Karabiner 98k

Karabiner 98k

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Encyclopedia
The Karabiner 98 Kurz was a bolt action rifle
Rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

 chambered for the 8x57mm IS/7.92×57mm IS cartridge that was adopted as the standard service rifle
Service rifle
The service rifle of a given army or armed force is that which it issues as standard to its soldiers. In modern forces, this is typically a highly versatile and rugged assault rifle suitable for use in nearly all theatres and environments...

 in 1935 by the German Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

. It was one of the final developments in the long line of Mauser
Mauser
Mauser was a German arms manufacturer of a line of bolt-action rifles and pistols from the 1870s to 1995. Mauser designs were built for the German armed forces...

 military rifles. Although supplemented by semi- and fully automatic rifles during World War II, it remained the primary German service rifle until the end of World War II in 1945.

History


The Karabiner 98k was derived from earlier rifles, namely the Mauser Standardmodell and the Karabiner 98b, which in turn had both been developed from the Gewehr 98
Gewehr 98
The Gewehr 98 is a German bolt action Mauser rifle firing the 8x57mm cartridge from a 5 round internal clip-loaded magazine that was the German service rifle from 1898 to 1935, when it was replaced by the Karabiner 98k. It was hence the main rifle of the German infantry during World War I...

. Since the Karabiner 98k rifle was shorter than the earlier Karabiner 98b (the 98b was a carbine
Carbine
A carbine , from French carabine, is a longarm similar to but shorter than a rifle or musket. Many carbines are shortened versions of full rifles, firing the same ammunition at a lower velocity due to a shorter barrel length....

 in name only, a version of Gewehr 98 long rifle with upgraded sights), it was given the designation Karabiner 98 Kurz, meaning "Carbine 98 Short".
Just like its predecessor, the rifle was noted for its reliability, great accuracy and an effective range of up to 500 metre with iron sights.

Features


The Karabiner 98k was a controlled-feed bolt-action rifle based on the Mauser M 98 system. It could be loaded with five rounds of 8x57mm IS/7.92×57mm IS ammunition from a stripper clip
Stripper clip
A stripper clip or charger is a speedloader that holds several cartridges together in a single unit for easier loading of a firearm's magazine. A stripper clip is used only for loading the magazine and is not necessary for the firearm to function...

, loaded into an internal magazine. The straight bolt handle found on the Gewehr 98
Gewehr 98
The Gewehr 98 is a German bolt action Mauser rifle firing the 8x57mm cartridge from a 5 round internal clip-loaded magazine that was the German service rifle from 1898 to 1935, when it was replaced by the Karabiner 98k. It was hence the main rifle of the German infantry during World War I...

 bolt had been replaced by a turned-down bolt handle on the Karabiner 98k. This change made it easier to rapidly operate the bolt, reduced the amount the handle projected beyond the receiver, and enabled mounting of aiming optics directly above the receiver
Receiver (firearms)
In firearms terminology, the receiver is the part of a firearm that houses the operating parts. The receiver usually contains the bolt carrier group, trigger group, and magazine port. In most handguns, the receiver, or frame, holds the magazine well or rotary magazine as well as the trigger mechanism...

 on the Karabiner 98k. Each rifle was furnished with a short length of cleaning rod, fitted through the bayonet stud. The rods from 3 rifles will make one full-length cleaning rod.
The metal parts of the rifle were blued
Bluing (steel)
Bluing is a passivation process in which steel is partially protected against rust, and is named after the blue-black appearance of the resulting protective finish. True gun bluing is an electrochemical conversion coating resulting from an oxidizing chemical reaction with iron on the surface...

, a process in which steel is partially protected against rust by a layer of magnetite
Magnetite
Magnetite is a ferrimagnetic mineral with chemical formula Fe3O4, one of several iron oxides and a member of the spinel group. The chemical IUPAC name is iron oxide and the common chemical name is ferrous-ferric oxide. The formula for magnetite may also be written as FeO·Fe2O3, which is one part...

 (Fe3O4). Such a thin black oxide
Black oxide
Black oxide or blackening is a conversion coating for ferrous materials, copper and copper based alloys, zinc, powdered metals, and silver solder. It is used to add mild corrosion resistance and for appearance. To achieve maximum corrosion resistance the black oxide must be impregnated with oil or...

 layer provides minimal protection against rust or corrosion, unless also treated with a water-displacing oil to reduce wetting and galvanic corrosion.

Sights


Originally the Karabiner 98k iron sight
Iron sight
Iron sights are a system of shaped alignment markers used as a sighting device to assist in the aiming of a device such as a firearm, crossbow, or telescope, and exclude the use of optics as in telescopic sights or reflector sights...

 line had an open post type front sight, and a tangent-type rear sight with a V-shaped rear notch. From 1939 onwards the post front sight was hooded to reduce glare
Glare (vision)
Glare is difficulty seeing in the presence of bright light such as direct or reflected sunlight or artificial light such as car headlamps at night. Because of this, some cars include mirrors with automatic anti-glare functions....

 under unfavourable light conditions and add protection for the post. These standard sight lines consisted of somewhat coarse aiming elements making it suitable for rough field handling, aiming at distant area fire targets and low light usage, but less suitable for precise aiming at distant or small point targets. The rear tangent sight was graduated for 1935 pattern 7.92x57mm IS cartridges from 100 m to 2000 m in 100 m increments. These cartridges were loaded with 12.8 g (197 gr) sS (schweres Spitzgeschoß – "heavy pointed bullet") ball bullets.

Stock


Most rifles had laminated stocks, the result of trials that had stretched through the 1930s. Plywood
Plywood
Plywood is a type of manufactured timber made from thin sheets of wood veneer. It is one of the most widely used wood products. It is flexible, inexpensive, workable, re-usable, and can usually be locally manufactured...

 laminates are stronger and resisted warping better than the conventional one-piece patterns, did not require lengthy maturing and were cheaper. The laminated stocks were somewhat heavier compared to one-piece stocks.

Accessories


When issued the Karabiner 98k came accompanied with assorted accessory items including a sling
Sling (firearms)
In the context of firearms, a sling is a type of strap or harness designed to allow a shooter to carry a firearm on his/her person and/or aid in greater hit probability with that firearm...

, a protective muzzle cover and for field maintenance a Reinigungsgerät 34 (Cleaning Kit 34) or RG34 kit. Introduced in 1934 the Reinigungsgerät 34 consisted of a flat 85 mm (3.3 in) wide by 135 mm (5.3 in) long sheet metal container with 2 hinged lids carried on the person which held an oiler, a take down tool for removing the floorplate and cleaning the receiver of the rifle, an aluminum barrel pull-through chain, a cleaning and an oiling brush, and short lengths of tow used as cleaning patches.

The Karabiner 98k rifle was designed to be used with an S84/98 III bayonet
Bayonet
A bayonet is a knife, dagger, sword, or spike-shaped weapon designed to fit in, on, over or underneath the muzzle of a rifle, musket or similar weapon, effectively turning the gun into a spear...

. The S84/98 III had a blade length of 252 mm (9.9 in) and an overall length of 385 mm (15.2 in) and was accompanied by a bayonet frog. Older bayonet types designed for the Gewehr 98 could also be mounted and were used during World War II as well. Other accessories to fire rifle grenade
Rifle grenade
A rifle grenade is a grenade that uses a rifle-based launcher to permit a longer effective range than would be possible if the grenade was thrown by hand...

s or reduce the sound signature during firing were designed for the Karabiner 98k.

Rifle grenade launcher



As of 1942, an attachable rifle grenade
Rifle grenade
A rifle grenade is a grenade that uses a rifle-based launcher to permit a longer effective range than would be possible if the grenade was thrown by hand...

 launcher called the Gewehrgranatengerät or Schießbecher ("shooting cup") was introduced that was developed based on rifle grenade launcher models designed during World War I. The 30 mm Schießbecher cup-type rifle grenade launcher could be mounted on any Karabiner 98k and was intended to replace all previous rifle grenade launcher models. The rifle grenade launcher could be used against infantry, fortifications and light armored vehicles up to a range of 280 m (306 yd). For these differing tasks several specialized grenades with accompanying special propelling cartridges were developed for the 1,450,113 produced Schießbecher rifle grenade launchers. The rifle grenade propelling cartridges fired a wooden projectile through the barrel to the rifle grenade that upon impact automatically primed the rifle grenade. The Schießbecher could be mounted on the Karabiner 98a, G98/40, StG 44 and FG 42
FG 42
The FG 42 was a selective fire battle rifle produced in Nazi Germany during World War II...

.

Suppressor


A removable, muzzle-mounted HUB-23 suppressor
Suppressor
A suppressor, sound suppressor, sound moderator, or silencer, is a device attached to or part of the barrel of a firearm which reduces the amount of noise and flash generated by firing the weapon....

, visually resembling the Schießbecher, was available for the Karabiner 98k. After several suppressor proposals from the fire arms industry and the SS-Waffenakademie (SS Weapons Academy) the HUB-23 was produced based on a design proposal by Unteroffizier Schätzle. The HUB-23 weighs 0.5 kg (1.1 lb) and is 180 mm (7.1 in) long. The maximum effective range of a Karbiner 98k with a HUB-23 mounted and firing special subsonic Nahpatrone (Near cartridge) reduced load ammunition with a muzzle velocity of 220 m/s was 300 m (328.1 yd). The use of the HUB-23 suppressor and subsonic ammunition resulted in a sound signature reduction by 75%.
The HUB-23 suppressor and the special subsonic ammunition were mainly used by special forces units such as the Brandenburgers
Brandenburgers
The Brandenburgers were members of the Brandenburg German Special Forces unit during World War II.Units of Brandenburgers operated in almost all fronts - the invasion of Poland, Denmark and Norway, in the Battle of France, in Operation Barbarossa, in Finland, Greece and the invasion of Crete,...

 and snipers.

Kriegsmodell


Starting in late 1944, Karabiner 98k production began transition to the "" ("war model") variant. This version was simplified to meet wartime production demands, removing the bayonet lug, cleaning rod, stock disc (which functions as a bolt disassembly tool), and other features deemed to be unnecessary. At least two transitional variants existed, which incorporated only some features, and some factories never switched to production at all.

Sniper variant


For snipers, Karabiner 98k rifles selected for being exceptionally accurate during factory tests were fitted with a telescopic sight
Telescopic sight
A telescopic sight, commonly called a scope, is a sighting device that is based on an optical refracting telescope. They are equipped with some form of graphic image pattern mounted in an optically appropriate position in their optical system to give an accurate aiming point...

 as sniper rifle
Sniper rifle
In military and law enforcement terminology, a sniper rifle is a precision-rifle used to ensure more accurate placement of bullets at longer ranges than other small arms. A typical sniper rifle is built for optimal levels of accuracy, fitted with a telescopic sight and chambered for a military...

s. Karabiner 98k sniper rifles had an effective range up to 1000 meters (1094 yards) when used by a skilled sniper
Sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

. The German Zeiss Zielvier 4x (ZF39) telescopic sight
Telescopic sight
A telescopic sight, commonly called a scope, is a sighting device that is based on an optical refracting telescope. They are equipped with some form of graphic image pattern mounted in an optically appropriate position in their optical system to give an accurate aiming point...

 had bullet drop compensation in 50 m increments for ranges from 100 m up to 800 m or in some variations from 100 m up to 1000 m. There were ZF42, Zeiss Zielsechs 6x and other telescopic sights by various manufacturers like the Ajack 4x and 6x, Hensoldt Dialytan 4x and Kahles Heliavier 4x with similar features employed on Karabiner 98k sniper rifles. Several different mountings produced by various manufacturers were used. The Karabiner 98k was not designed for mounting telescopic sights. Attaching such sights to a Karabiner 98k required machining
Machining
Conventional machining is a form of subtractive manufacturing, in which a collection of material-working processes utilizing power-driven machine tools, such as saws, lathes, milling machines, and drill presses, are used with a sharp cutting tool to physical remove material to achieve a desired...

 by a skilled armourer. A telescopic sight mounted low above the center axis of the receiver will not leave enough space between the rifle and the telescopic sight body for unimpaired operation of the bolt handle or three-position safety catch lever
Safety (firearms)
In firearms, a safety or safety catch is a mechanism used to help prevent the accidental discharge of a firearm, helping to ensure safer handling....

. This ergonomic problem was solved by mounting the telescopic sight relatively high above the receiver and sometimes modifying or replacing the safety operating lever or using an offset mounting that positions the telescopic sight axis to the left side in relation to the receiver center axis. Approximately 132,000 of these sniper rifles were produced by Germany.

Paratroopers


For German paratroopers special versions of the Karabiner 98k that could be transported in shortened modes were produced. Experimental specimens with folding stocks (Klappschaft) and with detachable barrels (Abnehmbarer Lauf) are known to have been produced at Mauser Oberndorf.

G40k


The G40k with a total length of 1000 mm (39.37 in) and a barrel length of 490 mm (19.29 in) and 3.2 kg (7.1 lb) weight was a shortened version of the Karabiner 98k. A batch of 82 G40k rifles was produced in 1941.

A reverse engineering simulation with QuickLOAD
QuickLOAD
QuickLOAD is an internal ballistics predictor computer program for fire arms.For computations apart from other parameters* the cartridge* the used projectile * the gunbarrel length* the cartridge overall length* the used propellant...

 internal ballistic software for the 8x57mm IS/7.92×57mm IS cartridge loaded with the German standard sS (schweres Spitzgeschoß/heavy pointed bullet) ball bullet, predicted that this shortening of the barrel results in ≈ 35 – 60 m/s muzzle velocity reduction depending on the propellant used. Due to its significant lighter weight the G40k produced ≈ 20% more recoil compared to the Karabiner 98k standard rifle.

German small arms doctrine


The Karabiner 98k had the same disadvantages as all other military rifles designed around the year 1900 in that it was comparatively bulky and heavy, having been created during a time when military doctrine centered around highly-trained marksmen engaging at relatively long range. The rate of fire was limited by how quickly the bolt
Bolt (firearm)
A bolt is a mechanical part of a firearm that blocks the rear of the chamber while the propellant burns.In manually-operated firearms, such as bolt-action, lever-action, and pump-action rifles and shotguns, the bolt is held fixed by its locking lugs during firing, forcing all the expanding gas...

 could be operated. Its magazine had only half the capacity of Great Britain's Lee-Enfield
Lee-Enfield
The Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century...

 series rifles, but being internal, it made the weapon more comfortable to carry at its point of balance. An experimental trench magazine was produced during World War II for Model 98 variants that could be attached to the bottom of the internal magazine by removing the floor plate, increasing capacity to 20 rounds, though it still required loading with 5 round stripper clip
Stripper clip
A stripper clip or charger is a speedloader that holds several cartridges together in a single unit for easier loading of a firearm's magazine. A stripper clip is used only for loading the magazine and is not necessary for the firearm to function...

s. While the Americans had standardized a semi-automatic rifle in 1936 (the M1 Garand
M1 Garand
The M1 Garand , was the first semi-automatic rifle to be generally issued to the infantry of any nation. Called "the greatest battle implement ever devised" by General George S...

), the Germans maintained these bolt-action rifles due to their tactical doctrine of basing a squad's firepower on the light machine gun
Light machine gun
A light machine gun is a machine gun designed to be employed by an individual soldier, with or without an assistant, as an infantry support weapon. Light machine guns are often used as squad automatic weapons.-Characteristics:...

 so that the role of the rifleman was largely to carry ammunition and provide covering fire for the machine gunners. They did experiments with semi-automatic rifles throughout the war (the G43 entered limited service), and introduced the first assault rifle
Assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

 in 1943 - the MP43 / MP44 / StG44 series. However, the Karabiner 98k remained the primary service weapon until the last days of the war, and was manufactured until the surrender in May 1945.

In close combat, however, submachine gun
Submachine gun
A submachine gun is an automatic carbine, designed to fire pistol cartridges. It combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol. The submachine gun was invented during World War I , but the apex of its use was during World War II when millions of the weapon type were...

s were often preferred, especially for urban combat where the rifle's range and low rate of fire were not very useful, although the rifle's powerful ammunition was better able to penetrate walls and other cover found in urban areas. Towards the end of the war, it was intended to phase out the Karabiner 98k in favour of the StG44 , which fired the 7.92x33mm Kurz intermediate rifle round
Intermediate cartridges
An intermediate cartridge is a military assault rifle cartridge that is less powerful than typical full power battle rifle cartridges such as the 7.92mm Mauser or US .30-06, but still significantly more powerful than pistol cartridges...

 that was more powerful than the pistol cartridges of submachine guns, but that could be used like a submachine gun in close-quarters and urban fighting. Production of the StG44 was never sufficient to meet demand, being a late-war weapon.

Pre–World War II export


Though most Karabiner 98k rifles went to the German armed forces, the weapon was sold abroad in the years prior to World War II. In Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, a large quantity of Karabiner 98k rifles made by Mauser Werke were adopted as the Espingarda 7,92 mm m/937 Mauser infantry rifle. Sweden ordered 2,500 Kar 98ks that were provided from the regular production run in 1939. Sweden had adopted a special cartridge for their machine guns, the 8x63mm M32, which was a very powerful round and used only by Sweden. It was used in specially-chambered Browning machine guns, and the Kar98ks were purchased so the machine gun troops could have rifles that fired the same round. Accordingly, the Kar 98ks were re-chambered in Sweden for the 8x63mm and the magazine opened up to accept it. A muzzle brake was installed to reduce the heavy recoil generated, and the resulting weapon designated M40 in Swedish service. After World War II, the Swedes discontinued use of the 8x63mm cartridge and the rifles were sold to Israel. Other pre-war exports of Kar 98ks were to China (an unknown number of rifles 1935 - 38), and 20,000 in 1937 to (China's then-enemy) Japan. Exports of Kar 98ks decreased as war drew closer, as all available production capacity was needed to equip the German Armed Forces.

World War II use


The Mauser Karabiner 98k rifle was widely used by all branches of the armed forces of Germany during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. It saw action in every theatre of war involving German forces, including occupied Europe, North Africa, the Soviet Union, Finland, and Norway. Although comparable to the weapons fielded by Germany's enemies at the beginning of the War, its disadvantages in rate of fire became more apparent as American and Soviet armies began to field more semi-automatic weapons among their troops. Still, it continued to be the main infantry rifle of the Wehrmacht until the end of the War. Resistance forces in German-occupied Europe made frequent use of captured German Karabiner 98k rifles. The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 also made extensive use of captured Karabiner 98k rifles and other German infantry weapons due to the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 experiencing a critical shortage of small arms during the early years of World War II. Many German soldiers used the verbal expression "Kars" as the slang name for the rifle.

Soviet Capture


During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 captured millions of Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles and re-furbished them in various arms factories in the late 1940s and early 1950s. These rifles were originally stored in the event of future hostilities with the Western Bloc
Western Bloc
The Western Bloc or Capitalist Bloc during the Cold War refers to the powers allied with the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact...

. These rifles, referred to by collectors as RC ("Russian Capture") Mausers, can be identified by a crude "X" stamp on the left side of the receiver, the dull, thick reblueing and mismatched parts and electro-pencil serial numbers on smaller parts. The Soviet arsenals made no effort to match the rifle's original parts by serial number when reassembling them, and some parts (the cleaning rod, sight hood, and locking screws) were deemed unnecessary and melted down for scrap metal.

Most of these rifles (along with the Mosin-Nagant
Mosin-Nagant
The Mosin–Nagant is a bolt-action, internal magazine-fed, military rifle invented under the government commission by Russian and Belgian inventors, and used by the armed forces of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and various other nations....

 rifle) were eventually shipped to communist or Marxist revolutionary movements and nations around the world during the early Cold War period. A steady supply of free surplus military firearms was one way that Moscow could support these movements and states whilst retaining plausible deniability as well as give Moscow a means to arm these governments and movements without providing them the latest Soviet infantry weapons (these governments and movements Moscow supported would be provided modern infantry weapons like the SKS
SKS
The SKS is a Soviet semi-automatic rifle chambered for the 7.62x39mm round, designed in 1943 by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov. SKS-45 is an acronym for Samozaryadnyj Karabin sistemy Simonova, 1945 Simonov system, 1945), or SKS 45. The Sks is a scaled down version of the PTRS-41 anti-tank rifle also...

 and the AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

 at a later date).

One example of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 providing the Mauser Karabiner 98k rifle (as well as other infantry weapons captured from the Germans during and after World War II) to its communist allies during the Cold War period occurred during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 providing military aid to the armed forces of North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

 and to the NLF
National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam
The Vietcong , or National Liberation Front , was a political organization and army in South Vietnam and Cambodia that fought the United States and South Vietnamese governments during the Vietnam War . It had both guerrilla and regular army units, as well as a network of cadres who organized...

 in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

.

A considerable number of Soviet-captured Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles (as well as a number of Karabiner 98k rifles that were left behind by the French after the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

) were found in the hands of NLF
National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam
The Vietcong , or National Liberation Front , was a political organization and army in South Vietnam and Cambodia that fought the United States and South Vietnamese governments during the Vietnam War . It had both guerrilla and regular army units, as well as a network of cadres who organized...

 (Vietcong) guerrillas and VPA
Vietnam People's Army
The Vietnam People's Army is the armed forces of Vietnam. The VPA includes: the Vietnamese People's Ground Forces , the Vietnam People's Navy , the Vietnam People's Air Force, and the Vietnam Marine Police.During the French Indochina War , the VPA was often referred to as the Việt...

 (NVA) soldiers by US, South Vietnamese, South Korean, Australian and New Zealand forces alongside Soviet-bloc rifles like the Mosin-Nagant
Mosin-Nagant
The Mosin–Nagant is a bolt-action, internal magazine-fed, military rifle invented under the government commission by Russian and Belgian inventors, and used by the armed forces of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and various other nations....

, the SKS
SKS
The SKS is a Soviet semi-automatic rifle chambered for the 7.62x39mm round, designed in 1943 by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov. SKS-45 is an acronym for Samozaryadnyj Karabin sistemy Simonova, 1945 Simonov system, 1945), or SKS 45. The Sks is a scaled down version of the PTRS-41 anti-tank rifle also...

, and the AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

.

Post-occupation service


In the years after World War II, a number of European nations on both sides of the Iron Curtain that were invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany used the Mauser Karabiner 98k rifle as their standard-issue infantry rifle, due to the large number of German weapons that were left behind by the Germans at the end of World War II.

Nations like France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 used the Mauser Karabiner 98k rifle and a number of other German weapons in the years after World War II.

Norway's captured Karabiner 98k rifles were soon superseded as a standard issue weapon by the US M1
M1 Garand
The M1 Garand , was the first semi-automatic rifle to be generally issued to the infantry of any nation. Called "the greatest battle implement ever devised" by General George S...

, but remained in service as Norwegian Home Guard weapons until at least the 1970s, in which role they were rebarreled for the .30-06 Springfield
.30-06 Springfield
The .30-06 Springfield cartridge or 7.62×63mm in metric notation, was introduced to the United States Army in 1906 and standardized, and was in use until the 1960s and early 1970s. It replaced the .30-03, 6 mm Lee Navy, and .30 US Army...

 round used by the M1, with a small cutout in the receiver so that the slightly longer US round could still be loaded with stripper clips. These Norwegian conversions had a section of the receiver flattened on the upper left side, where a new serial number (with a prefix denoting the branch of service) was stamped. Some of these rifles conversions were rechambered again to 7.62 mm NATO, but this program was canceled with only a few thousand converted when Norway adopted the AG-3 (H&K G3) as a replacement for both the M1 and the K98k. Some actions from Mauser Karabiner 98k left by German armed forces in 1945 were used by Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk (currently Kongsberg Small Arms) for building both military and civilian sniper/target rifles under the Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk Skarpskyttergevær M59 - Mauser M59
Mauser M59
The Mauser M59 and Mauser M67 were rifles produced by Kongsberg Arms of Norway and were not licensed products of Mauser. Although they were produced by Kongsberg it was always called a "Mauser" in Norway, hence its listing under Mauser....

 and Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk Skarpskyttergevær M67 - Mauser M67
Mauser M67
The Mauser M67 is a bolt-action rifle made by Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk of Norway, based on actions from Mauser M98k left by German armed forces in 1945...

 designations. These rifles were used by the Norwegian armed forces up to the 2000s.

Former German Karabiner 98k rifles were widely distributed throughout the Eastern Bloc, some being refurbished 2 or 3 times by different factories. They were used by military and para-military forces (such as the East German Combat Groups of the Working Class
Combat Groups of the Working Class
The Combat Groups of the Working Class was a paramilitary organization in East Germany, founded in 1953 and abolished in 1990. It numbered about 400,000 volunteers for much of its existence.-History:...

), and were replaced by Soviet weapons in the 1960s.

East German refurbished Karabiner 98ks featured Russian-style thicker blue finish, a 'sunburst' proof mark and sometimes had the factory designation '1001' applied, which was the factory where the refurbishment was carried out. Numbers were re-stamped to match the receiver and old numbers barred out. Numbers of East German and Czech refurbished Karabiner 98ks were exported to the West in the late 1980s and early 1990s and are now in the hands of collectors. Russian Capture Karabiner 98ks were exported to the West in large numbers in the early- and mid- 2000s.
A small number of Karabiner 98k rifles were ordered by East Germany from Czechoslovakia in 1950, and are true 98k pattern rifles with bent bolt handle and stock inlet. Due to the Warsaw Pact practice of donating older or obsolete weapons to Socialist/Revolutionary governments/movements in the third world, very few exist in private hands, making it among the rarest Karabiner 98k rifles ever manufactured.

The Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

n arms producer Zastava Arms
Zastava Arms
Zastava Arms is a Serbian manufacturer of firearms and artillery. It was founded in 1853 when it cast its first cannons. It is currently the leading producer of firearms in Serbia and is a large contributor to the local defence industry...

 refurbished German Karabiner 98k rifles. These Prеduzeće 44 rifles are readily identifiable as the German factory code markings have been scrubbed from the receiver and replaced with the Yugoslav communist crest. The refurbished Prеduzeće 44 Karabiner 98k rifles were still being used in the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

Post–World War II derivatives


Many of the liberated European countries continued production of rifles similar to the Karabiner 98k, for example Fabrique Nationale
Fabrique Nationale de Herstal
Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal — self identified as FN Herstal and often referred to as Fabrique Nationale or simply FN — is a firearms manufacturer located in Herstal, Belgium....

 (FN) in Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 and Česká Zbrojovka
Česká Zbrojovka
Česká Zbrojovka may refer to one of the following Czech firearms makers:* Česká Zbrojovka Strakonice* Česká Zbrojovka Uherský Brod* Česká Zbrojovka firearms...

 (CZ) in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 produced both their proprietary older models and brand new Karabiner 98k rifles, many of which were assembled from leftover German parts or using captured machinery.

As with post-Nazi occupation service post-war production of derivatives was a stop-gap solution until enough numbers of more modern automatic rifles could be developed and produced. The vast majority of the 98K pattern rifles were soon stored as reserve weapons or given for very low prices to various fledgling states or rebel movements throughout the developing world.

Both FN and CZ utilized a modified design, with the cleaning rod and stock disk still omitted, but the bayonet lug restored. In Czechoslovakia it was known as P-18 or puška vz.98N, the first being the manufacturer's cover designation of the type, the second official army designation - rifle model 98, N for německá - German. In Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, the Czechoslovak version was known under the informal name of ZB, after Zbrojovka Brno - the Czechoslovak state producer of small weapons and munitions - and it was used to arm Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

's Patriotic Guards
Patriotic Guards (Romania)
The Patriotic Guards were Romanian paramilitary formations formed during the Communist era, designed to provide additional defense in case of outside attack.-History:...

.

Yugoslavian M48


From 1950 to 1965, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

n Zastava Arms
Zastava Arms
Zastava Arms is a Serbian manufacturer of firearms and artillery. It was founded in 1853 when it cast its first cannons. It is currently the leading producer of firearms in Serbia and is a large contributor to the local defence industry...

 produced a near-copy of the Karabiner 98k imported between the wars from Fabrique Nationale called the Model 1948
M48 Mauser
The M48 Mauser is a post World War II Yugoslavian version of the Belgian Fabrique Nationale designed Mauser Model 1924 short rifle which was produced under contract by the "Kingdom of Yugoslavia" beginning in 1928 and ending with the Nazi occupation in 1941. After World War II, the Yugoslavs took...

, which differed from the German rifle in that it had the shorter bolt-action of the Yugoslav M1924 series of rifles (not to be confused with the widely-distributed Czech Vz 24 which had a standard length action), a stronger barrel (Yugoslavia had low chromium
Chromium
Chromium is a chemical element which has the symbol Cr and atomic number 24. It is the first element in Group 6. It is a steely-gray, lustrous, hard metal that takes a high polish and has a high melting point. It is also odorless, tasteless, and malleable...

 deposits, so they could not produce steel as hardened as Krupp- or Sweden-steel used in other variants, and made up for it in material strength), and a rear sight enclosed in the wooden hand guard (the German-style hand guard began in front of the rear sight, unlike e.g. exports to South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 that had a hand guard and rear sight like the M48).

Spanish M43


The Spanish M43, produced in La Coruña until 1957, was a variant of the 98k with a straight bolt handle, a front sight guard and a handle groove in the front stock much like the earlier . It was chambered in 8x57mm IS/7.92×57mm IS calibre. When Spain began switching to the CETME automatic rifle, many M43 were converted to FR8
FR8
The FR8, FR-8 or Santa Barbara Carbine as well as the FR7 or FR-7 are bolt-action, Mauser rifle variants produced by the Spanish military...

 rifles for military training purposes and Guardia Civil service.

Israeli Mauser



A number of non-European nations used the Mauser Karabiner 98k rifle as well as a few guerrilla organizations to help establish new nation-states. One example was Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 who used the Mauser Karabiner 98k rifle from the late 1940s until the 1970s.

The use of the Karabiner 98k to establish the nation-state of Israel often raises a lot of interest among people and rifle collectors today. Many Jewish organizations in Palestine acquired them from post–World War II Europe to protect various Jewish settlements from Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 attack as well as to carry out guerrilla operations against British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 forces in Palestine.

The Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

, which later evolved into the modern-day Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

, was one of the Jewish armed groups in Palestine that brought large numbers of Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles and other surplus arms (namely the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Lee-Enfield
Lee-Enfield
The Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century...

 bolt-action rifle, which was used on a large scale by these groups and the Mosin-Nagant
Mosin-Nagant
The Mosin–Nagant is a bolt-action, internal magazine-fed, military rifle invented under the government commission by Russian and Belgian inventors, and used by the armed forces of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and various other nations....

) from Europe during the post–World War II period. Many, though not all, Israeli-used German surplus Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles have had all of the Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 Waffenamt
Waffenamt
Waffenamt was the German Army Weapons Agency. It was the centre for research and development of Germany and also during the Third Reich for weapons, ammunition and army equipment to the German Reichswehr and later Wehrmacht...

 markings and emblems defaced with over stamped Israel Defence Force (IDF) and Hebrew
Hebrew alphabet
The Hebrew alphabet , known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, or more historically, the Assyrian script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two...

 markings as part of an effort to ideologically "purify" the rifles from their former use as an infantry weapon of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

.

As the Arab-Israeli conflict approached, the Haganah and other Jewish forces in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 tried to get hold of as many weapons as they could in the face of an arms embargo by British colonial authorities. One of most important purchases was a secret January 14, 1948, $12,280,000 worth contract with Czechoslovak Government
Arms shipments from Czechoslovakia to Israel 1947-1949
Between June 1947 and October 31, 1949 the Jewish agency seeking weapons for Operation Balak, made several purchases of weapons in Czechoslovakia, some of them of former German army weapons, captured by the Czechoslovak army on its national territory, or newly produced German weapons from...

 including 4,500 P-18 rifles, as well as 50,400,000 rounds of ammunition. Later, the newly established Israel Defence Force ordered more numbers of Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles, produced this time by Fabrique Nationale. These have Israeli and Belgian markings on the rifle as well as the emblem of the IDF on the top of the rifle's receiver. The FN-made Karabiner 98k rifles with the IDF markings and emblem on the rifle were produced and sold "legally" to Israel after it established itself as an independent nation in 1948. At some point, Israel converted all other Mauser 98-based rifles in their inventory (most commonly Czechoslovak vz. 24
Vz. 24
The vz. 24 rifle is a rifle designed and produced in Czechoslovakia from 1924 to 1942. It was developed from the Mauser Gewehr 98 line, though is not a clone of any specific Mauser model. The fit and finish are of the highest quality....

 rifles, but small numbers of contract Mausers from sources ranging from Ethiopia to Mexico were also known to have come into Israeli hands) to the now standardized Karabiner 98k configuration. The original receiver markings of these conversions were not altered, making it easy for collectors to identify their origin. The Israeli Karabiner 98k utilized the same bayonet design as in German service, with a barrel ring added. The Israeli bayonets were a mix of converted German production and domestically produced examples.

During the late 1950s, the IDF converted the calibre of their Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles from the original German 7.92 mm
7.92x57mm Mauser
The 8×57mm IS is a rimless bottlenecked rifle cartridge. The 8×57mm IS was adopted by the German Empire in 1905, and was the German service cartridge in both World Wars...

 round to 7.62 mm NATO following the adoption of the FN FAL
FN FAL
The Fusil Automatique Léger or FAL is a self-loading, selective fire battle rifle produced by the Belgian armaments manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de Herstal . During the Cold War it was adopted by many North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries, with the notable exception of the United States...

 rifle as their primary rifle in 1958. The Israeli Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles that were converted have "7.62" engraved on the rifle receiver
Receiver (firearms)
In firearms terminology, the receiver is the part of a firearm that houses the operating parts. The receiver usually contains the bolt carrier group, trigger group, and magazine port. In most handguns, the receiver, or frame, holds the magazine well or rotary magazine as well as the trigger mechanism...

. Rifles with original German stocks have "7.62" burned into the heel of the rifle stock for identification and to separate the 7.62 NATO rifles from the original 7.92 mm versions of the weapon still in service or held in reserve. Some Karabiner 98k rifles were fitted with new, unnumbered beech stocks of recent manufacture, while others retained their original furniture. All of these converted rifles were proof-fired for service.

The Karabiner 98k rifle was used by the reserve branches of the IDF well into the 1960s and 1970s and saw action in the hands of various support and line-of-communications troops during the 1967 Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 and the 1973 Arab-Israeli War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

. After the rifle was retired from reserve military service, the Israeli Mauser Karabiner 98k was given to a number of Third World nations as military aid by the Israelis during the 1970s and 1980s, and sold as ex-military surplus on the open market.

Contemporary use



The Bundeswehr
Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities...

 still uses the Karabiner 98k in the Wachbataillon
Wachbataillon
The Wachbataillon is the German Bundeswehr's elite drill unit. The Wachbataillon is the largest battalion of the German forces with about 1,800 soldiers, split in two garrisons in Berlin and Siegburg...

 for military parades and show acts. In 1995 remaining swastikas and other Nazi-era markings were removed from these rifles, after criticism regarding the presence of such symbols on Wachbataillon kit by the SPD parliamentary party
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

.

During the 1990s, the Yugoslavian Karabiner 98k rifles and the Yugoslavian M48
M48 Mauser
The M48 Mauser is a post World War II Yugoslavian version of the Belgian Fabrique Nationale designed Mauser Model 1924 short rifle which was produced under contract by the "Kingdom of Yugoslavia" beginning in 1928 and ending with the Nazi occupation in 1941. After World War II, the Yugoslavs took...

 and M48A rifles were used alongside modern automatic
Automatic firearm
An automatic firearm is a firearm that loads another round mechanically after the first round has been fired.The term can be used to refer to semi-automatic firearms, which fire one shot per single pull of the trigger , or fully automatic firearms, which will continue to load and fire ammunition...

 and semi-automatic rifles
Semi-automatic firearm
A semi-automatic, or self-loading firearm is a weapon which performs all steps necessary to prepare the weapon to fire again after firing—assuming cartridges remain in the weapon's feed device or magazine...

 by all the warring factions of the Yugoslav wars
Yugoslav wars
The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...

. There are a number of photographs taken during the war in Bosnia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, showing combatants and snipers using Yugoslavian-made Mauser rifles from high-rise buildings in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

.

The Norwegian Army
Norwegian Army
Norway achieved full independence in 1905, and in the first century of its short life has contributed to two major conflicts, the Cold War and the War on Terror. The Norwegian Army currently operates in the north of Norway and in Afghanistan as well as in Eastern Europe. The Army is the oldest of...

 currently (2008) use the Våpensmia NM149 and NM149-F1
Våpensmia NM149
The NM149 sniper rifle was developed by Våpensmia A/S in close cooperation with the Norwegian Army and is based on the tried and true Mauser M98 controlled feed bolt action. These actions originate from Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles left by German armed forces in Norway at the end of World War II in...

 sniper rifles which are based on Karabiner 98k bolt actions. Besides Mauser M 98 system actions, captured by Norway at the end of World War II in 1945, contemporary components originating from several manufacturers are used by Våpensmia A/S to build the NM149 and NM149-F1.

The Karabiner 98k is still used by San Marino
San Marino
San Marino, officially the Republic of San Marino , is a state situated on the Italian Peninsula on the eastern side of the Apennine Mountains. It is an enclave surrounded by Italy. Its size is just over with an estimated population of over 30,000. Its capital is the City of San Marino...

's Guardia di Rocca.

Since 2003, the Mauser Karabiner 98k rifle (along with the Mosin-Nagant
Mosin-Nagant
The Mosin–Nagant is a bolt-action, internal magazine-fed, military rifle invented under the government commission by Russian and Belgian inventors, and used by the armed forces of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and various other nations....

, the Lee-Enfield
Lee-Enfield
The Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century...

 and the Yugoslavian M48
M48 Mauser
The M48 Mauser is a post World War II Yugoslavian version of the Belgian Fabrique Nationale designed Mauser Model 1924 short rifle which was produced under contract by the "Kingdom of Yugoslavia" beginning in 1928 and ending with the Nazi occupation in 1941. After World War II, the Yugoslavs took...

) has been encountered in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 by US and Allied forces with Iraqi insurgents making use of the Karabiner 98k and other bolt-action rifles alongside more modern infantry weapons like the AK
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

 series rifles and the SKS
SKS
The SKS is a Soviet semi-automatic rifle chambered for the 7.62x39mm round, designed in 1943 by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov. SKS-45 is an acronym for Samozaryadnyj Karabin sistemy Simonova, 1945 Simonov system, 1945), or SKS 45. The Sks is a scaled down version of the PTRS-41 anti-tank rifle also...

 carbine. The extra range afforded by the 7.92x57mm IS cartridge still makes it a viable low-cost marksmen rifle for the insurgents.

Many Third World
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

 nations still have Karabiner 98k rifles in their arsenals and it will most likely be encountered in regional conflicts for many years to come.

In the 2011 Libyan Civil War
2011 Libyan civil war
The 2011 Libyan civil war was an armed conflict in the North African state of Libya, fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by protests in Benghazi beginning on 15 February 2011, which led to clashes with security...

 some rebels have been seen carrying Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles along with more modern weapons.

Civil use



The Karabiner 98k rifles that were used by Germany during World War II are highly sought after collector's items in many circles. The Mauser Karabiner 98k rifle remains popular among many rifle shooters and military rifle collectors due to the rifle's historical background, as well as the availability of both new and surplus 8x57mm IS ammunition. , the Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles that were captured by the Soviets during World War II and refurbished during the late 1940s and early 1950s have appeared in large numbers on the military surplus
Surplus store
A surplus store or disposals store sells items that are used, or purchased but unused, and no longer needed. The surplus is often military, government or industrial excess often called army-navy stores in America...

 rifle market. These have proven popular with buyers in the United States and Canada, ranging from ex-military rifle collectors to target shooters and survivalists, due to the unique history behind the Soviet capture of Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles.

The widespread availability of surplus Mauser 98k rifles and the fact that these rifles could, with relative ease, be adapted for hunting and other sport purposes made the Mauser 98k popular amongst civilian riflemen. When German hunters after World War II were allowed again to own and hunt with full bore rifles they generally started to "rearm" themselves with the then abundant and cheap former Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 service rifles. Civilian users changed
Sporterising
Sporterising, sporterisation, or sporterization refers to the practice of modifying military-type firearms either to make them suitable for civilian sporting use or to make them legal under the law.-Modifying for sporting use:...

 these service rifles often quite extensively by mounting telescopic sight
Telescopic sight
A telescopic sight, commonly called a scope, is a sighting device that is based on an optical refracting telescope. They are equipped with some form of graphic image pattern mounted in an optically appropriate position in their optical system to give an accurate aiming point...

s, aftermarket hunting stocks, aftermarket triggers and other accessories and changing the original military chambering. Gunsmiths rebarreled or rechambered Mauser 98K rifles for European and American sporting chamberings such as the 6.5 x 55 Swedish Mauser, 7 x 57, 7 x 64, .270 Winchester
.270 Winchester
The .270 Winchester was developed by Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1923 and unveiled in 1925 as a chambering for their bolt-action Model 54. The cartridge is based upon the .30-06 Springfield...

, .308 Winchester
.308 Winchester
The .308 Winchester is a rifle cartridge and is the commercial cartridge upon which the military 7.62x51mm NATO centerfire cartridge is based. The .308 Winchester was introduced in 1952, two years prior to the NATO adoption of the 7.62x51mm NATO T65...

, .30-06 Springfield
.30-06 Springfield
The .30-06 Springfield cartridge or 7.62×63mm in metric notation, was introduced to the United States Army in 1906 and standardized, and was in use until the 1960s and early 1970s. It replaced the .30-03, 6 mm Lee Navy, and .30 US Army...

, 8 x 60 S, 8 x 64 S, etc. The magnum hunting cartridges 6.5 x 68, 8 x 68 S and 9.3 x 64 Brenneke were even specially developed by German gunsmiths for the standard military Mauser 98 action.
Surplus Mauser 98K actions were used by Schultz & Larsen
Schultz & Larsen
Schultz & Larsen is a Danish rifle and silencer manufacturer that originally was located in the city of Otterup, but as of 1994 have been located in the city of Rask Mølle on the island of Fyn....

 in Denmark as the basis for target rifles
Schultz & Larsen M52 Target Rifle
The M52 was the first in a family of target rifles based on refurbished Mauser M98 military actions by the Danish company Schultz & Larsen in the years following World War II. They were produced to fill a need for target rifles by the Danish shooting association - "De Danske Skytteforeninger"...

. The actions had the German markings removed, were refinished in gray phosphate, and new serial numbers and proof marks applied. The Schultz & Larsen M52 and M58 Target Rifles used shortened and refurbished Karabiner 98k stocks. Later versions had new target stocks fitted and were available in .30-06, 6.5x55mm and 7.62mm NATO. Some of these rifles are still in competitive use today although with the benefit of new barrels. Besides conversions of original Karabiner 98k rifles other sporter variants made by a number of manufacturers such as FN Herstal, Zastava, Santa Barbara (Spain) and many others have been available at various times in a wide variety of chamberings, but most are large-bore hunting calibers.

Modern civilian offspring


Throughout the design's history, standard sized and enlarged versions of the Mauser M 98 system have been produced for the civil market.

John Rigby & Co.
John Rigby & Company
John Rigby & Company, gun and rifle makers, is a firm specialising in the building of high-quality sporting rifles and shotguns.-History:The company was founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1775, and is known to have traded as W. & J. Rigby during the period 1820 - 1865 during the flintlock and percussion...

 commissioned Mauser to develop the M 98 magnum action over a hundred years ago. It was designed to function with the large sized cartridges normally used to hunt Big Five game
Big Five game
The phrase Big Five game was coined by white hunters and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. The term is still used in most tourist and wildlife guides that discuss African wildlife safaris. The collection consists of the lion, African elephant, cape buffalo,...

 and other dangerous game species. For this specialized type of hunting, where absolute reliability of the rifle under adverse conditions is very important, the controlled-feed M 98 system remains the standard by which other action designs are judged.

Zastava Arms
Zastava Arms
Zastava Arms is a Serbian manufacturer of firearms and artillery. It was founded in 1853 when it cast its first cannons. It is currently the leading producer of firearms in Serbia and is a large contributor to the local defence industry...

 currently (2010) manufactures the M48/63 sporting rifle which is a short barreled variant of the Model 1948
M48 Mauser
The M48 Mauser is a post World War II Yugoslavian version of the Belgian Fabrique Nationale designed Mauser Model 1924 short rifle which was produced under contract by the "Kingdom of Yugoslavia" beginning in 1928 and ending with the Nazi occupation in 1941. After World War II, the Yugoslavs took...

 military rifle and the Zastava M07
Zastava M07
The Zastava M07 is a modern military sniper rifle developed and manufactured by Zastava Arms, Serbia. The sniper rifle M07 is designed on the basis of the Mauser 98 bolt action system, the barrel is made of chrome-vanadium steel. The rifle is loaded from a detachable magazine with the capacity of...

 sniper rifle.

Since 1999 the production of Mauser M 98 and M 98 Magnum rifles has been resumed in Germany by Mauser Jagdwaffen GmbH (Mauser Huntingweapons Ltd.) according to original drawings of 1936 and the respective Mauser patents.

Users


(post 1945): The Grand Ducal Guard used captured German K98k's in 1945, later replaced by Ross rifle
Ross rifle
The Ross rifle was a straight-pull bolt-action 0.303 inch calibre rifle produced in Canada from 1903 until the middle of the First World War....

s in the same year.: still used by the Guardia di Rocca.: Imported 5,000 Kar 98k rifles in 1939. (post 1945): Abyssinian patriots used captured K98k's against occupying Axis forces from 1941-onwards.

Non-state actors

  • Korean Liberation Army
    Korean Liberation Army
    The Korean Liberation Army, established on September 17, 1941 in Chongqing, China, was the armed force of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea...

     (a group that fought for the independence of Korea during the Japanese colonization period (1910–1945)).

See also

  • Kbk wz. 1929
  • vz. 24
    Vz. 24
    The vz. 24 rifle is a rifle designed and produced in Czechoslovakia from 1924 to 1942. It was developed from the Mauser Gewehr 98 line, though is not a clone of any specific Mauser model. The fit and finish are of the highest quality....

  • Chiang Kai-shek rifle
    Chiang Kai-shek rifle
    The Type Zhongzheng rifle , also known as the Chiang Kai-shek/Jiang Jieshi Rifle and Type 24 after the Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek, was a Chinese-made copy of the German Mauser Gewehr 98, the forerunner of the Karabiner 98k. Pre-production of the Chiang Kai-Shek rifle started in August...

  • M48 Mauser
    M48 Mauser
    The M48 Mauser is a post World War II Yugoslavian version of the Belgian Fabrique Nationale designed Mauser Model 1924 short rifle which was produced under contract by the "Kingdom of Yugoslavia" beginning in 1928 and ending with the Nazi occupation in 1941. After World War II, the Yugoslavs took...

  • M24 series
    M24 series
    The M24 series is a line of Mauser pattern bolt-action battle rifles produced for use by the Yugoslavian military. They are similar to the Czech vz. 24 rifle, featuring open sights, 8x57mm IS chambering, carbine-length barrels, hardwood stocks, and straight bolt handles...


External links



German Mauser Kar98k rifle

Israeli Mauser Kar98k rifle

Yugoslav Mauser M48 rifle

Modern civilian offspring of the Mauser 98K