1906 Swiss Imperial Navy

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This is a 1906 DWM (Deutsche Waffen und Munitions Fabriken) Swiss Imperial Navy This piece is a 8 inch (200 mm) barreled 7.65mm with the Navy adjustable rear sight and commercial unmarked magazine.  This Luger is truly a dichotomy.

 

So what do we have here? At first inspection you would think this is 1906 Commercial Navy that was sent to Switzerland and they installed an eight inch 7.65 barrel.

The serial number is a 3 digit military series with an "a", so it is very early production. Only unlettered through block "b" are know to follow the transition guns with the locking toggle.

Anyone who has collected Lugers for any amount of time has come to understand the Luger rule that in Lugers there are no rules.

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 also appear.

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 locking bolt lug, on the trigger, the bottom of the side plate, and under the first toggle and the rear sight

Now we have a 'Germany' on the side of the receiver, not inconsistent with a commercial Luger, but above that are the Marinen Crown over M stamps of a military issue.

Could this be a commercial Navy converted to a military model due to the know shortages in supplying the initial Navy contract as noted in the January 1906 letter of the Reishs-Marine-Ampt to DWM in Berlin?

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Probably not, because if it were a commercial gun on the shelf it would have had the Crown N commercial nitro proof where the Marinen proofs are now visible.

This Luger has all matching numbers. The finish is 98+% Blued and 98+% straw blued ; the model has a hold open latch and stock lug. The magazine is a commercial  unmarked magazine, (probably installed by the Swiss who didn't number their magazines.

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 1904 Navy incorporated 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.

This is an extraordinary Luger, with a lot of history and probably a one of one Navy with Marinen proofs, Swiss Cross and 8"  7.65mm barrel.  Sometimes we just have to wish it could talk.

 

 

In February 1910 the Secretary of State of the Reichs-Marine-Amt issued an order that all Naval units were to mark all Pistolen 1904 with consecutive weapon numbers within a particular naval unit (letter size 2.5mm) in addition to the unit stamp prescribed by letter of November 1907.

W.K. represented the Werft zu Kiel and were issued to units in the Baltic Sea Station, Marinenstation der Ostsee. This would be the 1,912 pistol of  the Kiel dockyard.

W.W. represented the Werft zu Wilhemshaven and were issued to unit of the North Sea Marinenstation der Nordsee.

This Navy has the thumb safety marked Gesichert but it is the lower position.  In 1912 the order was issued to recall all the 1904 Model (as know to the German Navy) and change the safety from down to up. These are know as the 1st Issue Unaltered.  Very RARE!

 

Here we see again the extended 200 meter rear sight and the thumb safety in the original Unaltered position. Approximately 8000 were made in 1906 and these were all called back to be altered in 1912.

Here we can appreciate the classic beauty of the pencil thin barrel.

 

Our Theory:  This Luger started out as a first Issue Navy and was assigned to the Kiel dockyards where it was unit marked. When these were recalled in 1912 based on the June 1912 order to change the safety from down to up the gun was then stamped "Germany" for export and sold to the Swiss.  They rolled the Swiss Cross on the chamber and installed the 200cm barrel in 7.65mm which was the standard cartridge for the Swiss. It may have been issued or was just used for testing, we don't know.

 

The inside of the gun is clean with no evidence or pitting or rust. It has been cared for many years.  This gun is an exceptional Luger being in such fine shape and bearing all the correct proofs and markings to make it a story-book "Navy".

This Luger might be a one of one making it a must have for the serious Navy or Swiss collector.  Truly collector quality.

 

 

 

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References

See Grtz, The Navy Luger                              See Jan Still, Imperial Lugers P 159

See Kenyon Lugers at Random Page 150.

 

This is a probable one-of-one Swiss Luger variation in this extraordinarily fine condition.

 

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