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Luger- shoot/no shoot

Discussion in 'Curio & Relic Discussion' started by drs, Feb 20, 2016.

  1. drs

    drs southern oregon Member

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    My father in law passed last year. My wife and I inherited a few of his firearms including a Luger that he got from his dad who got it from the war. I stripped and cleaned it and inspected it for wear. The barrel is pitted a little, as expected, but the rest of the gun is in great condition.

    So... I shot it a couple times with some 115g target loads, worked like a champ. But I have some friends who say I shouldn't shoot it, that it is too valuable, if it breaks it will be worthless.

    To that, I say, the gun is worthless($) to me already, since we would never sell it. Also, my father in law shot it semi regular, and his dad did too. I would feel weird just leaving it in the safe. Yes, I would feel bad if I broke it, but probably not as bad if I never used it.

    Opinions?
     
  2. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Figure out which parts are more prone to breaking and replace them with after market ones.
    Shoot it and if anything happens then the original serialized parts are safe.
     
  3. drs

    drs southern oregon Member

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    Good idea on the spare parts. It already has homemade grips. I guess the extractor is the easiest piece to break. Might just look into getting a couple.
     
  4. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Numrich has P-08 parts.
     
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  5. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    I would pull the original springs out and save them. Install new springs and enjoy!

    Whole your at it you could replace the extractor, with a new one..Of course save the original!

    Its not going to hurt it to shoot it. Just no hot loads!
     
  6. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    Guns are made to be shot. Your dad did, his dad too. Participate in the tradition.
    But like Velzey said, replace the springs and possibly the extractor. Given the heirloom status of the gun, I would be less concerned about ruining value, as I doubt your likely to sell it. Enjoy, they're a blast to shoot!
     
  7. twa2471

    twa2471 Vermont Active Member

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    I have a couple , only one I ever shoot though and don't think twice about shooting it occasionally. Once every couple years or so then only 2-3 mags full, just enough to keep it limber.

    Do use at least 124 gr bullets though Lugers though, they were designed to shoot either those or 147 gr bullets, don't recall.
    One of mine's a dandy and one my Pa had for many years and it has been pretty much a safe queen for probably 50 years but was a issued gun and a WW11 unmarked bring back. He bought it from the guy that "liberated " it. It's a basic S/42 but in about 85-87% condition and the straw coloration is still nice and crisp with some very minor back and fore strap bluing wear for the most part , with a titch on end of muzzle in the usual places too of course and barley noticeable wear on the sharp edges of the frame. That's it.
    A really nice clean all matching# example with the numbered alike take down tool and original holster besides.

    My other is a 1902 DWM American Eagle one in 30 cal. It's pretty darn shot out and the bore looks like a old sewer pipe with 0 rifling remaining, pretty rough. I'd have to say she's been pretty well Loved!!
    But surprisingly enough the old girl is still pretty darn tight and almost all matching other that 1 or 2 internal parts. The bluing is at about 40%ish maybe but no real pitting other than in the barrel. I have the original holster and matching # tool for that too. The holster is extremely nice. It must have been a Calvary mans gun by the looks of the leather, it's been extremely well taken care of. To bad he seems to have lost his cleaning rod!!!:s0037:

    I've kind of been torn on that one but not quite sure what to do? I can have it sleaved for about 250 pr so.

    On the one hand it has "half way Decent value" as is, but not enough so that I hadn't considered possibly sleaving the barrel and not touching anything else on the gun and shoot it occasionally also,,I don't honestly believe that by sleaving it that should actually devalue to awfully much I wouldn't think?? Not sure quite what to do???
    The rest of the gun is nice and tight as I said, so it wouldn't be unsafe in any way to shoot it. Obviously I'd reload very light loads sense I have dies and ammo for it. Good there.

    But the kicker is,,will I shoot myself in the foot by doing so later-on,,value wise???? It's in the 3-4 range as is with really nice examples fetching between 6 or 8,,,and Luger collectors can be very fussy some times , so I don't want to screw this up!

    A real conundrum I tell ya!! What to do, What to do????
    What do you guys think on that one? Any hard core Luger collectors out there with good advice?
     
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  8. drs

    drs southern oregon Member

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    Thanks guys. Yeah, I am going to get it out at least once a year, as a kind of memorial to those two, IMO, great men. I will be getting some spare parts for sure. New springs are a good idea too. Overall the gun is in OK shape, bluing is worn, grips replaced, but no scratches and all matching numbers. Accuracy I have not determined, I am not a pistol shooter so can't blame the gun yet for missing my mark. Maybe I will try some heavier bullets.
     
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  9. tac

    tac UK, Oregon and Ontario. Well-Known Member

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    The original P08 in 9mm Parabellum was designed to shoot a 115gr truncated conical bullet, later upped to 124gr. However, the white box ammunition from the usual store - although 115gr - works well in most 9mm P08 pistols.

    Do NOT use any +P, or any bullet heavier than 124gr - slamming the toggle with zoomy loads against the rear of the frame is not healthy, especial since we don't know how old your's is.

    Wolff springs are the to-go replacements, as is a Mec-Gar magazine.

    .....and NO dry-firing unless you have some ind of a snap-cap - even a fired case. The P08 does not have a firing pin, but a striker, and replacements are not only not serial-numbered to the pistol like the original is, but need a little fettling to make them fit.

    I'm assuming that you know how to safely uncock it, having taken it down to clean, without dry-firing?

    tac
     
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  10. kilimanjaro

    kilimanjaro Skagit County Well-Known Member

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    It's already been a shooter, you are not reducing the value at all, unless you break it.

    Never dry-fire a Luger.

    Never use a hot load or a heavy bullet, they quit making these in 1942, that's a minimum 75-year old complex mechanism.

    I like the idea of swapping in some replacement parts now, keeping the originals aside. As long as you don't 'lose' them, should be alright. Bag each part separately and include a business card with the part name and pistol it fits written on it. If you have more than one Luger, put the S/N of the right one on the card, too. Then put the bags in a box. I would find a good box and label it properly, go to a coin shop and get one of their collector boxes, and keep it in the same location as the Luger. It sounds like overkill, but ten years later you will kick yourself for not being anal back in 2016.
     
  11. drs

    drs southern oregon Member

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    No hot loads for me, I have about 75 rounds of the white box 115g. That will last me a few years at least. Did not know about dry firing, although in general I consider it bad and avoid it on any firearm. Unfortunately I don't know the decocking procedure. Will look that up. I believe from my investigation that this one was made in 38, just a guess from the markings. Thanks for all the info guys.
     
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  12. tac

    tac UK, Oregon and Ontario. Well-Known Member

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    Do you want me to run through the procedure with you, or do you want to look it up?

    tac
     
  13. drs

    drs southern oregon Member

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    Hey, any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I did a quick search and found a couple suggestions. The one where you crack open the breech to unload the springs seems logical. Using a spent casing is too much work. 98% of the year it will spend in the dark, unloaded, so maybe need to decock once or twice at most. Thanks for any info, I don't have a lot of time to search and find this stuff.
     
  14. tac

    tac UK, Oregon and Ontario. Well-Known Member

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    1. Having first ensured that the pistol is unloaded -

    2. Cock the pistol - the toggles SHOULD stay back fully, locked in place.

    3. Holding the pistol firmly in the shooting hand, pointing downwards, grasp the toggles, and pull them back a tad, at the same time squeezing the trigger.

    4. With your finger still keeping up pressure on the trigger, allow the toggles to go fully forward, closing the action.

    5. Take your finger off the trigger.

    You are done and the pistol is uncocked.

    Doing it your way - cracking the action - needs only the same thing doing, providing that you have taken up the tension off the mainspring, it's just that the method I noted was taught me by my Uncle Micky, who had been a Warrant Officer in the Wehrmacht, serving with distinction throughout 99% of WW2.

    Either method works.

    tac
     
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  15. drs

    drs southern oregon Member

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    Excellent info tac. Thanks.
     
  16. wired

    wired Yakima Well-Known Member

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    Any gun you dont shoot is a worthless gun. Shoot the thing. Its a robust design that really has a bad reputation due to people using underpowered ammo. Ive got a 1915 that I shoot regularly and it is one of the most reliable guns I own IF I use 124 grain NATO spec ammo. Just bought a 1940/42 and it will get shot and often.

    The value of your father in laws Luger is immaterial. "Value" implies you intend on selling it. Its your gun forever. Use it like your gun.
     
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  17. Medic!

    Medic! What just happened? Has eagle eyes. But cant remember what he saw. Bronze Supporter

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    Lugers have the last two on almost every part. And it's only numbers matching once.
    Allso each part is hand fit. [This is the reason for the numbers].

    Break an extractor, firing pin or any number of small parts. And the price is reined.
    It's ''Worth-less'' if you break it. Not if you don't shoot it. :D

    So rather than take advise from others on how to blow your money.
    Why not buy a cheep non-matching shooter from someone who did? ;)

    41 Black widow 022.jpg 41 Black widow 008.jpg 41 Black widow 025.jpg 41 Black widow 029.jpg 41 Black widow 034.jpg 41 Black widow 023.jpg 41 Black widow 017.jpg 41 Black widow 021.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
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  18. wired

    wired Yakima Well-Known Member

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    Its a much more robust design than it gets credit for. In 30 years of shooting the things and thousands of rounds Ive never damaged anything on one. The parts are individually numbered because they are hand fitted. Start swapping parts from other guns in without the proper fitting you are asking for trouble IMHO.
     
  19. Medic!

    Medic! What just happened? Has eagle eyes. But cant remember what he saw. Bronze Supporter

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    Not Fragile. But not exactly unbreakable.

    Go look at a dozen or so Lugers. Most don't match.
    Parts break.

    Role the dice. And you can add yours to the pile? ;)
     
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  20. wired

    wired Yakima Well-Known Member

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    Most mismatched Lugers are due to unit armorers mixing things up. Remember these were military guns that were thrown into piles and many times scrambled up before they made it into the collectors world. Ever tried to find a numbers matching Garand? The Germans made 1-2 million of the things depending on who's numbers you believe and lost two major wars along the way. There was bound to be some mixing up of parts. Breakage occurs to be sure but its no worse than any other martial firearm. Most mismatched part ... The side plate and thats only because if its out of tune it was easier to swap parts around to find one that worked with the linkage. I still maintain that swapping parts in one without properly fitting is more likely to damage the gun than just using the original matching parts.
     
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