Shooting a WW2 Luger?

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Garyedge
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Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by Garyedge » Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:40 pm

my best friends dad has A vintage Luger, and well were gunna shoot it, but we were kinda arguing about what to do with it. I was thinking about handloading lower pressure rounds to do as little damage as possible or at least to ww2 standards. He was saying we should just use standard 9mm.
Is it a good idea/bad idea or should we just not shoot it at all, and i will provide pictures when i get the chance which should be within the next week or two.
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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by squinty » Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:46 pm

Garyedge wrote:my best friends dad has A vintage Luger, and well were gunna shoot it, but we were kinda arguing about what to do with it. I was thinking about handloading lower pressure rounds to do as little damage as possible or at least to ww2 standards. He was saying we should just use standard 9mm.
Is it a good idea/bad idea or should we just not shoot it at all, and i will provide pictures when i get the chance which should be within the next week or two.
Maybe let a qualified smith go over it first and make sure it's OK to fire. Replace springs and worn parts, etc.?
At least one ZS poster has a family heirloom 9mm Luger. That person might have some advice for you.
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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by BullOnParade » Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:53 pm

Luger is one of the neatest actions I've ever handled. Hoping for pics when you get it out.
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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by Garyedge » Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:08 pm

I'll post pictures regardless, but from what i understand it hasn't been fired, well since it came home with some lucky GI. I know that is only been taken out to be oiled and cleaned, so maybe we dont have to take it to a gun smith. But regardless i dont want to damage the guns collector's value although i dont think it would ever be sold. Thats why i wanted to use lower power loads.
"Our dog is a good hunter/ killer too. He has taken ground hogs before and could likely land something much larger if he could get a hold of it. The difference is that he is doesn't play psychological games with his prey. He kills it, eats it and rolls around in the remains. Just like people" - Blacksmith

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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by Kopf-Jaeger » Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:05 pm

Gary, as long as you dont blow the gun up you wont hurt it's value..it's already been fired and in a war! LOL. I fire my old WWII Luger and P-38s never had a problem yet. Do yourself a favor ALWAYS have an older gun checked by a gunsmith before you fire it. You never know who may have finger-f*cked it during the war so why take a chance. Also it's cheap insurance just to replace the springs beforehand. Remember, the Germans used the same round in the P-08 "Luger" that they did in the MP38 and 40 so unless you get crazy with some hot round you should be alright.
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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by Dasho101 » Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:28 pm

i collect those old ww2 guns... im luck i have a gunsmith friend who showed my what to look for (best done hands on) never gone so far as to xray or any thing like that.... but at the very minimum for the first few clips/mags (my carcano is clip fed) its tied a tire or a rest and shot with a string pull till im extra sure it wont go grenade on me
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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by Big B » Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:43 pm

To echo what others said, have a reputable gunsmith take a look at it before shooting it. Especially if it is unknown when it was last shot.

As far as the ammo, my understanding is European 9mm was "hotter", even back then, so it should be able to handle commercial standard pressure ammo. Although it wouldn't hurt to double check on that with a gunsmith before shooting. :wink:

I love shooting my 9mm Luger, it's a fun gun with a lot of history! :)

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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by Skull_Hide » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:30 am

We have a WWII Luger and to sum it up hot loads won't hurt it, hell, it needs them. German 9mm rounds were loaded pretty hot from what I understand, one reason I've heard is they were needs in their sub machineguns. We have plenty boxes of the Winchester 9mm LEO ammo and it wasn't hot enough to fully cycle the Luger's toggle design. So you might get some failures unless you use a potent load.
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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by Oneswunk » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:16 am

Like others have said it will handle modern loads fine. I have my grandfathers P08 with a couple unmatched part numbers, story is he brought it home but I have yet to confirm that.

It was beat and had a bit of rust when I got it from my grandmother but I cleaned it up and its now one of my favourite pistols to shoot. Have it checked out if need be and enjoy.

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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by Garyedge » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:47 am

thanks guys for all the awesome info. I love those guns, I'm actually a pretty new/crappy pistol shot. So i wont be doing accuracy test, or anything its gunna just be to experience the pistol and have that connection. I also plan on doing a little research on the pistol to see if its actually a World War II gun. I haven't actually seen the pistol yet but I'm excited. Were gunna shoot for Wednesday or Saturday depending on what my work schedule will look like.

also those pictures already posted are beautiful and gets me excited to shoot this luger.
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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by Trebor » Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:49 pm

My understanding is the thing with the Luger is that it actually needs ammo with a certain pressure curve for the propellent. If the "spike" is at the wrong time (too soon or too late) you can get function problems.

The common misconception is that a Luger needs "hot" ammo is not exactly correct. It's not so much that it needs higher pressure/higher velocity pressure, as it is that it needs ammo that more closely replicates the pressure curve of the original 9mm loads. I believe that means it needs a relatively faster burning powder instead of a slower burning powder.

I'd try some decent quality FMJ ammo in 124 grain. I don't know what out there would most closely replicate the original loads, but I'd specifically stay away from Winchester White Box, Blazer aluminium, and steel cased ammo.

Try some higher quality 124 gr FMJ stuff and see what works. I'd stick with standard pressure loads as well.
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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by Trebor » Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:49 pm

My understanding is the thing with the Luger is that it actually needs ammo with a certain pressure curve for the propellent. If the "spike" is at the wrong time (too soon or too late) you can get function problems.

The common misconception is that a Luger needs "hot" ammo is not exactly correct. It's not so much that it needs higher pressure/higher velocity pressure, as it is that it needs ammo that more closely replicates the pressure curve of the original 9mm loads. I believe that means it needs a relatively faster burning powder instead of a slower burning powder.

I'd try some decent quality FMJ ammo in 124 grain. I don't know what out there would most closely replicate the original loads, but I'd specifically stay away from Winchester White Box, Blazer aluminium, and steel cased ammo.

Try some higher quality 124 gr FMJ stuff and see what works. I'd stick with standard pressure loads as well.
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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by Tribunal Power » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:36 pm

My uncle has a WW2 Luger in his little pistol collection. I've been privelaged to shoot it. Granted, it was before I was really into guns (it was one of the first guns I'd fired) but I do know he used standard Wally world ammo in it, and it performed with no problems.

I'm not saying this is a good idea-- there are lots of people here who know way more than I do about it. Hell, I don't even own the thing. I just thought I'd offer my experience-- the gun neither jams nor explodes if you use normal ammo.

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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by squinty » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:39 pm

Tribunal Power wrote:My uncle has a WW2 Luger in his little pistol collection. I've been privelaged to shoot it. Granted, it was before I was really into guns (it was one of the first guns I'd fired) but I do know he used standard Wally world ammo in it, and it performed with no problems.

I'm not saying this is a good idea-- there are lots of people here who know way more than I do about it. Hell, I don't even own the thing. I just thought I'd offer my experience-- the gun neither jams nor explodes if you use normal ammo.
Yeah, I have nothing useful to add beyond my "have a professional check it out first" suggestion, but I felt like chiming in again just to say what a bad-ass little pistol that is, and how jelly I am.

Oh, and I'm sure you know, don't refinish it if you want to preserve the colectible value.
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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by Sheriff McClelland » Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:41 pm

US mfg over the counter range/target ammo is probably loaded down from the WWII spec ammo . Buy a box of American Eagle 115/124 gr or equivalent and have at it .

We'll assume the pistol is in solid condition .
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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by ZomCon Sargeant » Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:46 pm

My friend just inherited his Grandfather's WW2 Luger, his Grandfather was a WW2 US Soldier that "aquired" it by means of his service. I was fortunate enough to shoot it at our local indoor gun range. His father had an experienced gunsmith take apart, inspect, clean, and reassemble it about ten years ago. They have celaned it every year since. I am greatful to have stubbled across this thread and learn that you should use 124gr FMJ when shooting a WW2 Luger as it jammed a couple of times on us while using 115gr FMJ ammunition. I will let him know what I just learned here. Thanks!
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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by willo » Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:00 pm

There is something I'm not clear on, but as a Luger owner myself I'd be interested in finding out.
Modern 9mm pistol ammo has the same physical dimensions as what was issued for the Lugers but I've read conflicting opinions about the powder loads, etc.
I've seen ammo labeled "9MM Luger" and wonder if it's the same load as what is used in modern 9's.
I also have a 9mm Tokarev, mostly because I wanted something in that caliber but It's been awhile since I studied what to fed 'em.

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Re: Shooting a WW2 Luger?

Post by raptor » Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:09 pm

willo wrote:There is something I'm not clear on, but as a Luger owner myself I'd be interested in finding out.
Modern 9mm pistol ammo has the same physical dimensions as what was issued for the Lugers but I've read conflicting opinions about the powder loads, etc.
I've seen ammo labeled "9MM Luger" and wonder if it's the same load as what is used in modern 9's.
I also have a 9mm Tokarev, mostly because I wanted something in that caliber but It's been awhile since I studied what to fed 'em.
9x19mm was developed by George Luger due to military concerns over the power of the 7.65x 21mm round.
Hence the the name 9mm Luger or Parabellum are used for 9x19mm.

Obviously more modern propellants and rounds are employed now and are different from those employed in the original round but it is essentially the same round.

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