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Old February 18, 2011, 11:30 PM   #1
Celo456
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The iconic WWII Luger pistol

I was having a drink tonight and the topic of German luger handguns came up. The gentleman I spoke with that while the production was set in 9mm, the first prototypes with offered to the US army and that the first 2 produced where chambered in .45acp. I've never heard this and can't find the answer on google. Does anyone kno if this is true?
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Old February 19, 2011, 12:07 AM   #2
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I remember seeing a show on the History Channel a while back called Guns of the World or something like that. Anyway, they had an episode about Lugers and I kind of remember them saying something about a version shipped to the U.S. for possible military use.

Take a look at this link and there's a little blurb about it in the section titled U.S. Lugers...towads the bottom.

http://hubpages.com/hub/German-Luger...vorite-sidearm
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Old February 19, 2011, 12:11 AM   #3
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DWM submitted a couple of their Luger's chambered in .45 ACP for the U.S. military pistol trials in 1906. These certainly were prototypes, but they were not the first prototypes of the Luger. The Luger was patented in 1898 and production started in 1900. The first guns were chambered in .30 Luger, and later chambered for 9mm at the request of the German military.
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Old February 19, 2011, 12:41 AM   #4
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I didn't read the article but my recollection is that one of the two was destroyed in the testing and the other is in a collection, valued at close to a million bucks.
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Old February 19, 2011, 12:50 AM   #5
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I would look it up in my Luger books but the books themselves have gotten to expensive to pull out of the safe.
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Old February 19, 2011, 12:57 AM   #6
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Celo456

I think your friend was talking about these one's .

http://www.gunsandammo.com/content/w...ondollar-luger
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Old February 19, 2011, 01:21 AM   #7
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7.65mm Luger pistols were submitted to the U.S. Army for field test trials ca. 1900. If I recall correctly, about 1000 (corrected from 200) were procured. The small calibre was found to be inadequate.

In 1906/1907, Luger pistols in .45 cal were submitted for the new test trials. I have read varying reports as to the number, but it usually varies from 2 to 6.

I have also read that .45 pistol #1, long thought to have been destroyed in the tests, allegedly surfaced at Aberdeen Proving Grounds not too long ago. #2 was in the collection of the late Sid Aberman, and #3 allegedly turned up in Louisiana, but that has never been confirmed to my satisfaction. There have also been reports of magazines, numbered 4, 5 and 6 that have surfaced, but, again, those reports are not verified or conclusive.

Last edited by gyvel; February 21, 2011 at 07:13 AM.
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Old February 19, 2011, 09:33 AM   #8
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I found this, and it probably covers it all in a neat little package. It was written by a legend to boot...

http://luger.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=2040

Quote:
7.65mm Luger pistols were submitted to the U.S. Army for field test trials ca. 1900. If I recall correctly, about 200 were procured. The small calibre was found to be inadequate.
I never knew about that. Thats pretty interesting. As an aside, historically, I always thought it was interesting how the 9mm luger was born. When Luger himself submitted his pistol, most governments/people said that the stopping power was inadequate of the 7.65 aka 30 cal luger. All he did to make one of the most famous cartridges of all time was remove the shoulder from the 30 cal case thereby making it a straight wall case and the 9mm luger was born. This is the reason that 30 cal and 9mm luger mags are usually interchangeable, since the case diameters are the same, aside from of course the more narrow throat of the 30 cal luger.
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Old February 19, 2011, 09:52 AM   #9
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More iconic.....

to WWI than WWII IMHO....although a fair amount did make it to WWII, the P38 was more common and the Luger was more of a status symbol for certain German officers.

J
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Old February 19, 2011, 02:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
What is even more amazing is that the U.S. Army did indeed adopt the Luger but the order was lost by an incompetent clerk at Abercrombie and Finch, the import firm that was supposed to handle the deal. This order was placed long after the first U.S. Luger test trials. The Army then lost interest in pursuing the purchase of more Luger's when they never received their order.

There was an article about this several years ago in one of the gun magazines. I cannot remember which one but the article really floored me.
Since you cite an article, I'd like your or someone here to find it since its common knowledge that the Colt beat out all other designs: the Grant Hammond, The Savage 1907, the Remington 53, and perhaps a few others I forget or am unaware of. Since the Colt won, why would the US government adopt the luger? The colt is a much better design in nearly all ways.
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Old February 19, 2011, 06:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
What is even more amazing is that the U.S. Army did indeed adopt the Luger but the order was lost by an incompetent clerk at Abercrombie and Finch, the import firm that was supposed to handle the deal. This order was placed long after the first U.S. Luger test trials. The Army then lost interest in pursuing the purchase of more Luger's when they never received their order.
So, the US Army placed wanted the Luger but, it never showed up so, they lost interest? All because of an incompetent clerk at the importer?
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Old February 19, 2011, 07:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
More iconic to WWI than WWII IMHO....although a fair amount did make it to WWII, the P38 was more common and the Luger was more of a status symbol for certain German officers.

J
The Luger was produced up until 1942 if I'm not mistaken. Production ended because the P.38 was cheaper and easier to manufacture. However not only was the Luger a status symbol among German officers, it was THE souvenir to have among American GI's. Many P.38's were "liberated" as well, but the guys who got their hands on a Luger were the envy of their division. The mystique of the P.08 Luger remained up until the 1980's, when suddenly it seemed nobody but collectors cared about them anymore. They certainly aren't as sought after today as they were immediately following WW2.
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Old February 19, 2011, 08:09 PM   #13
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I have a Luger (9mm) my dad brought back from WWII. A friend has one of the 7.65mm Lugers that were made for the US army. It has the American Eagle on is in pristine condition.
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Old February 20, 2011, 12:39 AM   #14
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Lugers in .30 Luger were sold commercially in the US. Those are the ones marked with the American Eagle. It is the 1900 model, and should have dished toggle knobs, frame marked "made in Germany" or "Germany", grip safety, and the American Eagle on the chamber. Number made is between 6,000-8,000. They are considered "scarce".

According to the Standard Catalog of Lugers, the 1900 model pistols were bought for the Army test trials, and after losing to a "Colt made Browning design" the 1,000 pistols were sold as surplus. The difference between the Army trial pistols and the commercial ones is the Army trial pistols do not have frames marked "Germany" or "made in Germany". There were only 1,000 of these, and are classed as "very rare".

2006 values for excellent condition American Eagle Luger is listed as $4,500.
2006 value for excellent condition Army Trial American Eagle Luger is $7,500.
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Old February 20, 2011, 12:44 AM   #15
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All of the pistols submitted for testing in '05 IIRC were .45 caliber. That is what the army wanted and that was all they looked at including those submitted by Luger. The Colt won the contract because it was superior to the other designs. The luger didn't make the cut. IIRC the Savage came in ahead of the Luger but I could be wrong, I was wrong once before.
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Old February 20, 2011, 03:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Quote:
What is even more amazing is that the U.S. Army did indeed adopt the Luger but the order was lost by an incompetent clerk at Abercrombie and Finch, the import firm that was supposed to handle the deal. This order was placed long after the first U.S. Luger test trials. The Army then lost interest in pursuing the purchase of more Luger's when they never received their order.
So, the US Army placed wanted the Luger but, it never showed up so, they lost interest? All because of an incompetent clerk at the importer?
Five words for you: Put down the crack pipe.
The original statement is not exactly correct, but it is also not crack-pipe wrong.

1901 - 1,000 7.65 Lugers were bought for Field Trials.
1904 - 50 9mm Lugers were bought for Test Trials.
1907 - 2 .45 ACP Lugers were bought for Test Trials.
Colt, Savage and Luger pistols passed the 1907 Test Trials.
All three manufacturers were asked to provide 200 pistols for final extended testing.
DWM management did not think the US would pick a foreign gun, so they declined to provide additional test guns to the US Army.
DWM was selected by Germany to supply the P.08 and might not have had the ability to fill two nations' contracts.

(above from Guns and Ammo article)
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Old February 20, 2011, 06:02 PM   #17
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Don't forget the guy who made 45 Lugers by cutting them in half and then rewelding them to take the 45 round. Only a few were made. I have a description in a book upstairs but I ain't!

Guns and Ammo had an article about them years ago.

Ah - google - > http://www.krausewerk.com/45luger.html
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Old February 21, 2011, 07:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
The difference between the Army trial pistols and the commercial ones is the Army trial pistols do not have frames marked "Germany" or "made in Germany".
And that's what I thought as well, but there is one on Gunbroker right now that is correctly marked, is serial number "8678," with a frame marked "GERMANY," and which also has U.S. Ordnance Bombs all over it. Has a hefty price tag, too.

Faked???

Auction # 216382971
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Old February 21, 2011, 01:26 PM   #19
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Standard Catalog of Luger (Aaron Davis-2006) p.42
Quote:
"Contrary to popular myth, a "flaming bomb" proof in not an indication of one of the 1000 military procured pistols. It is instead a misread German inspectors mark."
The world of Lugers is so interestingly full of marking variations, even experts find guns that dispute "standard" classifications, from time to time.

And, there is another, although unlikely explanation. I have a weird friend, tinkerer of guns, and many other things. He got his hands on a "flaming bomb" stamp, and proceeded to "ordnance mark" several guns, including an Iver Johnson 12ga of mine he was refinishing for me. He thought he "improved" the gun for me! I was not amused.

They could be actual ordnance stamps, they could have been put on by someone faking the gun, or they could be a misread "German inspectors mark". Who can say?
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Old February 23, 2011, 03:55 AM   #20
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Here're a couple of pics of the "ordnance bomb" proofs:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg pix334303610.jpg (35.6 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg pix906413615.jpg (44.9 KB, 18 views)

Last edited by gyvel; February 25, 2011 at 02:36 PM.
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Old February 23, 2011, 12:38 PM   #21
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Quote:
Since you cite an article, I'd like your or someone here to find it since its common knowledge that the Colt beat out all other designs: the Grant Hammond, The Savage 1907, the Remington 53, and perhaps a few others I forget or am unaware of. Since the Colt won, why would the US government adopt the luger? The colt is a much better design in nearly all ways.
Quote:
The original statement is not exactly correct, but it is also not crack-pipe wrong.
Well, while I love the 1911 as much as anyone else, it is not exactly the same pistol that survived the 1906 trials. And it was not the only one, so it did not "beat out" the others. Several pistols passed the test (Colt, Savage, and DWM), and the Army asked for specific changes to the designs. DWM declined to change their design and/or resubmit for tests. Only Colt and Savage resubmitted a pistol for testing, and the rest of the 1911 story is history.

The 45 ACP Lugers in the article are commercial pistols, not the pistols submitted for the 1906 tests.

These are pretty good:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1911_pistol
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luger_P08_pistol
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