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Article created: Thursday, April 24, 2014
Article modified: Saturday, November 8, 2014
One-of-a-kind configured .45 Cal Luger, stamped R1
and only known, extant, original 2-page 1907 dated letter, personally signed by
Georg Luger to Brigadier General William Crozier,
U.S. WAR DEPARTMENT Office of Chief of Ordnance.
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About the Letter

This article begins featuring an original typed two page, one-of-a-kind, very historical letter personally signed by Georg Luger to Brigadier General William Crozier, U.S. Army Chief of Ordinance[1]. The letter, typed on St. Regis Hotel Company letterhead, New York City, high quality bond paper stationary, details the results of Luger's personal testing of the only known 1907 .45 Cal FA 4 06 chambered Luger at the U.S. Army Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. This letter represents Georg Luger's personal involvement and final effort to sell the .45 Cal FA 4 06 Luger to the U.S. Army. Formally of the E. Scott Meadows collection, featured on page 389 of U.S. MILITARY AUTOMATIC PISTOLS 1894 – 1920, © 1993 (see below), the letter is currently part of the LOB collection.


U.S. MILITARY AUTOMATIC PISTOLS 1894 – 1920 by E. Scott Meadows

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The typewritten text on the back side of the second page of this two page letter was added on the same day in New York City as the January 26, 1907 St. Regis Hotel letterhead dated first page, while the Office of Chief of Ordnance WAR DEPARTMENT receipt stamp is dated January 28, 1907, two days later. Since New York City is approximately 142 miles from Springfield, Massachusetts and it is not certain that Crozier was in Springfield at the time, or for that matter, if ever personally involved with the Springfield small arms tests, therefore, the letter was probably delivered, either by mail or courier to the Washington, DC WAR DEPARTMENT, Office of the Chief of Ordnance as indicated in the letter, which is 214 miles from New York City. Washington, DC is where Georg Luger probably intended to meet with Brigadier General William Crozier. Based on the pin hole in the upper left corner of each page of the two-page letter, suggests that it was considered a very important document from the inventor of the Luger, that after it was read, should be displayed for everyone to see, was subsequently, pinned on a message board, and based on the rust mark or stain around the hole, probably for a long time.

The records indicate that throughout the U.S. Army small arms test program with the Luger, much correspondence transpired between Hans Tauscher, the DWM local representative, and General Crozier. The subject Luger letter is important for several reasons, mainly that it is the only known documented Georg Luger signed, English language correspondence regarding the .45 Cal FA 4 06 barrel chambered Luger and the 1907 U.S. Army small arms test program. Secondly, the mention in the letter of Luger’s intent to demonstrate his new "Automatic Repeating" rifle to Crozier, at the time, only a prototype not widely known to the world, never took place, and for whatever reason the rifle mentioned was never submitted to any other government. Finally, in the letter where Luger states his urgent need to return to Germany is widely interpreted to mean he was needed by DWM, which was negotiating the largest Luger contract to date for DWM with the German Army for what was to be forever known as the P.08 or Pistole 08, the standard issue handgun serving the German Army during both World Wars.

.45 Cal Luger R1

Featured is a very unique and one-of-a-kind configured .45 Cal Luger, stamped R1. It was assembled for Dr. G. Sturgess by M. Krause of KrausewerK, San Mateo, California in the mid-2000s using a spare original DWM .45 Cal head stamped FA 4 06 cartridge chambered, 120 mm barrel provided by G. Sturgess. R1 is stamped on the frame front only, with the only other stamping being an entwined GL logo on the rear link.  

The unique, one-of-a-kind KrausewerK configuration .45 Cal Luger with an Aberman reproduction receiver, toggle link assembly and frame with an unusual 60 degree grip angle, is fitted with the G. Sturgess original DWM FA 4 06 chambered 120 mm barrel spare that was originally made up for the 1906/7 U.S. Army trials test program. An identical 120 mm FA 4 06 .45 Cal barrel configured example, except with a production 55.5 degree angle frame, was personally tested by Georg Luger at Springfield Armory in January 1907 with the test results described in a January 26, 1907 personal, two page letter signed by Georg Luger addressed to Brigadier General William Crozier, U.S. Army Chief of Ordnance.

Prior to the exception of G. Sturgess test firing of R1, defined by Sturgess as a hybrid, with modern M1911 .45 ACP rounds, after receipt from KrausewerK, the only other ammunition ever fired through this barrel was by DWM in Berlin, 100 plus years ago, and would have been 1906 Frankford Arsenal manufactured/provided trials FA 4 06 head stamped cartridges[*] and/or period DWM manufactured DWM K 513 head stamped .45 caliber ammunition.  A DVD video recording, which included the firing of .45 Cal Luger R1 was done by Sturgess titled: PARABELLUM-The Story of the Luger was provided with purchase of his three volume book set titled: The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols.

Click here to view video of the firing of R1 narrated by G. Sturgess.

M. Krause of KrausewerK is noted for his excellent work in the modern incarnation of the Aberman .45 Cal ACP Luger, whose introduction was featured in the March 1998 issue of Guns and Ammo magazine. The balance of R1, excluding the fitting of the original DWM FA 4 06 chambered 120 mm barrel, was engineered and patterned by KrausewerK from the original Aberman .45 Cal ACP Luger, which is currently fitted with a possible replacement 120 mm long barrel, chambered for the DWM 513A or FA M1911 round, also known as .45 ACP.  

G. Sturgess has written extensively about the 1907 U.S. Army trials of the .45 Cal FA 4 06 chambered 120mm barrel Luger in Pistole Parabellum, volume 1, chapter eighteen titled: The US .45 Cal M1907 Parabellum, pages 455 – 467 and The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols, aka TBLAP, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1627 – 1637 and will not be presented herein, except for sections that specifically address the details specific to the subject serial number R1, .45 Cal Luger and 1907 original DWM trials spare installed 120mm FA 4 06 chambered barrel.

Since the acquisition of .45 Cal Luger serial number R1, conversations with G. Sturgess and other Luger collectors/dealers have resulted in further discussions regarding the existing historical data, in addition to the information presented in TBLAP regarding the 1907 U.S. Army .45 Cal FA 4 06 Luger tests and the surviving Aberman and Norton .45 Cal Lugers and is presented herein.

Additionally, included at the bottom of this article for reference only, is Chapter Eighteen from the Pistole Parabellum. This section describes the U.S. Army .45 Cal M1907 Parabellum, which is eminently more readable, albeit with some publisher hype, being broken down into titled sections by the publisher. Highlighted are certain unresolved issues. The same section in The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols, presents the same material but it is several pages of difficult to follow, continuous text, exhibiting a relinquishing of publisher control, a classic example of where publisher editing was needed.

The FA 4 06 chambered, 120mm barrel fitted to R1 was originally part of the Sidney Aberman Collection, who obtained it, along with another shorter 100mm .45 Cal experimental barrel, both recovered in 1945 from Germany.   Aberman acquired both barrels in the early 1950s from a U.S. Army officer who found them in the DWM factory in Berlin Wittenau in 1945/46. See figure 22-3 text caption below for details. Both barrels were acquired together through the Aberman collection, though acquired by Sturgess, separate from the sale of the Aberman .45 Cal Luger, originally purchased by Aberman in 1949 from a fellow collector, Mr. Ogdan for a total sum of $150. It must be stressed that both barrels are DWM factory spares, and if they were permanently fitted to factory guns, were only used for ammunition testing in Germany, as stated below by G. Sturgess in The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols.


TBLAP: Two unnumbered and not proof-marked original barrels chambered for the M1906 cartridge and displaying the “Kröpfungsliderung” or “offset obturation”[2], were recovered in 1945 from spares in the DWM Wittenau factory in Berlin, despite the transfer of Parabellum production to Mauser in Oberndorf in the early 1930's. This huge small arms plant, which grew out of the Eichborndamm plant and the adjacent Borsigwalde DWM ball bearing plant, to which Parabellum manufacture was transferred in 1916, fell into the British zone of occupation of Berlin immediately after WWII. One barrel is of the original 120 mm length submitted to the U.S. Board, the other is a 100 mm barrel, not known to have been submitted for the U.S. trials or elsewhere. It seems likely that, given the ammunition problems Luger had with the FA produced ammunition these guns in which these barrels were originally fitted would have been factory guns, used for ammunition testing, most probably used with factory pistols at Karlsruhe in the ammunition development department. Since the problems were with functioning, not external ballistics, these ammunition tests would have been done with complete functioning pistols, not ammunition test rigs or proof guns.


There is the suggestion that the unnumbered, original DWM 1906/7 U.S. Army test trials barrel in the KrausewerK assembled .45 Cal Aberman aftermarket Luger, stamped R1 could have been originally removed from the receiver of an original DWM .45 Cal, 55.5 degree grip angle Luger, which was purportedly used by DWM to make a .45 Cal Luger carbine, which is commercially numbered throughout with the serial number 21. Since the all the carbine small parts are stamped 21, including curiously, the magazine wooden bottom, it would be reasonable to expect the barrel, currently in R1, to be so numbered.  However, the DWM manufactured 120 mm barrel spare in .45 Cal Luger R1 has not been refinished, retaining its original rust blue finish and shows no evidence of serial numbers being removed. The intended thought being, that by associating the 120mm FA 4 06 chambered barrel spare, currently fitted to R1, was originally fitted to the receiver of the current carbine configuration, somehow creates legitimacy to the FA 4 06 barrel chambered carbine.

Additionally, the above barrel scenario is unlikely as there is no other documented original U.S. Army trials gun identified, nor any association of the Aberman and Norton guns with the official 1906/7 U.S. Army trials and only circumstantial evidence that the Aberman gun, may have been unofficially submitted to the U.S. Army, in 1908 or up to about 1911, but most certainly after the official March 28, 1907 published trials test report. Inasmuch as the two subject, original 100 and 120 mm M1906 FA 4 06 chambered barrels have no established association whatsoever, with the Aberman/Norton guns, it is quite certain that the Aberman and Norton guns were originally fitted with the DWM 513A/FA M1911 (.45 ACP) chambered barrels they now have.

An equally unsupportable, alternate proposition is that the R1 un-serialized barrel could have been removed from either the Aberman or Norton, essentially un-serialized guns, now chambered for the DWM 513A or FA M1911 (.45 ACP) round.  Since the original .45 Cal FA 4 06 chambered Luger pictured in the March 28, 1907 U.S. Army report was not serialized, along with the Aberman and Norton guns, one would assume that the original 55.5 degree grip angle .45 Cal frame, purportedly used to make-up the .45 Cal Luger carbine, along with the receiver and toggle link assembly, were also not serialized and therefore, that the serial numbers were added when the carbine was assembled. Assuming the two-digit serial number was added to all the component parts, as part of the conversion, it is curious that serial number 21 was selected by DWM and that the 120mm FA 4 06 removed barrel, currently fitted to R1, is not or was ever serialized, errs toward the addition of serial number stampings of the original Luger carbine components, with only one source number that comes to mind, the 21 stamped Aberman wooden bottom magazine.

This barrel explanation/scenario or theory is put forth by proponents or supporters to imbue legitimacy to the .45 Cal Luger carbine, serial number 21 by tentatively associating the “serial number” 21, along with the number 21 wooden bottom stamped .45 Cal magazine in the Aberman .45 Cal Luger. The reason for the Aberman .45 Cal Luger magazine being stamped 21 is explained, quite convincingly, in The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols on page 1616 by Sturgess: The existence of a magazine numbered 3 in the Norton collection gun, and far less the number 21 on the magazine of the Aberman gun, does not prove that there were pistols so numbered: it was common factory practice with prototypes to number special magazines in their own separate serial number range in order to positively identify any giving feeding problems during trials, not to the pistols, as may be seen with the Swiss trials pistols; Borchardt-Luger 5 carries a special magazine, mechanically unique to itself, but numbered 11, and the M1899 trials pistols magazines have mixed internal assembly numbers ranging well outside the known range of pistol serial numbers. 1899 hybrid Borchardt-Luger trials magazine wooden bottom stamped 1 being another example.


Fig. 22-3: Two original U.S. trials .45 M1906 chambered barrels: top, a 120 mm long barrel, of the trials specification, exhibiting an original witness mark showing it to have been factory assembled to a pistol before disassembly (currently assembled into a modern replica of the Aberman gun, which itself is chambered for the M1911 service cartridge); below, an experimental 100 mm barrel, similarly witnessed marked, but evidently from the U.S. trials records never submitted to the 1907 trial by Luger. The bottom row shows, left, the 100 mm barrel with an M1906 trials cartridge inserted, displaying the correct 2 mm protrusion of the cartridge base to headspace with the breech-face, and at right with an M1911 cartridge inserted giving only 1 mm base protrusion which is insufficient to headspace correctly - the rim of the M1911 case is pushed into the chamber too far, and does not engage the extractor. At top & centre right, interior views of the chambers show the ring of Luger’s distinctive offset obturation Kröpfungsliderung, the step 7 mm behind the chamber mouth which demonstrates these barrels to be of original DWM manufacture, this patented feature never having been used by any other producer in this caliber.


Even though the temptation is nigh irresistible to install the spare .45 Cal 100mm FA 4 06 chambered barrel to a KrausewerK .45 Cal aftermarket Aberman assembly Luger, it is of quite sufficient interest on its own, and also being dismounted, displays the larger thread size, but with the same pitch as the regular barrels, which was used for the .45 Cal Lugers. However, pictured is R1, digitally modified to show a KrausewerK .45 Cal Luger fitted with the subject, original DWM tool room made, 100mm .45 Cal experimental barrel, i.e. R2.

The Aberman and Norton guns

The following comments are from Central Powers Pistols, © 2007, page 426 by Jan C. Still, author and expert on Lugers regarding the provenance of the Aberman .45 Cal ACP Luger as obtained from Harry Jones notes. The late Harry Jones is the author of the 1958 publication Luger Variations who had personally handled and fired the Norton .45 Cal Luger in 1960, before it became part of the Norton Gallery in Shreveport, Louisiana. Per Harry Jones notes the Aberman .45 Cal Luger was purchased from Springfield Armory in 1913 by Dr. C. I. McClenathen of Akron, Ohio. The Dr. sold it to Warren G. Ogdan who was stationed at Erie Proving Grounds on 9/15/1944 for $150. Mr. Ogdan sold the Luger to Sid Aberman in May 1949 for the same price that he paid for it. Mr. Ogdan said he sold it to Sid Aberman because he was a good friend and practically dying to have it.


Sturgess: Concerning the Still/Jones notes on the provenance of the Aberman gun, it is quite possible that this gun (and possibly also the Norton gun) were submitted by Tauscher[3] to Springfield informally as a final attempt to stall the adoption of the Colt sometime after the 1907 trials were finished, but the M1908/M1911 shorter cartridge case had been decided upon by the Army - I have a .45 M1909 Pieper pistol that was submitted to Springfield around 1911-12, but was swiftly rejected as it is a blowback action, that was one of a number of vain attempts to defeat Colt - even Mauser made Mod. 12/14 delayed blowback pistols in .45 caliber, which can only have been intended for the U.S. military market. Most of these were not formally tested or reported on, and all that may survive somewhere is relevant correspondence rejecting the pistols, but no official trials reports. The Norton gun, if also part of post 1907 unofficial U.S. Army trials was returned to Germany, as attested by the commercial vertical C/N proof on the receiver left side, or alternately, it never left Germany until it was vertical C/N proofed and excessed, ending first in Canada, and finally in the U.S.


The possibility that the Aberman .45 Cal ACP Luger, chambered for the DWM 513A/FA M1911 ACP was submitted, albeit unofficially, to the U.S. Army in 1908 or later is remote, when considering the fact that DWM had declined the U.S. Army request for an additional 200 order of .45 Cal Lugers on April 16, 1908, i.e. Luger and DWM had moved on.  Especially in light of the negative U.S. Army official trials test report on the .45 Cal Luger, published in March 28, 1907 was probably not received well by Luger and DWM, which certainly was factored in their decision to abandon the effort.

The Aberman and Norton guns – the barrels

Sturgess additional thoughts on the currently configured Aberman and Norton .45 Cal barrels: Neither of the .45 Cal ACP chambered barrels in the USA (Norton & Aberman guns) have the Kröpfungsliderung step in the chamber, unlike the 100mm and 120mm trials barrels you now have and it is a moot point whether these pistols were originally barrelled with trials chambering and later re-barrelled, or were made up originally with the DWM 513A/.45 ACP M1911 chambered barrels they now have - I personally think the latter is more likely.

This statement by Sturgess that he believes the Aberman and Norton guns are chambered for the DWM 513A/FA M1911 ACP as originally made is somewhat contradicted in The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols, Volume III, Chapter 20, page 1597 where he states: The magazine and magazine well of the extant examples of the .45 pistols are both dimensioned to accept the 2mm longer M1906 cartridge rather than just the M1911, despite their barrels being chambered for the shortened case, which probably argues for these having been rebarreled from the M1906 to M1911 caliber at some point, despite their considerable mechanical differences from the known U.S. 1907 trials gun.  Jan C Still, noted Luger author and expert errs toward the Norton gun, and the Aberman gun, by inference, being originally assembled with the DWM 513A/FA M1911 (.45 ACP) chamber barrels they now sport as attested in his 2007 publication titled: Central Powers Pistols, where he states on page 433, Figure 180a text caption in reference to the Norton C/N commercial proof that: This has led to speculation that the Norton Luger might have remained at the factory where it received its C/N proof and was not involved in the U.S. Army tests in 1907.


Sturgess: It has always puzzled me that these (Aberman and Norton) guns do not have the chamber step, as it was a technique cast in tablets of stone for the 9 mm guns (which kept this until mid WWII when it caused problems with steel cased ammo) and all the interwar period SMGs from Haenel, ERMA etc. also used the stepped chamber, as did even early P.38s, I presume because the Wehrmacht specified this as a legacy from the P.08. Since the trials barrels also, as would be expected, had this feature since they were for a straight cartridge, it is a mystery that the .45 ACP chambered Norton/Aberman guns did not - unless they were barrelled/re-barrelled by someone other than DWM, or were deliberately chambered exactly as the U.S. Service M1911 specifications on instruction from a potential client, if these were indeed produced for trials elsewhere than the USA.


It has always been assumed that the two known Aberman and Norton .45 ACP caliber Parabellums were either submitted to or at least produced for the U.S. 1906/7 trials. However, this seems unlikely, due to significant differences from the pistol depicted in the trial Report (see Fig 22-2). No serial numbers were recorded for the trials pistol, and the supposition that two pistols were submitted to the Board for the trials is an unsubstantiated myth that arose in the 1960s. This arbitrarily ascribed the serial numbers 1 and 2 to two supposed trials pistols, seemingly on the basis that the (then) only known Parabellum in .45 caliber, then in the Sidney Aberman (†) collection, bore the number 2 (stamped on the underside of the side-plate and on the grip safety lever, this pistol also being fitted with a magazine numbered 21 on the base), so there obviously had to have been a serial no. 1, which must also have been a trials pistol. This erroneous reasoning is totally unsupported by the trials record, which refers only to one pistol throughout (see pp. 102-105 in report shown below), without any implication that two were used, even after the superficial damage that the rust test will have caused: common sense suggests that an experienced demonstrator like Luger would have had a spare pistol to hand, but there is no evidence that two were submitted to the U.S. Board.

Additionally, the 1907 US Army test report is quite clear regarding arms tested, where it states on page 91, item 29: Attached hereto will be found photographs of all the arms submitted to the board for tests.


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Note: All pages highlighted in red deal with the personal involvement of Georg Luger in the testing of his .45 Cal FA 4 06 Luger, alluded to in his letter to Crozier, and is identified in the report as “The Inventor”.


The .45 Cal Luger cartridges as described by Dr. G. Sturgess

Concerning the cartridges, the DWM 513 cartridge is the DWM in-house copy of the F A 4 06 cartridge (11.35 x 23 mm) supplied by Frankford Arsenal for testing before the trials, made up to DWM quality standards, due to the poor quality and consistency of the F.A. made ammunition. It is identical dimensionally, and was only adapted to the 1907 trials pistols, of which your barrels are the only known surviving examples, with offset obturation. The Aberman and Norton guns are both chambered for DWM 513A, which is their copy of the Colt M1905 (commercial) case, which is in turn identical to the M1911 case as adopted. These pistols both have chambers which are 1 mm shorter than those of the barrels you now have, do not have the offset obturation and will not accommodate the M1906 cartridge - the action will not close.

The Colt M1905 cartridge used the original 200 gn commercial bullet, but the U.S. Army wanted the heavier 230 gn bullet of the .45 Colt revolver, which is why the M1906 case was made (approximatey) 1 mm longer, to accommodate the longer/heavier bullet and its charge. In the end, better powders allowed the 230 gn bullet to be loaded satisfactorily in the 22mm M1905 pattern case, and this is what was used for later U.S. trials of the Colt after 1908 and finally adopted as the M1911 cartridge. There are minor differences in the height of the case cannelure on which the bullet sits that differentiate the different bullet weights of these cartridges.

As indicated in TBLAP, figure 22-3,the headspace measurement of an original FA 4 06 cartridge inserted in the .45 Cal Luger 100mm barrel chamber is approximately 2mm as stated by Sturgess, whereas the headspace for an M1911 .45 Cal ACP cartridge inserted in the chamber is approximately 1mm and is insufficient headspace for proper operation.  With the .45 Cal DWM barrel in hand, the actual barrel length was measured to be 100.4 mm, with a chamber depth of 21.3mm.  An original FA 4 06 cartridge was inserted in the chamber, with the end of the brass case seating at the end or bottom of the chamber against the barrel lip, the barrel length was measured again with a new length of 102.6mm. The same measurement was taken with an inserted M1911, .45 Cal ACP cartridge, yielding a new length of 101.2mm.  The new headspace measurement for the FA 4 06 cartridge is 2.12mm and with the M1911, .45 ACP the headspace is 1.5mm.

Another method of measurement, using the length of the FA 4 06 brass case of 23.5mm and subtracting it from the chamber depth of 21.3mm, yields a headspace of 2.2mm. Using the M1911, .45 ACP brass case length of 22.8mm and subtracting the 21.3mm chamber depth yields a headspace of 1.5mm. Regardless of the measurement method used, the figure 22-3 headspace dimensions vary as much as 10 percent for the FA 4 06 and 50 percent for the M1911, .45 ACP.

Cartridge Designations per G. Sturgess

The M1911 designation is strictly the U.S. Army designation for the service cartridge with 230 gn bullet, adopted that year, and .45 ACP is the civilian designation - given that the .45 ACP was designed and used by Colt from 1905 (with a 200 gn bullet initially and the 230 gn bullet after 1907/8), well before the U.S. Army designed the FA M1906 cartridge (never an official designation), that designation, .45 ACP, is entirely correct and contemporary, since DWM 513A was just DWM's internal designation for the same cartridge (.45 ACP with 230 gn bullet). Given that there is no established link, save proximity, between the Aberman and Norton guns and the U.S. Army, their chambering is correctly described as .45 ACP (or pedantically DWM 513A) since their intended purpose is unknown – if, however unlikely, they were definitely associated with the U.S. Army, then .45 M1911 would be correct.

The DWM M1908/M1911 clone, 513A was also loaded with a 230 gn (actually from my specimens 228.5 gn/15 gram) bullet, so it is difficult to be precise when they developed this - obviously post 1908, when the M1908 (22mm case/230gn bullet) cartridge was being used for the further Colt U.S. trials, but whether after adoption of the M1911 cartridge is unclear. I checked the chambering etc. of the Aberman gun while (Randy) Bessler had it before it was auctioned a few years ago[4], and I understand the Norton gun is the same - the late (Harry) Jones related firing several magazines of regular .45 ACP ammo through this gun while he had it.

There is nothing in the March 28, 1907 U.S. trials report to suggest that more than one gun was submitted by Luger, and I believe the photos were probably made before the trials, and the trials gun suffered accordingly in the rust test before disappearing. Possibly there was a back up gun, which has also now disappeared - I would expect that this was the case, especially if the mag number, 21, on the Aberman gun is in fact an original DWM mag number, as 20+ spare mags for one trials gun is rather excessive. The other two guns, Aberman and Norton, are of later construction, and for the later 1908 or M1911 cartridge, and have nothing directly to do with the U.S. trials.

The firing of the subject .45 Cal Luger, serial number R1 is demonstrated on an acompaning video titled: PARABELLUM The Story of The Luger provided with the purchase of the three book set titled: The Borchardt and Luger Automatic Pistols by Görtz/Sturgess. In the video Sturgess states the gun was fired using standard (M1911) service ammunition, however, as later quantified by Sturgess: The M1911 case will fire in the M1906 chamber, even though it is not properly headspaced on the mouth of the case, since the rim fits under the extractor sufficiently firmly to allow the firing pin to ignite the cap - not recommended practice, but not having a supply of longer M1906 cases, which could be cut down from the .45 Magnum case I suppose, I compromised by using standard ammo that was to hand for the video.

The magazines

That the .45 Cal Luger pictured, but never located or identified, in the March 28, 1907 U.S. Army report has a standard production 55.5 degree grip angle is an undisputed fact and that the two surviving Aberman and Norton .45 Cal ACP Lugers have non-standard production 60 degree grip angles is also an accepted fact. Accordingly, the Norton/Aberman magazines are different both in lip feed angle and length of cartridge than the magazine(s) used with the 1907 U.S. Army test trials .45 Cal Luger with its standard Luger production 55.5 degree grip angle, and are, therefore, not interchangeable.

.45 Cal Luger R1 (cont.)

All the Aberman .45 Cal ACP Luger replicas made by KrausewerK, including the subject .45 Cal FA 4 06 Luger R1, except for the barrel, were purportedly, made dimensionally identical to the Aberman Luger, internally and externally. The subject .45 Cal Luger R1 was examined against what pictures are available of the Aberman .45 Cal ACP Luger. Externally the KrausewerK and Aberman Lugers are identical.  A unique machining characteristic found in both .45 Cal Lugers is the machining of the lower rear termination angle of the receiver forks, which are near flush or parallel to the rear of the frame. The production 1900 and 1906 Luger receivers are rounded in this area, probably a weight saving feature. In the Aberman and Norton guns this feature or extra metal could create more resistance or friction, as it effects the travel of the receiver forks in the frame, resulting in more inner contact cam ramp surface.  There are no internal pictures of the Aberman and Norton guns in this area and therefore cannot be compared against the KrausewerK .45 Cal ACP Luger internals, except, if accurate, where the .45 degree receiver forks underside chamfers terminate further from the receiver chamber face than the 1906 new model receiver forks.  The KrausewerK .45 Cal FA 4 06 Luger R1 underside receiver forks 45 degree receiver cut terminates 15mm from the receiver chamber face, whereas the typical new model Luger receiver fork 45 degree underside receiver cut terminates 4mm from the receiver chamber interface. Also, as to whether the receiver 15mm dimension is typical of other KrausewerK .45 Cal M1911 ACP barrel chambered Luger examples is unknown.

There are, however, pictures of the Aberman and Norton .45 Cal ACP magazines, which, when compared against a KrausewerK .45 Cal ACP magazine show differences:

  1. Being the lack of the magazine body left and right side angled indent or “D” shaped crimp, found on all Luger magazines, prototype and production. This crimped indent engages an angled lip or tab on each side of the magazine follower lower edge*, restricting the upper most travel of the follower in the magazine cavity and concurrently avoiding the follower button shaft from impacting the upper most travel of the follower button shaft in the magazine channel slot after the last round is chambered.
  2. The cut in the KrausewerK magazine body for the magazine release button engagement appears to be longitudinally shorter.
  3. The magazine slot for the follower button shaft is of shorter length than the Aberman and Norton magazines.
  4. The magazine wooden bottom retention pin is bright metal where the Aberman and Norton pin is blue tempered, typical of all production Luger magazines.

Per subsequent conversations with M. Krause of KrausewerK, the magazines for the KrausewerK .45 Cal Lugers were hand-made-fitted, and as such, not all have the same characteristics and are not necessarily interchangeable. The follower can be either brass or steel, the pin that anchors the wooden bottom to the magazine body can be of different diameters and the flush ends can be either white metal or fired blue. All KrausewerK reproduction .45 Cal ACP Luger magazines lack the magazine body left and right side angled indent or “D” shaped crimp, as stated above, found on all Luger magazines and the original Aberman and Norton magazines.

The frame gripstrap magazine channel entrance of R1 with a magazine installed, as viewed from the bottom, shows a peculiar gap, which has been identified as needed for the magazine body follower button clearance. This same gap, identified as gap 2 and is also seen in the Aberman gun, however, there is another, unexplained opposite side gap in the Aberman gun, not present in the R1 example. As to the significance of the gap, it may be of a non-functional nature only, possibly a difference in the magazine seating, however, for the present, the reason for the difference remains unknown.

The upper rear straight wall of the R1 frame gripstrap magazine well has an added Teflon strip about 9.27mm wide x 54mm long x 1mm thick.  Per G. Sturgess, he added the glued-in strip because: It was necessary to cure the sloppy fit of the magazine, which also helped feeding of both the M1906 and M1911 rounds - how Krause so misjudged this dimension when he had the Aberman mag to copy I do not know, unless the Aberman frame was originally made for the M1906 round and the magazine now fitted is a later one made up for the M1911 cartridge for which the Aberman gun is chambered. I only fired a handful or so of rounds as the feeding is so poor - before gluing in the strip, every round jammed with bullet nose into the extractor cut of the receiver, and after the fix it would only load and fire around 3 - 4 rounds, but if you attempted to fill the magazine with more than this, the spring force becomes too great and misfeeds occur.

Front to rear and left to right measurements were subsequently taken of the R1 magazine body and R1 frame magazine well dimensions and compared against production Luger magazines and well dimensions. See Table 1 below. The R1 magazine dimensions are indeed sloppy vs. the tight production fit tolerance dimensions and are inexplicable. It is not known if this loose fit condition is unique to R1 or is typical to the magazines of all KrausewerK aftermarket manufactured .45 ACP Lugers.  The issue may be with the KrausewerK .45 Cal made magazines which, as stated earlier, are inconsistent in features and apparently in magazine body dimensions as well.

KrausewerK .45 Cal ACP conceptual prototype Luger serial number 5

The KrausewerK first conceptual prototype .45 Luger, serial number 5 per Krause, is an amalgam of three Lugers which was modified to resemble the original 1908 or later made Aberman .45 Cal Luger in profile only, with the uniquely shaped 1907 trigger to conceptually demonstrate the "pointing" or "shooting" characteristics of the elongated grip and modified trigger, although the resulting pointing characteristics would be inconclusive, in as much as the subject number 5 conceptual prototype, made to emulate the Aberman .45 Cal ACP Luger has a production 55.5 degree grip angle, whereas the Aberman and Norton .45 Cal Lugers have an unusual 60 degree grip angle, resulting in a 0.5-inch maximum forward projection of the frame at the magazine channel entrance or tip of the forward gripstrap toe, which would, most certainly effect the “pointability”. 

The gun was lengthened but not widened. There was no concern about feeding problems at this time, which were addressed in the 2nd and final prototype, which was hand machined to completely mechanically replicate the Aberman .45 Cal DWM 513A chambered Luger, which was used as the model.

The .45 ACP chambered barrel was machined from a Thompson sub machine gun barrel. The frame and receiver are made up of three Lugers, the front end being originally a 1920s letter suffix commercial Luger with an original serial number 5. The serial number 5 was retained, but re-stamped and is located on the rear link, the take-down lever, the bottom of the side plate, the receiver stop lug and the trigger and to the barrel underside.  The gun can be identified by the unique stylized letter "K" stamped on the middle link.  The magazine is a modified M1911 Colt.

Interestingly, the straight wall rear gripstrap is not a feature of the original Aberman or Norton .45 Cal. DWM 513A ACP chambered Luger pistols, but is remarkably close to the purported .45 Cal. FA 4 06 chambered Luger carbine, serial number 21. Also note the Aberman Thumb Safety elongated extension arm modification used two Thumb Safety lever extension sections was accomplished by DWM using two flush mounted rivets, whereas the serial number 21 .45 Cal Carbine Thumb Safety elongated lever arm extension appears to be a continuous piece.  The KrausewerK conceptual prototype number 5 used a 1920s P.08 frame with standard production Thumb Safety with standard length lever arm. In the Aberman and Norton guns the Thumb Safety lengthened inner lever extension is needed to engage the lug on the grip safety lever due to the geometry of the longer/wider grip of the frame, so it is a reasonable assumption that the extension was riveted to a standard production Thumb Safety lever arm.

Cased “GL” .45 Cal FA 4 06 chambered Luger carbine rig with matching wooden stock

A cased .45 Cal FA 4 06 chambered Luger carbine rig that has been offered for sale since the 1980s, initially by the late Ralph Shattuck, then rumored to be offered for sale in the range of $1,000,000 and currently by KrausewerK for about half that amount. As stated earlier, when first identified, the cased .45 Cal Luger carbine serial number 21 was opined to be associated with the number 21 stamped wooden bottom magazine currently in the Aberman Luger, the assumption being the 21 stamped Aberman magazine was originally part of the serial number 21 stamped .45 Cal Luger carbine.  As to whether the 21 stamped magazine was part of a “1906/7 U.S. Army trials configuration FA 4 06” .45 Cal Luger with 120 mm barrel, before it was modified to a .45 Luger carbine is conjecture. In either case, the association is unconvincing, because the .45 Luger carbine frame grip angle is the standard DWM production 55.5 degree grip angle, whereas the Aberman and Norton .45 Cal Luger frame grip angles are 60 degree, ergo the 21 stamped Aberman magazine will not correctly fit in the .45 Cal Luger carbine. As matter of note the serial number 21 carbine barrel, chambered for the FA 4 06 with the offset obturation would have had to be made from scratch by DWM, an expensive proposition for only a single one-of-a-kind item.

The near mint, like-new condition cased .45 Cal Luger carbine was expertly examined and stripped, revealing the following details.  All small parts are stamped 21 in the standard commercial production style and locations with the exception of the only non-standard, unconventional commercial location, being stamped on the magazine wooden bottom. The magazine construction is basically identical to the tested U.S. Army .45 Cal Luger pictured in the March 28, 1907 U.S. Army published test report. Both magazines are 55.5 degrees and have the magazine upper body “D” crimps. The carbine barrel is chambered identical to the U.S. Army tested .45 Cal Luger and the subject R1 barrel for the M1906 (FA 4 06) cartridge, displaying the “Kröpfungsliderung” or “offset obturation[5]”. With the 55.5 degree angle carbine magazine stamped 21, in this case assumed to be a serial number, debunks the first theory or association of the carbine with the 21 stamped, 60 degree angle magazine in the Aberman gun.

The flyer accompanying the cased .45 Cal Luger carbine serial number 21 states, in addition to technical specifics, that the carbine was purchased by the late Ralph Shattuck in 1982 from the Ronald Morton estate in Troy, Montana. That the existence of the name Major Kenneth Morton is associated with the Model 1907 contract 1905 Colt .45 pistol as evidenced by inspection markings is established. What is not established is the provenance or association of the .45 Cal Luger carbine 21 to the Morton descendants.  Other than its existence, there is no empirical or convincing circumstantial evidence that the cased .45 Luger carbine 21 was gifted or presented to, or associated with Major Kenneth Morton has been established. Additionally, it is curious that the .45 Cal Luger carbine 21, purportedly being a presentation gun, was chambered for the FA 4 06 cartridge, a cartridge design that was obsolete as early as March 28, 1907, the date of the U.S. Army test report, almost concurrently with the period manufacture of cased .45 Cal Luger carbine 21, unlike the DWM 513A/FA M1911 or .45 ACP chambered, originally installed barrels of the later Aberman and Norton guns, which can use modern .45 ACP rounds. Furthermore, DWM and Luger disliked the M1906 cartridge so much, they would never have done anything to perpetuate what they saw as a failure.

Regarding the Aberman gun, including the Norton gun, both with 60 degree grip angles, considered to be made after the 55.5 degree FA 4 06 chambered gun(s). The need to extend the standard DWM production, shorter length Thumb Safety inner lever arm extension by utilizing flush mount rivets is to be expected for a development gun, what is unusual, however, is to find a single complete, continuous extended Thumb Safety lever on a 55.5 degree grip angle gun, in this instance a .45 Cal grip safety carbine, with a FA 4 06 chambered barrel, accepted by collectors to be the first .45 Cal Luger(s) made, i.e. a situation of reverse, or out-of-sequence engineering.  Additionally, with only a handful of .45 Cal grip safety Lugers made, one would expect that all the Thumb Safety levers would be similarly modified, as found in the Aberman gun. The dimensional differences of the inner Thumb Safety lever arm extension is apparent when comparing, in this case, the R1 Thumb Safety inner lever extension, clearly showing the modified inner arm extension, compared against a standard, typical new model production Thumb Safety lever inner arm extension. The R1 Thumb Safety inner arm extension at 17.8mm is longer than the standard production inner thumb Safety arm dimension of 15.7mm. The R1 extension may be welded construction, identical to the Aberman gun, except without the flush mount rivets.

Also interesting, is the strawing of the Thumb Safety lever assembly of the .45 Cal Luger carbine 21, specifically the strawed appearance of the following:

  1. .45 Cal Luger carbine 21 Thumb Safety inner arm extension,
  2. Thumb Safety inner arm extensions of the KrausewerK .45 Cal Luger R1 Aberman replica,
  3. Thumb Safety inner arm extensions of the KrausewerK .45 Cal Luger prototype sn 5
  4. as compared against

  5. A typical new model production Luger,
  6. Aberman .45 Cal Luger.

Examples 1, 2 and 3 are typical of what one would see in a non DWM arsenal or aftermarket strawing or re-strawing vs. examples 4 and 5 which represent typical old and new model DWM in-house strawing of the Thumb Safety lever, which was either a very precise controlled, localized process, effecting the external section surface of the Thumb Safety lever only, leaving the inner arm extension with a darker appearance or, where the inner arm extension, after the strawing process is rust blued or coated black, the latter being the more likely scenario. Pictured are examples 1 through 5 for comparison.

Interestingly, the number 21 stamped wooden bottom of the .45 Cal ACP Luger magazine, currently in the Aberman gun with a 60 degree grip angle, would not correctly fit the serial number 21 stamped .45 Cal FA 4 06 Luger carbine, due to the carbine production frame 55.5 degree grip angle, therefore the assertion that the number 21 stamped magazine and the serial number stamped .45 Cal FA 4 06 Luger carbine are of the same, albeit modified gun is, at a minimum, extremely dubious.

Other Luger collector’s comments related to .45 Cal Luger carbine 21

The theory that the Aberman and Norton Lugers were not part of the U.S. Army tests in 1907 and that the .45 Cal Luger Carbine was reworked from a 1907 Test Luger with a 55 degree grip angle is interesting. However, it is not supported by the information supplied by Jones. The Aberman Luger was sold by the Springfield Armory (where the tests were conducted) in 1913. It was almost certainly part of the 1907 U.S. Army tests and is a test survivor.

Seems like this thing is being pushed to those with deep pockets who have little or no knowledge of Luger collecting and an ego to own a one of a kind item. And it is one of a kind, I just have doubts it was made by Georg Luger 90+ years ago.

Everyone KNOWS (?) that there were .45 Cal Lugers made for the U.S. trials, and the one (Aberman) that wasn't (presumably) destroyed, seems to be accounted for, and the value for that Luger seems pretty well determined (by auctions/sales) to be somewhere between $500,000 and $1,000,000, depending on how badly a collector wants it, the economy, etc.

The problem with this one is that nobody has ever heard of it, and there's no record of Georg Luger ever showing the slightest interest in the .45 Cal FA 4 06 cartridge - other than for the U.S. military trials. So while it's possible that a 1902 carbine model was made for George Luger, the fact that there's no record, story or rumor of such a thing makes it hard to believe that such a thing ever existed - especially since it has apparently come on the market recently, when copies/modifications of Lugers has become much more sophisticated.

I would hate to think somebody actually got a hold of one of those extremely rare original .45s and cobbled it into something else. Vintage "parts guns" are still just parts guns and not nearly as desirable as an original firearm. And it could be that Luger, or someone else at DWM produced it and did nothing with it. Rare, poorly documented prototypes that are virtually unknown are actually pretty common in the firearm history. One needs to remember that 100 years ago nobody considered that these items may one day be collectible. So something built to see if it could be "reasonably done" and then abandoned (especially if production wasn't cost effective or the result less than desirable) is entirely plausible.

The stock lug was added on. It was dovetailed into the rear grip strap. Because the metal is thin there and the dovetail is shallow, it was also pinned through the middle to the grip strap. A recess was added to the grip strap to engage the cam bolt on the stock iron lever. A stop was machined into the lower grip strap and a lug was added to the stock iron to engage the stop. All in all, a pretty piece of modification (if indeed it was a modification of an original frame and not made from scratch). A special attaching iron was made to accommodate the added stock lug.

The "AP1" .45 Cal Luger Carbine

That M. Krause of KrausewerK is no stranger to the mechanics of the .45 Cal Luger Carbine is evident, as he actually modified one of his Aberman .45 ACP Cal Luger replicas to a .45 Cal ACP Luger Carbine per a customer request as described in a 2003 article noted below. This second .45 ACP Luger Carbine is known as serial number AP1 or “Artist Proof 1”. The gun was first made by Krause as an Aberman replica with a 120 mm barrel for a client who, after receipt of the gun decided to turn it into a .45 Cal ACP Luger Carbine. The gun was returned to Krause who added a stock lug to the rear gripstrap, added a tang for the forestock and a legal length “carbine” barrel. Due to the slightly larger .45 Cal ACP chambered barrel diameter, one has to assume a larger wooden forestock had to be made, or at a minimum a standard DWM production carbine forestock internal barrel underside cradle cut-out would require modification, and possibly a new wooden stock and attaching iron, depending on the method of attachment. The complete hand engraving of the gun, including the hand engraving of most all of the surface area of the wooden stock and forestock makes it impossible, with the available pictures, to determine whether an original stock and forestock were used or were both made from scratch. Information and pictures of the AP1 .45 Cal ACP Luger carbine is presented in an article published by The Journal of the German Gun Collectors Association, No. 18 Summer 2003 Volume 6, No. 2. The article is referred to on the cover as: A Magnificent Luger “Parabellum.” See story on pages 11 and 12 entitled: My Luger project.. Pictures of A Magnificent Luger “Parabellum” on pages 12 and 13 of the article..

As to whether AP1 was inspired by .45 Cal FA 4 06 chambered Luger Carbine, serial number 21 is unknown, however, the existence of 21 was well-known for many years prior, actually since 1982, being displayed at many gun shows by the late Ralph Shattuck, to be handled only by wearing white gloves, generally, never being allowed to be disassembled.. Interestingly, in the 2003 article describing AP1 and the KrausewerK involvement also states that: as we began converting the gun into a carbine, presently the only known one in the world.

It is also uncertain if serial number AP1 uses a turn lever stock attaching iron/stock lug configuration similar to serial number 21. It is certain though, as in 21, that the attachment configuration method has to be structurally stronger, i.e. more massive, than a standard 30 Cal Luger Carbine and obviously structurally different from 21 which has 55.5 degree gripstrap frame angle, and is straight walled at the lower stock log attaching area, whereas the AP1 Aberman gripstrap frame angle is 60 degrees and the rear gripstrap is rounded at the stock lug attaching area. Since the rear lower gripstrap of AP1 is curved in the added stock lug/attaching iron area, the turn lever attachment method could be conventional, even accounting for the 1mm wider gripstrap, although without more pictures or a personal examination, the exact mechanics remains unclear.

Note: As of the writing of this article, the .45 Cal FA 4 06 barrel chambered carbine, cased serial number 21, identified in a public domain internet search will be offered, for the first time, worldwide, at auction in March 2015. Hopefully, many detailed pictures will be used to display the carbine. Updates of the results of that auction will be added as they become available.

Auction results The .45 Cal Luger Carbine serial number 21 was offered March 2015 as Lot 701 with an estimate of $150, 000 - $300, 000. The high bid was $72, 500, which was less than ½ the minimum. The item did not sell and was returned to the consignor.


Chapter 18 from Pistole Parabellum by Görtz/Sturgess

chapter 18
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Collage of pictures of the .45 Cal Aberman Luger, R1 Luger, the earlier 1900 U.S. Army Test Eagle and 1904 Cartridge Counter Luger.

Collage of pictures of the Norton .45 Cal Luger as displayed in Norton Gallery, Shreveport, Louisiana.

[1] In November 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt, on the recommendation of Secretary of War Elihu Root, reached down into the list of Ordnance captains to nominate the 46 year old Captain William Crozier as Chief of Ordnance. He was advanced four grades to the rank of brigadier general. This began the longest tenure (1901 – 1918) to date enjoyed by any Ordnance Chief. Allocations for ordnance materiel were extremely small during much of Crozier's tenure in office, but great stress was placed on the interrelation¬ships between the work of the Ordnance Department on the one hand and new developments in American science, engineering, and industry on the other. Emphasis on research and development was continuous, and the department's field service components were placed on the best possible footing for war considering the limited resources available. General Crozier himself authored a number of studies dealing with ordnance questions, especially the design of heavy ordnance weapons. During the academic year 1912-1913, General Crozier was on detached service as president of the Army War College in Washington. William Crozier died in 1942 with the rank of Major General, U.S. Army, Chief of Ordnance, 1901 – 1918.

[2] Offset Obturation - The chamber step is only .004-inches or 0.12mm smaller in diameter and does not catch the case mouth on chambering, and has no effect at all on chambering - its effect is only seen on firing, when the case wall is pressed against the step by internal pressure, when the step cuts into the case wall and deforms it slightly to form a very positive gas seal - this is very evident on any straight case fired in a Luger chamber.

[4] 2010 Greg Marten Auction, Anaheim, California.

[5] Offset Obturation - The chamber step is only .004-inches or 0.12mm smaller in diameter and does not catch the case mouth on chambering, and has no effect at all on chambering - its effect is only seen on firing, when the case wall is pressed against the step by internal pressure, when the step cuts into the case wall and deforms it slightly to form a very positive gas seal - this is very evident on any straight case fired in a Luger chamber.


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