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Unread 02-28-2006, 09:35 PM   #1
Mike B
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Default 1900 American Eagle w/Swiss proof

Once in a great while an event comes along where all thing come together better than any planning could have provided for. Such was the case this past weekend in Louisville at the SOS weekend and the Gun Show. I would like to take this opportunity personally thank Ken of FGS Enterprises, Don Rousseau and Bob Hogan, Luger collectors and advisors, Ron Wood , Tom Beasley and Tom Aiena of the Luger Forum, and several other people whose names I cannot recall. While walking the aisles of the Gun Show, I came across a 1900 American Eagle Luger. Well, having Ron Wood at my side as an advisor was like having Colonel Sanders with you when are shopping for fried chicken. My first reaction to the Swiss Cross on an American Eagle was put it down and run away. But Ron said “no problem”. So here it is for all to see. An American Eagle with a Swiss proof. Not many around like it. It also has an abundance of the fabled “flaming bomb” which I have been told is not a flaming bomb, but an inspectors mark. There is even one on the bottom of the wood base magazine. Any comments or input will be appreciated. Again, many thanks to the wonderful friends I was privileged to spend time with.

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Unread 03-01-2006, 03:22 AM   #2
Dwight Gruber
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Mike emailed me after he got back with this 1900AE, and we discussed the Swiss cross. He asked me to post my comments to him on the forum.

"The Swiss cross stamp shows up on model 1900 barrels sporadically, in ranges including 315-513 (Commercial and Swiss Commercial), 2021-2199 (American Eagle), and 8935-8977 (American Eagle). Data within those ranges (and at their extremes) is sporadic, so they may or may not be continuous; may have other models within the ranges; and may extend beyond those numbers.

"The reason for the markings on non-Swiss military guns is unknown, but I have what I believe to be a reasonable WAG.

"The original 2,000-gun Swiss military order, which fixed the design of the model 1900 production Parabellum, was made in May, 1900. Production began shortly thereafter--I haven't been able to determine a firm date for the official beginning of Luger production. The first of the guns was delivered to Switzerland in early 1901; the contract was completed in early 1903, so it took two years for DWM to manufacture these 2,000 pistols.

"Swiss military Parabellums have a cross-over-letter in a small square cartouche on the left receiver. This is the mark of the Swiss official (usually a Col. Vogelsgang) present at DWM to accept the completed pistol. These guns also have small Swiss crosses on various parts, in much the same places as the German army would later require inspectors to stamp their acceptance marks (see Erfurt P-08 for examples). I have enquired after these marks; consensus is that these crosses were probably Swiss-inspection parts acceptance stamps applied during manufacture.

"I consider it likely that accepted parts were available for assembly into Swiss pistols during the entire 2-year period of the first Swiss military pistol contract. Model 1900 Commercial, Swiss Commercial, and American Eagle pistols were being made at the same time, likely in the same assembly areas (these pistols were not manufactured on assembly lines as we have come to understand the term). I think it likely that barrels were "borrowed" out of the Swiss-accepted barrel supply to complete assembly of three different batches of model 1900 commercial-series pistols."

After I saw pictures of his pistol I was moved to take 1900AE #2104 out of the safe, and look closely at the Swiss cross on its barrel. On both guns the barrel cross looks like it may have halo, and other characteristics of having been stamped through the blue. This is cause for some serious misapprehension about my conclusion, and I repeat it here with much less confidence than when I emailed Mike.

The topic of the Swiss cross on these model 1900 barrels is one in which I have been interested for some time, and I will appreciate knowledgable comments.

All this, by the way, is not to take anything away from the presentation of Mike's 1900AE, which I think is a pretty cool Luger. I agree with Ron about the nature of the takedown lever, it is a very clever repair in the service of keeping one of these pistols in operating condition.

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