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Old November 4, 2010, 01:33 PM   #1
BarryLee
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Tips on Buying a Walther PPK

Ok, I have always wanted a Walther PPK for a variety of reasons. I realize there may be better options today, but I really would like to pick one up. A family member suggested I get one in .32 caliber because that was the original design and they were more reliable than .380. I am not really looking for a collectable type gun, but just a decent functional firearm. I plan to look for one used, but may breakdown and by a new model.

So, a few questions:
Other than the obvious is there any advantage between the .32 and the .380 calibers?

I realize these guns have been made in a lot of different places over the years. Is there a particular manufacture/location I should look for or more importantly avoid?

Any other tips?
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Old November 4, 2010, 01:53 PM   #2
PSP
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First let me say that IMHO, the PPK is a fine gun and every collection should have one. They are well, handle easily and are functionally reliable and accurate.

The PPK is a little harder to come by than the PPK/S and will probably cost a bit more.

Walther produced guns will be at the highest price.

Early Interarms are also exceptionally well made, some are in fact Walther exports. These and the later Interarms may be the "best buys".

A Manurhin, French marked, is also a premium quality pistol.

S&W guns are being produced now and have the advantage of a warranty.

As to the caliber, that is a personal choice. Either .32 or .380 should be similar in shooting experience, with the .32 being a bit softer in recoil of course. Ammo cost will be similar.

There are a large number of PPKs on the market, so you should be able to find one to your liking for a reasonable price. I prefer the larger models for general range fun, but a PPK is a great size for CCW. I've found solice in a .32 police trade PP and a .380 Interarms stainless PPK/S. I would prefer a blued gun to the stainless, but the deal I found was too attractive to turn down.

Whichever you choose, it will be an enjoyable firearm.

My Walther family;

Last edited by PSP; November 5, 2010 at 03:57 PM.
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Old November 4, 2010, 02:40 PM   #3
carguychris
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Quote:
A family member suggested I get one in .32 caliber because that was the original design and they were more reliable than .380.
I've more often heard that .32ACP is less reliable because it's a semi-rimmed cartridge; this creates the potential for a double-feed, where the rim of the top cartridge catches on the rim of the cartridge below. .380ACP is a rimless round and can therefore never suffer from a double-feed. OTOH the possibility of a double-feed is minimized if you load your magazines carefully.

Most authorities agree that .380 is more potent than .32, but the question is by how much. It's certainly more effective bullet-for-bullet, but .32 offers one or more additional rounds in the gun and has less recoil, an important consideration when you may have to shoot an attacker multiple times.

There is little difference in the retail price of both cartridges at most local gun shops and big-box sporting goods stores, but .32ACP ammo is generally cheaper if you mail-order it in large quantities. I think that retailers mark it up more than .380 because it's a slower seller. FWIW many .32ACP experts claim that European ammo such as Fiocchi, S&B, or Prvi Partizan is loaded hotter than American ammo and is therefore superior.

FWIW if you're not accustomed to European automatic pistol terminology, the European name for .32ACP is 7.65mm Browning, 7.65mm, or simply 7.65, while .380ACP is known as 9x17mm, 9mm Browning, 9mm Short, 9mm Kurz (German for "short"), or 9mm Corto (same in Spanish). Walther PP variants have been produced by various different manufacturers who have used all sorts of permutations of these terms.
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Old November 4, 2010, 02:54 PM   #4
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Barry, you didn't mention whether this might eventually be a carry pistol. If so, I recommend the .380. The Interarms is priced right and will serve you well on the range or on person.

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Old November 4, 2010, 03:17 PM   #5
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I have several blue PPK pistols in .32 which I prefer over the .380s. All are pre 1968. A commercial German made around 64-66 with the brown grips and several WWII in various conditons including a near mint collector, an excellent condition common variety shooter and a couple of well worn beater/shooters that have been refinished and regripped. For daily carry, there are better choices than the PPK. To satisfy that hankering for the mystique of the double naught spy gun, the above choices will be more satisfying than the post 1968/stainless/S&W/PPK/S guns etc........ You can still find good to very good beaters for shooting in the 300-600 range. Very nice to minty specimens to shoot or ogle in the 600-1K range.

Caution: Many gun and pawn shops have a tendency to double or near triple the price on some of these old WWII era beaters in hopes of catching the undereducated impulsive sucker with full pockets coming through the door. I have found the best bargains on forum sales and online auctions.
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Old November 5, 2010, 01:25 AM   #6
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I love my Interarms I wouldn't walk across the street for a free S&W clunker.

Go to a Walthers board and see what the members have and what one is the most trouble

http://www.waltherforums.com/vb/
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Old November 5, 2010, 05:01 AM   #7
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The .32 is more reliable.
The .380 was an afterthought in the Walther PP series. In real experience I found jamming and problems with .380s occasionally common.
Besides all that the action in the .380 is much much stiffer making it much more difficult to clear when a round gets hung up in the action.
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Old November 5, 2010, 05:56 AM   #8
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I've got an Interarms one in 380 and it is totally reliable

I carry it when absolute concealed carry is needed or as a back up in an ankle holster... more often than not when I'm traveling away from home... never can tell when you might return to your hotel room and find a surprise......




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Old November 5, 2010, 02:48 PM   #9
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I have both the S&W and Interarms types, The major difference between the two is the lack of warranty on the Interarms. My S&W shoots flawlessly and reliably. For the purist it does have lots of MIM, while the Interarms ones have cast parts. I'd trust the S&W for the surprise gunfight, probably while wishing I'd carried my DW 10 MM that day! The .380 is not enough persuasion.
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Old November 5, 2010, 03:44 PM   #10
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TIP? Buy German...

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Old November 9, 2010, 10:31 PM   #11
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For years I had a PPK 7.65 with an aluminum frame. It was a mangy dog with no bluing or anodizing left, but could it shoot! I was slimmer then and usually carried it crossdraw on the left in an IWB holster. Like so many of the guns passed under my roof, I wish I had it back. Now I make do with a Beretta Puma in the same calibre. Slightly bigger in all dimensions, but still a champ.
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Old November 10, 2010, 12:19 AM   #12
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Not Walther bashing here, but I would wholeheartedly suggest that you fire one before you buy. For some reason, the PP/PPk/PPk/S family of pistols all have a rather sharp, harsh, unpleasant recoil in comparison to some other makes of "pocket" autos. (I would also include the Hungarian knockoffs in that category, too, and, to a lesser extent, the Makarovs.)

If you find a Walther PP copy that was made in Turkey, stay away from it.
(The Kirikkale.)
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Old November 10, 2010, 02:52 AM   #13
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European .32 ACP

Quote:
FWIW many .32ACP experts claim that European ammo such as Fiocchi, S&B, or Prvi Partizan is loaded hotter than American ammo and is therefore superior.
From my PPK .32 I have fired Aguila, Remington, Winchester, Prvi Partizan, S&B, Blazer, and Fiocchi. Concerning the European ammo, Prvi Partizan is rated 905 fps, the same as American loads. S&B is rated 1043 fps, and I think it is a bit hotter. The box of Fiocchi I shot was noticeably weaker than anything else I have put through the gun. Some of the rounds didn't have enough oomph to cycle it properly.

P.S. Widener's has Prvi Partizan .32acp for $11.50/50, or $11 each for a dozen.
P.P.S. Of the above loads, Aguila is the smokiest and belches the most flame, and Fiocchi is the cleanest.
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Old November 10, 2010, 07:37 AM   #14
prm
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Walther PP Series

Over the last 30+ years I have owned 5 of the PP series pistols.

1 German PPK/S in .380
1 Manurhin PP in .380

Both of these guns were great shooters. I would have an occasional FTE with both. Not enough to be a serious issue ~ maybe 1 in 100 or so rounds. I had to sell both of these guns to pay bills (I was a lot younger and out of work). Always regretted having to let the Manurhin go.

2 Manurhin PPs in .32
1 Interarms PPK/S SS in .32

The .32s have been some of the best and most reliable guns I have ever owned. I still own one of the Manurhin PPs that has a round count in the thousands with no malfunctions. I got the Interarms PPK/S SS a few months back and have fired a little over 500 rounds through it. The Interarms is now my daily carry gun ~ even put some elephant ivory grip panels on it.

Just my personal experience, but the .32s in PP series pistols seem to function better. I would be comfortable with either as far as reliability. The .32 has a significantly lighter recoil which makes for faster follow up shots and is more comfortable to shoot. I also like the 8+1 (9 shot capability).
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg Walther 2.jpg (48.3 KB, 35 views)

Last edited by prm; November 10, 2010 at 11:50 AM.
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Old November 10, 2010, 10:03 AM   #15
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I have a S&W ppk/s that I adore in. 380acp. It did require a trip back to the mothership to be 100%, but at least I was able to send it back. I have other guns for carry or range fun, but it works for either purpose just as well. There is about a $3 difference in a box of fifty with the .32 ammo being more expensive than .380 and availability is getting good again. Either way I think you will enjoy it.
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Old November 10, 2010, 10:30 AM   #16
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Nice gun

I've had a US made Interarms PPK for about 10 years. It has been a reliable, accurate gun that is thinner and easier to conceal than anything else I have. I think .380 is a little light for defense, however, and just use it for an occasional range gun.



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Old November 10, 2010, 11:49 AM   #17
prm
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At Wideners ~ guess it pays to shop around

PPU32F Prvi Partizan Ammunition 32 ACP 71 Grain FMJ $11.50 /50 or $132.00/600

PPU380FMJ Prvi Partizan 380 ACP 94 Grain FMJ $14.95/50 round box
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Old November 10, 2010, 03:14 PM   #18
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Consider a makarov? a little more zip than a 380
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Old November 10, 2010, 05:07 PM   #19
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My wife carries a PPK/S .380. She thought it looked nice so she bought it. I was initially against it, but I'm a convert now. It is a nice shooter. Accurate, reliable, and it looks good. They are well designed, i wouldn't think that the .380 is any less reliable than a .32. They can be a bit picky with ammo. Ours doesn't really like the cheap RWS stuff very much.
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Old November 10, 2010, 07:33 PM   #20
BarryLee
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Quote:
Consider a makarov? a little more zip than a 380
Well, as a matter of fact I would love one. However, I may have to put off any purchases until after the holidays. Also, things are complicated by the fact that I just ordered a Spyderco Military folding knife (one of my other vices) so it kind of reduces my discretionary spending account somewhat.
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