The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The North Corral > Curios and Relics

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old February 5, 2014, 06:29 PM   #26
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,951
Just some bits of info.

The word "Parabellum" is from the Latin phrase "Si vis pacem para bellum", meaning "If you want peace, be prepared for war." It was used by Deutsche Waffen-und Munitions Fabriken (German Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers) as a cable address, in the early 1900's. In those days, a cable address was used to eliminate the need to transmit a long address. Just "Parabellum Berlin" - no need for a street address, the cable company knew it, or the company itself had a telegraph office. It was, in a sense, the late 19th and early 20th century equivalent of a URL.

DWM had made the Borchardt and was the original maker of the Luger, so they gave their new pistol the name which, by that time, had become the company motto. Whether Georg Luger played any role in the selection of the name "Parabellum", I don't know; probably it came from the marketing department. Later, they called their machinegun by that name also.

P.08 or Pistole 1908 is the German army designation, from the date of adoption, like "Model 1911" is for the U.S. pistol. The German Navy called it the P.06 because they had adopted it two years earlier.

In spite of widespread interest, and some adoption, outside Germany, the design proved ultimately to be a dead end. Efforts were made after WWII to revive it as a commercial proposition but, in spite of much ado and many people claiming that they would buy a new Luger, Mauser and Interarms took a bath on the new production gun. A good lesson for those thinking of entering the gun business not to believe the "sure I will buy one" crowd unless they are willing to come up with firm, cash orders.

The name Luger is commonly used in the U.S. both because it was trademarked by Stoeger but also because the ammunition was so designated by SAAMI, so the "official" name in this country is "Luger."

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old February 5, 2014, 07:38 PM   #27
kilimanjaro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 23, 2009
Posts: 1,999
I've heard it would cost $3,000 in machining and tooling work to make and assemble a Luger today, so that's certainly one reason it's not going to make a comeback.

I recall back in the 1960's a writer said the Mauser C96 couldn't be made for less than $2,000. In today's dollars that's about 8 grand or more.

Lugers and Broomhandles are a bargain, given what they cost today.
kilimanjaro is offline  
Old February 5, 2014, 08:55 PM   #28
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,951
Of course those figures are based on "if they made them the same way as they did back then." Today, with good casting and MIM parts, they would be cheaper. But then, they wouldn't be Lugers or Mausers or whatever, they would be cheap copies that no one would buy. IMHO, the folks who want to "bring back" the Mauser C96, or the Luger, or the Colt Paterson, or the M1903 Colt hammerless are not likely to get their wish unless they can get a whole bunch of folks with cash in their hot little hands to sign on.

The hard fact is that the demand isn't there and the designs are complex enough that no company it its right collective mind would bet the factory that people will buy a century old design just on a nostalgia kick. Especially when plenty of originals are still around at reasonable prices.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old February 6, 2014, 11:39 AM   #29
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 5,229
Quote:
I recall back in the 1960's a writer said the Mauser C96 couldn't be made for less than $2,000. In today's dollars that's about 8 grand or more.
Naw. The Chinese could make 'em and sell 'em at Walmart for $499.99.

Last edited by gyvel; February 6, 2014 at 11:57 PM.
gyvel is offline  
Old February 6, 2014, 03:56 PM   #30
RickB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2000
Location: Western WA
Posts: 5,846
A guy with a CNC mill and proper dimensions could make a C96 for the price of the materials. Today, the problem is coming up with "drawings" for a given gun.
While Vltor has been diddling around with reengineering the Bren Ten for five years, a guy wrote the necessary programs and has made Bren Ten frames and slides in his basement. A buddy of mine who works in aerospace has toyed with making a 1911 on his lunch hour, as the CAD work has already been done and is available on the internet.
RickB is online now  
Old February 9, 2014, 03:47 AM   #31
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,951
Nothing personal, but I never cease to be amused by folks saying that "with modern machines" gun X could be made for $2.00 and sell for $200.00" or something like that.

OK, so why is no one doing that? A manufacturer's license is not that expensive, and if that kind of money can be made that easily, why are gun companies still making guns basically the old fashioned way?

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old February 21, 2014, 02:27 PM   #32
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 5,229
Quote:
I believe the original toggle top pistol is properly called a Borchardt.
Hugo Borchardt worked in the U.S. for some time (1860-1881 & 1890-1892) before returning to Europe. He "borrowed" the toggle lock system from Hiram Maxim who used the system in the design of his machine gun ca. 1885.
gyvel is offline  
Old February 21, 2014, 02:37 PM   #33
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,951
Borchardt didn't need to wait for Maxim. Take a look at a Henry or a Winchester 73 (Borchardt worked for Winchester) or a Savage Navy revolver. All use toggle links to lock the action in firing.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old February 21, 2014, 02:55 PM   #34
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 5,229
That's true, Jim. I was thinking more along the lines of self-actuating guns.
gyvel is offline  
Old February 21, 2014, 06:26 PM   #35
RickB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2000
Location: Western WA
Posts: 5,846
Quote:
Nothing personal, but I never cease to be amused by folks saying that "with modern machines" gun X could be made for $2.00 and sell for $200.00" or something like that.

OK, so why is no one doing that? A manufacturer's license is not that expensive, and if that kind of money can be made that easily, why are gun companies still making guns basically the old fashioned way?
Doing something in your spare time, or with your spare millions, is a lot different than operating a business at a profit. The buddy I referred to works for an aerospace manufacturer with a shop full of machines, computers, etc. that cost millions of dollars, but they make "$600 toilet seats" rather than guns. Probably a much better return on their investment.
Colt is still using some machinery from WWI and WWII, it's probably been paid-off, so continuing to use that equipment is "free". Buying new CNC equipment to replace it is expensive. That's probably why they still do a lot of their manufacturing very much like they were doing it decades ago.

1920 Commercial "shooter".



Spent case is visible in this one:


Last edited by RickB; February 21, 2014 at 06:49 PM.
RickB is online now  
Old February 21, 2014, 09:59 PM   #36
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,951
But surely if "a guy with a CNC mill and proper dimensions could make a C96 for the price of the materials." and someone in aerospace could "make a 1911 on his lunch hour", a business should be highly profitable. While I doubt that there is a huge market for C96 clones, surely one made for under $10 should sell at enough to make the project enormously successful.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old February 21, 2014, 11:38 PM   #37
RickB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2000
Location: Western WA
Posts: 5,846
You're being obtuse. It's like the guy who says, "I don't run a business, but . . .", and then goes on to prove why he doesn't run a business.
RickB is online now  
Old February 22, 2014, 08:35 PM   #38
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,951
No, I am being practical. If turning out guns were as simple as you say it is, a lot more companies would be doing so, and we would have top quality repros of those old timers available at bargain prices. The fact is that many people SAY they would buy a newly made C96, or Colt pocket model, or Luger, or whatever, but if copies were offered to them they would object that the guns are "not original" and not wanted.

Here is my challenge. Find capital and set up a business. Make a good copy of the C96 for under $500 retail, and I promise to buy one. If you choose to copy the Colt Model M or the Luger, same deal. But no vaporwear or statements that someone somewhere somehow can make such and such for ten bucks (the cost of materials); make it, and I'll buy it. If it costs $10, you make $490 profit.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old February 23, 2014, 12:40 AM   #39
RickB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2000
Location: Western WA
Posts: 5,846
See post 37.
RickB is online now  
Old February 23, 2014, 02:31 PM   #40
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 11,821
James, I think you ought to price 4 point carbon steel these days, you aren't gonna make any gun out of $10 worth of steel today.

Other than that, I agree.

And I did buy a Luger year before last. NIB, made of stainless steel. 9mm, faithful execution of the P.08. And as I later learned, just enough off "spec" that other Luger magazines won't work.

And no, it wasn't $500, more like twice that...

So it isn't that there's NO market, just that isn't much of one....
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old February 23, 2014, 03:12 PM   #41
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,951
Interarms and Mauser lost some big bucks a while back when Mauser, with Interarms backing, obtained the Swiss tooling and resumed Luger production. Every market survey indicated an enthusiastic response to the idea and there was near universal agreement that such a gun would have an immense sale.

They did sell (I have one of each version) but in nowhere near the numbers the surveys had predicted. Typical comments were "not historical", "an original isn't much more costly", "I want one with swastikas on it", etc. In other words, it was one of those things everyone wants until it comes time to actually shell out the shekels.

On the $10, I was having some fun; even the steel would cost more today, but the original "price of the material" idea will work only if the maker works for free and doesn't count any other costs, like the price of his CNC machine. Not a great business model.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old February 23, 2014, 07:40 PM   #42
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 11,821
I always figured that the reason the Mauser Lugers didn't sell as well as they expected was because they built the wrong Luger.

Swiss pattern Lugers just don't "look right", the "handle" is wrong....

and that's those who aren't looking for the historical piece. As Max Smart used to say, "missed it by that much..." (holds up fingers just slightly apart)

The hobbyist can make anything they want, their time and tools are paid for by something else. A business has to be paid for by the product, and ALSO show a profit.

Big Difference.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old February 23, 2014, 08:42 PM   #43
Quentin2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 18, 2009
Location: NorthWest USA
Posts: 1,640
Quote:
I always figured that the reason the Mauser Lugers didn't sell as well as they expected was because they built the wrong Luger.

Swiss pattern Lugers just don't "look right", the "handle" is wrong....

and that's those who aren't looking for the historical piece. As Max Smart used to say, "missed it by that much..." (holds up fingers just slightly apart)

The hobbyist can make anything they want, their time and tools are paid for by something else. A business has to be paid for by the product, and ALSO show a profit.

Big Difference.
I agree. In the mid 1970s I was very interested in the Interarms Mauser but just didn't like how they looked or felt. Also they sold for the same price as a pretty nice original P08. So I got an original and never looked back.

In regard to the Mitchell's Mausers stainless steel Luger - they were beautiful but I've also heard there have been problems. I didn't know they wouldn't work with standard magazines, that was a huge error on their part! I wonder if stock mags can be tweaked a bit to fit?
Quentin2 is offline  
Old February 23, 2014, 10:53 PM   #44
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,951
Mauser built both types, which is what I meant when I said I had both versions. The first was a copy of the Swiss pistol and didn't sell well. After receiving comments like those of 44 AMP and Quentin2, and with surveys saying that a German-type Luger would surely sell much better, Mauser changed tooling and produced a gun that was a copy of the WWII P.08. IIRC they didn't even sell as well, though I don't have the production figures in front of me.

My point is still that folks who claim they would buy this or that gun if it were only made, won't put "their money where their mouth is" when the gun is put in front of them.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old February 23, 2014, 11:08 PM   #45
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 11,375
I recently looked hard at an Interarms Parabellum.
It was a 6" 1906 pattern with grip safety. Top condition, manageable price.
The grips were nearly flat with edges beveled to the frame and it took a lot of squeeze to depress the grip safety.
It looked good but it didn't FEEL right.
Pass.
Jim Watson is online now  
Old February 24, 2014, 02:19 PM   #46
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 11,821
My stainless steel Luger isn't a Mitchel's Mauser.

its a Stoeger American Eagle Luger. Made in Huston, Texas!

The mag catch is just a tiny bit "off" to work with an original mag.

Otherwise, its a jewel!

ok, semi-precious stone...

but I can plink and play with a Luger, without risking my 1936 Wa Pruf S/42!
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old March 12, 2014, 10:16 AM   #47
hammered54
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2010
Location: Pinckney,Michigan
Posts: 107
very interesting read and full of great information.
to hold one and shoot one is in itself a very cool experience ....a piece of history indeed,
I don't usually post to much about what I own but in this case I just can't help myself.
I own a 1914 Erfurt # matching with both mags matching, although the firing pin is a replacement (still have org.) so as to shoot it from time to time.
this was a "bring back" from the second WW.

Matt.
hammered54 is offline  
Old March 16, 2014, 09:13 PM   #48
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,951
There is an article on the Luger (first of a series) in Shotgun News this week. Unfortunately, the author, when discussing how the gun actually works, blows a lot of smoke and stuff about "the Calculus", really proving that he has no idea how the Luger works. (P.S., it has nothing to do with Calculus.)

He says the U.S. testers were responsible for the change from 7.65 to 9mm; AFAIK, it was the German Army that wanted that change, not the U.S.

He also says that heat coloring (as in "straw" coloring) is also called case hardening. Not true; it might be part of a hardening of a given part, but case hardening is a different process; in fact heat coloring can remove case hardening.

Otherwise, the article is not too bad, though there is no new information.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old March 16, 2014, 09:26 PM   #49
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 11,375
The first user of 9mm P that I know of was the German Navy, 1904.
The army did not pick it up until the well known P08.
Not unusual, the navies of the world used to be the high tech service... until the air forces came along.

The US Army checked it out in 1903, though, for comparison with the 1900 .30s.

The heat color chart in Brownells shows straw as characteristic of tempering at 435 - 465 deg F.
Jim Watson is online now  
Old March 16, 2014, 11:53 PM   #50
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 11,821
Quote:
He says the U.S. testers were responsible for the change from 7.65 to 9mm; ..
Considering how much has been written, and for how long about the Luger and the history of the 9mm Parabellum, I find it rather mind boggling that someone would write something so different from the widely known history, without providing a (valid) source.

Everything I've ever seen agrees it was the German army who refused to adopt the Luger in .30 caliber.

Without some hard reference to the contrary, one wonders if the writer did even basic research.

IF so, apparently, not enough...
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP 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 12:46 PM.


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 0.12666 seconds with 7 queries