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Old 08-17-2019, 01:09 PM
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Unusual .22lr P38 spotted.



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Cross-posted from Walther Forums.

I just saw a very unusual .22lr P38. It had a four digit serial number which appeared on the slide only. There was no s/n anywhere on the frame. It had an IC (82) or ID (83) date stamp along with an Ulm antler proof stamp. I'll try to get some photos the next time I see it. I did not see any importer markings anywhere. I think it was a GI bring back pistol, but that's just my guess.

Does this sound correct with the s/n only on the slide? I've never seen this before.
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Old 08-17-2019, 03:07 PM
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just an fyi,

walther made most of their PP series in 22LR. They arent as common, but if you want and are persistent you can find them from time to time.

here is a photo of my P38-22 in 22LR.

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Old 08-17-2019, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bangbang View Post
just an fyi,
walther made most of their PP series in 22LR. They arent as common, but if you want and are persistent you can find them from time to time.
here is a photo of my P38-22 in 22LR.
Thank you for your response. But, I guess I wasn't clear enough with my query. My question lies with the fact that the P38 22 I saw only had the s/n on the slide (right rear) and nowhere else. The aluminum frame only had the Eagle over N, IC/ID, and Ulm proof. That's it. I have never encountered a commercial Walther pistol without the s/n marked on the frame.
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Old 08-17-2019, 04:01 PM
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From what I researched. Could be a conversion of a 9mm
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Old 08-17-2019, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by aztarget View Post
From what I researched. Could be a conversion of a 9mm
That was my first assumption, but the barrel is a .22lr Walther marked barrel. It is not an insert into a 9mm barrel. The visible front lug is marked '.22lr'. Again, no serial number appears on the barrel.
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Old 08-17-2019, 04:54 PM
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Looks like there were two conversions and insert and a full size. looked at walther chat and found this.
https://www.waltherforums.com/forum/...-s-p-38-a.html
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MG34_Dan View Post
Thank you for your response. But, I guess I wasn't clear enough with my query. My question lies with the fact that the P38 22 I saw only had the s/n on the slide (right rear) and nowhere else. The aluminum frame only had the Eagle over N, IC/ID, and Ulm proof. That's it. I have never encountered a commercial Walther pistol without the s/n marked on the frame.
By ATF definition, the frame is the actual firearm and needs to have a serial number of specified minimal depth and size. Without a serial number, the frame is not legal until a manufacturer or importer has assigned a unique serial number and marked it. The .22 conversion units were sold as separate uppers and Walther also sold dedicated and complete rimfire guns. As to the barrel inserts mentioned on the Waltherforum, they were not manufactured by Walther Waffenfabrik, Ulm but Lothar Walther, Königsbronn.

By the way, Walther GSP pistols do not have a serial number on the frame from the factory but only on the slide and upon importation into the U.S. the importer has to mark the frame with a "unique" serial number, usually the number of the slide.

Last edited by Andyd; 08-18-2019 at 06:16 AM.
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Old 08-18-2019, 07:44 AM
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... upon importation into the U.S. the importer has to mark the frame with a "unique" serial number, usually the number of the slide.
I have no proof, but I am assuming this pistol is a GI bring back especially since it has no importer markings and was manufactured in '82 (IC) or '83 (ID).
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MG34_Dan View Post
I have no proof, but I am assuming this pistol is a GI bring back especially since it has no importer markings and was manufactured in '82 (IC) or '83 (ID).
Even a G.I. has to fill out ATF Form 6 and 6A and all laws to serial numbers apply since 1968. Read up on it.

https://www.pennlago.com/are-firearm...mbers-illegal/

Last edited by Andyd; 08-18-2019 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:26 AM
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Even a G.I. has to fill out ATF Form 6 and 6A and all laws to serial numbers apply since 1968. Read up on it.
https://www.pennlago.com/are-firearm...mbers-illegal/
Ah well, I guess this pistol will just become a member of the Undocumented Immigrant Community.
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Old 08-20-2019, 12:50 PM
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I was finally able to get some pictures. But the owner doesn't want the serial number shown, so that was sanitized. Everything looks kosher on this pistol. I even took some shots of the bare frame looking for funky stuff. It all appears to be factory, but I'm not an expert by any measure.

Again, these pictures were cross-posted on Walther Forums.

Here goes:
































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Old 08-30-2019, 10:11 PM
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I had a post war mfg Walther P38 in 9mm, with the orig box and papers and target.
There was NO factory ser# imprinted on the pistol's frame.
Only the Bbl and slide had the ser# stamped on it and those #'s matched each other and that of the paperwork included and of the ser# on the Walther factory box.

There was a separate letter included with the pistol and it's accessorys. That letter on US State Dept/Foreign Services letterhead addressed the particular pistol and the Diplomatic route it had been brought legally into the USA bypassing normal importation.
It never addressed the serial# not being on the frame issue that we as FFL's immediately focus in on. But with the letter and the pistol (in perfect condition) and being purchased thru a well known FFL, I felt assured, I purchased it on my 01FFL.
I logged it as such and kept a copy of the letter with my records.
I sold the pistol later on, No problems.

I have been told that the 'frame' is not the 'firearm' in many European countrys unlike here in the USA where a stripped frame alone is considered a firearm and needs a ser#.

I've dealt with exports/imports of gun parts to Italy re:engraving and they did not want to deal with the Bbl of the guns (shotguns in this instance) as those were the controlled part in Italy and would require import/export permits & extra paperwork. Sending the frames over was no problem, those were not considered a firearm there at the time (1990's).

So what you have is a difference in firearms laws, difference in what is the 'controlled part' of the gun. In the USA it's the frame. Other places not necessarily so at times.
And to make it more confusing, there always seems to be a way of beating the system and getting around it for the chosen few.

Just my experience with an unser#d Walther postwar P38
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:45 AM
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The Waffengesetz (WaffG) - §24 in Germany requires a manufacturer to permanently mark the serial number on at least one of the "essential' firearm parts, which commonly are frame, barrel or slide in a semi auto.

A firearm that was commercially manufactured or imported after the GCA became effective in 1968 that does not have a serial number on the frame is not legal. This is absolutely clear for any FFL holder who read Section D regarding question 26 of the notices, instructions, and definitions on form 4473

Last edited by Andyd; 08-31-2019 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:31 AM
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It wasn't imported,,it was a privately owned firearm brought to the USA through Diplomatic channels.
This particular P38 is postwar, but I never said it was Post GCA68. It wasn't.
Nor was the letter dated post 68.
Things were very different 'back then'.
How about walking onto a commercial airliner packing a loaded pistol. No one checked. Or carrying an unloaded long gun in a soft case and sitting with it in your seat cross country.
Not un common.

'Imported' is a commercial sale/trade operation of commerce.
Foreign Diplomat and Diplomatic Services have a very wide range of special courtesies allowed to them.
This particular one was not done behind the backs of the US. The State Dept. letter that covered the situation and the person involved was very plain about that.

It's just one of those things that seems askew of the norm.
But you have to realize the time and how things were then.

Last edited by 2152hq; 08-31-2019 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:05 AM
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A little tidbit of information I posted a week ago on the Walther forum:

I asked the owner about the history of this pistol. He said it originally belonged to a relative who was a retired German police officer. The officer originally moved to Canada upon retirement and then moved to the US a few years later. Sadly, he passed away some time ago.
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