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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I bought a P38. I had a P5 a short time ago, and I enjoyed it, but always wanted an original P38 or a postwar P1. One finally came my way in a price point and condition I'd be willing to pay, so I grabbed it this morning. She's an all numbers matching gun produced by Mauser in 1944. The only non matching parts are the magazines, both have Walther inspection stamps as opposed to Mauser's and the one that was serial numbered does not match my gun's serial number. She also does not have any import stamps at all, leading me to believe she might be a bring-back. She does have the initials GWF lightly scribed into the right grip panel though, but it's hardly noticable. This does further solidify my opinion that it's a bring-back, as my grandad did the same thing to the Mauser 1914 he brought back from war. (Also did it to his knife, and pretty much everything else he had over there, bit I digress...)

Based on condition, she seems as if she's been sitting for quite a long time. She had a bit of reddish dust and gunk built up in some of the books and crannies that I spent the afternoon cleaning out prior to a quick trip to the range right before dinner. Makes me wonder if she had spent some time in an old deteriorating holster hence the coloration of the gunk. Other than that, it's clearly been cared for, mostly clean, but dry. The bore was very lightly corroded down it's length, less so after sending some rounds down range.

What surprised me though, was how wonderfully she shot. At a distance of 10 yards, I was producing 2" or less groups with Blazer 124 grain FMJs (standard factory 9mm Luger loads), and she was shooting point of aim, or maybe a little low. I honestly didn't expect a 77 year old gun to shoot as well as it does. Totally makes sense why Beretta stole the design.

So my question is this: the Safety/decocker: it works as far as I can tell, I tested it on the range, with every magazine I loaded in, chambering a round and dropping the hammer for the first shot of each mag. What I see happening when I actuate the safety though, is the hammer dropping, but the trigger pulls back as the sear is lifted upward, and then the trigger stays back until I place the safety back into the fire position at which time it resets. Is this normal? Should the trigger actuate backward when the decocker is used? Does the movement of the trigger in this operation risk deactivating the firing pin block, thus dropping the hammer onto a live firing pin, or does it not quite hit the point where it would push the pin block out of the way?

Also, I did have two light strikes out of 50 rounds fired on the range, but ignition on the second strike in both cases. I believe both occured with DA trigger pulls, one may have been SA. What might I look at to correct this? New hammer spring? Further cleaning, perhaps inside the firing pin channel? The pin itself looks to be in good condition from what I can see of it.

Thoughts on these are greatly appreciated, thanks!


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You've got two great looking pistols there!

Your safety/decocking lever and trigger are operating correctly.

I wouldn't worry about two light strikes out of fifty. You can try and give it a good cleaning. I would concentrate on the firing pin channel and hammer strut but I wouldn't go and change any springs. Not that it would hurt anything but it's a 77 year old warhorse, not your carry gun.

Tell us about that Beretta.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You've got two great looking pistols there!

Your safety/decocking lever and trigger are operating correctly.

I wouldn't worry about two light strikes out of fifty. You can try and give it a good cleaning. I would concentrate on the firing pin channel and hammer strut but I wouldn't go and change any springs. Not that it would hurt anything but it's a 77 year old warhorse, not your carry gun.

Tell us about that Beretta.
Thank you reassuring me everything is on the up and up with this old gal. I just like to keep her running that way for as long as I can. I know there's a hot debate on whether or not I should be shooting it at all, given it's historical value, but I don't buy guns to sit in my safe, everything get used, and meticulously cared for before and after each range trip.

As for the Beretta, that's a model 948 in 22LR. They were produced in the postwar period into the 60s I believe. I've owned 2 of them now, this one, a first model with the fixed front sight on the slide like a model 1934 or 1935 would have, and a second model on which the front sight was moved to the barrel, so that one of two interchangable barrels could be used, a 3" like pictured here or a 6" length. On that one, they slotted the slide where the front sight should be so that the barrels can be easily removed. The other one currently belongs to my grandad who fell in love with it, and so someday it will be back with me, hopefully quite a ways down the road yet.

That said, she's a great little shooter, and a fairly early example made in 1952. I think I like this first model a little better than the second model as she has sharper and deeper rifling leading to much better accuracy than the second model with it's very light shallow rifling. A note to anyone looking at these, they're meant for standard velocity 22 only, and don't take kindly to high velocity 22. The frame is aluminum alloy, and does get battered over time. Only about 76,000 units were ever produced over it's lifespan making it quite a bit more uncommon than midwar P.38s, so just be careful and meticulous in care like I am.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have a follow up question on the P.38 that I cant seem to find an answer to: if I were to be preemptive and swap firing pins, will the postwar round profile pin function in the mid-war P.38s or do I need to stick with the original flat style pin? Would this also require different springs?

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