Interested in a Luger P8

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by The Count, May 31, 2010.

  1. The Count

    The Count New Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Messages:
    266
    anybody here really know about the luger P8? i have seen some at the dixie gun show here in raleigh for around 1000-1200 bucks, but when i asked how can i tell for sure that this is a real WW2 item i cant get a good answer. what should i look for and whats a reasonable amount of money for a gun in nice working condition?
  2. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,397
    Military Lugers are dated on the receiver ring, so it is not hard to know when one was made. There were only a relative few produced after the end of WWII, so odds are that any Luger you encounter will have been made between 1900 and 1942.

    "P.08" or Pistole 1908 is the German Army designation for the Luger, which was adopted in 1908. Many, but not all, are marked "08" on the left side. $1000-1200 is a good price for a gun with matching numbers in anything like decent condition, although sometimes one will find a beat up shooter for less. Obviously, the better the condition, the more the gun will cost. One in like-new condition, with holster, loading tool, and two matching magazines can run $4000 or more.

    Jim
  3. oneshot onekill

    oneshot onekill New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    DeBary, Florida
    I collected Lugers years ago. It's hard to recall many of the subtleties but IIRC on the Military Lugers there will be a serial number or at least the last two digits somewhere on every metal part. Including the firing pin. However, the magazines will never match. I was told the reason is because German soldiers had to deposit their magazines in one area before entering a Chow-Hall and never retrieved the same magazine when they left. The serial numbers should match on everything. Many Lugers have been re-blued. The trigger and safety should be a "Straw" finish. Usually when they were re-blued the trigger and safety were also re-blued. The edges should all be sharp. Lugers generally have a kind of Grayish blueing instead of dark charcoal blue. I'd expect to pay around $1200 for a decent original Luger.
  4. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,397
    I don't know what the German chow hall rules were, but I have seen a fair number of Lugers with matching magazines, and I have one near mint with the holster and both matching magazines (the spare has a + sign on it). In my limited experience, the Luger magazine is so touchy that requiring troops to separate the magazines from the pistols would be insanity.

    The reason for marking the parts was that the guns were assembled, with parts fitted as necessary, proof tested, then taken apart for final finishing and bluing. The numbers made sure the fitted parts all got back together again.

    The bluing on the old (pre c. 1936) Lugers was rust blue, and some parts were "straw", a yellow color that was the result of the heat treatment. After that date, they just dipped the parts into hot tank blue and there were no more "straw" colored parts. So whether an "all black" Luger has been reblued could depend on its date.

    Jim
  5. oneshot onekill

    oneshot onekill New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    DeBary, Florida
    Jim,
    I also had Lugers with matching magazines but they were not Military Lugers. Commercial and Police Lugers had matching mags. Also those carried by higher ranking Officers... But I thought it was commonly agreed among Luger collectors that magazines on Military Lugers almost never matched the pistol. Maybe the reason I was told is incorrect but I've owned quite a few Military Lugers that were unmessed with and the magazines did not match the pistols... And all functioned perfectly. FWIW

    Also... About the finish. As I recall I got stung on a couple of WWII Lugers that weren't "right" but you are absolutely correct about the finish. I focused on Pre-WWII Lugers because it was easier to find "good" ones and as I recall many of the WWII Lugers (especially late production) were all "Black". Sorry for the mis-information. It's been quite a few years...

    John
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2010
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,397
    In early production, ALL military Lugers came from the factory with two matching magazines. IIRC in the last production in 1942 they issued unnumbered magazines, but they NEVER came from the factory with mismatched magazines. The magazines were tested with the gun before being numbered to match it. Needless to say, in military service magazines got lost (maybe left at the chow hall) or damaged, and were then replaced with either new unnumbered magazines or magazines from unserviceable guns. And of course, magazines were swapped by American GIs and by civilian owners in the post-war period, the latter often trying to find a reliable one.

    P.S. We tend to forget that the common "hot tank" blue did not come into use until the mid-1930's; before that, bluing was either rust blue or the result of heat treatment. One way to check if bluing on a Luger is rust blue is to look inside. Rust bluing was done by swabbing on a bluing solution which did not reach the inside of the receiver or grip frame. But hot tank blue blued the inside as well and seeing it in a Luger dated prior to 1936 indicates a reblue job.

    Jim
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2010
  7. don w

    don w New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    N. Virginia
    Great information guys.


    Thanks
  8. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,397
    Hi, oneshot onekill,

    Just a note to say that what is "commonly agreed among Luger collectors" is often nonsense. I once was a member of the Luger forum and casually mentioned the reason for those "draw lines" on the receiver and barrel. I was flamed mercilessly because I contradicted the Holy Writ put forth by some self-styled "expert." I also found that many Luger collectors have no idea either how the gun was made or even how it works. Another "expert" informed me, with as close to a sneer as you can get in print, that the Luger was a blowback pistol and the idea of recoil operation was "silly."

    I stopped posting on that forum; trying to form a porcine choral group is too frustrating.

    Jim
  9. oneshot onekill

    oneshot onekill New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    DeBary, Florida
    Hey Jim,
    Yea... I hear ya. That's one of the reasons I got out of the whole "Luger" community. But I had heard the story about the magazines from so many sources that I thought it had to be true. And this was 20-something years ago. Before the internet. I had a similar, more recent experience with Japanese Swords... Don't even get me started on those people!

    It seems the old saying is true... "Tell the lie long enough and loud enough and people will believe it"

    Sorry I threw my $0.02 around like that. especially on something that I got away from nearly two decades ago! I'm usually, not always, more careful.

    Cheers,
    John
  10. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,397
    The odd thing about that story is that it is so illogical. If they weren't going to number magazines to the gun, then why number them at all? They certainly were not controlled inventory items in themselves, like bayonets. The U.S. never numbered Model 1911/A1 magazines, but then those guns weren't as finicky as the Lugers. The first P.38's also had magazines numbered to the gun, but that soon ceased due to costs and the fact that the P.38 magazines were a lot more reliable and less failure prone than the Luger magazines. (Now a P.38 with holster and two matching mags is something I would like to have!)

    Jim
  11. oneshot onekill

    oneshot onekill New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    DeBary, Florida
    I have a good friend named Norman Bone who I haven't seen in a few years who has a P38 with a holster that he found in a desk at Gestapo Headquarters in Berlin. He also has a huge Nazi Flag he got the same day. Norman has quite a WWII history and I'd consider him one of the Un-sung Heroes of that War.
    There's a relatively famous picture from when the Allies took Berlin that shows a large Lion Statue toppled over in front of a German Govt office. Norman told me that lion was toppled the night before that picture was taken because as his Company advanced into Berlin they saw something in the distance that they couldn't identify so they decided to blast it with a shot from a Tank first and ask questions later. They thought (in the middle of the night) that it could be a German Tank mounting a "Last Stand". He said they all got a little chuckle when they found out what it was.
  12. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,397
    Interesting story. I assume your friend was with the Soviet army, as the US forces never got anywhere near Berlin until long after the war was over when they took over their zone of the divided city.

    Jim
  13. oneshot onekill

    oneshot onekill New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    DeBary, Florida
    Maybe that's why I haven't been able to find the picture anywhere. It may not have been Berlin. He told me the story many years ago when he showed me the pistol and flag. The picture was in a book he had about the war. It's a picture of the front of a German Government building that had 2 giant Lions on either side of the steps and the picture shows the one on one side blown off its feet and laying there. I'll do more research to try to find the picture and let you know where I screwed up. Anyway, that building or another in the same city was where he liberated the pistol.
  14. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,397
    The first building that comes to mind is the New York Public Library, but I think its lions still have all their feet. ;)

    Jim
  15. oneshot onekill

    oneshot onekill New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    DeBary, Florida
    Well, I know I look like an idiot because I got something mixed up. I wish I could ask Norm the details but sadly we lost contact when he moved back North. He may not even be with us anymore. But the pistol is real... The flag is real... And I believe him about the Lion Statue. Now I'm on a quest to find that picture. It may have been in one of those big books on WWII. I think Time-Life may have put them out in the 70's or 80's. Anyway, I'll find it and straighten this out.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
Curio & Relics Forum luger question Sep 6, 2014
Curio & Relics Forum looking to get feet wet with a luger Nov 9, 2012
Curio & Relics Forum Assistance on DWM 1917 Luger Oddity Jan 24, 2012
Curio & Relics Forum bolo mauser-swiss luger Jun 28, 2010
Curio & Relics Forum nazi luger Jun 27, 2010

Share This Page