1932 W. Glaser .22 Cal S.E.L., serial number 5047
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The following is an excellent description of an extremely rare Swiss Luger accessory, being a boxed .22 caliber conversion unit made by Erma specifically for W. Glaser of Zurich, Switzerland for use in the Swiss Luger Ordinance 120 mm barrel 30 Cal pistol, excerpted from The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols by †Görtz/Sturgess, © 2010 & 2011, Volume III, Chapter 19 – Accessories, page 1401, figure 19-290. Additional information is presented to include more particulars and details of one such conversion unit recently acquired by the Land of Borchardt. With this recent acquisition makes a total of three published examples:
- Luger Holsters and Their Accessories of the 20th Century by E. Bender, © 1992, page 502, four-digit serial number unknown, source: Luger Parabellum Archiv: Reinhard Kornmayer,
- †Doug Smith Collection, serial number 5052 pictured in Pistole Parabellum
- The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols by †Görtz/Sturgess.
Görtz/Sturgess: A few Erma conversion units were sold in foreign countries, a very few being marked for the importers in Switzerland, engraved W. Glaser, Zürich in two lines on the top of the breech and in the USA, similarly engraved A.F. Stoeger, Jnc. in two lines (sic - the I/J equivalence in German reinterpreting the American "Inc."). The Zürich gunsmith W. Glaser introduced the S.E.L. to Switzerland as a novelty for 1932, with a special barrel for the 7.65/120 mm Swiss service pistol and a shorter muzzle spacer, the insert barrel length still being 185 mm. This was boxed by Glaser in a cardboard carton as their own proprietary accessory, with operating instructions on a label inside the lid, three compartments containing the breech mechanism, barrel/spacer/nuts, an eight shot magazine and a simple brass loop handle cleaning rod with a jag, rather than the elaborate German service issue kit. These kits were adapted to the then preferred Swiss .22 match ammunition, Patrone Nr.7, the Swiss version of the .22" RF Extra Long. These Glaser breech mechanisms were among the very
few Modell 30b devices sold, having the delicate adjustable rear sight fitted to the rear link. This fragile sight was subject to relatively violent rotation and stopping on recoil, and also could foul the rear of the pistol frame if the receiver was at the not full recoil position when the breech was fully opened, which may account for their apparent unpopularity and consequent rarity.
Land of Borchardt example
Neuheit 1932 8 Schub Selbstlade-Einsiecklauf. 1932 W. Glaser, Zürich. Boxed Model 30b .22 Cal Sub Caliber Conversion Unit, serial number 5047. Made by Erma for W. Glaser-Zürich to be used with a 1900/06 120 mm barrel, 30 Cal Swiss Ordonnanzpistolen or "für die Schweiz.
Ordonnanz-Pistole Ka. 7,65 mm". The box and contents are in excellent condition with the box labels, inside and outside, intact with no significant stains or blemishes, including the box bottom. The sturdy 9-inch x 5-inch x 1½-inch cardboard box has a 6-inch x 3½-inch label affixed to the top of the cover. The box has three, unequally spaced horizontal partitions that:
- contain a sleeved barrel insert, threaded at one end for two knurled, circular locking nuts,
- 8 shot magazine and 210mm long x 3mm diameter steel cleaning rod, including the 25mm diameter steel loop handle and,
- toggle link assembly with the top of the breechblock stamped in two lines: W. Glaser - Zürich.
The unit is serial number 5047 with the full serial number stamped on the breechblock left side with the last two-digits 47 stamped on the left side of the middle and rear link and the breechblock firing pin slider. The full serial number is stamped lengthwise, on the magazine left side, near the aluminum grasping knob and on the barrel insert. There are no proofs and the instructions for use and operation is in the form of a 4½-inch x 8-inch label pasted to the inside of the box cover lid.
Apparently W. Glaser was not consistent with the type and style of the added cleaning rod as the †Doug Smith example has a simple brass loop handle cleaning rod with a separate thread-on jag, whereas the LOB example, as stated above, has a steel loop handle with an integral, unusual pyramidal, three-sided flat, smooth surface jag. Per G. Sturgess, Glaser made up the sets and produced the cartons in Switzerland, as well as acquiring locally made rods of various generic types for .22 pistols.
An Erma made .22 Cal S.E.L. for the “Stoeger” Luger, in 30 Cal and 9mm, was advertised in the 1932 A.F. Stoeger Catalog on page 93 described as a NEW INSERT BARREL ASSEMBLY for $20. It is not certain the Stoeger offering was similarly packaged as was the W. Glaser, as no packaging box has been identified, although the toggle link assembly was stamped A.F. Stoeger, Jnc. By 1939 the Stoeger Cal. 22 insert barrel assembly catalog price had increased to $32.
For comparison purposes the LOB example 5047 is presented/pictured in the same format as the †Doug Smith example featured in Pistole Parabellum and The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols.
Regarding the ammunition used, pictured is an Eidg. Munitionsfabrik Thun – 50 Randfeuer-Patronen - No 7 - Cal. 22, extra lang grey/yellow carton which is a pre-WWII pattern (note the "Ausfuhr verboten" - Export prohibited - mark) and an original box of the red/yellow No 7 carton is the post war pattern used through the 1960s. Both have the same M+F Thun cross/shield head stamp.
Further information defining the specific .22 Caliber period ammunition used is presented: The Thun Patronen No.7 is the
correct cartridge for the Glaser unit, but the carton is the post-war design, the contemporary pre-WWII carton style is grey and yellow. These cartridges were specified for the unit in Switzerland due to the higher velocity and higher recoil impulse needed to give reliable functioning of the ERMA unit.
In Germany RWS produced a high velocity .22 LR specifically for self-loading weapons, so marked on the carton, since regular .22 LR was not sufficiently powerful to give reliable loading and caused feed jams, hence the instruction in the manuals for the ERMA device to wipe off the bullet wax lubricant before use, as this tended to clog the action and make bolt movement sticky. However, Switzerland restricted imports and export of ammunition before WWII to protect the M+F Thun, the monopoly ammunition maker in Switzerland, from external competition, so the RWS load could not be imported, and rather than produce a high velocity .22 LR at Thun for a very restricted number of weapons, Glaser opted to modify the ERMA unit to use the No 7 .22 Extra Long which was is service use for training rifles at that time.
The M+F was also the monopoly importer/exporter of ammunition before WWII, private and trade exports being forbidden to prevent the use of Swiss ammo by potentially combatant nations, which would breach Switzerland's carefully controlled neutrality, hence the "Ausfuhr verboten" marking.