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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm wondering if anybody might be able to help me with a mystery regarding the Walther my father brought back from WWII.

It appears to be a Model 4, type 2, late; its serial number is 219151. I've verified with a caliper it is in fact a 7.65mm barrel.

The slide is marked:
Right side - CARL WALTHER.WAFFENFABRIK ZELLA-MEHLIS I
Left side - SELBSTLADE-PISTOLE CAL. 6,35 WALTHER’S-PATENT
There is a "51" stamped on the under side of the slide.

Images are available on the internet for serial number 218047 (1,104 before) and 220881 (1,730 after); they have identical markings on slide right as mine, but the expected "7,65" on slide left.

The holster is plain brown leather with no markings other than a Roman numeral V written on the inside in black ink indicating something related to "5".

My father knew something was special about this gun, he protected it above all other things from his time during WWII, but sadly I never had the discussion with him what exactly made it so. The factory in Stella-Mehlis was along the route of travel for him at the end of the war - he was a Division HQ intelligence officer.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
George


Air gun Trigger Grey Gun barrel Material property
Air gun Trigger Line Gun barrel Gun accessory
 

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Hi, looks like a fine Mod 4. As you suspect it is a late second variant with, what seems to be correct, the appropriate lettering and slide markings. The S/N puts this towards the end of this production series which ended circa 225000 (and a few no doubt). I would have expected to see the S/N stamped on the LHS of the slide (under the word 'patent' as well as a front sight to the barrel extension / spring retainer piece, this seems to be missing? .32 ACP / 7.65 Browning is the correct and only calibre - as ever I stand to be corrected on this! The 51 stamp to the slide underside may well be a part S/N which pairs this slide to the frame lower. I'll try to check this on mine sometime. Attached snaps of my third variant Mod 4 for info...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply. I'm attaching a few more pictures - the barrel does have a front sight but I had it hidden/turned under in the picture I posted. I propped it up so it was visible this time.

Air gun Trigger Wood Gun barrel Gun accessory
Vertebrate Air gun Trigger Mammal Wood
Wood Floor Building material Bumper Flooring


The number on the underside of the slide appears to be "151" with the leading "1" obscured some. That seems to correspond to the last 3 digits of the serial number?

I looked at the sn218047 example which can be found here Pistole, Walther - Zella/Mehlis, Mod.: 4, 3. Ausführung, Kal.: 7,65 mm, - Jagd-, Sport- und Sammlerwaffen 2016/12/10 - Realized price: EUR 63 - Dorotheum and it has the same lack of serial number on the left side of the slide; it's identical to mine as far as I can tell, with the exception of the caliber marking.

Thanks again for your help trying to figure this out.



Hi, looks like a fine Mod 4. As you suspect it is a late second variant with, what seems to be correct, the appropriate lettering and slide markings. The S/N puts this towards the end of this production series which ended circa 225000 (and a few no doubt). I would have expected to see the S/N stamped on the LHS of the slide (under the word 'patent' as well as a front sight to the barrel extension / spring retainer piece, this seems to be missing? .32 ACP / 7.65 Browning is the correct and only calibre - as ever I stand to be corrected on this! The 51 stamp to the slide underside may well be a part S/N which pairs this slide to the frame lower. I'll try to check this on mine sometime. Attached snaps of my third variant Mod 4 for info...
 

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The factory in Stella-Mehlis was along the route of travel for him at the end of the war
Welcome to the forum.

Production of the Model 4 ended around 1929-30. It would surprise me if a mismarked slide could leave the Walther factory like that. But we do know that after the war when the US was in Zella-Mehlis that pistols were assembled for and even by GI's using leftover parts. Your pistol might be one of those.

My guess is that it was either a collection of parts forced together for souvenir hungry GI's or maybe the slide really was for a prototype 6,35 Model 4 that never went into production. Or it could just be a mismarked slide.

Since you know what caliber the barrel is I'm curious about the slide. Is the breech face cut for a 6,35 or 7,65 cartridge? What about the extractor? Will a 7,65 case slip underneath?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your help.

The slide does have a stamped "151" on the underside matched to the serial number on the body of 219151 so I don't think it's a randomly assembled piece?

My best guess at measuring for the breech face is around 10.2mm (see attached). Bicycle part Gas Rim Auto part Metal


I'm not sure if it's important or not, but the only marking on the holster is a black ink Roman numeral 5 written on the inside flap. Vertebrate Wood Organism Mammal Snout


One of the things I wonder about is the correctly stamped examples with images online that are just before/after this one in serial number - 218047 (1,104 before) and 220881 (1,730 after).

Thanks again.
 

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The base of my .32ACP / 7.65mm rounds (Geco) measure 9.03mm / 0.3555" hence this breech face is definitely for this calibre round. The tiny .25ACP rounds measure 7.62mm / 0.300 which would fall out of this breech! According to the details I have the Mod 4 was only ever in .32ACP though, no doubt, some experimental versions were made - maybe...

Slide S/N seems to be correct to the frame so should not be some randomly assembled build. This firearm was assembled during or just after the end WW1 so would be well in circulation for your father to collect as a trophy post WW2, maybe that is what made it special (or the person)? Only other minor detail I can see is the circular machining to the release lever, mostly this is a tight square chequered pattern though some are know to have such circular grooves.

I don't have much on holsters so can't really comment on this, I only have one holster for my P1 which is ex Bavarian Police. If you're further interested in acquiring such firearms then take a look at:


There are currently 3 Mod 4's for auction.

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nick - are you by chance near Dorking? My father was part of the Military Intelligence Service (referred to colloquially as The Ritchie Boys). They were to a very large extent trained by their British counterparts both here and when they arrived in the UK in terms of methods, material, and personnel. Think one part Churchill's Secret Agents (https://www.netflix.com/title/80195811) and for his specialty one part MI4 - Army Photo Intelligence Service. One of the exercises they went on while training prior to D-Day was to ground-truth what they saw in aerial images in the area surrounding Dorking - "The Dorking Exercise" as they called it. These 6 man teams were assigned to all the divisions and had a significant impact on the success of the war.

Do we know anything about daily production levels at the Walther factory in the 1919 time period? I'm trying to make sense of the fact correctly marked slides are known to exist just before and just after this one in serial number range.

Also it seems from what I've read that while a serial number may have been stamped a little askew from time to time, guns with the wrong caliber stamped on them didn't leave the factory. Is that accurate?

Thanks again!
 

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Nick - are you by chance near Dorking? My father was part of the Military Intelligence Service (referred to colloquially as The Ritchie Boys). They were to a very large extent trained by their British counterparts both here and when they arrived in the UK in terms of methods, material, and personnel. Think one part Churchill's Secret Agents (https://www.netflix.com/title/80195811) and for his specialty one part MI4 - Army Photo Intelligence Service. One of the exercises they went on while training prior to D-Day was to ground-truth what they saw in aerial images in the area surrounding Dorking - "The Dorking Exercise" as they called it. These 6 man teams were assigned to all the divisions and had a significant impact on the success of the war.

Do we know anything about daily production levels at the Walther factory in the 1919 time period? I'm trying to make sense of the fact correctly marked slides are known to exist just before and just after this one in serial number range.

Also it seems from what I've read that while a serial number may have been stamped a little askew from time to time, guns with the wrong caliber stamped on them didn't leave the factory. Is that accurate?

Thanks again!
Hi again and yes interesting background info on your fathers history and yes I am near Dorking (very near!). There is a road nearby built by the Canadian Army that was built by Royal Canadian Engineers and is named after their Commander, Commander Young - so hence it's called Young Street (it's the best piece of tarmac round here to give your car / bike the full beans - no speed cameras!). Prior to D-Day the woods on the Surrey Hills were full of encampments of Canadian soldiers, there are still lots of buildings and infrastructure lying around in the countryside nearby. Interesting history concerning The Ritchie Boys, not heard of this before...

Regarding the calibre yes the P38 was made in 7.65 / .30 Cal though tese would have been as HP pistols usually for the European (and some South American) markets. This was usually as many countries did not allow the civilian population to own 'military' calibres. Walther made a conversion kit for the HP which accepted either the 9mm or 7.65 round - if you can find one then it's a keeper for sure! I've been trying to find the .22LR conversion kit for the P38 for years, they're as rare as hens teeth...
 

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I've been trying to find the .22LR conversion kit for the P38 for years, they're as rare as hens teeth...
They're not terribly uncommon in the US but are very expensive. The conversion kits usually sell for around $1,000, complete pistols 1,500-2,000 and spare magazines for $150+.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you for your replies.

Since the slide is marked with the "151" from the last 3 digits of the serial number of the frame, it appears it's following the convention of a properly matched gun and is not a random build of some sort.

Can anyone think of a reason why the factory may have kept a gun like this?

I'm not sure the factory did keep it, as I don't know where exactly he got it for sure, I'm just trying to find a plausible explanation how my father would have come across it. Whoever he got it from knew that it was special. The question is who, and how/why did they know it was special.
 

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Thanks I'll keep looking! Any US sites in particular to review?
The two sellers I know that are licensed to export outside the US are Simpson Ltd. and Rock Island Auction. It isn't cheap but it's another option for you anyway.

Rock Island had a P38 .22 conversion kit with two magazines in the January auction that ended last week.

Good luck in your search. My 1968 P38 .22 has become one of my favorite shooters.


 
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