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Posted: 2/22/2015 10:41:59 PM EDT
Then I played with my recently acquired British L66A1 for awhile, tweaking the magazine feed lips slightly to get reliable feeding, and testing it for accuracy and reliability with SK Std Plus, Aquila Pistol Match and some bulk Winchester ammo.

The plate was shot at 25 yards with a 6 0'clock hold, so the pistol is shooting about an inch and a half high at that distance and this particular 10 shot group is typical, measuring 2.1" center to center.  

I picked this up at a gun show last weekend from a dealer who had mis-identified it.    The Brits ordered 3,200 Walther PPs in the standard blued configuration as off duty personal defense weapons for the Ulster Defense Regiment in the early 1970s. They were delivered without the normal civilian proof marks and were instead delivered with a pair of eagle over 129 proof makes indicating the military proof house at Koblenz.

They also lacked British military proof marks.  That, along with the standard civilian finish and chambered in .22 LR, a very non-military caliber, probably gave them a good deal of plausible deniability if one was found in the possession of off duty or under cover personnel.  A few folks have suggested that they were issued through the UDR to loyalist groups who used them as assassination weapons in Northern Ireland.   In any event, the standard British military finish would have stood out, and made there origins obvious, where the blued finish made them look like most other Walther PP .22 LR pistols.    

When the L66A1s were turned back in they were sent through a Factory Through Repair (FTR) where they were arsenal rebuilt, parked, painted with Suncorite (the black laquer you see on SMLEs, etc) and then re-issued to other units for various other purposes before eventually being retired and surplussed in the 1980s.   Interarms imported 1500 of them to the US, and this is one of them.  

It has a "P" stamp on the slide, indicating a new firing pin was installed during an FTR, which would have included the park and Suncorite refinish, and not surprisingly there is still park on the inner surfaces and some Suncorite remaining inside the trigger guard.   Obviously, someone at some point removed the Suncorite and took most of the park with it.  

The metal has been etched in the parkerizing process and polishing it back to the original blue would probably leave the roll marks a bit shallow.  However the internal condition is excellent, with a perfect bore, internal parts that show no significant wear, excellent reliability (once the feed lips were tweaked), and superb accuracy for a pocket pistol.  Consequently I'm going to Cerocote it in Graphite Black to replicate the Suncorite finish, without all of the carcinogenic issues involved with Suncorite itself, and more or less restore it to it's post FTR condition.

In a week or two I'll post some new pictures of the refinished pistol.

Link Posted: 2/22/2015 11:07:07 PM EDT
Very interesting pistol. Thanks!
Link Posted: 2/23/2015 2:04:20 AM EDT
Great find! Enjoy the gun & history.

German Walther PP, PPK & TPHs are extremely accurate, as you found out.

I get a kick out of the idea of a .22LR for issue by the Brits. I mean, yes, it's better than nothing--but for shear reliability of ignitition, the .32ACP/7,65mm would seem to be a better choice.

Congrats again!
Link Posted: 2/23/2015 10:10:33 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Great find! Enjoy the gun & history.

German Walther PP, PPK & TPHs are extremely accurate, as you found out.

I get a kick out of the idea of a .22LR for issue by the Brits. I mean, yes, it's better than nothing--but for shear reliability of ignitition, the .32ACP/7,65mm would seem to be a better choice.

Congrats again!
View Quote

I agree that .22 LR was a very odd choice, given the inherent reliability issues with it.

I have a couple of former police issue PPs in .32 ACP as well as an FEG AP and an FEG APK in .32 ACP (Walther PP and PPK/S clones), and they are all extremely fun pistols to shoot with impressive accuracy and the capability for very rapid and accurate follow up shots.   I also have an FEG AP and an FEG APK in .380 ACP along with a couple PPK/Ss in .380 ACP and while they are not as sweet as their .32 ACP counterparts, they are still very controllable, just as concealable and at least as effective (trading number of rounds for more effective rounds).
I'd carry any of the above and not feel particularly, under gunned, but I would not choose to carry a PP in .22 LR.

From what I've read it seems various UDR personnel were known to be issued a PP in .22 LR, and then actually carry their own in .32 ACP instead.   A few people have suggested that in addition to the possible advantage of a non military or police caliber for undercover work, the .22LR was selected to reenforce the point that it was a last ditch defensive weapon - apparently to discourage its use offensively by off duty personnel.   And as noted above, a few people have suggested that the whole personal defense weapon thing was just a cover for pistols intended to be issued to loyalists for assassination purposes.  


I've noted that the magazine has to be loaded very carefully to ensure the round you are inserting does not end up with its rim behind the rim of the round below it - which effectively locks the round in lace long enough for it to nose dive into the bottom of the feed ramp with the slide tries to chamber it.  I've also noted that it is much more reliable with 8 rounds in the magazine than with 10, as the only failures I ever had were in the 9th and 19th rounds loaded in the magazine.    If I were going to carry it as a self defense weapon, I'd load the magazines very carefully, re-load them every morning, and load them with only 8 rounds.
Link Posted: 2/23/2015 10:16:08 AM EDT
When were those imported?
Link Posted: 2/23/2015 1:37:52 PM EDT
Mid 1990's.
Link Posted: 3/6/2015 2:30:52 PM EDT
I still need to paint the red dot under the safety level, but it's now Cerocoted.

Before and after pictures:

Link Posted: 3/7/2015 12:58:40 PM EDT
Good job.
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