A Luger Safety Catch Problem Fixed

By Ryan M. Davis
GCA Member

Cross Saber Custom Gunsmithing
Kouts, IN

Shortly after I opened my shop about four years ago, a customer brought me a Mauser/Byf Luger where the safety catch would fall down when the pistol was fired. On the Luger the safety catch is engaged when the lever is in the down, position preventing the firearm from firing the next round, and fires in the up position. The detent in the nose of the safety catch was worn away and would not engage the dimples in the frame. When the pistol was fired the surge caused the worn safety catch drop out of the fire position just about every time it was discharged. Not a super dangerous situation for a plinker/collector, but my customer was very annoyed by it.

I carefully examined the relationship of the safety catch to the frame. I contemplated bending the finger of the safety catch to bring the detent in closer to the dimples. Yet as I worked the catch I could see that the finger was positioned with enough tension on the tip to where it should work correctly. I felt bending the finger would give no real benefit towards fixing the issue. It is difficult to tell from the picture but the detent is not sticking that far out of the finger at all.

I knew I couldn’t weld up the detent. I only had an Oxy/Ace setup in the shop and I didn’t feel my skills in this field were good enough to build it up the detent. Or that welding was even the best method without making a horrible mess of things.

Then I thought what if I can drill out the old detent and solder in a new overlength pin that could be fit so that it would properly engage in the frame locking dimples. I could use Brownells Hi-Force 44 Solder and not have to worry about damaging the bluing or any heat treatment issues that come with welding or silver soldering. I felt the Hi-Force solder should be more than strong enough to hold an eighth inch plus length of drill rod sandwiched between the frame and safety finger. I would have to drill out the detent at an angle to match the angle of the pad at the end of the finger though. If I drilled the hole out straight I would be very limited on depth for soldering the new one in.

Once I had it all thought out and my materials were gathered I set the safety catch up in the mill. I aligned off the angle on the very far right side (in the picture above) of the part so that as I drilled the detent out I could go down into the finger pad leaving significant room for the new pin to get anchored with the solder.

If I had gone straight down it would have either come out on the inclined plane or would be too shallow. I would just have to fit it as best I could with it coming out at an angle vs. the original coming straight out of the part.Once the pin was fit to the hole and ready to be anchored it was soldered in place using Hi-Force 44 solder, Comet Flux and a propane torch.

Once the soldered part cooled I began to fit the new detent. I understand that I left the pin somewhat longer than needed but it came in handy while soldering. I first cut the pin to just over size with a cutoff wheel. I then began to form and place the round shape to fit and align it with the dimples in the frame.. Once I got the shape and alignment where it needed to be I double checked the function of the safety in the firearm and make sure the fitting was correct. I then pulled the part cold blued what needed it, oiled the parts and reassemble the pistol. I next took it to the range for test-firing. The new detent kept the safety where it should be so there is no longer surge induced safety drop.

This is the way I figured out how to get it to work. At the time I couldn’t find a replacement part and was still pretty naive on parts dealers (I have learned about quite a few more in the last four years). You may come across this same job and find another way to accomplish the task. Thats wonderful. We are learning everyday and all take our own paths. This job came across my bench over 3 and a half years ago. The owner still shoots it all the time and the last time I saw him it was still working great. This particular customer has brought in several jobs since. I did this with little experience and a I’m not sure if I would do it the same if a similar job came in today. In fact I am sure I wouldn’t because now that I know where to look, with a simple search I just found two Dealers with it currently in stock online. Unless this was a special part such as a Nitre blued catch or similar I would have just replaced it. All the same it is still working to this day and the customer has come back several times, with several more jobs. So I can’t complain!

4 Responses to A Luger Safety Catch Problem Fixed

  1. Awesome article! My kind of ‘smithing. Love doing those kinds of repairs.

    Regarding what you said Ryan: “I’m not sure if I would do it the same if a similar job came in today. In fact I am sure I wouldn’t because now that I know where to look, with a simple search I just found two Dealers with it currently in stock online” …

    …well IMO I would do that repair again the same way as you did for your customer’s gun here, especially if I did not have a TIG. But in any case (TIG or not) I would do the repair again and again like you have because;
    #1) the repair was done correct and stood the test of time
    #2) the repair did not require parts and required just labor/your time. By not having to purchase a part to fix the gun means you saved the customer money (and time sourcing and ordering a part) in which makes your charge for the job 100% profit. A win/win situation for you and the customer. Well done!

    Thanks for the article Ryan, it brings back memories of some repairs I have done, plus it makes me look forward to jobs like these to come around again!
    Keep them articles coming.

  2. Nice alternative to just replacing the part. If you notice the safety lever is numbered with a portion of the guns serial number and whether on just an old shooter or possibly more of a collectors piece its good in my opinion to have those matching numbers. Also cool to see an article from a local shop owner. Thanks for the article

  3. I too feel that the repair was handled correctly. I would have chose to repair it similarly because of serial part numbers. Having the part numbers matching is a big part of the repair on a piece like that. Great job! Thank you for sharing.