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Thread: Trying to get info on Gew 88 barrel markings

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    Default Trying to get info on Gew 88 barrel markings

    I know, not a Mauser, but I figured this was the next best place. Besides, I got this rifle to fill a hole in my Oberndorf collection. It's not a Mauser design, but the Ludwig Loewe connection plus the history of the Commission 88 really connected some dots for the story I want my collection to tell.

    Anyways, I recently bought an unconverted 1890 Ludwig Loewe Gew88. From all appearances it never went though any of the /05 updates - no receiver cuts, still takes en-blocs, no S stamps, etc. The bolt matches itself but does not match the rifle, however it has all the early attributes too - un-recessed bolt head, no gas shield on the firing pin nut. The rest of the rifle matches, but looks like it was reworked in service. The serial on the buttplate matches the receiver, for example, and there's a matching serial number in the stock channel, but there is also another lined out serial. Looks to my un-expert eyes like an arsenal replacement using a take-off stock from another rifle.

    There's no clear evidence of Turkish ownership and no import marks. No visible crescents, rear sight is in latin numerals.

    The barrel, however, is odd. It's in the white but almost looks stainless. The only markings on it are what might be a crescent (turkish?), "V.C.S" - which I've seen indicating a relationship to Suhl with some commercial rifles - "OCT O.K.D," and what looks like a fraktur stamp of some kind. Pictures attached.

    Does anyone have any ideas? I can't find anything about these marking.

    If you all need any other pics just ask, it's in pieces on my workbench right now.

    As an aside: I wanted a representative piece to check off the Gew 88 box and I wanted a LL&Co gun because of the corporate ownership connection to Oberndorf, and I broadly preferred an original configuration m88 (i.e. not a 88/05) just because I think it is most representative of what the GPK picked when they were looking for a replacement for the 71/84. Don't get me wrong, the /05 is an interesting update, but really that represents bringing the old Gew88 up to standards more akin to the Gew98 than what they originally decided on. Which is to say that I've got no ego in this game if the barrel is a replacement or it was parted together etc. That said, the major assemblies all feel like they've been together for a while. Wear to the finish, staining of the metal in places, etc. all just looks like pieces that have been with each other for longer than they haven't. The barrel itself is also in what can charitably be described as "functional" condition. I haven't slugged it yet to determine the bore size, but all I can say about the rifling is, yep, it has rifling. Worn, pitted, etc. Whatever this barrel is it's seen some use.






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    Moderator² Loewe's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum, you seem more knowledgeable than most new visitors... We have a Gewehr88 study in the research threads above, I finished my observations a couple weeks ago, a pretty lengthy process that took a couple months, but it shows that Loewe and Amberg used Suhl barrels and I made some comments recently regarding this observation and the comments from a decade ago from Jon Speed that referred to WMO relying upon the Suhl consortium for barrels(in this general time frame for contract rifle contracts), This clearly is a natural relationship that Loewe certainly practiced as well.

    I would ask that you consider providing your rifles information to the study, we need as many recordings as possible to further research on Gewehr88 production.

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    Thanks, I'll add the info on this rifle for you. I looked in there but couldn't really see anything that jumped out about barrel markings, and like I said I was unsure if this was even a suhl barrel at all. Most of the barrel marking info I've been able to find so far on Gew 88s focus on identifying whether it was updated (S, n.m. etc) rather than the manufacturer.

    Would you prefer me to just post it here, or in the thread? It looks like it's been fairly well curated, so if you'd just prefer to edit the information in yourself I'm fine with that.

    I'll get some more pictures up in a bit. It's an interesting rifle. I far better with WW1 and later German rifles, but I've recently started expanding back a little bit as well, hence asking questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyrano4747 View Post
    ..I was unsure if this was even a suhl barrel at all.
    Certainly have a lot to learn but I'm virtually certain that VCS is V. C. Shilling of Suhl. They were also making complete guns at the time. VCS.PNG

    I should amend 'guns' to carbines for this time study. They obviously made long guns before and after this specific time period so I'd imagine they'd have long barrel capabilites.
    Last edited by heavy_mech; 02-28-2021 at 05:53 PM. Reason: barrel vs weapon production
    "Wen Tausend einen Mann erschlagen, das ist nicht Ruhm, das ist nicht Ehre, denn beinsen wird's in späteren tagen gesiegt hat doch das Deutsch Heer. Podest nicht die Paten der Soldaten doner die da Sterben sollen, soll man geben was sie wollen, sahs sie Herzen, sahs sie Küssen, den sie wissen nicht wann sie sterben müssen"

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    Moderator² Loewe's Avatar
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    Yes, it is difficult to navigate for most, I am use to the complexity and diverse set-up that is required for collecting several statistics in one line... This is trying to record maker-date-serial, unit markings, barrel & receiver markings, including siderail variations all in a single line for compactness. In my trends they are easier to navigate because I divide these features up on a single pages, but here this is impossible.

    Anyway, this is a start, in real terms we have a very limited sample and one that is diverse and incomplete, Loewe BC (barrel codes)that show Suhl trademarks, and therefore probable Suhl sourcing are:

    1890 5459 b - CGH
    1890 8168 m - S&S
    1891 7600 c - S&S
    1891 1643 f - S&S

    The vast majority of barrels are not illustrated, some that are are Loewe made or re-barrels. VCS is known on other makers, scroll through the database and look for "BC" what follows is some of the characters that seemed relevant, or potentially relevant, to barrel coding interpretation.

    So far it seems only Loewe and Amberg used Suhl barrels as sub-contractors, but this study is in its infancy. I reserved some space of that thread, I may use one of the reserved posts to dedicate barrel sub-contracting to a more "reader-interpretation friendly" format.

    Although the forums offer amazing access to cooperation, gathering data and exchanging ideas and working through assumptions in search of the facts behind them, it does have limitations, one of these is finding a manageable way of displaying large volumes of data for the purpose of interpretation. I mean it is easy for me (or any author) to glance through complex and "busy" lines of trends information, but for someone unfamiliar with the abbreviations and tediousness of it all, it is certainly discouraging. This is why in most of the research threads I kept the number of factors or items being trended to a minimum, - maker-date-serial-unit, but even then "mission creep" set in and every time you add another level of complexity it makes it more confusing.

    Anyway, the project is new and will evolve, in this case possibly shrinking in complexity and or goals, rather than expanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyrano4747 View Post
    Thanks, I'll add the info on this rifle for you. I looked in there but couldn't really see anything that jumped out about barrel markings, and like I said I was unsure if this was even a suhl barrel at all. Most of the barrel marking info I've been able to find so far on Gew 88s focus on identifying whether it was updated (S, n.m. etc) rather than the manufacturer.

    Would you prefer me to just post it here, or in the thread? It looks like it's been fairly well curated, so if you'd just prefer to edit the information in yourself I'm fine with that.

    I'll get some more pictures up in a bit. It's an interesting rifle. I far better with WW1 and later German rifles, but I've recently started expanding back a little bit as well, hence asking questions.

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    Moderator² Loewe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heavy_mech View Post
    Certainly have a lot to learn but I'm virtually certain that VCS is V. C. Shilling of Suhl. They were also making complete guns at the time. VCS.PNG
    I agree, it is a VCS barrel, according to Jon the Suhl consortium was active in this regard supplying barrels for foreign contracts also, this practice of cooperation and dealing in barrels is well established with other rifle variations and their cooperation making Gewehr98's, each Suhl firm specialized in key components (JPS barrels, CGH receivers etc..). There is little doubt that this Loewe G88 has a VCS barrel, but were these in groups (tight blocks) or spread out widely, how common etc... of course this will take years to even getting an idea about any of this, - I doubt 5% of G88 reports show barrel markings, so this will be a challenging project! It is difficult enough to get people to disassemble a Gewehr98, 98a doubly so, a G88 next to impossible unless the owner is determined to satisfy curiosity. As auctions are the primary source for data, (collectors the best for thorough examinations of rifles, but not the volume auctions have - and increasingly auction sellers are more and more offering thorough examinations of their rifles) something like barrel trends are LONG-TERM projects. Jordan will be passing these types of projects to the next generation of researchers before answers are had, - assuming anyone will care in 30 years! (The way things are going, young people will have greater worries than "curiosity" to deal with in 30 years...)

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    Thanks flor thei information as always. I think barrel making, especially quality barrels has always been a lucrative business. Often very lucrative.
    "Wen Tausend einen Mann erschlagen, das ist nicht Ruhm, das ist nicht Ehre, denn beinsen wird's in späteren tagen gesiegt hat doch das Deutsch Heer. Podest nicht die Paten der Soldaten doner die da Sterben sollen, soll man geben was sie wollen, sahs sie Herzen, sahs sie Küssen, den sie wissen nicht wann sie sterben müssen"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loewe View Post
    I agree, it is a VCS barrel, according to Jon the Suhl consortium was active in this regard supplying barrels for foreign contracts also, this practice of cooperation and dealing in barrels is well established with other rifle variations and their cooperation making Gewehr98's, each Suhl firm specialized in key components (JPS barrels, CGH receivers etc..). There is little doubt that this Loewe G88 has a VCS barrel, but were these in groups (tight blocks) or spread out widely, how common etc... of course this will take years to even getting an idea about any of this, - I doubt 5% of G88 reports show barrel markings, so this will be a challenging project! It is difficult enough to get people to disassemble a Gewehr98, 98a doubly so, a G88 next to impossible unless the owner is determined to satisfy curiosity. As auctions are the primary source for data, (collectors the best for thorough examinations of rifles, but not the volume auctions have - and increasingly auction sellers are more and more offering thorough examinations of their rifles) something like barrel trends are LONG-TERM projects. Jordan will be passing these types of projects to the next generation of researchers before answers are had, - assuming anyone will care in 30 years! (The way things are going, young people will have greater worries than "curiosity" to deal with in 30 years...)
    I'll try to get the info for your study up tomorrow. I can say right now that the SN is 1052, no suffix, and there are no proof or inspection marks along the right side of the receiver. Which, frankly, I thought was weird coming as I do from later German guns that have a whole line of them there.

    While I'm thinking of it, do you know of any good diagrams of the different Gew88 barrel profiles? I've found some text descriptions but nothing graphical, and looking for pictures of Gew 88 barrels online to see examples is hard, to say the least. I suspect you're right that most people don't bother taking them apart.

    Which kind of baffles me, to be honest, this is a pretty easy gun to take apart and put back together. I mean, it's not as easy as a 98, but you're nowhere near what you'll find with any of the autoloaders from the 40s. Really the only rough part was putting the bolt back together, and even that's just because of what a PITA it is to get the firing pin nut screwed down.

    Myself, I take all my stuff apart at least one just to make sure there aren't any nasty surprises below the woodline like active rust. Way too often I've gotten something out of a stock it's been in for god knows how many years only to find a nice patch of rust that would have been a worse problem down the road. Just need to make sure you have the right tools so you don't bugger up the screws or ding the wood.

    edit: Right now the only reference I've got on these is Scarlata's book, plus what I'm able to dig up online. I'm pretty sure I saw mention of another book by a German author that's supposed to be good, but I didn't write it down and now I can't find where I saw it . . .
    Last edited by Cyrano4747; 02-28-2021 at 10:57 PM.

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    Moderator² Loewe's Avatar
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    Interesting that it lacks acceptance, Loewe did make commercial variations of this variation and I think they lack acceptance. Problem is ScottB owns the one I am thinking about and he didn't do a great number of pictures, couldn't post them anyway, but I think the stock at least carried numerous Loewe trademarks instead of cyhper and acceptance. I will try and check out his rifle to see if it offers clues of comparison to yours, it sure would be neat if yours was commercial also, very rare from my observations.

    Interestingly I did notice too that your barrel lacked the Loewe fireproof (Lfp in trends) or the military acceptance that accompanies the normal barrel markings. Perhaps an added consideration would be reviewing Loewe's M93/95 commercial contracts, its a longshot many barrels will be shown to aid our purpose here, but I have saved a large number of rifles for trends. Your rifle is certainly interesting, perhaps some of Loewe's other variations my give us some context to compare this one too.

    *** Scott's was an 1891 though, so not a direct comparison, but worth it to see if any commonalities exist
    Last edited by Loewe; 03-01-2021 at 03:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loewe View Post
    Interesting that it lacks acceptance, Loewe did make commercial variations of this variation and I think they lack acceptance. Problem is ScottB owns the one I am thinking about and he didn't do a great number of pictures, couldn't post them anyway, but I think the stock at least carried numerous Loewe trademarks instead of cyhper and acceptance.
    OK, so this is interesting because the stock has many very, worn stamps that look like a T over an O. My initial thought was that they were stamped over markings following a rearsenal, but that would also make sense for a Loewe trade mark. I'm having something at the back of my brain tickled about that T maybe being two L's next to each other, one backwards. I'll see if I can snag a quick picture of that.

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