1900 Swiss Commercial Luger  Not for Sale

PHOENIX INVESTMENT ARMS - PREMIUM COLLECTOR LUGERS

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This is a 1900 Model Swiss Contract manufactured by DWM (Deutsche Waffen und Munitions Fabriken) in Berlin. The early Lugers produced for the Swiss were all commercial and when the Luger was adopted as a official sidearm in 1901 the military version were created. This is the classic 7.65mm Luger with the old frame, 120mm pencil barrel, long sear, steel spring flat extractor and dished toggles to name a few of the characteristics of the early 1900 Luger. (895)

 

This Parabellum is 7.65mm which was the preferred caliber for accuracy at that time. It has the 4 3/4" barrel insisted by the Swiss. (Standard DWM manufacture was 118mm).  The extractor is spring steel and the thumb safety was buffed. The trigger guard is the wide version and the trigger is the narrow and beginning in this series it is moved more to the center to accommodate both left and right handed shooter.

This example has all matching serial numbers and is of the long frame without the stock lug and it has matching walnut grips.  The first toggle link is marked with the DWM monogram, and there is the "V" rear sight on the last toggle link. Also it has the Swiss "plugged" magazine characteristic of the Swiss military Parabellum.  This was the 4603rd commercial Luger made by DWM.

See Kenyon -  Lugers at Random, Page 54         See Bobba - Technical History of Swiss Lugers

The magazine is clean and unnumbered (correct) for the gun. While some call this the Swiss magazine it appears earlier than just the Swiss Lugers. However the Swiss liked it and adopted it on most of their Parabellums and the name has stuck.

 

Numbering:  DWM numbered their commercial guns consecutively from 00 in 1900 to approximately 73500 in 1923 when the last pre-war commercials left off. From delivery records we can place the date of manufacture pretty accurately.  Contract guns had their own serial number sequence and although evidence shows two guns manufactured in the same month one  as a commercial  and another contract will bear a different series of number.

The Swiss kept very accurate records of the guns they received. The first 2,000 weapons were received at KMV between 1901 and very early 1903.  They were characterized by the early Type I thumb safety and the serial numbers began between 750 and 1000.

 

Here we can see the Crown B, U, G proofs under the barrel and the Crown B, U on the receiver.  The numbers are applied in the "hidden" matter as customary of DWM Commercial guns.  There is no Swiss Cross to indicate inspection by the Waffenfabrik in Bern and no export markings.

Only in 1900 were the Lugers made with the narrow grip safety, the Type I Flat checkered thumb safety. In the locking well there is the DWM proverbial "smoking bomb" proof erroneously associated with the US Ordinance proof when identified on the 1900 American Eagle test gun.  Made years before the US Test Series this clearly is a DWM Proof.

 

The first two thousand pistols manufactured by DWM were the only ones delivered to the Swiss military administration already finished and matriculated. The military contract was delivered to the Waffenfabrik in Bern which then numbered, inspected and proofed the Lugers before finishing them in Switzerland.

 

Below: The Luger shown in rear battery revealing the fire blued pins, dished toggles and Type I extractor. Collectors prize the guns that are BUG proofed.  The Crown B (Beschuß) means the barrels were tested using a heavier load in accordance with the 1892 proof law. The Crown U (Untersuchung) means it was inspected after assembly and the Crown G (Gozogen) means a rifled barrel, (see below under the barrel).

The bore is shiny with only very minor evidence of characteristic pitting from corrosive primers used in those days. No import markings nor Swiss release stampings or dates. The grip safety is serial numbered to the gun and you can see the leaf main spring and long sear.  Just a very clean example of the very early 1900 Swiss Commercial Parabellum.  All matching serial numbers and a Swiss style magazine.

This Luger came out of a major collection whose owner has provided a good home for this minty Swiss Commercial for the past 40 years. The interior picture shows the matching trigger and grip safety, the Type I Thumb Safety and early leaf recoil spring. Hidden behind the squeeze grip safety is another spring which keeps the grip disengaged until gripped. This very rare early Swiss Commercial is looking for another good home to bring its beauty to another generation.

The barrel is numbered and matches the frame. Present are the Crown B.U.G. proofs of the early Lugers in addition to the early barrel marking system (172.23).  All the proofs are finely struck and very clear. The typeset used for the serial number is characteristic of the DWM factory.  Those guns assembled and numbered at the Bern factory in Switzerland used a larger type and can be quickly differentiated from the DWM serial numbers.

Note the exquisite detail of the original thumb safety in the long thick flat checkered Type I variation.  Type II was the curved checkered and the Type III was the shorter curved grooved which we see on the bulk of the Lugers today.

There is evidence that the Swiss would enlarge the rear sight by converting it to a "U" instead of a "V".  Some writers say the small Swiss cross in front of the sight indicates this is mark of the change but here we have a very early military accepted gun and the rear sight is still a "V", unaltered. Here you can see the small grip safety only found on the truly early 1900 manufactured guns.  This one is truly a classic.

 

There is considerable debate among collectors over the 'military proofs' on some but not all of Swiss Lugers. Research indicates that the guns inspected by the Swiss and finished in Berlin were marked with the Swiss Cross of Geneva on the gun.   To insure deliveries, the factory in Berlin shipped Lugers to Eidgenössische Waffenfabrik in Bern "in the white" with only the DWM Logo. The very early deliveries to the Swiss,

 

The early magazines with the disc have been attributed to the Swiss but in fact it was just a marketing tool the dress up the guns by DWM which made them until 1912.  A good story but not factually true.

Note the placement and matching serial numbers on the early 1900 DWM Lugers.  The number on the locking lug is truly an indicator of the overall authenticity of a 1900.  If you find one with the number missing it would be best to have a specialist examine the gun before you purchase.

 

This is a beautiful example of a very rare 1900 Model Swiss Commercial that was made by DWM and sent to Switzerland for sale in 1900. 

 

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