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Thank you for posting your recent gun shop find! I maintain a list of known surviving US Test Trials American Eagle Lugers and this is a new one for the data base! It is authentic and is a Bannerman purchase example which absolutely makes it a piece that actually participated in the Test. There are approximately 2000 model 1900 American Eagle Lugers with US Test Trials characteristics, but the Army only purchased 1000. There is no official record of what guns participated in the test, so the only assurance of having a Test piece are those guns purchased by Bannerman as surplus in 1910 and listed by serial number in the purchase documents. That purchase plus a few serial numbers recorded in maintenance records and 8 additional serial numbers were found not too long ago in the National Archives records are the only guarentees we have.

Test Trial guns are frequently found with mis-matched parts as the Army and Bannerman cannibalized parts from Test Lugers beyond repair to make functional pieces. Your gun with matching parts is more desirable. The grips do not detract a great deal from the value but it would be better to obtain a set of Model 1900 grips as the ones on your gun are of later manufacture. I wouldn't mind seeing a couple more photos of the left grip to see how it has been modified to work with a grip safety Luger. The locking bolt was numbered on the right round end up to serial number 7100. It migrated to he left side flat shortly after that number (serial number 7108 which was part of the Bannerman purchase is marked on the left flat). Given the condition of your gun (which isn't too bad) and the matching numbered parts I would say your original estimate of value isn't too far off.

Thank you again for expanding the US Test Trials Luger knowledge base. I post the list of known survivors on Jan Still's forum and the LugerForum but I haven't updated it in over a year so publishing a new list in the near future will be a New Year's resolution that I can keep.;)
Ron
 

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This is for Ron Wood. I have a Test Luger that I would like to add to your list, if it isn't already there. Michael Reese lists it in his book, but he shows the number twice--once with Ralph Shattuck, from whom I bought 6362 in the early to mid 80s. All numbers match, including the grips. I also want to know how many are now on the list. What can you tell me?
Joe,
I apologize for not replying sooner…as “martin08” responded, I do not frequent this forum as often as some of the others. I have known about your Test gun, #6362, for a long time, having received the serial number from Sam Costanzo several years ago, before Michael Reese featured it in his book and Ralph Shattuck offered it for sale.

To answer your query, currently (August 2020) there are 405 known/reported Lugers in the range of 6100 to 7100 usually attributed by Reese and others as being the test range. Of these, 273 are listed in the Bannerman purchase. In addition, there are a reported 250 other American Eagle Lugers above and below that range with test trials characteristics (e.g. no GERMANY export stamp, etc.). Of these, there are 29 reported below that range (numbers ranging from 5978 to 6099), and 221 reported above that range (numbers ranging from 7104 to 7990). It is interesting to note that two of these reported “above range” guns, 7108 and 7147, were part of the Bannerman purchase therefore pieces that were actually used in the Test Trials. It is reported that the Test Lugers were delivered in two batches, the last one consisting of 100 guns. Given the two outliers, 7108 and 7147, it is my thought that the last group of 100 guns might have been numbered from 7101 to 7200, making the 6100-7100 range being either non-contiguous numbering and/or beginning at a serial number higher than 6100.

A fascinating bit of history that probably will never be resolved but it is fun to keep track of these U.S. Army Lugers! Thank you for reporting yours and keeping me aware of its current owner.
Ron
 
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