1900 American Eagle Army Test Luger 

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There is an "American Eagle" from the US Great Seal over the Chamber and the DWM (Deutsche Waffen-und Munitionsfabriken AG) on the first toggle link. The serial number falls well into the range of the US Military Test Guns from the trials conducted in 1901    (2038)

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In 1898 Hans Tauscher Letter requested Borchardt Pistol Test Results 1898-0314-tauscher-request-for-borchardt-test-results AH Funke Letter attempting to sell US Government 1000-2000 Borchardts at $17.50 each, implying that test results for Borchardt had been received and that it had passed the tests satisfactorily  The order for the 1901 test consisted of two shipments of 800 Parabellum and then 200 Parabellum :

 

The frame is the old model with the American Eagle seal over the chamber. The thumb safety is the Type II and is not marked but is polished and the extractor is the leaf type. The safety is the squeeze grip with the thumb safety "safe" in the up position. The Serial Number is 4 digits with no "Germany" marked export stamp. These models did not have a stock lug but do have a hold open.

 

See Michael Reese III, 1900 Luger  US Test Trials, for information on these one of one thousand US Military Test guns.  Specific characteristics of the 1st Test Lugers are: Serial No 6099-7098, 7.65mm, 4 3/4" Barrel, no export (Germany) markings, Great Seal of US over chamber, no proofs, commercial style numbering, rust blue finish with strawed small parts.

 

Illustrated is the locking lever marked on the opposite side, with the last two digits of the serial number. This Parabellum is 7.65mm, and serial number placement is in the commercial ("hidden") style.    This is fine, well struck example.  The front site is dovetailed fixed with the standard site blade. The rear sight is "V" cut.

 
 

In the spring of 1901 Col. Frank H. Phipps requested a meeting with Hans Tauscher the DWM representative in New York.  From that meeting two Lugers were procured for preliminary testing by the United States Army Ordinance Board.  Two Lugers arrived in March 1901 and testing began on March 18th with Hans Tauscher showing the Board how the Luger functioned.  These tests were successful and the Army ordered exactly 1000 Parabellums at $14.75@ and $ .85 for the magazines. After arrival they were shipped to Springfield Armory for official acceptance.

 

 

Above: The Great Seal was not a request from the US but was found to be a great sales tool by DWM when used on the Swiss Lugers. It was so well accepted that DWM began to put State crests on all their contract gun leaving us with these beautiful pieces today.

 

Below: Note the "flaming bomb" on the magazine.  This was at one time thought to be a US Ordinance proof but has not been established that this was a DWM inspectors proof and has nothing to do with the Army Test Guns also found on other similar period Parabellums.  Matching barrel and frame and absence of any proofs.


In December 1901 the US Army ordered Rock Island Arsenal to produce a holster and rig for the distribution of the Test Guns to the various military units.  During the US Government testing in 1901/02 of the 1900 Parabellum the American Eagle was employed as a sales tool and when the second test began in 1907 with the order for another 1000 pistols from DWM and 1000 holsters from the Rock Island Arsenal they all had the American Eagle. The acceptance by first the Swiss and then the Americans for their national symbol on the gun highlights the "contract gun series"

 

The holsters were issued to the calvary troops and are among the most rare of the army holsters ever issued. Made with the distinctive US in the circle and stitched with cowhide for strength this 100+ year old holsters have served their time.
Below the gun has been cared for with minor evidence of wear and discoloration under the grips.  Type II thumb safety, long sear and grip safety numbered on the flat of the grip and not on the above frame extension.

The production of these guns occurred in 1901 which is the year that DWM switched the thumb safety from the long flat checkered to the short fine checkered design. The early 1900-1901 Lugers had the small grip safety while the 1902 began the wide grip safety.  Above Right:  We can see the "flaming bomb" which is a DWM proof that also appears on the magazine bottom.


 In 1904, 50 of the Lugers were ordered in the 9mm configuration with the Powell Cartridge Indicating device installed.  these are believed to come from the original purchase which were shipped back to Germany, reworked, refurbished and had the G.H. Powell Cartridge Device and special magazine installed.  This took some time and these were received in 1904 and shipped to Ft Riley KS (25) and 25 to the President of the Calvary Board. On April 10, 1907 Ft. Riley sent back 24 to the Springfield Armory but did not take a part in the 1907 testing of the 9mm Luger.

 
While the US Military did not select the Luger they didn't reject it either.  After many tests of both the 7.65mm and 9mm Lugers the US Army was provided the .45 cal Luger which after April 1908 DWM suspended the US Tests due to the military contracts for the Luger by Germany. 

The short fine checkered thumb safety and the two number serial number on the small parts represents the 1901 criteria of the DWM manufactured Lugers. 

 

 In 1904, 50 of the Lugers were ordered in the 9mm configuration with the Powell Cartridge Indicating device installed.  these are believed to come from the original purchase which were shipped back to Germany, reworked, refurbished and had the G.H. Powell Cartridge Device and special magazine installed.  This took some time and these were received in 1904 and shipped to Ft Riley KS (25) and 25 to the President of the Calvary Board. On April 10, 1907 Ft. Riley sent back 24 to the Springfield Armory but did not take a part in the 1907 testing of the 9mm Luger.

 

 

The test pistols were delivered in two lots in October 1901 and were disseminated as follows:

     10 - United State Military Academy, West Point

     15 - The Presidio of San Francisco

     10 - Fort Hamilton, New York

     40 - Fort Riley, Kansas

   925 - 5 Each commanding officer of the 185 troops of cavalry

 

This is a really nice Test Eagle and falls well within the series of documented test guns of the  American Eagle stamped Lugers.  This Luger is in excellent condition and shows the honest wear of an original piece and is offered for $7,895.00 over-the-counter with the reservation that the gun may be sold before being posted as such on the internet.

We reserve the right to sell any internet offering to a direct sale and do not warrant the availability of any firearm that do not have a cash deposit. This gun may be withdrawn without notice for in-store sale.
Call for availability Any questions or request for additional pictures email to josef@phoenixinvestmentarms.com.

 

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