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Article created: Thursday, 9 September 2010
Article modified: Saturday, 16 July 2011


  1. Introduction
  2. The m/23 Artillery board-stock holster
  3. The original m/23 holster cradle strap construction
  4. Finnish military contract m/23 or „Parabellum” Pistooli 23
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Other than their existence and some historical observations, nothing much has been published regarding what is considered a correct configuration for the Finnish m/23 Luger military board-stock-holsters. This article is an attempt to accurately define the various observed holsters and/or LP.08 artillery type Finnish army m/23 board-stock rigs. A totally original rust blue finish Pistooli Parabellum 23 or m/23 with original as installed brass disc ID is featured.

This is the second article on this site dealing with the Finnish m/23 Parabellum pistol and related items. The first article dealt mainly with Finnish m/23 related manuals with some discussion of Finnish holsters for the m/23. Some of the material on the holsters in the first article is repeated here for continuity.

All post WWI Artillery stock boards were supplied from German army war-time surplus, whether supplied commercially, for contract by DWM or on later contracts by Mauser. All, up to and including the Siam contract, had the five 2.2 mm diameter pilot holes for wood screws. The Persian contract was the only one fitted with leather ware and the leather was locally made in Persia. Occasionally one finds commercial stocks also fitted with (non-LP.08 pattern) leather. None of the post war stocks have the Imperial Crown/S inspection mark.

The Finnish m/23 stocks were contract supplied from WWI surplus components by DWM with the guns, and all the genuine authenticated board-stocks observed have the five, unused pilot screw holes and most have the SA mark, with or without a rectangular cartouche. It is possible that an m/23 board-stock may not have an SA property stamp but one with the SA stamp, to the collector, would be more acceptable. Purportedly, the m/23 Parabellum serial number was stamped, perpendicular on the top of the attaching iron, most probably stamped on depot issue in Finland. However, this cannot be verified, as no authenticated example of an m/23 board stock has been published or pictured showing the top of the attaching iron. Furthermore, until a mating m/23 Parabellum with an identical serial number to a board-stock is identified, it not certain the attaching iron number is a serial number. This is complicated by genuine SA stamped examples of Finnish m/23 board-stocks with a four-digit number, being stamped on the left side of the board-stock, to the right of the attaching iron turn lever. One pictured non SA stamped example of a Finnish m/23 board-stock with two four-digit numbers has one on the attaching iron and a different one on the board. A similar number is found on some m/23 board-stock holsters, located on the inside surface of the cover flap, adjacent to the loading tool pouch. Pictured here is an example of a used LP.08 Artillery board-stock with leather holster removed, showing used pilot screw holes and lighter exposed portions of the stock vs. a genuine SA stamped m/23 Artillery board-stock with the m/23 holster removed.

Again, it is not certain what the number represents, inventory or m/23 serial number. Although, E. Bender in Luger Holsters and Accessories of the 20th Century categorically stateson page 79 that: "The stock is numbered vertically in the wood behind the lever". To further complicate matters, the brass discs rarely found on surviving m/23 Lugers, inlet in the right wooden grip do not associate with the board-stocks or the holsters, basically being unit IDs. An excellent 2010 publication entitled Pistole Parabellum by Görtz/Sturgess discusses the m/23 Parabellum and the contract in great detail and pictures an m/23 board-stock-holster rig in volume III, page 1314, figure 1223. Unfortunately, other than stating: "...the attaching iron being marked with the pistol serial number in the usual way", inferring that the serial number, with letter suffix, is located, laterally, on the top surface of the attaching iron, similar to the Imperial German army LP.08 board-stocks, does not address some of the questions posed herein. Per the contract, m/23 Lugers were provided to the Finnish army with unused LP.08 artillery spare board-stocks and since the attaching iron to the m/23 stock lug required special fitting to properly engage the pistol rear frame stock lug, it is possible that DWM pre-fitted m/23 pistols to the board-stock attaching iron and stamped the top of the board-stock attaching iron with the specific m/23 serial number. Again, until one or several of these Finnish m/23 board-stock attaching irons are inspected in order to identify font size and style, the questions pertaining to the serial number and markings remain unanswered. To be really conclusive, an original, complete m/23/stock/board rig would have to be identified, which is nigh on impossible.

As stated in the beginning of the previous paragraph, there are genuine Finnish board-stocks without the property stamp. Discussed is one such unmarked Finnish m/23 board-stock with pictures and explanations justifying the example. Firstly, to be a genuine Finnish m/23 Parabellum board-stock it has to have minimum characteristics or features, mainly the five pre-drilled, unused, smooth bore DWM factory pilot screw holes and the board-stock, being an unused spare, should have no Imperial German crown over S inspection stamp. This is still not enough, and what is needed is some other feature common to an m/23 board-stock, with and without the SA property stamp. In the pictured example, that feature is a four-digit number located on the board, being 5776 with a single line through the 5776. In the case of the strike-through 5776, there is an additional four-digit large font number 2722 stamped through the blue, longitudinally, on the top surface of the attaching iron, possibly indicating a correction of an inventory or serial number, but this is only speculative. In support of the authenticity of the 5776 stamped board-stock as Finnish, is pictured a genuine m/23 board-stock with an SA property stamp and an identically located four-digit number. Most importantly, a single line through the number gives credence to the subject, non-SA marked artillery board-stock as an authentic contract m/23 board-stock.

Not all non-SA stamped m/23 board-stocks have this four-digit number stamped in the wood and some that do have a number, don’t have a single line through the number. An example of both features is the holster board-stock pictured in Pistole Parabellum by Görtz/Sturgess, volume III, page 1314, figure 1223. This picture actually shows views of two different m/23 board-stocks, both SA stamped, one with a four-digit number 8960 (center inset) on the board-stock neck, with no line-strike through the number, and one SA stamped board-stock without a four-digit on the board-stock neck. For those m/23 board-stock examples, without an SA stamp, other techniques or methods are needed to determine authenticity.

The Finnish military SA property stamp wasn’t introduced until 1942 as shown on the page below with the m/23 Parabellum contract deliveries. Board-stock deliveries to the Finnish military started in 1923. The Finnish military must have been quite diligent in retroactively stamping their m/23 Parabellum pistols and board-stocks. Since the m/23 is a commercial Luger with vertical crown N proofs only, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to identify a commercially proofed only 1920s Luger without an SA property stamp as a contract Finnish military unless it had a brass disc inlet into the right side wooden grip. It is not known for certain if all m/23 Parabellums had a brass disc installed.


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