SOLD FOR: $898.85
Make: This pistol was made by the French at the Mauser Oberndorf factory.
Serial Number: 4857K
Year of Manufacture: 1946
Caliber: 9mm Parabellum
Action Type: Single or Double Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine. This pistol has a de-cocker lever.
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “P.38”, “svw / 46” and “4857k” (“svw” was the last code by Mauser Werke at the end of the war). The left side of frame and the front barrel flat are marked “4857k”. The right side of the slide is marked with a French 5 pointed star. The left barrel flat is marked with three proof marks of what looks like an “R” overstamped with a “W”. The bottom of the barrel stop is marked “857”. The left side of the lug on the bottom of the barrel stop and the left rear of the bolt are marked with a French star. The left side of the front sight is marked “6”. The underside of the right grip is marked “6621” and the upper clip on the underside of the left grip is marked “088”.
Barrel Length: 4.9”
Sights / Optics: The pistol is mounted with a flat topped “U” notched rear sight dovetailed into the slide and a Patridge style blade front sight dovetailed into banded base on the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are serrated black painted steel that enclose the backstrap. The left grip has a lanyard ring protruding through it from the grip frame. The grips appear to have been sandblasted and then painted, and show several very shallow marks under the finish with a fresh mark at the top of the left grip. The right grip is slightly loose on the frame. The grips are in about Very Good condition as re-finished.
Type of Finish: The finish is blued.
Finish Originality: The finish is not original.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling is sharp. There is light erosion the length of the bore.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 99% of its current metal finish. There is some light thinning on the front corners of the slide and three light marks on the top of the barrel. There are also tool marks under the finish on the top of the slide (these are original, typical of a late war finish) and extremely light sanding marks under the finish on the sides of slide (these are not original). There is pitting under the finish along the left side of the slide and in the slide serrations. The safety and takedown serrations are sharp. The grip screw is sharp with light marks of a screwdriver. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol rates in about Fine condition as refinished.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The single action pull has a small amount of creep. The slide is tight to the frame. This pistol was not manufactured with a magazine disconnect. We did not fire this pistol.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with a single stack 8 round parkerized magazine. The left side is marked with a Walther banner logo, “P38” and “9mm”. The rear face of the magazine is marked with an assembly number “1005-12-120-0892” and a “7/58” date code. The body shows minimal wear and the floorplate shows a few light marks and a mark through the finish at the front. The magazine is in about Fine condition.
Our Assessment: The P38 occupies a significant place in history. It was the first locked breech pistol to have a single action/double action trigger. After the start of WWII, Walther could not keep up with the production required, and production was ordered to commence at both Mauser and Spreewerke in 1940. By the end of the war, Walther had only produced about 580,000 of the 1.2 million produced. Up until the beginning of 1945, Mauser Werke had used the code “byf” for identification, but at sometime in early 1945, they switched to “svw”. On April 20, 1945, French troops occupied Oberndorf and in June the Mauser plant began making weapons under French control. In about March of 1946, the French stole most of the machinery and took it back to France. This pistol was is one of those P38’s made by Mauser in 1946. It has matching serial numbers on the barrel, slide, frame and barrel stop. It also has serrated grips made of steel, which were standard on the guns made under French control. Both the pistol and the grips have been refinished and the magazine is a later Walther commercial model. The pistol is in about Fine condition as re-finished with about 99% of its current finish remaining. There are three light marks on the top of the barrel and light thinning on the front corners of the slide. There is also some very light pitting under the finish on the left side of the slide and its serrations. The grips show a few several shallow marks under their finish and a light mark through the finish at the top of the left grip. The bore is gray with sharp rifling but has light erosion the length of the bore. This nice looking pistol is a nice find for the P38 collector. One site we found (http://www.lugerlp08.com/the%20artillery%20luger%20-%20french%20%20parabellum.htm) indicates as many as 35,000 P38’s were produced by Mauser under French control between 1945 and 1946, but however many were made, there were far fewer than made by any of the plants during the war, making them a great collector item. If the collectors don’t show enough interest, this pistol will make someone a great shooter than can be used for home defense or informal target shooting.