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Old March 18, 2013, 06:06 AM   #1
Fox84
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Walther P38

I bought a P38 from Samco for $349. It is a post war piece. (I'am guessing it was made before the P1 upgrades). These are decribed in excellent condition. I've read about some issues with the aluminum frames cracking and wear. Are these pistols shooters or safe queens?
I bought a couple factory mags off ebay for $30 shipped each. Is there a cheaper source?
Thanks for any info.
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Old March 18, 2013, 09:58 AM   #2
James K
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The alloy frame P.38's and P1's had problems with frame wear, so a steel cross pin was installed in the frame. Guns with that modification done should be good for a long time. Ones without it are better used in moderation.

Jim
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Old March 18, 2013, 06:27 PM   #3
Dfariswheel
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The aluminum framed P-38/P1 was designed to use 115 to 125 grain standard velocity ammo.

Where you can get into problems is:
Shooting hotter then standard ammo.
Shooting heavier bullets.
Installing "extra-power" recoil springs. The stronger springs slam the slide shut with too much force, and the impact will crack the frame through the dismount lever hole. That can literally hammer the front of the frame off.

The German military found that on P-1's shot with hotter SMG ammo, or P-1's that were shot A LOT, the frame would wear in the locking block operating ramp in the frame. So, Walther started installing a hexagonal pin in the frame to give the locking block a steel surface to ride on.
They also beefed up the slide.

If you stick to the proper ammo and take care of it, an aluminum P-38/P1 will be good for a lot of shooting.
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Old March 18, 2013, 09:09 PM   #4
Mauser8mm
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Differences

First of all, $30 is a good deal for the magazines, they usually run at that price or more.

Now the differences between the P38 and P1 are these..

- P38 has a steel frame, the P1 has an alloy frame
- The P38 has nazi markings, the P1 has commercial markings
- The P38 was manufactured between 1938 and 1945, The P1 was manufactured from 1946 to 1981

Hope I helped, if you got the real P38 then you got an excellent deal. If you can't find the difference with the info I gave you then take it to a trusted gunsmith or historian. Good luck!
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Old March 19, 2013, 06:41 PM   #5
Dfariswheel
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Sorry, that's not correct.

The P-38 was made after WWII from 1956 to end of production in the 1990's. The post-war models had aluminum frames, with a few made with steel frames near the end of production as limited production models.

The P1 was just the P-38 as made for the West German military and some very limited commercial sales.
The P-38 was made for German police, foreign military sales, and for commercial sales all over the world.
Currently, Earl's Repair Service is the Walther repair and sales rep in the US and they still sell commercial aluminum and the limited production steel P-38 pistols.

So, Post-War there were BOTH P-38 and P1 marked Walther pistols made and sold with aluminum frames with a tiny few P-38's in steel.
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Old March 19, 2013, 10:20 PM   #6
James K
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Both the wartime and post-war P.38's were called (and marked) just that, with the period (indicating the abbreviation for "pistole"), not a dash. The post-war Bundeswehr dropped the period in weapon designations, so the P1 is written just that way, with no period or dash.

Most of the P1 pistols seen here years ago were part of a production overrun; those seen recently were sold off. Originally, the post-war P.38 was made for commercial sale. The P1, as indicated by its designation, was made for the (then-West) German army.

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Old March 22, 2013, 06:38 PM   #7
Fox84
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I have two Walther mags but no pistol yet. Samco said order still being processed.
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