1904 Imperial Navy

PHOENIX INVESTMENT ARMS - PREMIUM COLLECTOR LUGERS

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This is a 1904 DWM (Deutsche Waffen und Munitions Fabriken) Navy,  (Altered) Imperial Navy Rig.  This piece is a 6 inch (150mm) barreled all-matching 9mm Parabellum with the Navy adjustable rear sight and matching Navy magazine. It has a matching stock, a proofed loading tool, a proofed cleaning rod,  a  two-magazine pouch with two extra matching magazines and a pigskin holster. (1504)

NOTE: Photographs taken today with the high mega-pixel camera show more than we sometimes can see with the human eye. Magnified close-ups show us tool marks and natural surface conditions that one normally doesn't see in the ordinary handling of the weapon. Photographs are copyrighted, all rights reserved, any extraction, reproduction or display of gun pictures without the express consent of the Phoenix Investment Arms is strictly prohibited. Thank you for your cooperation. Please visit Legal (tabbed) for Conditions of Sale.


During the summer of 1904, while the German Imperial Army's procurement department was waiting for the submission of another Mauser pistol and had, as a consequence, postponed adoption of the Parabellum (aka "Luger" and eventually the Pistole 1908--P.08) in caliber 9x19mm, the Kaiserliche Marine commenced a series of trials. On August 1, the Marinestation der Ostsee was given five 9mm Selbstladepistolen Modell 1904 (essentially the Parabellum pistol already extensively tested by the army, with changes as noted below) from the dockyard at Kiel.

SMS Bayern

This biggest battle between battleships ever was a tactical German victory, but it did not change the strategic situation for the Hochseeflotte: Locked up in the North Sea by a British blockade, the German ships were limited to operate in North and Baltic Sea only and could not support the few ships operating outside of Europe.


This is a very difficult gun to find in such a pristine condition. The German Navy was a salt-water service and the survivability of the German Imperial fleet was not enviable.  The Parabellums were initially issued with the safety down but then with the 1908 conversion to safety down the Navy recalled all the Luger's and had the thumb safety modified.

This Navy is the classic; complete with matching magazine. The first toggle link is marked with the DWM logo.  There is the two-position (100-200m) sight on the rear toggle link and the last two digits of the serial number appear on the rear toggle.

Sometime during the life of this Parabellum it was examined by Jan Still (Imperial Lugers Volume IV, Page 161) with two other 1904's. Still put the production of the 1904 at just 300 Lugers. Other writers have suggest the 1904 Navy was just the successor of the 1900-1903 variation that was slowly modified during production as new requirements were recognized by DWM. A prime example is the evolution of the toggle lock.


In August 1904 the German Navy underwent testing of 5, 9mm Selbstladepistolem Model 1904 from DWM. The trial was successful and in September 1904 the Navy asked the Kriegsministerium to order 2,000 Model 1904 navy pistols as soon as possible.  Thus began to first acceptance of the 'Luger' by the German military.  The first 1904 Navy incorporated the old leaf spring and transitioned into the new coil mainspring, the new extractor with the loaded-chamber markings.  These "improvements" were underway during the testing an acceptance of the navy model. The Reichs-Marine-Amt requested the Kriegsministerium to order 2,000 Pistole 1904 from DWM as soon as possible. The finalized contract for 8,000 pistols was delivered to DWM on 12 December 1904.


Serial number placement is in the civilian ("hidden") style.   The serial number appears on the front of the frame, on the bottom of the locking bolt, on the trigger, on the bottom of the barrel, the side plate,  the left side of the receiver, and under the first toggle. The safeties include both the grip safety and the thumb safety.

This Luger has all matching numbers. The magazine is the original with the Marinen Crown Proof and the matching serial number. Here you can see the matching serial number of the barrel, the front of the frame, the locking lever and the bottom of the side plate plus the grips are numbered to the gun.  The trigger guard is the "wide" variation. The magazine is matching with the Marinen Crown Proof & the matching serial number. The concentric ring magazine base is the characteristic of the German Imperial Navy Lugers.

It is easier to see the "fat barrel" width of the 1904 Navy from this angle. The '04 Navy is easy spot with the hefty barrel. .
The interior of the Luger is in excellent condition with all the parts matching. Additionally there is a wide flanged rear toggle pin which began to appear in the 1916 Navy's.  See Kenyon Lugers at Random Page 150. Navy Lugers were always marked in an non-exposed manner as opposed to the Army guns which marked on the face of the side plate and locking lug.
This is the early modification to move the safety to a "thumb down" for safe; under the original configuration, after the modification, the Gesichert has been milled out and then stamped with a different font (left up)

So within the German WWI official designation of the Pistolen 1904 (Navy) collectors have established four categories briefly distinguished as Old Model (with the right rear toggle lock, - extremely rare); the 1906 1st Issue Unaltered (thumb up-safe, no toggle lock), the 1906 1st Issue Altered (thumb down-safe, milled/filled and re-stamped Gesichert) and finally the 2nd Issue with the manufactured down-safe configuration.


This is one of the early "pig skin" holsters made for the Navy. The German Navy was the first contract ordered and there were little specifications in effect.

The magazine pouch  is cross-stitched to fit either the horizontal or vertical strap attachment but also can be belt worn. Pictured left up is the two matching magazines within the pouch. Above right is the two-position rear Navy sight. Below is the Marinen proofed cleaning rod with the swivel head and brass tip.

This transitional toggle locking mechanism is a combination of the 1900 model with the spring lock but without the dished toggle. Only the 1903 French and the 1904 Navy were part of this transitional variation. Upon firing the toggle train moved reward and the spring lock disengaged allowing the toggle to ride up the rear of the receiver and go into full rear battery to eject the spent casing and then spring driven forward to load, cock and prepare the weapon to fire while the toggle spring rode over the locking ledge to hold it in place.


This 1904 variation was produced from late 1904 to early 1905 and was characterized by a flat mainspring, toggle lock (both one-piece and modified-type), a "fat" barrel and a grip safety These are quite rare, with an estimated production of only 300 pistols. The 1904 Navy continued to be modified during its production until the 1906 model was produced for the field with the dual diced toggles, coil spring and other modifications. These too were initially created with the thumb-up safety and were also sent back for modification to thumb-up to fire as the Army model 1908 models were produced.


The interior of the Luger is in excellent condition with all the parts matching. These rare versions with the leaf main spring were among the first 2000 made. Additionally there is a wide flanged rear toggle pin which began to appear in the 1916 Navy's; this Luger has been send back more than once for modifications.  See Kenyon Lugers at Random Page 150. Above we can see the serial number on the grip safety was on the side and not at the top by the sear stop. Navy models always had hidden serial numbers.

The grips are serial numbered and proofed to the gun and the loading tool has the Marinen proof.  Not only is this a very rare Parabellum but it is complete with all the accessories with which it was worn by a German Imperial sailor.  This Luger is identified as a curio and can be send directly to C&R licensees and above.   Questions to: josef@phoenixinvestmentarms.com  

Above: The stock iron is numbered to the gun.

Right: The Navy Pouch with two additional matching magazines.


Beginning in the Spring of 1906 delivery was begun for the true 'Pistole 1904'. By that time all the changes had been made to the toggle lock (eliminating) and changing the 60 dicing on the toggle-grip. There was the retention of the grip safety but the controversy over the direction of the thumb safety had begun.


IMPERIAL NAVY SAFETY

The original 1904 Model (with the toggle lock) were issued with the 'up-safe' thumb safety configurations.  So too were the original 1906 Models. The 1908 model came out with the safety reversed to reflect "down-safe" since it was felt more natural to push up to fire.

The German Navy then wanted the safety moved to the upward position to match the '08 models that had been issued. This resulted in the recalling of all the weapons issued and the thumb safety was reversed; a the Gesichert was milled out (in some instances crudely filled).  So now we have the down-safe model. 

The picture at left is a 1906 1st Issue (Unaltered) and is a very rare specimen of this series. (This is not the gun for sale.)

Some of the originally issued guns were not sent back to the factory for the conversion of the safety and as such became are rarity.

 

This gun is known as a 1st Issue Altered. This is an early altered example where the Gesichert is simply milled out.

 

Collectors refer to these as the 1st Issue Altered.  Then came the 2nd Issue (collector name) where the safety was filled, buffed and stamped in the down-safe configuration like the 1908 model.

 

The picture at left:  is a 1906 First Issue Altered meaning that that gun was factory modified with the safety in the Upward Position. (This is not the gun for sale.)safety.  Not the font of the Gesichert is with first letter capitalized and balance in small set of a different font than DWM used throughout the life of the Parabellum

As with the other Imperial DWM the thumb safety was 'straw' blued.

This is a 1902 2nd Issue:

Note how the type font has changed to the standard GESICHERT and the thumb up makes it ready to fire.

 

 



So within the German WWI official designation of the Pistolen 1904 (Navy) collectors have established four categories briefly distinguished as Old Model (with the right rear toggle lock, - extremely rare); the 1906 1st Issue Unaltered (thumb up-safe, no toggle lock), the 1906 1st Issue Altered (thumb down-safe, milled/filled and re-stamped Gesichert and finally the 2nd Issue with the manufactured down-safe configuration.


This is a seldom seen Luger variation in this extraordinarily good condition. The right locking toggle, unique to this transitional Luger is only shared by the French 1903 contract variation.  The stock matches the serial number of the gun and it comes with an early pigskin navy holster, proofed loading tool and cleaning rod. All matching serial number plus the matching Navy magazines in a pouch. This 1904 Altered is offered for $12,500.00 for an over-the-counter cash purchase.  Questions to: josef@phoenixinvestmentarms.com



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