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.