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So, who knows the answer to this?

Were the fat slides introduced because of the occurences of cracks on the aluminum frames on the P.1's, or because of an issue with the slide cracking on P.1/P.38's? Or was it something else entirely?

I know that the hex pin installation was a result of cracked aluminum frames on the P.1. Was the fat slide change associated with the hex pin fix on the P.1? I have heard that there was an issue with some cracked slides on all steel P.38's (presumably 1938-1945). But I have no confirmatory knowledge of this.


R
 

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The fat slide was Walther's answer to a high incidence of slides stretching, cracking, and eventually breaking, at the locking block cutouts. I have personally examined dozens of slides , both late-war Mauser and postwar Walther, cracked or broken in this way. Whether this was the result of more powerful or widely variable postwar 9mm Para ammunition or of some other cause, I am unable to say.

I do not believe that cracking of the frame was or is a frequent occurrence. I personally have seen only a very few, cracked in different places, from which I draw no opinion as to the cause.

The hex lug was added for an entirely different reason: to extend the service life of the frame by providing a hardened steel wear surface for the locking cam. Frames that have seen a lot of use, especially when dirty or without lubrication, show considerable wear and displacement of aluminum at that point, which makes the action locking/unlocking rough and less consistent and reliable.

The hex lug does not make the frame stronger; it is only an insert and does not "cinch" the frame together to prevent splitting. It could be argued that broaching the hole for the insert actually makes the frame integrally weaker. But it lasts longer.

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Yeah, the fat slide was a response to cracked/broken slides. The Beretta 92's had the same issue early on, as they used the same dropping block locking system. And the cutouts where the locking lugs engage the slide are a natural weak spot.
 

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I posted this in another thread below but since this is a sticky, it may be useful to repeat here, with a little elaboration:

The importance of the hex pin is much overemphasized. The fat slide is far more important, but the truth is that the absence of both is not a catastrophe, provided one uses sensible ammunition. These guns are half a century old. Treat them accordingly, and they will give you very respectable service. New recoil springs are not a high priority if they are not collapsed or kinked, but easy-to-chew ammunition for their old teeth is important.

In WWII military service the Germans strictly controlled the specifications of the ammunition used, so it is entirely possible that cracked slides were avoided or at least minimized. I know of no evidence one way or the other that slide breakage was a problem then. I've never seen an early Walther "ac" slide broken-- though that doesn't mean that none were.

The problem seems to arise in postwar use. This happens to coincide with a wide variety of ammunition becoming available. 9mm Para ammunition is now made in dozens of different countries by scores of manufacturers, and its specifications vary greatly. Measure cartridge case length of various samples with a micrometer and the differences you'll see are remarkable, sometimes visible with the naked eye. This affects headspace, and excessive headspace is abusive to the P38's locking system, as it provides room for the locking parts to get "a running start" before the engaging surfaces slam together.

This is aggravated by more powerful 9mm ammunition, such as adopted by the postwar German police; American police did the same thing. It isn't long before things start to break. Mind you, I am not contending that is the cause of slide stretching and cracking (it could be metallurgy, or a lot of other things) but it is evidence.

Certainly Walther acted in the late 1960s to increase the thickness of the slide sidewalls, and that appears to have remedied that problem.

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Thanks for the technical explanation. I was wondering why walther added the hex pin, which I thought would also weaken the frame with another hole. But this info was great. I'm naturally leery of aluminum or polymer frames even with steel inserts. And buyers might want to avoid buying aluminum frames to rebuild a P1, as they could have stress or cracks not seen in pictures.
 

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Im confused... what does a fat slide, look like... I have a p38 p1 made in 62,.. with no hex bolt... what would I have a fat, or lean slide?
 

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Im confused... what does a fat slide, look like... I have a p38 p1 made in 62,.. with no hex bolt... what would I have a fat, or lean slide?
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You probably have the "lean" unreinforced slide. Here are photos to show the difference. The front sight with the white dot is on the "fat" reinforced slide assembly... :)
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Some features of mine

First, thank you for your efforts :) I just want to know about my gun, I am not looking for any possible rare gun, and I could not care less, if its as common as air... I'd just like to know where my gun could have been... commercial use, surplus police/ army, or issued police / army.

In my lap right now I am looking at my p38/p1 and this is what I see going on.

on the slide (non Walther banner side). Two eagle proofs 1/62 (Jan of '62)
Frame same side, two eagles above trigger guard

Under gun barrel: two eagles and a little *"Roundel*" (The circle with a dot in it.)

Walther Banner Side: Roundel, Walther Banner Waffenbk. ULM/DO P 38 Cal 9mm White safety "S" Dark "F"

Frame Side: SN Matching to slide. Roundel No import marks.

I have white dot sights.

Take down:
Barrel Part:
SN 3 DIGIT matches slide.
Barell has "13" and two hash marks ' || '
The locking push button stopper, has "Y1" stamped into it.

Slide:
no inside stampings, but in the hammer well, just above the "nail head." There is a "8" stamped there

frame:

Frame has a "4" stamped into it just in front of the trigger spring well.


Its very high polish finish, and it looks like all of the Walther verbiage, at one time was white.. residue white paint in the letters.

any ideas? :) thanks.
 

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The circle w/dot means your P-38 was inspected to federal police & military standards. My German commercial P-38 has the circle w/no dot. Your best bet is to post photos of both sides of the gun and the serial number is also important. The eagle proofs of the Material Testing Agency are different then the German Eagle/N commercial proofs for example.
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You have a 1962 military type Walther P-38 manufactured before the P1 was fielded in 1963. It has the typical Walther inspection marks (such as the 8 by the hammer). The "Dot in Circle" stamps indicate your P-38 was inspected to military & police standards. The pairs of Bundeswehr/military "droop wing" eagles on the main parts are combination proof and acceptance stamps applied by the Materials Testing Agency of the Federal Defense Ministry. Your P-38 has the standard non-reinforced frame (no HEX pin) and standard non-reinforced "thin" slide. It has the new type square notch rear sight rear sight and should have the wide front sight with a white dot. I can't read the first three serial numbers to check against the chart. The last three numbers are stamped on the three main parts so it's considered to be a "matching" gun. What else can we tell you... :)
 

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You have a 1962 military type Walther P-38 manufactured before the P1 was fielded in 1963. It has the typical Walther inspection marks (such as the 8 by the hammer). The "Dot in Circle" stamps indicate your P-38 was inspected to military & police standards. The pairs of Bundeswehr/military "droop wing" eagles on the main parts are combination proof and acceptance stamps applied by the Materials Testing Agency of the Federal Defense Ministry. Your P-38 has the standard non-reinforced frame (no HEX pin) and standard non-reinforced "thin" slide. It has the new type square notch rear sight rear sight and should have the wide front sight with a white dot. I can't read the first three serial numbers to check against the chart. The last three numbers are stamped on the three main parts so it's considered to be a "matching" gun. What else can we tell you... :)

You have me 100% :eek:

The sn is: 158696. So, Is this a "true" p38, in as much as NOT A P1. Its quite heavy even empty. Feels like a P.08 empty too...

Would off the shelf 9mm be ok? I buy 9mm standard stuff on sale... am I safe?
How rare is this? I see lots of P1's on the market, with the hex bolts. From all the reading i've been doing on the forum- I've seen the HEX is just more or less to shoot hotter loads, and not have the frame break, is this mostly true?

The mag that came with it, says P1 but the second mag I bought says P.38. Are they both technically the same?

I also believe for a period of time, Walther also made P08's (Lugers).

Is there any other neat history that can go along with my gun? I am all for the history this is why I collect!! :).

Because of this Walther, I went out and bought a (FEG-PMK.380) Walther PPk Copy.

Also looking at p99. Walther, has a quality that "globalization." seems not to have destroyed for cheaper production, else ware. I see German made weapons, to be staunch for quality... I love my P.38 Bty... is it correct to add the dot in P.38? Since I though this is reserved for Army Handguns (Walthers).. But was this a service Walther? Thanks again,..... its like Christmas now :D
 

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You have me 100% :eek:

The sn is: 1586XX. So, Is this a "true" p38, in as much as NOT A P1. Its quite heavy even empty. Feels like a P.08 empty too...

Yes, you have a "true" P-38...but it's not a WWII model. Yours was one of the post-war P-38's supplied to the German Bundeswehr between 1957 and 1963. In late 1963 the model designation was changed from P-38 to P1. Other than slide markings the P38 and P1 are identical.

Would off the shelf 9mm be ok? I buy 9mm standard stuff on sale... am I safe?
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Yes, you can use off-the-shelf standard velocity 9mm ammo. I recommend 124 grain round nose FMJ.
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How rare is this? I see lots of P1's on the market, with the hex bolts. From all the reading i've been doing on the forum- I've seen the HEX is just more or less to shoot hotter loads, and not have the frame break, is this mostly true?
Well, there were about 60,000 P-38 models made that unless they were upgraded wouldn't have the Hex pin reinforcement. The Hex pin doesn't make the the pistol any stronger or more capable of handling hotter loads. It just gives the locking block a piece of steel to hit instead of battering the alloy frame. The reinforced "fat" slide helps to prevent cracking at the locking block cutouts. I wouldn't use +P or any other "Hot" ammo in any version of the P38 or P1 - regardless if it has the Hex pin frame or reinforced slide.

The mag that came with it, says P1 but the second mag I bought says P.38. Are they both technically the same?
Other than the markings the P38 and P1 magazines are identical.

I also believe for a period of time, Walther also made P08's (Lugers).
Let's see...Lugers were made by DWM, Erfurt, Spandau, Simson, Mauser, Vickers, Bern, Erma (.22) and even a few replicas in the US. I wish Walther made lugers but I don't think they did... :(

Is there any other neat history that can go along with my gun? I am all for the history this is why I collect!!

Because of this Walther, I went out and bought a (FEG-PMK.380) Walther PPk Copy.

Also looking at p99. Walther, has a quality that "globalization." seems not to have destroyed for cheaper production, else ware. I see German made weapons, to be staunch for quality... I love my P.38 Bty... is it correct to add the dot in P.38? Since I though this is reserved for Army Handguns (Walthers).. But was this a service Walther? Thanks again,..... its like Christmas now :D
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Actually, your P38 already has the Walther military inspection standard "Dot" inside the little circles on all the main parts. If you want to add a dot to "P38" be my guest. Your "P.38" is a military handgun...primary sidearm of the German Bundeswehr in fact. You can tell it's a military version by the pairs of droop wing eagles on the frame, barrel, and slide.

For history be sure to buy the book, Walther Pistols Models 1 Through P99, by Dieter H. Marschall. Every Walther owner should have this in their library.
 

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:)

Thank you for your follow up. I knew it was of a vintage. Now, I can tell all of the die hard "experts" who say no no its a P1... Its a p.38. :p

Also, its a pleasure to shoot, very little kick back.

As for Walther making Lugers, I was just under that impression since everyone was making Lugers till about 1930. A friend of mine owns a 1908 DWM, in near mint condition, that was over hauled by mauser in 1914, and was then re issued to the SS in 1937. it is tri dated, and I tried to fast talk him into selling it to me... just no. It even has the original wooden grips!! MATCHING TO THE GUN! Really really worn, but still in good condition! I always think, what did this thing see, and were was it??
 

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I am certain I have a commerical P38 (post war), but the legend on the slide just has the Walther stamp/banner, and then to the right P38 Cal 9mm. That's it as far as the manufacturer info is concerned. Were all the commerical P38 marked like this?

Sorry- no pic at this time. Thin slide, no hex. Serial 20102X.
 

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I am certain I have a commerical P38 (post war), but the legend on the slide just has the Walther stamp/banner, and then to the right P38 Cal 9mm. That's it as far as the manufacturer info is concerned. Were all the commerical P38 marked like this?

Sorry- no pic at this time. Thin slide, no hex. Serial 20102X.
I'd expect a commercial P-38 with your serial number to have the factory name and location above the "P38 Cal 9mm" stamp on the slide. If you post photos of your P-38 we could probably figure it out... :)
 

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I do not mean to jump on the OP thread, but I got a lot of great information reading it and thought in the "spirit" of the thread, this is appropriate. I apologize to the OP if you think it is not.

I hope the pics are OK, I could not find out digital camera and used my IPhone.

Wow- those are lousy picturers, but I believe you can see what I was trying to describe.
 

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some idea

I do not mean to jump on the OP thread, but I got a lot of great information reading it and thought in the "spirit" of the thread, this is appropriate. I apologize to the OP if you think it is not.

I hope the pics are OK, I could not find out digital camera and used my IPhone.

Wow- those are lousy picturers, but I believe you can see what I was trying to describe.

looks like it could be an army pistol like mine, with the double dot. but it looks like a p1 (note the hex nut in the fame)
 
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