The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Semi-automatic Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old November 28, 2012, 08:42 PM   #1
jasmith85
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 6, 2012
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 323
Refinish a WWII era Walther PP?

I recently obtained a WWII era Walther PP. I actually traded the EAA Witness 10mm I made a thread about earlier for it. I am now trying to decide if I want to refinish it. I know that refinishing hurts the collector value of an older gun but I believe it has already been refinished once plus I have no plans of selling it to worry about the collector value. The reason I think it has been refinished is the trigger, hammer, and mag release are all stainless while the gun is a polished black and still in what I consider very good shape to be 70 years old. I have searched all over the internet and have yet to find a single mention of WWII era PP's being two tone like this. I do know that it is WWII era because the serial number dates it to either 1943 or 1944. Would you folks go on and get it refinished or is there a chance I'm wrong about it being refinished once already and just can't find anything on the internet about guns coming like this?
jasmith85 is offline  
Old November 28, 2012, 10:13 PM   #2
RJay
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 2, 2005
Location: Arizona
Posts: 1,647
They never came from the factory that way. In this case it really makes no difference if you refinish it or not. It might even have been a valuable S.A. gun worth a bunch of penneys but now it sounds as if it's only a shooter. Just to be on the safe side you might have someone knowledgeable to look it over, but I think it is a lost cause
__________________
Ron James
RJay is offline  
Old November 28, 2012, 11:02 PM   #3
carguychris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 5,476
Please post some pictures. The "two-tone" finish seems highly suspicious, but it's always hard to comment on the originality of a pistol's finish without pictures.
Quote:
I do know that it is WWII era because the serial number dates it to either 1943 or 1944.
FWIW all WWII and earlier PP's have slide legends reading "Zella-Mehlis (Thur)" rather than "Ulm/Do" ("Thur" refers to the German state of Thuringia, whereas "Do" refers to the Alb-Donau district of Baden-W├╝rttemberg). The original factory wound up on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain when Germany was partitioned after the war, so the company had to relocate.

WWII-era PP's should either display military Waffenamt "WaA" stamps or commercial eagle-over-"N" proofs around the trigger guard, but these markings are subtle and may have been obscured by a heavy-handed amateur refinishing job.

BTW is the pistol .32ACP (7.65), .380ACP (9mm Kurz, may be marked "9M/M" or simply "9"), or .22LR?
__________________
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak
carguychris is offline  
Old November 28, 2012, 11:50 PM   #4
jasmith85
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 6, 2012
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 323
Here are the couple of pictures I have taken of it. I posted these on another board trying to get some information on it but never did get any replies. My camera isn't the greatest so they aren't the highest quality.

Its hard to make out in the pictures but it does have the "Zella-Mehlis (Thur)" on the slide and the serial number is 301XXXP. I've found one source that says that serial number dates it in 1943 and another saying 1944. It does not have the "WaA" proofmark but it does have the eagle over the N under the ejection port and on the barrel. The two eagles over N's are the only proofmarks I have found on it. Correct me if I'm wrong but from what I have gathered the lack of the "WaA" proofmark means it was a commercial model.

The parts I called stainless may actually be chrome plated or nickel. To be quite honest I have no idea. I haven't owned a gun in any of the three so I wouldn't recognize it. I am also not certain if the rest of the gun has been refinished or not. If it has it was years ago because, although still very shiny, it has developed quite a bit of wear.

I have found a lot of information about this gun online but there is one other thing about the gun that has me confused. As I said earlier, the serial number is 301XXXP. It is listed on both the slide and the frame. Everything matches but on the slide the third digit, the 1, has been stamped over a zero. Its all lined up perfectly so I assume it was done at the factory but it just looks very odd.

EDIT: It is 32 ACP.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SDC11026.JPG (235.6 KB, 108 views)
File Type: jpg SDC11031.JPG (233.9 KB, 86 views)
jasmith85 is offline  
Old November 29, 2012, 03:12 PM   #5
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,316
Those are horrible pictures, but I can see enough to tell that the gun has been refinished in a modern tank blue. There is no collector value.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old November 29, 2012, 03:56 PM   #6
jasmith85
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 6, 2012
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 323
Quote:
Those are horrible pictures, but I can see enough to tell that the gun has been refinished in a modern tank blue. There is no collector value.
Yeah I haven't been able to figure out a way to take a better picture. If I use the flash or have a light pointed at the gun it glares really bad like in the pictures and if I don't its too dark to make out anything more than the shape of the gun. I believe its just the cheap camera I'm using.

I don't know a lot about gun finishes so what exactly is tank blue? It just seems odd to me to have blue in the name of a color that is a very dark shiny black.
jasmith85 is offline  
Old November 30, 2012, 11:46 AM   #7
carguychris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 5,476
Quote:
Yeah I haven't been able to figure out a way to take a better picture. If I use the flash or have a light pointed at the gun it glares really bad like in the pictures...
You can take surprisingly nice pictures with a basic digital camera by using a fairly bright (but not really bright!) indoor location, mounting the camera on a tripod or at least some sort of improvised solid rest, manually turning the flash OFF, and shooting the picture using the timer feature. You don't need to use the 10sec timer like you would for a self-posed portrait; this is what the 2-3sec timer setting is for.

Unless the camera is really cheap, turning the flash off in indoor light will cause the camera to self-adjust and lengthen its exposure time. It's essential to use a tripod or rest because most people physically can't hold a camera still enough to prevent blurring during the long exposure.
Quote:
I don't know a lot about gun finishes so what exactly is tank blue? It just seems odd to me to have blue in the name of a color that is a very dark shiny black.
Bluing or "blue" refers to a chemical process, NOT a color. A variety of processes and chemicals have been used by different manufacturers over the years, some of which have been closely guarded trade secrets. The different methods yield different appearances to the finish, which is one of the main ways that a seasoned collector can spot a refinished gun; if a gun has been reblued using the wrong process, the color and texture will appear incorrect for the gun, even if the gunsmith who did the work did a "perfect" job.

This is one of the pitfalls of buying collectible guns. For instance, a novice may look a collectible gun with great finish and say "Wow, what a great collector's piece!", whereas Joe Expert looks at the same gun and gets immediate mental "REFINISH" warning bells because he knows that, during the time period the gun was produced, Gunmaker XYZ used a bluing process that yielded a soft gray hue rather than a deep plum hue.

Read the following thread and start paying close attention around post #10:

http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=82823
__________________
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak
carguychris is offline  
Old November 30, 2012, 01:59 PM   #8
jasmith85
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 6, 2012
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 323
Thanks for the information. I had just always assumed it involved the color because the guns I had seen described as blued always had a blueish tint to them.
jasmith85 is offline  
Old December 3, 2012, 02:05 PM   #9
Walt Sherrill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 1999
Location: Winston-Salem, NC USA
Posts: 4,365
carguychris is correct the the term "bluing" refers to a process, but it also refers to the resulting color -- which, as noted, varies based on the chemicals used and the underlying steel to which they are applied.

Bluing is a controlled "rusting" process and the resulting induced rust forms a hard shell that resists further corrosion with modest care.

Guns can also be "browned," which is an older process used before bluing became popular. Most of the flintlock and muskets you'll see have been browned, including modern-day recreations, if they are built in the traditional manner. It is a similar process of changing the surface of the metal to resist further corrosion. Very old "blued" guns often take on a "brown" look as they age.

Many military weapons are "parkerized," which is a manganese phosphate finish. It looks like a poorly-done blued or browned metal finish, and is not at all glossy. That resulting finish is more porous and will retain some oil to help fight rust. Not as pretty, but arguably more care-free.
Walt Sherrill is offline  
Old December 3, 2012, 03:49 PM   #10
Rainbow Demon
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 27, 2012
Posts: 397
I can't tell much from the photos but from the wear pattern looks more like a baking laquer applied over Nickel or Chrome plating.


The father of a close friend once owned an SS or Gestapo officers ceremonial pistol belt with holstered PP or PPK pistol and sheathed ceremonial short sword designed to resemble the Mauser bayonet.
After the belt and pistol were stolen by a burglar he brought the short sword (dagger?) to me to sell for him.
The piece was apparently legit ,with trademark of the company that made most of these, nickeled or chromed blade with stag horn grips and inlaid Wermacht eagle. The heavy pommel was in the shape of an eagles head.
The company was Alexander Coppel and trademark was scales of justice, which is ironic for NAZI regalia.

So apparently some ceremonial NAZI sidearms were plated.

Last edited by Rainbow Demon; December 3, 2012 at 03:58 PM.
Rainbow Demon is offline  
Old December 4, 2012, 10:55 AM   #11
mete
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 14, 2004
Location: NY State
Posts: 5,333
I've seen some beautiful pistols of that type , engraved and silver or gold plated presentation pieces.When you get to be a general that's what you get !
__________________
And Watson , bring your revolver !
mete is offline  
Old December 4, 2012, 11:55 AM   #12
carguychris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 5,476
Special nickel-plated Nazi presentation PP's exist but are exceptionally rare.

As a general rule, Nazi presentation pistols are like 1970 Chevelle SS 454's- roughly 99% of the examples in the USA today are fake, so a potential buyer should proceed with extreme caution and seek accredited expert advice before paying any sort of a premium for one. (Muscle-car collectors have a joke that there are roughly 10x as many Chevelle SS 454's on the road today than the number that originally rolled off GM assembly lines, the ensuing 40 years of rust and wrecks notwithstanding. )

IMHO it's far more likely that the OP's pistol is a refinished garden-variety Nazi-era commercial-proofed PP rather than some sort of rare presentation piece, even a redone one. Many returning GI's dressed up these pistols in an effort to create a more impressive war trophy.
__________________
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak

Last edited by carguychris; December 4, 2012 at 11:59 AM. Reason: note added...
carguychris is offline  
Old December 4, 2012, 07:21 PM   #13
Walt Sherrill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 1999
Location: Winston-Salem, NC USA
Posts: 4,365
Quote:
Many returning GI's dressed up these pistols in an effort to create a more impressive war trophy.
The few WWII vets I've known (includng my father) who owned or brought back trophies kept them to themselves, and generally didn't show them off or talk all that much about them.

A few vets who had WWII bring-backs plated, simply did it because they didn't consider the weapons in question "collectibles"; they just wanted a nickel-plated gun. (I recently saw a P-38 like that; the seller was looking for a premium price, but there were no takers.)

Guys from the WWII generation weren't much into bragging. Many of the combat vets I've known won't do that... (I'm a Vietnam era vet who never saw combat; a couple of my close friends saw a lot of combat, and they'll only talk about their combat experiences with other combat vets whom they know UNDERSTAND.)
Walt Sherrill is offline  
Old December 4, 2012, 08:07 PM   #14
Winchester_73
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2008
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Posts: 2,859
Well I see the slide is serial numbered, so. It also IMO could be a police issued gun, with either Eagle/C, Eagle/F, Eagle/K or Eagle/L marking. That marking would probably be on the right. Often when the slide is serial numbered, the gun was issued somewhere to someone.

In those cases above, it would IMO be worth a premium over say a nazi commercial "shooter". Also, refinishing it is not worth doing UNLESS you can definitely make it look better than what it is IE a more original look to the finish. If you refinish it a second time improperly, it will be a waste of time, money and efforts.

Quote:
It is listed on both the slide and the frame. Everything matches but on the slide the third digit, the 1, has been stamped over a zero.
That could be. If so, it was probably done shortly after production. Maybe a factory error? At the end of war, many PPs were factory mismatched because they did not have the time to pay attention to such details. The SN you gave is 1944 production based on a chart on the PP & PPK forum.

Quote:
You can take surprisingly nice pictures with a basic digital camera by using a fairly bright (but not really bright!) indoor location, mounting the camera on a tripod or at least some sort of improvised solid rest, manually turning the flash OFF, and shooting the picture using the timer feature. You don't need to use the 10sec timer like you would for a self-posed portrait; this is what the 2-3sec timer setting is for.

Unless the camera is really cheap, turning the flash off in indoor light will cause the camera to self-adjust and lengthen its exposure time. It's essential to use a tripod or rest because most people physically can't hold a camera still enough to prevent blurring during the long exposure.
I prefer taking them outside on a neutral background. I also try to photograph guns at a slight angle to eliminate glare. The other trick is to wipe the gun down with oil to eliminate any smears or fingerprints. I also leave my macro setting on for the most part. Make sure you get the "green" go lines before you shoot the pic, because "red" means the camera expects a pic in that moment to be crappy.

Here is an example of my Walther and my way of photography:
Walther PP, 1941, E/WaA359 accepted. Its a high polish gun, which only approx the first 15k were. After those, these PPs such as yours had a dull military blue which was more efficient for production. It also has a SN matching mag which is thought to represent Luftwaffe contract.

__________________
Winchester 73, the TFL user that won the west
Winchester_73 is offline  
Old December 4, 2012, 10:05 PM   #15
jasmith85
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 6, 2012
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 323
Thanks for all of the information everyone. A friend of mine looked at it recently and did say it may have been some type of nickel or chrome plating. I believe that his reasoning was that it looks like the inside of the slide was copper plated. I know very little about the finish on guns so I don't know if that would actually matter or not though. For now I don't think I'll refinish it just in case. It has a little wear but nonetheless looks good to me the way it is. The main reason I like it is because of the history anyway.
jasmith85 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:15 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10046 seconds with 8 queries