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Old December 20, 2009, 10:15 PM   #1
RonC
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My First Mauser 98

I've posted this on some collector sites, but I know there are some knowledgeable people here. So, please excuse if you have seen my post before. I am trying to put all the historical pieces about this rifle together.

I purchased this Mauser from an acquaintance at an outdoor gun range I belong to. I have Swedish Mausers (6.55) but this is my first 98k.
The serial numbers are mix and match. I have linked some codes to their manufacture sites.
An unusual feature is that the lower band swivel for the sling is under the stock, not on the side (like a Belgian F.N. style Mauser). The rear sling swivel is underneath, and the stock has the standard sling slot on the butt stock as well.


Some of the code and serial numbers: Mod 98; 332#; top of receiver byf 41 (Obendorf, I believe); 79 (bore size, I've learned); 335# on bolt top; 49 on safety; 38 on bolt release; floor plate 372#; bolt handle 6446; barrel band 33; front barrel band 208. I've been able to link the numbers 208, 49, 38 and 33 to the Waffennamt manufacturer.
There is a strange number on the top of the receiver. It is 40 funny backwards C0 501, that is: 40 )0 501.

There are 3 eagles with 655 in their claws on the side of the forward end of the receiver.

The side of the butt stock has some stenciled numbers on it.
<img src="http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/3233/98mauser1941buttstocksm.jpg" alt="Image Hosted by ImageShack.us"/><br/>Shot at 2009-12-16

Some other photos:


So, what sort of mish-mash of parts do I have here?
Thank you in advance for your help.

Ron
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Old December 20, 2009, 11:04 PM   #2
James K
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Let me see. First, the band you have is not from a K.98k. ALL K.98k's had the one piece band with the sling loop on the left side, no exceptions. That band is probably from an earlier Mauser or Mauser-type rifle.

byf was the code for the Mauser parent factory at Oberndorf am ("on the") Neckar (river). The 41 is the date (1941) the rifle was made. The eagles with "655" are the Heereswaffenamt (HWA) inspection and approval markings; "655" was the inspector assigned to Mauser at the time. (With very few exceptions, the actual names of the inspectors are not known, and the lists were destroyed in WWII.) The three eagles are not redundant. One is the OK for the receiver before final finish, the second for the barrelled action, and the third for the assembled rifle.

The various numbers on the parts are not the manufacturers' codes. They are the final digits of the serial numbers of the various rifles of which they were originally a part. You have, in other words, a real mixmaster.

The receiver serial number should be on the left side of the receiver. It will be up to 4 digits, probably followed by a letter, like 1234a. That number should also be on the barrel.

There is some question about the odd marking on the barrel, but it seems to indicate a barrel made by a sub-contractor. The 40 is the date the barrel was made; the symbol and number may indicate the maker or may just be a lot number. Law's book shows a byf 41 K.98k with the barrel marking the same as yours except that the last number is 534 instead of 501. Neither number is on any list of manufacturers' codes that I have seen.

It might be possible to claim that the rifle was reworked by the Germans in the final days of the war, using whatever parts were available. Or that it was put together by the Russians from cannibalized rifles. But I think a better bet would be that it was assembled this side of the pond out of a bunch of old parts, possibly to "restore" a sporterized rifle.

I hope the purchase price was based on what the gun is, not on the price of a matching K.98k.

Jim
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Old December 21, 2009, 12:04 AM   #3
RonC
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Thank you for that information, Mr. Keenan.
The purchase price was fair. Not a "real deal," but fair for such a mix.

Ron
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Old December 22, 2009, 08:55 PM   #4
RonC
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I have some new information on the Mauser after taking it to my favorite gun shop.

The trigger guard did not sit flush because the front bolt holding it on wouldn't thread all the way into the housing that had the threads thoroughly buggered. The trigger guard was moved away from the stock so it was flush with the bolt. Once the bolt was removed, the trigger guard could be pushed in flush with the stock. The fellow who works at the shop, an old Army armorer, will rethread the bolt and housing.

The barrel matches the receiver. We found the matching serial numbers.

The bolt is not in the white, but just has the bluing worn. There is some bueing left here and there.

The headspace looks good, so it is good to fire.

Thanks,
Ron
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Old December 22, 2009, 10:05 PM   #5
Tamara
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Wisht I had a better look at that barrel band.
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Old December 22, 2009, 10:55 PM   #6
RonC
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Your wish is my command!



Thanks,
Ron
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Old December 22, 2009, 11:06 PM   #7
Tamara
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Funky. That split in it almost makes it look like the barrel band off a Yugo Mauser.
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Old December 29, 2009, 11:46 PM   #8
RonC
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I had a local expert check over the rifle. He has a huge collection himself, and is a very accomplished historian of military small arms as well as formerly being an Army armorer.

It turn's out that Mr. Keenan was right on target when he said "It might be possible to claim that the rifle was reworked by the Germans in the final days of the war, using whatever parts were available." In the desperate times at the end of the war, Germany was throwing parts together, sometimes none too carefully. On this one, the threads on the recoil lug assembly were buggered up and that is why the trigger base protruded from the stock. He rethreaded the bolt and the recoil lug assembly and now the trigger assembly sits flush.

He did say that the fact that he had to play around with that recoil lug assembly, he would recommend that I keep this as a great example of an original, end-of-war rebuild (not a Russian capture rebuild) and NOT shoot it.

Of course that means I have to save to buy one that is a shooter! The bug has bitten.

Thanks to you all!
Ron
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Old January 3, 2010, 02:47 AM   #9
Jimro
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Ron,

Not to bust your bubble, but what are the odds that a K98 with a receiver dated 1941 and serial numbered matching barrel would be an example of an "end of the war hasty build"? Most of those hasty builds would be from receivers dated 43 or 44.

Sounds like your armorer friend was being polite. Unless I miss my guess the front sling swivel was a gunsmith special. If your photography skills are indicative of the actual part then I can see where the left side sling attachment was filed/ground off.

Go ahead and shoot it, you have a nice example of "thrown together from a mix of parts to make a functioning rifle" courtesy of Century or other importer. The front action screw was probably buggered up by the "armorer" who tried stuffing all the parts together, not by Obendorf in 1941. It may not be a one of a kind collector, but it will be a good shooter.

Jimro
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Old January 3, 2010, 11:24 AM   #10
RonC
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Interesting points, Jimro.

Would Century have marked the rifle upon importation?

Another issue with the rifle is that the safety, when moved over to the "fire" position, won't move back to "safe." I've taken the bolt apart, cleaned it, lubricated and reassembled. It will move readily between pointing up and also to the right. As soon as I rotate it over to pointing left, to the fire position, it resists any movement back. Any tips on remedying that issue would be appreciated, particularly if shooting it is a possibility.

Thanks,
Ron
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Old January 3, 2010, 01:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Another issue with the rifle is that the safety, when moved over to the "fire" position, won't move back to "safe." I've taken the bolt apart, cleaned it, lubricated and reassembled. It will move readily between pointing up and also to the right. As soon as I rotate it over to pointing left, to the fire position, it resists any movement back. Any tips on remedying that issue would be appreciated, particularly if shooting it is a possibility.
Thats a pretty common problem with mauser safetys.You may just need to file a little bit on the edge of the cocking piece where the safety touches it or do some filing on the safety itself.If you look around on the surplusrifle.com forums there should be a tutorial that does a better job of explaining it.
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Old January 3, 2010, 07:57 PM   #12
Jimro
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RonC,

Depending on when it was imported the right side of the barrel should be marked with the importers markings.

Jimro
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Old January 9, 2010, 01:03 AM   #13
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RonC;

Does "...bolt in the white" mean that it is really worn, or has some corrosion?
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Old January 9, 2010, 11:14 AM   #14
RonC
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The 'bolt in white' is really a function of the flash from my camera. There are areas of remaining bluing on the bolt that are not apparent in the photos. There are large areas where the bluing has worn off the bolt. That, combined with the reflections from the flash, give the look of a bolt with no bluing.

I don't have the 8 mm ammo for it yet, but if I did, I might be tempted to drive up to the range if it wasn't so darn cold at 8000' altitude.

Ron (wimping out in the cold)
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Old January 10, 2010, 04:12 AM   #15
Ignition Override
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Good points.
I can't imagine our guys in the shallow fox holes (in May '09, I squatted in some dug by E Company) by Bastogne, Belgium for many days in '44, or our Army/Marines high in bitterly cold Afghanistan.

Bought my first Mauser at Sunday's show and is a nice Yugo 48A.
Some day would like to 'walk in RonC's footsteps' and have a really good authentic German (RC), if it has been used in the same configuration by the seller.

Last edited by Ignition Override; January 13, 2010 at 02:34 AM.
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