistols with no regard to serial numbers. Needless to say, these pistols are not worth much to collectors.
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Unread 09-28-2020, 09:56 PM   #9
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Uh, RIA auctioned one (Artillery model SAA) for $8625.00 just last December.
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Unread 09-28-2020, 10:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichSr View Post
Uh, RIA auctioned one (Artillery model SAA) for $8625.00 just last December.
You mean mismatched ?
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Unread 09-28-2020, 11:14 PM   #11
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The SAA known as the Artillery model was a standard issue 7 1/2 inch barrel shortened to 5 1/2 inches, and refinished with no regard for matching numbers. Though not as valuable as an all original matching military issue SAA, they are a recognized variation and highly collectible. IIRC
all such arsenal reworks were mismatched
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Unread 10-16-2020, 05:00 PM   #12
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I have a Russian capture BYF, (no X, but Russian black grips rather than VOPO bullseyes), which made it through dipped but all matching.
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Unread 11-15-2020, 10:40 AM   #13
Joe in Colorado
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Thank you for all of your replies. I have an M-1 carbine that also emerged from rework with a wide variety of parts. I don't mind, its interesting. I'm sure there was some reason my pistol came out as it did. There's a bit of Imperial, Weimar, Nazi and East German in it (I don't see any West German connection). The fit and finish seem really nice to me. Cheers, Joe.
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Unread 11-16-2020, 03:44 PM   #14
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The M1 carbine was another special case. When they were made, there was little thought to matching parts. The Carbine Committee would have excess production shipped to other arsenals for use in assembly. they were so serious about maximizing production, they even told Winchester to not bother making barrels, Inland could supply them with all they needed. Winchester being Winchester, they still made barrels, but grudgingly used Inland barrels to meet production quotas.

Several wars later, and with multiple rebuilds, if a carbine is "all matching Winchester", it is likely because a collector scoured gun shows until he had all the parts needed, and assembled it himself.
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Unread 11-16-2020, 04:11 PM   #15
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There is a CIA report from the era which notes the large amount of work, very limited tooling and short throughput times at the Brandenburg facility, basically a stripped down shell of a factory, where the initial reworks / overhauls were done.

So I suspect the reason was mostly that: lack of tools, shortage of time and resources.
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Unread 11-16-2020, 11:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sweeney View Post
The M1 carbine was another special case. When they were made, there was little thought to matching parts. The Carbine Committee would have excess production shipped to other arsenals for use in assembly. they were so serious about maximizing production, they even told Winchester to not bother making barrels, Inland could supply them with all they needed. Winchester being Winchester, they still made barrels, but grudgingly used Inland barrels to meet production quotas.

Several wars later, and with multiple rebuilds, if a carbine is "all matching Winchester", it is likely because a collector scoured gun shows until he had all the parts needed, and assembled it himself.
I'm not sure where you got your "information", but it is not accurate with regard to Winchester and barrels.
Winchester made all barrels for its own production of over 800k carbines; and barrels from Winchester would have been made available to others via the "Barrel Free Issue" mechanism.

Winchester did acquire some receivers from other subcontractors.
These are marked on the bevel to show their origin.

Original Winchester carbines would be and are often found as made by Winchester- "matching Winchesters" are not any more likely to "assembled" by a collector than any other carbine.

Winchester received no documented barrels from Inland.
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Unread 11-17-2020, 05:34 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlim View Post
There is a CIA report from the era which notes the large amount of work, very limited tooling and short throughput times at the Brandenburg facility, basically a stripped down shell of a factory, where the initial reworks / overhauls were done.

So I suspect the reason was mostly that: lack of tools, shortage of time and resources.
Could that first document have be written by the British?

In the paragraph below b. Pistols and Machine-Pistols , I notice it refers to 'Machine Carbines' and lists Schmeisser, as well as American and unknown. The reason I suspect it may have been British is that submachine guns were referred to as Machine Carbines by the British armed forces during WW2. Indeed the British Small arms training pamphlet No. 21 from 1942 and 1944 refers to the ‘Thompson Machine Carbine’, for example.

I have never heard any Americans refer to Submachine guns as Machine Carbines, but I may be wrong?
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Unread 11-17-2020, 10:04 AM   #18
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I think one would also have to add into the equation, that rubble found weapons were re -purposed and battle damaged firearms.

I recall seeing a old east german wall poster with Walther Ulbricht in the foreground telling citizen how and where to turn in found weapons.
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Unread 11-18-2020, 10:29 AM   #19
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All this is speculation since beyond what Gerben provided above, I don't know of a detailed description of the refurbishment process. But... put yourself in their position right after the war.

As weapons were captured and recovered, they were brought to collection points and all went into a pile, often sorted by type of firearm. All the Lugers together, all the P.38 pistols together, all the K98 Rifles together etc... Sometimes in large wooden boxes. Pictures of this are available.

Once they were transported to a refurbishment depot, they would likely be taken from the box, given a brief inspection and then sorted for processing. At that point, damaged weapons would likely be field disassembled and the parts put into sorted bins. Luger toggle trains together, Luger canons together, Luger frames together, damaged subassemblies to disassembly bins. Once those were stripped to individual parts, those were sorted.

It's logical that complete serviceable weapons would be kept completely together, especially if they were captured new in their shipping boxes.

We know that guns like Lugers had to be hand fit.

With limited tools, space, labor and skills it makes sense that rather than hand fit used parts together, the refurbish gunsmiths would try swapping a number of different donor parts to see which ones fit best, made the action most reliable and the trigger acceptable and safe. That would logically be done by swapping available parts and subassemblies until you got "a good fit" instead of modifying donor parts to make matching ones fit.

Once you had a proper fit (regardless of the source of the parts) you sent it on for dip refinishing, new grips as needed (since the bakelite and wood grips would probably be damaged in handling) and proof testing.
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Unread 11-18-2020, 09:15 PM   #20
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Thanks for all of your replies-which, as usual-are so helpful.

I started the post with an assumption that lots of Luger toggles were swapped in VOPOs but that is not true, many are nearly or completely matching including the original toggles.

Someone got the impression I was trying to re-match the toggle in my example, my apologies, the gun is fine as is. (The gun had been a 1939 Mauser Banner Police, in rework a DWM toggle went in, the sear safety was removed-a reverse rework-police to VOPO whatever instead of military to police. Also a Simson side plate.)

I understand the US collector problem with mixed and updated parts. My carbine is a real mongrel-IBM barrel and receiver-some of nearly everything else including a Rockola handguard. My brother has made efforts to undo rework on his Garands-of course this ends up a bit phony.

Best Wishes, Joe
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