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Old 07-27-2017, 12:11 PM   #1
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Newbie Who Is NOT Gun Savvy Needs Help On P38

I got this gun from my uncle who fought in WW2. He has since passed away. The story was that he took it off of a German soldier.
I would just like opinions on what shape you would say it is in.
Does it look like it could fire a bullet and if so what kind of ammo does it take?
I am totally new to guns and a left-handed woman to boot so I already got strikes against me. So please be kind. But hey... we all have our banks of knowledge... guns just isn't in my bank!
Does this gun look like it might be worth something? Can you tell me anything about it? I have been reading in your forums... confusing...
Thank you for your time, it is much appreciated.
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Old 07-27-2017, 12:28 PM   #2
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Well, it was made in 1943, the finish looks like it was made in Spreewerk Grottau (former Sudetenland, now Czech Republic), and if I could make out what it says above the number 43 on the left side of the slide I could say for sure.

It fires regular ole 9x19mm ammunition, prefers round nosed bullets rather than modern hollow points. Winchester White box is fine.

As a leftie, you're in luck! P.38 and its descendants all the way to the P5 eject empty cartridges up and to the left!

I can't tell from your pics if all the numbers are matching and what sort of markings it has. Generally, P.38's seem to start at $500 these days. There seems to be a generous amount of rust pitting, and somebody seems to have painted in the S (safety is on when visible) and F (safety is off when visible, ready to fire) marks.
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Old 07-27-2017, 01:48 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Reecerhead View Post
Does it look like it could fire a bullet and if so what kind of ammo does it take?
With a gun that old, and possibly sitting in a closet/safe not properly cleaned and oiled for who knows how long, I would definitely have it checked out by a competent gun smith before shooting it.

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Old 07-27-2017, 02:02 PM   #4
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Thank you so much for such a quick reply. I learned a lot!

As for what you said:"if I could make out what it says above the number 43 on the left side of the slide I could say for sure."... There is a small "a" and "c" there.

Thank you for the info about the ammo and that is pretty cool about it working out since I am left-handed. I just got my first gun recently... a revolver because of that issue.

"I can't tell from your pics if all the numbers are matching and what sort of markings it has."
All of the numbers do indeed match and it has three spots where you can see a swastika with an emblem.


Generally, P.38's seem to start at $500 these days. There seems to be a generous amount of rust pitting, and somebody seems to have painted in the S (safety is on when visible) and F (safety is off when visible, ready to fire) marks.
Yeah... I thought it was weird that those areas were painted as well. I looked up pitting and understand what you mean now. Someone must have had to do a lot of cleaning on it. Explains why some areas have fainter markings than others on the numbers etc.
As for the price... not bad. Has more sentimental value than monetary. Gonna see how it shoots!

Thanks for your time.
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Old 07-27-2017, 02:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pudge View Post
With a gun that old, and possibly sitting in a closet/safe not properly cleaned and oiled for who knows how long, I would definitely have it checked out by a competent gun smith before shooting it.

Pudge
Will certainly heed this advice. Thank you.
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Old 07-27-2017, 02:33 PM   #6
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As for what you said:"if I could make out what it says above the number 43 on the left side of the slide I could say for sure."... There is a small "a" and "c" there.
That means it was made at the Carl Walther factory in Zella-Mehlis, Thuringia, Germany, rather than by one of the subcontractors.

Quote:
Thank you for the info about the ammo and that is pretty cool about it working out since I am left-handed. I just got my first gun recently... a revolver because of that issue.
There are many modern guns that have ambidextrous controls (slide stop, slide release, safety) or can be made to be easily control by lefties. Most will eject empties to the right, some up, some forward, some left.

Quote:
"I can't tell from your pics if all the numbers are matching and what sort of markings it has."
All of the numbers do indeed match and it has three spots where you can see a swastika with an emblem.
Well since it's not a Spreewerk model (marked cyq instead of ac), which are infamous for their often quite rough finish, very similar to what's shown in your first picture, I guess somebody scrubbed the hell out of it. Which matches this:

Quote:
Someone must have had to do a lot of cleaning on it. Explains why some areas have fainter markings than others on the numbers etc.
Quote:
Gonna see how it shoots!
You figured out how to disassemble it, I guess you're qualified to look it over and look for obvious damage like broken parts or things that don't feel right as you work them. Unlike modern pistols who tolerate dry-firing a lot better, I'd get some snaps cap to simulate loading and firing it. Clean with Hoppe's #9 and the help of cotton batches, a cleaning rod, and Q tips, lightly oil with light gun oil, look where metal slides against metal and grease those rails with some red grease. Wipe off excess oil and grease.

Tipton Snap Cap Pistol 9 mm Luger, 5 pack

Last edited by Kar98; 07-27-2017 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 07-27-2017, 04:22 PM   #7
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Thanks

[QUOTE=Kar98;875673]That means it was made at the Carl Walther factory in Zella-Mehlis, Thuringia, Germany, rather than by one of the subcontractors.
Mystery solved. Yay.



There are many modern guns that have ambidextrous controls (slide stop, slide release, safety) or can be made to be easily control by lefties. Most will eject empties to the right, some up, some forward, some left.
They are more expensive it seems to get a southpaw gun so I ended up with a revolver. Being new to guns... gonna ease on in how all this works. Gonna take classes a join a range.



You figured out how to disassemble it, I guess you're qualified to look it over and look for obvious damage like broken parts or things that don't feel right as you work them. Unlike modern pistols who tolerate dry-firing a lot better, I'd get some snaps cap to simulate loading and firing it. Clean with Hoppe's #9 and the help of cotton batches, a cleaning rod, and Q tips, lightly oil with light gun oil, look where metal slides against metal and grease those rails with some red grease. Wipe off excess oil and grease.
Thanks for the tip. Will do that. I am familiar with the snap caps as I have some for my gun. I will purchase some for this one as well. You have been most helpful. I appreciate that. Now I am not as ignorant as I started out being this morning concerning this gun!
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