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Old April 5, 2009, 12:33 PM   #1
jal5
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Cleaning up an old P38

This is the 3rd old gun my dad gave me that I am trying to decide what to do with. I already have the Bayard refurbished and am waiting on firing pin for the Mauser, but this P38 is in the worst condition of the 3.

Appears to be a Walther P38 manufactured some years before WWII and brought home by my uncle, no firing pin or spring and missing another lever just below the front of the slide. Rust is pretty bad all over the frame, I haven't taken it apart yet, but I am assuming its equally bad. It looks like it was a nickel finish? But I havent seen any online that look like nickel at any rate.

What would you suggest as far as cleaning it up? I am thinking its a 9mm.

thanks,

Joe
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Old April 5, 2009, 12:40 PM   #2
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The Bayard isn't a Bergmann-Bayard by any chance?

Anyway, I don't know what was done to that pistol...some type of finish is on it...plated somehow? That's a shame.

Almost seems a candidate for electrolysis

A pre WWII piece...what's the code on the lefthand side of the slide read? and what's the number? It may be four digits and then a letter

I ask because that pistol does not scream "pre WWII" to me. Looks like regular production as I compare it to my 1944 Spreewerk-built P.38. Don't forget, for Germany WWII as a shooting war began in 1939. Although, not having the piece in my hands I could be mistaken. Why do you feel it is pre-war?

The grips seem to be late war or post war...take down lever is missing. Any stamp marks on the magazine?
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Old April 5, 2009, 01:07 PM   #3
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Oh-

should have dropped this link for you. Great and knowledge filled site, good forum too

http://www.p38forum.com/
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Old April 5, 2009, 02:06 PM   #4
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Unless you find that this gun was some sort of special piece, restoring it would not be a bad idea. How is the barrel? I'd almost assume that it is in the same condition as the outside.
Have you taken it apart to check the innards?
You can probably get replacement parts from Numrich.

The Doc is out now.
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Old April 5, 2009, 08:58 PM   #5
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Not sure if it is plating or not. On that P38 website I did see a few just like this one with the same finish. The serial no. is 75xx and that is on the left side of the frame just underneath the slide and to the right of the take down lever spot. There is some kind of symbol just after that number too but I cannot make it out.
There looks like an "O" under that same number on the front underneath the barrel on the small flat part?
On the mag its marked P38 on one side and 359 with two lines over the top of the numbers on another side. the mag is the same finish as the gun FWIW.

I haven't stripped it down yet, but I suppose the barrel is in a similar state as the frame from the little bit I can see.

Chris- Bayard 1908, I posted about it on another forum here too.

This one will be the biggest challenge. If possible I would like to restore it at least good enough to use it. I will try to use some CLP oil and wipe the whole frame down at least and see if I can make out any other markings.
Thanks for the suggestions, keep them coming!

Joe
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Old April 6, 2009, 08:10 AM   #6
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Man that pistol looks like it was in a fire. From the extent of the rust and pitting on it, you will not be able to make it look very nice even with a refinish, and if the bore is ate up like the outside, not a shooter. Maybe forget about finding an old style firing pin and see if you can find the missing lever, to make a wall hanger. Looks like a postwar plating job on it. Bet it was a war trophy that was plated and then looks like someone left it in a wet basement for 40 years. There is a point-of-no-return in deterioration, unfortunately.
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Old April 6, 2009, 08:20 AM   #7
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That's definately a nice paperweight

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Old April 6, 2009, 08:42 AM   #8
jal5
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Definitely sat in my dad's damp basement for many years, in the holster unfortunately.
Not sure about the plating finish. I need to research it a little more. I saw several exactly like this, only not rusted, on the P38 forum webpage and I will inquire there about the finish.

The pics look worse that it really is though. I may try some 0000 steel wool with a lot of oil on the mag and see what it looks like. The rust appears to be surface type, not deep pitting. The light in that room made it hard to take a decent picture. I want to strip it down and see what the inside looks like though before I invest anything in it. If nothing else, clean it up and hang it on the shelf.

Joe
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Old April 6, 2009, 04:43 PM   #9
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First, NO, repeat NO P.38's were plated with anything at the factory. So check with a plating shop and see if they will take off the old plating with reverse electolysis.

Then use a belt sander to try to remove the worst of the pitting and rust. Use strips of coarse emery cloth on the barrel and front of the grip in the "shoeshine" manner. When you get the worst of the rust off, you can cold blue it and it will be a decent looking gun for a display. As others say, I would replace the barrel retaining latch (takedown lever) with one from Gun Parts Corp. (www.gunpartscorp.com); they cost around $25. If you really want to shoot it, the old style firing pin, indicator and springs will total roughly $50.

A common wartime P.38 in decent condition will usually bring around $600, so leaving the gun to rust was not a good idea.

Jim
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Old April 7, 2009, 04:49 PM   #10
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Any progress? I hate to see the old gal in that shape
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Old April 7, 2009, 08:36 PM   #11
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It is apart now and I sprayed it down with CLP Breakfree. Now to work on some of the rust. I will post pics after I work on it for awhile.

Joe
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Old April 15, 2009, 01:36 PM   #12
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if you just want a p38 as a shooter, gander mountain has a load of post war
P1's for $250 (at least all the michigan gander mountains do) if you want to restore it for sentemental reasons thats another thing, but I'll bet you will have more than $250 in cash (and headaches) before you get finished fixing her up. but I can understand wanting to get one of your dads old guns back into shooting shape. Good luck!
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Old April 15, 2009, 03:23 PM   #13
jal5
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Not planning on spending too much on it. Just want to clean her up and maybe do a plaque mount for the desk or book shelf.

I learned that these 3 guns actually belonged to my uncle who told me over the weekend that he brought them back from WWII. The P38 has the name of another guy scratched into the inside of the grips...my uncle won it from him in a crap game! Little piece of GI history there. I will likely give all three of them to my cousins since they belonged to their dad...my grandfather's stuff was stored in the basement at my dad's for years after he died and these were mixed in so my dad thought they were grandad's guns. My uncle had no idea where they wound up he thought they were lost a long time ago I guess. The other two are definitely shooters though. Maybe I will be lucky and my cousin will give me one of them to keep.

Joe
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Old April 16, 2009, 08:11 AM   #14
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sounds like your cousin is lucky your a good guy, hope you end up with one!
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Old May 15, 2009, 09:10 AM   #15
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Thought I would update my work on this gun.

Using the CLP treatment in the ziplock bag method over the past month made it marginally better but not good by any means. I can post another pic later tonite.

I think I will try Jim's suggestions next and see if I can get someone to do the reverse electrolysis, then the sanding process. My goal is just to get it into decent enough shape for a wall mount at this point since I don't want to put too much cash into it.

Joe
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Old July 18, 2009, 08:03 AM   #16
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updated on the clean up

Lots of other projects got in the way of this one...

After restoring two of the three guns from WWII (posted on another thread) I am turning my attention to this P38. Did a little more work on the barrel and was pleasantly surprised to find that what I thought was rust inside was just a ton of dirt and crap that once cleaned out shows pretty good rifling! Used Naval Jelly on the outside of the barrel and that at least got the rust off somewhat, and there is only one spot of pitting not really deep.

Now I have to make a decision-
do I get it refinished completely and reblued and buy the parts to shoot it or not? I am thinking about getting a price locally on a reblue job once I can prepare it a little more using Jim's method of emory cloth and sanding.

Any thoughts?

Joe
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Old July 18, 2009, 04:40 PM   #17
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I would buy the parts to shoot it and not refinish it IF its numbers matching. If the numbers don't all match (internal cocking block, barrel -under the barrel facing the front, frame, receiver) you might as well have it refinished to make it a nice shooter. A lot of times they do not shoot well as far as accuracy. I just bought a numbers matching AC 43 and my finish is almost gone but I will not be refinishing the gun. If its numbers matching, keep it as original as possible. Look forward to the pics.
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Old July 18, 2009, 06:20 PM   #18
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All matching numbers on the parts. Here is a picture taken today. I have been working on the rust.

Joe
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Old July 18, 2009, 06:35 PM   #19
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So who made your P38? Its a shame your gun got to be that rough but if its a rare make it then so be it. AC is walther, BYF mauser and CYQ spreework
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Old July 18, 2009, 07:19 PM   #20
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Before hacking around on it with abrasives, I'd consider having it refinished by a pro like Ford's.
You'd be surprised at how much a good polishing professional can do with this, and they can make it look really good without rounding off sharp edges or leaving ripples in the flats.

You have a Walther (ac code) 1944 P-38 pistol. These are going up in price, and a GOOD professional refinish will prevent reducing the value as much as a poorly done "polish" job that removes all the stampings.
It isn't going to be worth as much as an original finish gun, but there's no reason to totally destroy all value.
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Old July 18, 2009, 10:40 PM   #21
jal5
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Its the Walther AC code. Not sure if its a chrome plating but it looks shinier than nickel that I have seen at least in the places that aren't real rusty.

Any idea what a good refinish job by Fords would run?

Joe
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Old July 18, 2009, 11:51 PM   #22
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http://www.fordsguns.com/index2-1.htm

about 10 seconds worth of googleing can do wonders.
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Old July 19, 2009, 07:41 PM   #23
jal5
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Thanks for the help!
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Old July 22, 2009, 08:59 AM   #24
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I just had my P.38 into a Walther specialist for a little tune-up, and it reminded me of this thread

Post pics of progress when you can!
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Old July 22, 2009, 09:16 AM   #25
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If you think its already been nickled/chromed maybe a refinish is an ok idea. I'm not sure they will be able to duplicate the finish that the gun originally wore, a dull blue. If they can, and you want to enjoy it, fix it up. Post pics of your progress.
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