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Hi:

A friend of mine has a Walther P.38, ac40, s/n 1289b, non import markings, and he asked me to inspect it and value it to get the best selling price. I will try to be totally objective during this process, so that you give your impartial opinion based on your experience.

To begin with, the gun was completely disassembled, cleaned and lightly lubricated. Each of its pieces was visually inspected using a flashlight and a 10X magnifying glass, to assess its condition, originality and operational status.

1. The gun does not present its original factory finish. With the exception of the frame, springs, sear, and recoil spring pins, all the other pieces were given a hot bluing and polishing job. The frame, the safety lever, extractor, the firing pin cover and grips screw were chrome plated. The gun presents a normal free play between the slide, barrel and frame.

2. The barrel is an original wartime version. It has several areas with small pitting from corrosion on the outside, prior to hot bluing. It does not present fresh corrosion. It presents a small deformation downwards in the right flat edge, product of a blow, and that rub against the slide. The barrel has severe pitting from corrosion throughout the length, both in the valleys and hills, although it retains 60% of the rifling. Throat erosion is present up to 80%. Muzzle and chamber are good. The operating pin and locking block spring are in good condition and operate correctly. The barrel presents clear and sharp original marks: LH "8.84" and "Nazi Eagle", RH "Eagle/359", lower side "ac". The front sight does not present any mark. With regard to the serial, there is a double numbering. One that matches the slide serial number "1289b", and/or one that is different from "2912b". It seems to me that this barrel originally belonged to a gun serial 2912b, and at some point it was installed in this weapon, making a stamping of the serial 1289. Sounds crazy?

3. The locking block is original wartime design, it is not blued. It presents several spots of fresh surface corrosion. It presents normal wear for its age and use. It operates correctly without free play. It presents clear and sharp original marks: LH "Nazi Eagle" and "5", RH "Eagle/359, lower side “912b" (that matches the barrel change theory. Sounds crazy again?)

4. The slide is an original wartime version. It presents several zones with small pitting from corrosion in its exterior, previous to the hot bluing. It presents several spots of fresh corrosion. It presents two small deformations in the hammer housing, products of a blow. It presents in all its extension soft marks of the work with sandpaper (or something like that), possibly made to remove superficial corrosion and prepare the surface for the hot bluing job. It presents original clear and not so sharp marks, product of the work of the surface: LH "P.38", "ac 40" and "1289b", RH "Eagle/359", "Nazi Eagle" and "Eagle/359" (almost not visible), lower side "Eagle/359" on sharp condition. No white or red paint on "S" and "F" marks.

5. The firing pin cover is a wartime version, is chrome plated, and has several spots of fresh corrosion. It does not present blows or deformations, it fits perfectly in its place. The "Eagle/359" mark is not present.

6. The rear sight is wartime design, U-notch, and it was blued. It presents two small deformations in its front edge, products of blows. It does not show corrosion, and presents the original and sharp "L" mark.

7. The cartridge indicator pin is a wartime version, and it was blued. It presents repairs by welding the front and rear portions, possibly by any kind of damage. It does not show corrosion, and does not present factory mark. Its spring is in good operating condition.

8. The automatic firing pin lock and its spring, and the firing pin retainer pin are original wartime design, were blued, are in good condition and operate correctly. No factory markings.

9. The firing pin is of original wartime flat design, and it was blued, is in good condition and operates correctly. No factory markings.

10. The firing pin spring is post-wartime design, and it is broken in two parts. It does not operate correctly to hold the cartridge indicator pin down.

11. The extractor is of original wartime design, and was chrome plated. It has no apparent damage and has sharp edges. The extractor plunger and spring are in good condition. The whole set operates correctly. No factory marks.

12. The safety catch is of original wartime design, and was chrome plated. It does not present apparent damage and operates correctly. Presents clear and sharp original mark "Eagle/359".

13. The frame is original wartime design, and was chrome plated. It presents several areas with small pitting from corrosion on the outside, prior to chrome plating. It presents several spots of fresh corrosion along its extension. It presents 7 small deformation products of blows. Also, it presents several points without chrome plate by friction against slide and barrel. The magazine enters and remains with normal free play. It presents clear and shaft original marks: LH "1289b", "ac", and "Eagle/359".

14. The barrel retaining latch, slide stop, trigger assy, trigger bar, hammer assy, hammer strut, hammer lever and magazine catch are original wartime design, and were blued. They present small pitting from corrosion, previous to the hot bluing job. They do not present visible damages and operate correctly. They present original clear and sharp mark "Eagle/359".

15. The sear is original wartime design, and presents factory finish. It does not present apparent damage and operates correctly. Not factory mark.

16. The recoil springs, bar spring trigger, slide stop spring, hammer spring, hammer lever spring, and trigger spring are apparently factory originals, some have slight surface corrosion, and operate correctly.

17. Grips are original wartime design, AEG brand. Both are in very good condition, without cracks or repairs, presenting only small bumps, nicks and stripes, normal damages of their age and use. Inside, they present original and clear manufacturer's marks, MPBD with company code 38 and compound classification Z3, second blank circle, P1528 & P1529 and "1" digit, "Eagle/359", and gun serial "289". The screw seems to be original, it was chrome plated and it works correctly.

18. The gun is presented with two magazines. The first one is marked Walther P1 9mm, and the second one is marked Walther P38 9mm. They do not present any other mark. Both preserve 97% of the original factory finish and are in good operating condition, with some fresh corrosion spots.

19. A hard, brown leather holster is added to the package, very well made, with all its parts in 97% original condition. Curiously, no brand or name from the manufacturer.

Do this gun has value as collectable or shooter?

For more details, please see the attached photos. …a good one says more than a thousand words…

Setting aside the price, I will be able to thank any comments or questions that you want to make.

Thanks in advance for your time and help.

P.D: I will load more pictures.
 

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ac 40 value

I have an ac40 17xx in very good condition, original but not perfect. I value it at about 2200. As you describe your pistol, I would start the deduction from that point.
 

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I agree with Redcat- a shooter, as it has been partially chromed as well as refinished.


Very thorough description details. But as a shooter, about $300-400. Though they match the serial to the frame, the grips may be of interest to some (parting them out), as well as some smaller WaA'd parts. The mags sound both like postwar versions.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all for your comments.

Any of you have a clearer idea about why the barrel has double numbering? Barrel Replacement?
To Mattanne - Both magazines are post-war. The P1 is a military version mfrd after 1976, and the P38 is a commercial version.

Here are other photographs.
 

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Someone forced matched the barrel by overstamping it with the slide/frame serial number. The locking block is original to the barrel (matching original serial number). Whoever chromed it probably thought it looked sharp at that time. The grips are original to the pistol and I would not separate them by selling them. Shooter P38s in my area go for $500 to $600 or so.


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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you 1984Landcruiser, I'm agree with you, it seems that someone replaced the barrel and the locking block and stamped the frame serial on it. Does anyone have any experience like this or have seen any P38 with this same double serial? I ask to determine if this is a work done during an any kind of repair process done by Walther.

On the other hand, I also agree to recommend to my friend not to separate or sell any separate piece. This beautiful weapon can be made a professional restoration and take it back to an excellent state as a shooter.

On eBay they are selling a barrel (see attached document). Do you have any idea if this barrel could operate correctly on this weapon? According to what I have read, the P38's of the wartime requires a barrel of the same period, since the barrel of the post-war P38 & P1 do not serve in wartime slides, is this correct?
 

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On eBay they are selling a barrel (see attached document). Do you have any idea if this barrel could operate correctly on this weapon? According to what I have read, the P38's of the wartime requires a barrel of the same period, since the barrel of the post-war P38 & P1 do not serve in wartime slides, is this correct?
I was wondering this as well,my barrel was knocking down the steel at 15 yards,but when I went to clean it for the first time I noticed that it has a nice bulge about an inch from the muzzle,and bore is very pitted.
 

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Maybe I am uninformed, but I believe wartime and postwar barrels are interchangeable. The major difference between WW2 and most postwar P38 barrels lie in the fact that the postwar barrels are lined (grooves and lands are inserted in a sleeve into the barrel which is then pinned to prevent extraction of the sleeve) whereas the wartime ones were cut directly into the barrel at manufacture.
 

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Maybe I am uninformed, but I believe wartime and postwar barrels are interchangeable. The major difference between WW2 and most postwar P38 barrels lie in the fact that the postwar barrels are lined (grooves and lands are inserted in a sleeve into the barrel which is then pinned to prevent extraction of the sleeve) whereas the wartime ones were cut directly into the barrel at manufacture.
Thank you for this information,Matt.I kept trying to figure out in my head how a different shaped firing pin would affect the barrel when most other things were the same.I couldn't find any information about any other changes,other than fatter slides later on that made a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you very much to everyone for showing interest in helping me.

Although I have a partial answer, I think that my question is still open: a late wartime barrel manufatured by Mauser will serve in a P.38 AC40 slide made by Walther?

My second question is still open: "Does anyone have any experience like this (bouble barrel serial number) or have seen any P38 with this same double serial? I ask to determine if this is a work done during an any kind of repair process done by Walther."

For "Prince Humperdink": What do you mean "I noticed that it's a nice bulge about an inch from the muzzle"?. Your barrel has a bulge on the outside and inside.? I'm asking because when I cleaned up the barrel I noticed that cleaning rod with plastic tip and patch lost friction on a specific section, 1.5" away from chamber, due to a visible black "sinked or concave ring", +/- 1/4 "long, all around the barrel inner diameter, but nothing on the outside diameter. Rifing hills and valleys are down deformed, and looks like plastic melting. I have been inspecting firearms for almost 20 years and this is the first time I have seen a bulged barrel like this. Dear Prince Humperdink, DO NOT FIRE A BULGED AND VERY PITTED BARREL, IT IS AN VERY UNSAFE COCKTAIL!

To "MGMike". I read your Post before become a forum member. Excellent and dedicated work !!!!! Dear Sir, based on my original post, do you have any idea about the price?
 

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For "Prince Humperdink": What do you mean "I noticed that it's a nice bulge about an inch from the muzzle"?. Your barrel has a bulge on the outside and inside.? I'm asking because when I cleaned up the barrel I noticed that cleaning rod with plastic tip and patch lost friction on a specific section, 1.5" away from chamber, due to a visible black "sinked or concave ring", +/- 1/4 "long, all around the barrel inner diameter, but nothing on the outside diameter. Rifing hills and valleys are down deformed, and looks like plastic melting. I have been inspecting firearms for almost 20 years and this is the first time I have seen a bulged barrel like this. Dear Prince Humperdink, DO NOT FIRE A BULGED AND VERY PITTED BARREL, IT IS AN VERY UNSAFE COCKTAIL!
Yep,once I started paying attention I could feel it on the outside,when I was running a brush down the barrel it became loose and back to tight,looked down and seen the bulge ring.I'm not planning on shooting it until I find a new (used) ww2 barrel.I haven't seen too many of these around though,besides ones that cost more than I paid for the whole gun!
 

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First Q: Wartime P.38 barrels, whether made by Walther, Mauser or Spreewerk, are pretty much interchangeable mechanically, but that does NOT ensure that a good fit, with correct headspace is necessarily obtained. It also assumes that the slide, frame, barrel and locking block --all four-- are not unacceptably worn or damaged; this cannot be assumed. It is determined by a hands-on examination by someone who understands the gun and knows what he's doing;

2d Q: Two serial numbers on the barrel does not suggest anything done by Walther. It suggests the hands of Russians or Bubba.

3d Q: "Price" of what? Your gun, or another barrel?

M
 

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3d Q: "Price" of what? Your gun, or another barrel?

M
The only barrels I have seen for sale(2) that were of WW2 vintage were more than the $300+ that I paid for the gun.When I do a search for "WW2 Walther p38 replacement barrels"or such searches,I mainly get complete handguns,or post ww2 barrels.It's kind of embarrassing,but I actually had to save to buy the gun,so $200 would be my max.Guess I'm out of luck to have gotten addicted to holding those p38's,should have just stuck to all the 1917's,1903/1903A3's,and M1 rifles I've collected over the years...I used to think buying WW2 Winchester M1 barrels was bad,wish I wouldn't have sold all of them off ,maybe I could have sold 2 off to buy 1 p38 barrel? :D :D
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hi to everyone.

It happened what had to happen. After thinking and analyzing it well I decided to buy this weapon. I'm a gunner, and the opportunity to own one of this type does not occur frequently "where I live", so I paid $ 600 for the gun with two magazines and the hard leather holster. Some of you will think I'm crazy, but I also bought the barrel offered on eBay for $ 520, double crazy???. I have restored weapons for over 19 years so I think I'm going to give it a second chance as a shooter piece of modern history. If my free time permits, I will be sending you photos of the progress of the work, so that I can share it with all of you, ...that is the main point of the Forum, right?


To Prince Humperdink:
Safe decision about do not fire this barrel. WW2 barrels in very good used or new conditions are very rare and very expensive. With all my respect Sir, my opinion is: if you are hard linked with this gun for any special reason, sell your shoes try to find a good barrel that match the rest of the parts (good luck). If not, then I suggest you sell it, assume you made a bad purchase, and buy another one in better operating condition by doing a better pre-purchase inspection.

To 1984Landcruiser:
Good advice.

To MGMike:
Dear Sir, I made a mistake saying this barrel was manufactured by Mauser. This barrel was manufactured in Belgium by FN late wartime, with Fnh and Eagle/WaA76 marks, pristine-mint bore, strong rifing, and no corrosion at all. The only not so good thing that I found, is that the original serial number was removed by milling, producing a small step across the barrel front (please see attached photo).

3d Q: In my original post I asked for a reference price of this gun in this condition. Although I bought it, I will appreciate your expert opinion.

4th Q: Speaking of the headspace, could you guide me where I can get the technical specifications of what is the correct space that this weapon should have, and what is the correct procedure to obtain it? Where can I buy a set of chamber gauges?

Again, thank you very much for all of you!
 

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To Prince Humperdink:
Safe decision about do not fire this barrel. WW2 barrels in very good used or new conditions are very rare and very expensive. With all my respect Sir, my opinion is: if you are hard linked with this gun for any special reason, sell your shoes try to find a good barrel that match the rest of the parts (good luck). If not, then I suggest you sell it, assume you made a bad purchase, and buy another one in better operating condition by doing a better pre-purchase inspection.
I could always make it a snub nose,the chamber is bright,and free of blemish,and the pitting is mostly around the bulge ring? :D
 
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