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Thread: Walther P38

  1. #1
    GypsyBill's Avatar
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    Walther P38

    The friend that I bought my Glock 23 from has a 1962 vintage unfired P38 (with holster) that he wants to sell me for $325.. from what I have seen at various auction sites, etc, that doesn't sound like a bad price.. I haven't been to his house to see the weapon yet but before I do I am digging around for some information/advice. I am not a collector (yet) and really don't want something I won't shoot... would a P38 (basically new) be something I would want to take to the range a blow holes in paper or would it be valuable (someday) enough to keep as a "safe queen" unfired as it is? They are interesting guns that look like they might be fun to shoot and maybe slap some nice wood grips on, etc... but I wouldn't want to if it might be worth more to keep and possibly sell at a later date for a profit (or to fund another weapon)...

    Thanks in advance....

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    btt

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    The worth of a P38 or P1 is mainly in the slide and frame markings and the date manufactured. For instance, my P38 is a decomissioned West German Police 221 pistol made in 1960. Mine is worth about average due to quite a few of them flooding the market in the late '80's.

    However $325 sounds like a very fair price for any P38 new in box. They are fun to shoot and the history behind them make them an even better buy. That is for those that are interested in history.

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    Thanks for the info... I am going to try and see it this week... It sounds like it would make a fun range gun with a bit of history (not this particular weapon but the mark in general) that would be a reliable shooter...maybe I can get him to give up some on the price since so many are showing up now..

    Thanks again..

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    uncut's Avatar
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    If the P38 is LNIB and comes with test target that is #'ed and box that is #'ed it is a good price.....
    however I would not use it as a shooter too much...
    the P38's went through some updates.... that came later on and you can buy a P1 shooter for the same money
    there is a hex pin in the frame and the slide was thickened ...
    I have a commercial P38 from '66 that comes with all the goodies and I paid more than your friend is asking for....
    for that money you won't loose any down the road as they all will just increase in value

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    Update... Finally got my hands on the Pistol in question and it turns out to be a P1... other than that it is as he described.. I am taking it home tonite for my wife to do a "test fit" and a more complete look over... at first glance it shows no evidence of ever being fired (just some wear marks from sitting in a plastic bag in a box for years). The holster has never been used as it is very stiff. He can't remember if it had the cleaning kit/manual when he bought it but is going to look tonite.. (he is basically cleaning out his collection as he approaches mandatory retirement)...

    So it looks like it would be more of a shooter than a display piece..

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    The plot thickens... got it home and really started looking at it... on the slide it is marked "Walther P1 Kal 9mm" and under that is 10/82 not 62 as it looked in the parking garage... guess he really never looked that hard either. The last 3 numbers of the serial number on the frame are on the slide back near the safety... the right side of the frame has assorted stamps "mfg Germany" "C.A.I. Georgia VT" with what looks like W190 and W 5.99 stamped over that (hard to tell as these stampings are kinda blurred).. both magazines are stamped "Walther P38 9mm"... one with a date of 10/61 and one stamped 10/62. Holster is dated 9/78..

    The action is smooth and positive (put some snap caps in it and it works flawlessly), a few nicks on the feed ramp but no wear marks anywhere else on the receiver/action. The slide is unmarred and the wear on the frame looks like rubbing from the holster/storage.. gonna keep up my research and probably buy it if the price is right...

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    uncut's Avatar
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    FWIW
    buy it for a shooter.... at that price you are still not loosing anything even at $325

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    Well (and I will probably regret this) but I passed on it at that price... it has been refurbed twice (probably not an issue) and I started having doubts... problem is now... I am hooked on owning one..so the quest begins to find one locally that I will be comfortable with now that I am "armed" with a little more knowledge of what to look for...thanks for the info guys...

  10. #10
    uncut's Avatar
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    OK
    well if it was refurbed twice yes that price was high....
    I thought it was LNIB... and thought it was unissued in that condition.....

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncut View Post
    OK
    well if it was refurbed twice yes that price was high....
    I thought it was LNIB... and thought it was unissued in that condition.....

    Yep, initially that is what I was lead to believe... but, through the wonders of the internet, I was pointed to a forum that is dedicated to P38/P1, PP/PPK and was better able to decifer the stampings... my friend had just never investigated (bought the pistol as unfired - probably was since the last refurbishment) it too deeply.. he just put it in his safe until recently...

    Thanks again to all that responded...

  12. #12
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    As a P-38 owner...

    ... I do hope you find one you like. My interest in shooting, dormant for almost 35 years, was rekindled just a couple years ago when my father-in-law presented me with a 9mm P-38 (Walther design, of course, but manufactured in the last months of the war by Mauser). He'd captured it while trundling through Germany as a tank commander in Patton's army. He captured this gun when a German officer surrendered to him, and had kept it in its original holster since 1945. Needless to say, I was quite flattered he'd entrust such an heirloom to me. So, it joined my Colt Huntsman, and gnawed at my mind and memories until last summer, a family friend hauled me out to his deer lease (having some trouble with deer feeders) and I hauled along both pistols and some ammo.

    Much to my delight, I was able to hit pretty well with the Colt (a VERY accurate little .22) at the printed target on the corn bag at 80 feet or so, so I loaded up the P-38, chambered a round, sllooooooowly squeezed the trigger, and -- nothing. Again, and again, and again -- nothing.

    Post mortem, back at home, revealed that the trigger bar spring had slipped off the trigger bar. That was easily repaired, of course!

    The next outing for the P38 was the local indoor range. I talked with the fellas behind the counter, who sort of whistled when I laid the gun before them, and said "you might not want to shoot that". I asked if there was anything that would make such an old gun dangerous to shoot, either for it, or for the shooter. "No, it was designed to shoot. But it is a relic, and some of these variations are pretty rare and collectible." Well, that was enough for me.

    It shoots marvellously. Trigger is a bit heavy by range standards, but the P38 is a very rugged and reliable design, described well as "soldier-proof" (very hard to fire accidentally). One notable oddity, though: the magazines are said to be for 8 cartridges, and hold 8 cartridges, but if I put 8 into the magazine, the first round almost always fails to load; it will jam. I have never had ANY failures of any kind, with probably 2000 rounds of my own through this gun, if I load only 7 rounds into the magazine. With 7 rounds only in the mags, it has been 100% utterly and entirely reliable, and very accurate. MUCH more accurate than my eyes can make it. With the butt resting on a carpeted block, I am limited by my ability to reproduce the sight picture on its iron sights. I get 3-4" groups at 15 yards, no fliers. Were I better able at 55 to resolve the front sight, I think the gun would probably do better.

    As for the latter-day models, although I have neither owned nor fired the newer ones, the West German Police decommissioned a whole bunch of these in the 1980s, some never issued, and I have seen several of these in gun stores in Texas, priced from $299 (used) to $350 (never issued, as-new).

    Also, I DID pick up a lovely set of walnut grips at a local gun store, which improved the feel of the gun quite a lot, and its appearance hugely. $35 well-spent guards against accidentally damaging the relatively delicate original celluloid grips. Besides, they were ugly...

    Hope you find a good P38 or P1. It's a fun an historic piece!


    B3nT

    P38 9mm 1945 war trophy
    P99 QA 9mm
    Hämmerli Trailside .22 (SiG)
    Colt Huntsman .22 1968
    Beeman Webley Hurricane
    Hawken rifle, ca 1810
    Sharps Rifle, ca 1863

  13. #13
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    B3nT,

    Great post and thanks for the info that it contained... I am still looking (actually waffling) for the "right one"... got several good leads... one actually local (has some P38s in very good to excellent condition so the shop owners says - will try and visit him this weekend) and leads to unissued P1s online.. all good prices for shooters (around $300 + shipping and/or taxes)... I just have to "get off the dime" or quit looking..

    Don't know what exactly has hooked me on the prospect of owning/shooting one of these Walthers, but it has... like a guy says on a car show I used to watch "Do I need a P38/P1.. no..do I want one .. Yes"... trouble is I want another .22lr pistol as well and at some point the other half is gonna brain me with my range bag if I keep buying pistols ..

  14. #14
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    This is the one I ended up getting... from Dan's Ammo...


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    Nice. Did you hit the range yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenglish View Post
    Nice. Did you hit the range yet?

    Thanks and not yet to the range.... got it home and cleaned up and will try to hit the range Sunday.. it is supposed to storm here tomorrow and we are going to a local gunshow.. can't wait to try it out thou...

  17. #17
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    Here you go. It's $240 for one (Should you need a second)

    http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/Walther.html

    What did Dan's ammo charge?

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    Thanks for the link... at that price I may just pick up another one... paid $299 from Dan's.. unissued may account for the cost.. but then again the ones at aimsuplus may be the same.. might call and find out...

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