.45 ACP Luger – Guns & Ammo Magazine, March 1998

Return of the .45 ACP Luger
by Garry James

Krausewerk is Now Producing a Limited – Edition Version of the World’s Most Valuable Auto Pistol

Back in 1907, the United States was looking for a service auto pistol. Several designs were submitted, including ones by Colt, Savage, Webley and Deutsche Eaffen und Munitionfabriken (DWM)  — the latter geing an upscaled version of the toggle-top repeater designed by George Luger.

While the luger was not adopted, it was highly enough regarded that a memorandum from the evaluation board of officers to the secretary of war acknowledged, ” The Luger automatic pistols, though it possesses manifest disadvantages in many particulars, is not recommended for service test because the final seating of the cartridge is not by posotive spring action, and because the power stated by Mr. Luger to be necessary for its satisfactory use is not now obtainable in this country.”

Actually, if one reads the test results and comares them with some of the other canidates, the Luger dosn’t really come off so badly.  Part of the problem was there were two guns available for the runthroughs, and the aformentioned ammunition difficulty, which, with a little work, could probably have been overcome.

Despite the board’s feelings, collectors and firearms enthusiats have always places the .45 Luger high on the list of neat things to have.

Unfortunately, there is only one original .45 Luger exant. It was gun number two in the Army trials, gun number one havong probably been broken down and discarded after the teasting.

You may remember, about three years ago, we were given the rare privilege of firing gun number two, of which Charles Kenyon Jr. in his Lugers at Random said, ” the rarity and historical importance of this pistol makes it literally priceless.

Actually, the pistol’s current owner values the piece at $1 million — a figure that I certainly cannot argue with, as the gun is undeniably the most desirable auto pistol anywhere !

Attempts have been made to produce a .45 Luger for general consumption.  Some, like the excellent ones by John Martz, are custom paraphrases of the original, while others try to emulate the lines of the U.S. test piese but are hampered by not actually having the original copy.

Not so in the case of the new GL .45 being produced by Michael Krause of Krausewerk in San Mateo, California.

Mike had full access to the original and during every step of production was able to ensure that his copy was dimensionally exact to the circa 1907 product turned out by DWM.  We had an opportunity to view and shoot the first GL .45, and as I have also fired and examined the original, I can attest to the fact that it would be difficult to tell tjem apart if you laid the two side by side.

The Krausewerk gun is superbly put together.  All parts on the piese are hand worked and fitted to include the drop forged frame and other individually machined components.  Even the rifling has been cut to match the dimensions and pitch of the real gun.

Finish is per the 1907 specs.  Most parts are rust blued, with the exception of the trigger, safety lever, takedown lever, sear spring and magazine release button, which are straw-colored.

The grips are beautifully checkered walnut, and the plug is also appropriately fanshioned from walnut.

The first gun is unmarked, as Mike is determoning if a ” DWM ” toggle cipher can be added without trademark problems.  The gun will have some kind of toggle stamping — if not DWM, then something that closely approximates it.  Each Krausewerk gun will have the George Luger ” GL ” mark behind the rear sight, though.

Workmanship is absolutely superb — well in keeping with the best work of the pre – World War I- period Parabellums.  Despite the gun’s size, it fits well in the hand.

All controls are like those of the model toggle-top and include a grip safety and safety lever mounted on the left rear of the frame.

The toggle itself is easy to manipulate via a pair of un-dished, checkered knobs.  In cocking the gun, the spring tension really didn’t seem that much stronger than that of a 1906 .30- caliber American Eagle Luger we used as a control piece.

Luger triggers are interesting.  They don’t exactly break like glass, but neither do they stack or have takeup in the standard manner.  There is some travel, but it is silky smooth with a precise ” snap ” at the end.  Too, the width and configuration of the trigger itself is conducive to comfortable, controlled maniputation.

While Mike acknowledges the price and limited-edition status of the piece ( probably no more than 100 units ) will relegate it to instant collector status, it is made to shoot.

We took the piece to the Petersen Ranch in Elizabeth Lake, Californis for a runthrough, along with a selection of 230-grain GI bakk, for which the gun has been designed.

The magazine holds seven rounds, though if the mag is fully charged, it is necessary to have  the toggle open to insert it.  As with all Luger magazines, the small, checkered floorplate compression button is sure to skin one’s fingers with repeated use, so Mike kindly supplied a modified loading tool to facilitate compression of the spring.

the gun chambered, fired and ejected all seven rounds without a hitch.  The trigger, as noted earlier, was very pleasant, breaking at an agreeable three pounds.  The feel of the gun was excellent, and despite the usual skimpy Parabellum V-notch rear sight and narrow front blade, target reacquisition was okay.  Recoil was not bad at all.  The whole shooting session was an entirely enjoyable experience.

We found the gun to shoot high, but 25-yard rested groups ran in the sub-three-inch range– just fine for a “combat” pistol.

The GL.45 will come in either a hand fitted case or with a 1907 – style U.S. military holster.  Delivery date is schedule for this summer.

 

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