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Thread: RFI: Walther P38 AC41

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by gato naranja View Post
    Gratuitous plug alert: I really can't say enough good things about Roy Dunlap's book "Ordnance Went Up Front" for an interesting and enjoyable read about many WWII small arms, the P-38 included. If a person is interested in the subject at all, it is well worth reading.
    An interesting book for sure. Ol' Roy was certainly opinionated. He was in Ordnance early enough to see the teething troubles of the Garand and was then of the opinion that the infantry would have been better off with a militarized Model 70.

    From contact in North Africa, he said everybody liked the Beretta SMGs, the Italians, the Germans, the British, the Americans, and the Arabs. He thought the Beretta .380 was a suitable sidearm, the hard kicking .45 unnecessary.

    In the PTO he thought the rate reducer on a BAR 1918 A2 was the source of most of its troubles, clogging up with water and jungle duff. He said you would be better off to find an earlier gun with simple semi-full selector.
    Code Name: JET STREAM

  2. #32
    Member gato naranja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Watson View Post
    An interesting book for sure. Ol' Roy was certainly opinionated.
    My favorite uncle had passed away before I picked up a copy of "Ordnance Went Up Front," but a good deal of what Roy wrote fit reasonably well with what he had said to me. He did, however, think that the 1911 beat the rest of the pack as a pistol that was something more than a badge of authority.

    (That did not stop him from bringing back a couple specimens of the competition.)

    I used to be pretty enamored of the P-08 and the P-38 myself - and had some of each stay with me off and on - but I think Roy was probably right in warming up to to the VIS 35 Radom and the Hi-Power from a "working gun" standpoint.
    gn

    (un VIEJO gato naranja... and still skeptical about humans)

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by gato naranja View Post
    My favorite uncle had passed away before I picked up a copy of "Ordnance Went Up Front," but a good deal of what Roy wrote fit reasonably well with what he had said to me.
    There is a big pond between our countries but our experiences are quite similar: One of my favorite uncles was my uncle Walter. He was a paratrooper in the Bundeswehr in the 70s. The first rifle I shot was an air rifle he gave me. I still remember: I found it funny as a little boy when his brother told me, the pistol of the Bundeswehr is a "Walther". I was like: "Are you kiddin' me?"
    Last edited by P30; 03-31-2021 at 03:27 PM.

  4. #34
    Wag more, Bark less RJ's Avatar
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    Ok, on to the shooting. Assuming the owner is ok with this, what ammo do I run? I currently have the following:

    115 gr Federal American Eagle FMJ (AE9DP)
    124 gr Federal American Eagle FMJ (AE9AP)
    124 gr Blazer Brass FMJ (5201)

    Which one of these would be best? Or do I get something else (not excited about that, due to current ammo conditions being what they are)?

    How about a course of fire? I plan to notify the range I'm shooting an 80 year old pistol, just in case anything exciting happens. I am going to load and chamber one, and shoot it SA. If nothing goes wrong, I'll load two, and verify the safety/decocker, then shoot some more.

    One last question: Does anyone know know where the sights hold on these pistols? I'm going to line up the top of the front post with the center of the notch and see where things end up, and go from there, but I am curious if anyone knows.
    "Don't f*** with it" seems to prevent the vast majority of reported issues." --BehindBlueI's

  5. #35
    Member gato naranja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJ View Post
    Ok, on to the shooting. Assuming the owner is ok with this, what ammo do I run? I currently have the following:

    115 gr Federal American Eagle FMJ (AE9DP)
    124 gr Federal American Eagle FMJ (AE9AP)
    124 gr Blazer Brass FMJ (5201)

    Which one of these would be best? Or do I get something else (not excited about that, due to current ammo conditions being what they are)?

    How about a course of fire? I plan to notify the range I'm shooting an 80 year old pistol, just in case anything exciting happens. I am going to load and chamber one, and shoot it SA. If nothing goes wrong, I'll load two, and verify the safety/decocker, then shoot some more.

    One last question: Does anyone know know where the sights hold on these pistols? I'm going to line up the top of the front post with the center of the notch and see where things end up, and go from there, but I am curious if anyone knows.
    Well, the later standard wartime German 9mm load was a 90-odd grain, steel jacketed bullet which I never worried about emulating, though pre- and early-war military issue 9mm was (IIRC) 124 or 125 grain at about the same velocity of the AE you list. I just used the cheapest available domestic 115 grain FMJ when I was fooling with them. P-38s are not too fussy as far as tolerating different ammo.

    I disliked the sights almost as much as the grips, but I always placed the top of the front blade even with the top of the rear, centered everything as much as possible and hoped for the best.
    gn

    (un VIEJO gato naranja... and still skeptical about humans)

  6. #36
    Original 9mm P was a 124, soon replaced by a 115. Not particularly hot. I wouldn't consider anything like the iron core ersatz bullet.

    I would test the decocker once at most. It locks the firing pin and drops the hammer on it and the lug on the firing pin has been known to break. Best to ease the hammer down as you rotate the lever for regular use.
    The earlier HP retracted the firing pin so the hammer fell on the safety rotor.
    Code Name: JET STREAM

  7. #37
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    If you can, replace the recoil springs

    One weakness of the P38 was that the slide can develop cracks in the area of the locking block recess.

    My first pistol was a P38. For many years, I shot that pistol almost exclusively. I fed it huge amounts of WWII surplus, plus some handholds. I never changed the recoil springs. About 1990, I was oiling it up after a range trip, and I noticed a crack running up the left side of the slide. I knew the importer, and they told me I should have been replacing the recoil springs periodically. I replaced both the springs, and the slide.

    If you examine the P38, next to a Beretta 92, the mechanical similarities are striking.

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by NuJudge View Post
    One weakness of the P38 was that the slide can develop cracks in the area of the locking block recess.
    I know very little about the P38, never fired one. But I found the following article confirming this weakness:

    all4shooters.com/de/shooting/historische-waffen/walther-p-38-und-p1-in-der-praxis-pistolenausbildung-bei-der-bundeswehr-schiessen-handhaben-und-kaufberatung:
    Und es ist nicht zu leugnen, sowohl die Kriegs-P.38 als auch die Bundeswehr-P1 haben ihre Schwachstellen – hier eine davon: Nach 3.000 bis 5.000 Schuss riss oft das Verschlussgehäuse auf der Höhe der Verriegelungs-Aussparung.
    Deepl translation:
    And there's no denying it, both the wartime P.38 and the Bundeswehr P1 have their weak points - here's one of them: After 3,000 to 5,000 rounds, the [slide] often cracked at the level of the locking recess.
    (I only replaced the wrong translation "bolt housing" by "slide").

  9. #39
    Site Supporter JonInWA's Avatar
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    Walther eventually addressed the slide durability issues with a thickened slide version, and later provided a steel hexogonal locking block reinforcing bolt through the receiver. Longevity and durability of the design peaked with the P5, which was one of the 3 guns to successfully get through the German 1970s police pistol trials-the other 2 were the HK P7 and the SIG-Sauer P225. Two German states and the Dutch national police equipped themselves with the P5 as their duty issue weapon.

    Best, Jon

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by JonInWA View Post
    Walther eventually addressed the slide durability issues with a thickened slide version, and later provided a steel hexogonal locking block reinforcing bolt through the receiver.
    If someone was looking for one of the thicker slide P1s, being the hex-bolt is sort of easy to spot, look for serrations that go on both sides of the safety lever (mainly, in front of it). The original slides only had the serrations behind the safety.

    I had a wartime P38... it was ok. The decocking systems do not lend themselves to longevity, and usually are broken. I really wouldn’t trust one to decock on a live round, but rather it actually work. I sold mine, and put the money towards my 92 Brigadier Inox.

    Considered getting a P1 just to have one, but found a Manurhin PP that I’m planning on cleaning up instead.

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