A Salvaged Luger
©2003 Paul M. Alvarez
Back in the mid 70s a friend of mine gave me a rather interesting relic, a garden variety, S/42 marked Luger with matching numbers, that had seen better days. It had been demilitarized by having the bolt welded to the frame making it inoperable. Additionally, some of the parts were missing or broken and the grips were missing. I presume that the welding was done to comply with some "gun control" law somewhere, and to allow either its export from the country or its import into this country. In my opinion, the attempted destruction of such a piece of history is criminal and must not go unchallenged.
I was determined to put this pistol back into service somehow. The first challenge was to take it apart. I removed what parts I could and then set about freeing the block. I found a long steel punch and, as the barrel was practically a smooth bore, ran it down the bore until it came in contact with the breech-block. I supported the back end of the barrel extension with a block of wood and proceeded to pound on the punch.
With a snap the weld finally broke. I finished dismantling the piece and examined what I had. The barrel was a goner even before I began the surgery. The breech-block, which received the brunt of the impact from the punch, was history but the links were in good condition as was the barrel extension, trigger and side plate, and the welds in the frame were in a non-critical area. Not too bad, all things considered.
Back before they became Gun Parts Corp., Numrich Arms was supplying parts for thousands of different models of guns as well as manufacturing the Thompson Sub-machinegun for police and military use. At the time, they were selling newly made Luger barrels, imported from Europe, in several lengths from 4 to 10 inches and in both .30 and 9mm. I have always found the Lugers to be a natural pointer but a bit too muzzle light, so I opted for the 6 inch 9mm version. This would give it better balance while maintaining its portability and functionality and give it a similar configuration to the rare Naval Model Luger. Additionally, the extra 2 inches of barrel would provide better performance. For a modest sum they would install the barrel on the extension.
I was also able to acquire from them a set of newly manufactured, checkered walnut grips, a breech-block, new springs, and assorted miscellaneous parts including a magazine. While I waited for the parts to arrive, I attacked the the frame with a Dremel mototool. I was able to grind away the excess metal and smooth and polish the inside of the frame with wet/dry sandpaper. While I was at it, I also polished the rest of the frame.
When the parts finally arrived, I assembled the pistol. Working the action by hand I found a couple of rough areas that I was able to polish out and make everything work smoothly. I then finished polishing the pistol and put on the grips.
I wanted to shoot it before blueing it in case I needed to do any more work on it. At the range I put a box of factory loads through it with only a couple of malfunctions. Not too bad for a Luger with the underloaded American factory ammo of the time. Lugers generally require a stiff load to make them work reliably and the factory stuff was underloaded back then in consideration of all the war relics that abounded.
Finally, I sent it off to be blued and you can see the finished product in the photo. The other Luger in the photo is for comparison. It is in better condition than mine was when I first received it as it is fully functional.
So, I was able to turn a pile of junk into a serviceable piece and do a little bit to thwart the wrecking crew that would have us destroy all of our guns.