Resurrecting a P08 German Luger





Gun Show Bargain ;  OK, I got a good buy at the gunshow, $250 for a DWM German Luger.    Well, maybe so, but read on ??


This pistol was well used, grips still had evidence of checkering on the grips, but the gun appeared to be complete.  The receiver at the chamber was smooth and the word GERMANY on the LH receiver, indicating it was a post WW I gun made for export.  Most all the parts were numbered correctly.  Caliber was 30 Luger, (not as desirable to me as the 9mm) but being a gunsmith, that could be replaced.  When I got it home, I found the magazine was missing it's spring.  Also the shoulder stock attachment was ground off the rear of the grip frame.  I had heard that this was done on many guns after the 1936 national gun legislation, as some were afraid that the gun could be confiscated since it was readily convertible to a short barreled long gun.  Well this was not in any way going to be a collector item, but simply a shooter, so that matter very little.


Time to Start This Project ;  At that time, I was still running my gunshop and figured this would be a project gun after I retired.  I apparently did not fire it as this acquisition occurred over 35  years ago.  I finally found and purchased a new  4 1/2" 9mm barrel and proceeded to install it.   Having done this before, I still had the lead barrel vise blocks and the receiver fixture to facilitate this job.  OK, I got it off fine, and in installing the new barrel, it came very close to aligning, so I tried to force it.  NO GO, so take it off and lathe cut a few thousandths off the rear of the barrel shoulder.  SURPRISE, it was galled and would not come off using my barrel vise blocks, no matter how much rosin or hard I clamped it as these barrels have a taper, not providing a good gripping surface.  Maybe I could install it in my lathe, grip the barrel on the muzzle ring, and use the front sight base as a stop.  Not a good idea as all this did was damage the sight dovetail.


Well I had other things to do and this project gun sat apart in a box for another 10 years or so.   It took a lot of thinking and I finally decided that maybe the best method was to by using a Dremel tool and a 1" cut-off stone, to cut through the receiver ring enough to relieve tension.  In doing this I made the cut slightly off center so as to leave some of the dimensions of the extractor slot to follow after the welding.   Got the barrel off fine. 


Now to be sure that the weld would not protrude into the receiver threads as I did not have a tap for that size and I did not want to have to make one.  In my past experience, I knew that for any electric or TIG welding that you can use a brass backup plate.  So for this project I threaded a hex brass bar to the same size as the barrel threads, and made it so that it would just thread in with slight effort.  I have a friend who runs a sheet metal fabrication shop, has taught welding, (and is a gun enthusiast) who agreed try this project.   I told him to be sure that he left enough metal there so I could clean everything up without having to take it back for a spot fill in.  The weld came out just fine, and since this receiver had no date code, simply filing and  band-sanding it things came out great.  Now just file the extractor slot with a small square needle file and do the trial and error method until the breech bolt would close with the extractor on a dummy round.


In the photos below, you can see the progress.  If you look very close on the RH photo, you a very slight imperfection of the threads at about 7 O'Clock.  Giving evidence that my brass threaded plug did it's job.  As no thread chasing was required.  I was asked by one person, wouldn't the weld weaken this gun.  My thoughts were NO, simply because the receiver only held the barrel in place and the barrel itself more than likely was strong enough by itself.



Shown here is the receiver weld from the top Here is the weld inside the threads

The Rest of The Story ;  OK, now install the barrel.  This time I chucked it in my lathe, but onto the very short shoulder, so not a lot of alignment surface on the barrel.  Well, by eye-balling it as hand turning and tapping the protruding threaded end, bumping it into being pretty close, I faced off the barrel shoulder maybe .006", and tried to screw it on to see if it indexed better.  NOPE, not yet, so back to the lathe and made another pass about the same amount.  This did it.  Now I had to remove the front sight from the old barrel and install it in the new barrel.  Since I had my welder build up the front sight base (that I screwed up) there was a lot of hand filing to fit the front sight on the new barrel.


Finally it's time to start the assembly and test firing.  During this gun being apart, it became obvious that it had possibly been in, or near a fire at one time as all the springs had "LOST" their tension.  The recoil spring and firing pin spring had been replaced, but all the others were woefully weak.  I had bought a new magazine, so test-firing was possible.


Since this gun had sat in a open plastic box for a number of years, one part, (the magazine catch spring) had wondered off.  Another was fabricated that seems to function well.  The trigger spring was collapsed so a replacement was made from my old collection box of springs  The trigger bar flat spring was re-heat treated.  The hold open flat spring is weak, but by bending it enough it seems to function at least to get me through the test functioning.


But test-firing resulted in only it being a single shot as failure to eject was an issue.  The after about 5 rounds being fired, the firing pin spring guide, sheared off the retainer lug.  OK, gas weld a blob of steel on using mild steel rod and lathe turn as close as possible then hand file to shape.  More disassembly and replaced the extractor spring with a new replacement made from the same spring box.


In trying to dry cycle it to be sure the extractor slot that was filed in the welded receiver area was deep enough, the sideplate and stop lever flew out into the lawn.  After recovering those, I noticed that the stop spring had also disappeared, so that was probably also lost it's tension.  OK, one more small project.






Here, we see the assembled gun for test-firing







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Originated 01-03-2017, Last updated 01-02-2017
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