Sunday, March 29, 2009

Luger P08

I have a Luger P08 that I purchased a couple of years ago from someone who did not want it. He had received it from a long-time neighbor, who was moving and did not want to take it with him. My friend had accepted the firearm and had kept it in a plastic bag for several years. When I got it, it was rusted. In fact, at first I thought it was a non-functioning replica that had been left outside to rust. He convinced me that it was a real, functioning firearm. Well, maybe not so much “functioning,” but definitely a real piece of history.

I took it home and removed the wood grips. I soaked the mess in CLP for a looooong time and downloaded a Luger manual I found on the internet. I studied the diagrams to see how to turn this lump of metal into a working example of German engineering.

The first order of business was to ensure that the gun was unloaded. Since the grips had already been removed, I could see that the magazine was empty. For those not familiar with a Luger magazine, there is an opening on one side (to accommodate the sliding loading knob), through which I could see the spring and follower. I could tell that the magazine was empty. In addition, the extractor also functions as a loaded chamber indicator, protruding from the top when it rides over the rim of the cartridge. In this case, the extractor was flush with the top of the gun, so it appeared to indicate an empty chamber. Of course, not wanting to assume anything, I removed the magazine and disassembled the gun to get to the chamber and verify that it was empty.

Once I had the parts on the table, I inspected each piece for any visible cracks or other major defects. The gun has a 1939 date stamp on the receiver. I looked for the serial number and found that all the parts had matching serial numbers. Even the grips had the impression of the serial number on the inside. As I looked the gun over, I saw that this creature had lived a rough life, at least recently. Some of the bluing was gone, and several areas were rusted. There was pitting and rust throughout the gun, all on the surface of the bluing. It appeared to me that the gun had not been reblued. The bore was in OK shape, not horrible, but definitely not winning any awards. I put the puzzle back together again (no parts left over!) and checked the mechanical action to make sure everything was in its place.

I grabbed several boxes of 9mm WWB and went to the range. The sights on the pistol are, well …, tiny, but that didn’t seem to matter at all. The gun turned out to be incredibly accurate, and did all within its capabilities to make me look good. Of course, being designed in the ball ammo era, it did not do well with hollow point ammunition, so I stuck to FMJ ammo.

For a long time after that, the gun had been a regular companion at the range. During the last trip, the ejector broke, so it has resided in the safe since then.

I love the gun, but I have a problem. I don’t want the rust to get worse. I currently keep the gun wiped down with a protectant in hopes that it does not get worse. I have considered taking the gun to someone to have the rust removed, but I’m afraid it may cost me more than the gun is worth. Also, by doing any such work to the gun, I may diminish whatever value it has left anyway.


Decisions, decisions.


Ride Fast said...

None the less, you should de-rust it. The lost value may not be regained, but that rust is getting worse.

Nice blog, BTW.

Lawyer said...

Thanks! Are you able to recommend anything that can remove rust without removing the bluing?