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Unread 06-20-2018, 05:32 PM   #1
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Default DWM Model 1902 Luger Carbine

DWM Model 1902 Luger Carbine s/n 50100

I was born in the mid-1950s and grew up in a time when the Luger had tremendous mystique. In those days you could order a "surplus" Luger from the back of a magazine for something like $25. Every kid wanted one.

Then came 1968 and the laws that put an end to mail order guns. Still the Luger was a dream gun. I was in my mid-teens with my only source of money the few dollars I could earn in summers mowing grass. I couldn't buy one for myself.

For reasons I don't understand, the interest for guns took hold of my brain. I wanted to be a pistolero! My first handgun came to me at Christmas of 1966. It was a Ruger Standard .22 semi-automatic. The profile of that pistol is copied directly from the Luger. I loved that gun and shot it often; but man, I wanted a Luger.

A few years later, I think 1968, I got my first Luger - a 9mm P.08 marked "byf" on the toggle (Mauser code) and "41" over the chamber. It was a very common WW2 Luger in good condition and all matching except for its magazine and right grip panel. I was already into loading 9mm ammo using a Lyman 310 tool, as my first center fire pistol had been a bring-back P.38 a year or two before. Shooting this Luger was great fun.

Over the years I acquired a few Lugers, but their rapidly escalating prices made it hard along the way. I've posted a few on this forum in past years. Always on my bucket list was a 1902 Luger carbine.

Now I'm in my mid-60s. Many of life's experiences and challenges are in my rear view mirror. Just recently I ticked off another bucket list item: I corralled my Luger carbine. Yes, Kaiser Wilhelm II had one, Teddy Roosevelt had one, and now I have one!


Woah! That's a whopping big statement. There are a lot of Luger collectors who will shake their heads from side to side.

The short argument, based on facts, goes like this:

* In 1904 DWM capped off its production of Old Model Lugers with a run of about 1600 carbines numbered from about 23400 to 25000, which was intended to be the end of Old Model production.

* This inventory of carbines slowly sold off; but as it dwindled, DWM still had on hand a trove of Old Model parts (even though the Old Model hadn't been produced since 1904.

* DWM had made one or more prototypes, and also some presentation carbines in the New Model pattern, but they didn't feel that a full production run was in their economic interest. To do a production run of New Model carbines would require further engineering and significant setup.

* To meet a residual demand for carbines, DWM assigned a block of serial numbers, 50001-50100, to a short production run of 100 carbines that would utilize the last remnants of Old Model parts still in inventory. This run required no engineering, as these carbines are identical to the older production carbines. It would use parts that otherwise would be scrapped. They made the run.

* This carbine is #50100.

In the great reference work, The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols, (Vol. II, at page 602) the authors discuss the end of Old Model production, summing it up like this:
. . . from ca. sn. 22470, are a long block of nearly a thousand 9/100 mm short frame pistols, mostly with the US Great Seal impressed over the chamber, from a known low of 22471 to ca. sn. 23400, above which, with few exceptions, are a block of ca. 1600 carbines, from sn. 23400 - 25000, which is the end of the Old Model serial range. About 100 standard Old Model carbines occupying the 50000 - 50100 block in the commercial serial number range were assembled from surplus components, probably in late 1911 / early 1912, since they bear crown/BUG proofing applied before the change to crown/N commercial proof in 1912.
Let me present a photo array. I'm not proud of this photography and it was done in hasty fashion. I was not using my normal photography setup. Believe it or not, all these photos were taken with my phone. In fact, I took them in my bedroom with only indirect natural light. The pistol and its parts were spread out on the bed.

I have tried to document this interesting pistol in hope of generating discussion. I'm a bit hesitant, because so many on this forum are experts and I am not.

It's a gorgeous example showing very little use. It has all original finishes and a perfect, like new, bore. All parts match.

The Swiss gave the Parabellum its start with the first order in the year 1900. It's poetically appropriate to see that this, quite possibly the last Old Model carbine, bears the Geneva cross in sunburst and evidently was intended for sale in Switzerland. With the piece is what appears to be a Swiss military cleaning kit or accessory (the brass bottle). I have seen these paired with surplus Sig P210 pistols. This accessory is embossed with the Swiss cross, both on its body and on its cap.

The sling appears to be original, and on inspection it certainly seems to be of proper age.

I had the old unopened box of Peters ammo. I know it's not carbine ammo, but the empty compartment called out for a box of ammo, and it had to be old.

The pistol is in a very old case that markedly resembles the cases discussed in Gortz & Sturgess. To my eye the case is contemporary to the pistol, though it may have been re-lined.

This is a link to a full resolution photo. You can click on it and get a whopper: CLICK FOR FULL RESOLUTION PHOTO.

Finally, let me close by saying I know the arguments to refute the claim that this is the last Old Model Parabellum. Nobody can ever know for sure.

Thanks for your patience.


Last edited by CptCurl; 06-07-2019 at 09:44 PM. Reason: Inserted a full resolution photo.
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