Content by M. P. Weber Editing and layout by Sebastian Bianchi

   

Model Designation:  Karbiner 98 Kurz
Caliber: 7.92mm (7.92X57) 
Overall Length: 1,110mm (43.7")
Weight: Solid stock; 3.8kg (8.38lbs.) 
Laminated stock: 4kg. 
Magazine: 5 round, fixed box 
Front sight: Inverted "V" notch (later models had a sight hood cover) 
Rear sight: "V" notch adjustable up to 2,000 meters 
Rifling: 4 grooves, right hand twist, one turn every 240mm 
Safety: 3-way safety lever on rear of bolt. Left to fire, right to safe, center to load.
 Markings: With few exceptions, every K98 was stamped with manufacturers' code and date on top of receiver.

  

S. Bianchi collection

 

In June 1934, the German army adopted the Mauser Karbiner 98 kurz as the standard service rifle of the German army.  It remained in service until the end of the war in May 1945.  Eleven years in production produced over 14 million K98s, and out of the 14 million produced, there are over 100 combinations of maker codes and production years.  All of this combined with the fact that the Mauser K98 is one of the best bolt actions designs of all time, makes the K98k one of the most collectable rifles of WWII, and perhaps of all time.

Dates, Makers, and Codes :

In 1934 only two manufacturers where assigned to produce the K98k.  These were the Mauser plant at Obendorf, and the firm of J.P. Sauer & Sohn at Suhl. Mauser, Obendorf was the only manufacturer to produce the K98 from 1934-1945.    Each year later, other makers were added to produce the K98k, while some makers where dropped due to production demands or interests in producing other weapons, such as machine guns, machine pistols, or other small arms that were needed.  By 1943 there were at least 7 factories that were producers of the rifle.   Each makers code, dates, and proof markings for each year are listed below.

1934 
  • Mauser, Obendorf- S/42K . 
  • J.P Sauer, Suhl- S/147K
1935
  • Mauser, Obendorf- S/42G . 
  • J.P Sauer- S/147G ERMA- S/27G 
  • Mauser, Borsigwalde- S/243G
1936
  • Mauser, Obendorf- S/42 above date 1936
  •  J. P. Sauer- S/147 above date 1936 
  • ERMA- S/27 above date 1936 
  • Mauser, Bosigwalde- S/243 above date 1936 
  • Berlin-Lubecker- S/237 above date 1936
1937
  • Mauser, Obendorf- S/42, 1937 
  • J. P. Sauer- S/147, 1937 
  • ERMA- S/27, 1937 
  • Mauser, Borsigwalde- S/243, 1937 
  • Berlin-Lubecker- S/237, 1937 
  • Berlin-Suhler-Waffen (BSW)- BSW, date 1937
1938
  • Mauser, Obendorf- S/42 1938, and also "42" 1938 
  • J. P. Sauer- S/147 1938, and also "147" 1938 
  • ERMA- S/27, 1938, and also "27" 1938 
  • Mauser, Borsigwalde- S/243 1938, and also "243" 1938
  •  Berlin-Lubecker- S/237 1938, and also "237" 1938 
  • BSW- BSW 1938
1939
  • Mauser, Obendorf- "42" 1939 
  • J. P. Sauer- "147" 1939 and also no date or code! 
  • ERMA- "27" 1939 
  • Mauser, Borsigwalde- "243" 1939 
  • Berlin-Lubecker- "237" 1939 
  • BSW- BSW 1939, and also combined with Gustloffwerke for "337" 1939 
  • Steyr- Daimler, Steyr- "660" 1939
1940
  • Mauser, Obendorf- "42" 1940 
  • J. P. Sauer- "147" 1940 
  • ERMA- "27" 1940, and also "ax" 1940 
  • Mauser, Borsigwalde- "243" 1940 
  • Berlin-Lubecker- "237" 1940, and also "duv" 40 date. 
  • Gustloffwerke- "337" 1940 Steyr- "660" 1940, and also "bnz" 40 date.
1941
  • Mauser, Obendorf- "byf" 41. 
  • J. P. Sauer- "ce" 41 
  • ERMA- "ax" 41 
  • Mauser, Borsigwalde- "ar" 41 
  • Berlin-Lubecker- "duv" 41
  • Gustloffwerke- "bcd" 41 
  • Steyr- "bnz" 41
1942
  • Mauser, Obendorf- "byf" 42 
  • J.P. Sauer- "ce" 42 
  • Mauser, Borsigwalde- "ar" 42 
  • Berlin-Lubecker- "duv" 42 
  • Gustloffwerke- "bcd" 42
  • Steyr- "bnz" 42 
  • Waffen Werke Brunn, Bystrica- "dou" 42
1943
  • Mauser, Obendorf- "byf" 43 
  • J. P. Sauer- "ce" 43 
  • Mauser, Borsigwalde- "ar" 43 
  • Gustloffwerke- "bcd" 43 
  • Steyr- "bnz" 43 
  • Waffen Werke Brunn, Bystrica- "dou" 43 
  • Waffen Werke Brunn, Brunn- "dot" 43
1944
  • Mauser, Obendorf- "byf" 44 
  • J. P. Sauer- "ce" 44 
  • Mauser, Borsigwalde- "ar" 44 
  • Gustloffwerke- "bcd" 4 
  • Steyr- "bnz" 44 or "bnz" 4 * 
  • Waffen Werke, Brunn, Bystrica- "dou" 44 * 
  • Waffen Werke, Brunn, Brunn- "dot" 1944 *
1945
  • Mauser, Obendorf- "byf" 45 * /** 
  • Mauser, Obendorf- "svw" 45 */ ** 
  • Mauser, Obendorf- "svw" MB ** 
  • Gustloffwerke- "bcd" 45 * Steyr- "bnz" 45 * 
  • Waffen Werke Brunn, Bystrica- "dou" 45 * 
  • Waffen Werke Brunn, Brunn- "swp" 45 *

*- Later (higher) serial numbers were issued as Kriegsmodells. 
**- Kriegsmodells had rough unfinished stocks and no butt plate. Some years may have dual maker codes and/or dual dates marked on receiver

K98 Variations-

During the war several changes and/or alterations were made to the K98.  Most of these changes were simply design alterations that were made to simplify or increase production of the rifle.   Some of these were totally different model of the K98, including the G33/40.  The G33/40 was basically a shortened version of the K98.   The G33/40 was only in production for 3 years, from 1940-1942.   It was produced by Waffen Werke Brunn, Brunn.  It fired the exact same 7.92mm round, and had the same Mauser 98 action.   However, that is where the similarities end.   The G33/40 had several different parts that were not matching with the K98.   These included: the bolt, stock, cleaning rod, sight hood cover, upper hand guard, barrel bands, sling, and even the bayonet.   Below is an example of the G33/40, that was made in 1941, and bears the maker's code "dot 1941."  Note also in the pictures below the differences between the standard K98 and the G33/40.

Another example of the changes made to the K98 late in the war is the introduction of the Kriegsmodell K98.   The Kriegsmodell K98 is basically the most simplified version of the K98.   Several design changes were made to produce the Kriegsmodell.   Several items were completely eliminated, such as: bayonet lug, cleaning rod, bolt disassembly disk, bolt guide, barrel band spring, and even the locking screws for the floor plate.  Kriegsmodell K98s are usually late 1944 or 1945 production.   They will usually have very rough machined parts, and stocks will be rough and usually unfinished.  Below are pictures of a Kriegsmodell K98, that was made by Mauser, Obendorf in 1945, and is marked "byf 45."    Note also in the pictures below the differences between the standard K98, and the Kriegsmodell K98.

All pictures below submitted by Matt Weber unless otherwise stated

 

Click on images to enlarge

K98 made by Mauser, Obendorf in 1945, and labeled "byf 45".  Notice the phosphated finish to this piece, and also notice that the model designation "Mod. 98" has been moved from the side of the receiver to the top of the receiver.

K98 made by Waffen Werke, Brunn, Brunn in 1944, and is marked "dot 1944".  Note that this late war K98 is marked with the full year 1944, and not just the partial year "44" or simply "4". Also notice the rough machine markings on this late war piece.

K98 made by Waffen Werke, Brunn, Bystrica in 1943, and is marked "dou 43".  Typical mid-war production and finish on this piece

G33/40 made by Waffen Werke, Brunn, Brunn, and is marked "dot 1941". Note the caliber markings on top of the receiver, 7,88.  Also notice that the upper hand guard wood wraps around behind the rear sight.

Comparison of the standard K98 bolt (right), and the Kriegsmodell K98 bolt (left).   Notice the bolt on the right has typical milled out, oval shaped cooling holes, while the bolt on the left has round, drilled out cooling holes.

This picture shows us 2 K98 bolts. Notice that the bolt on the left is missing the bolt guide. That's because this bolt is a Kriegsmodell K98 bolt.  Notice also that it is parkerized.  The one on the right is a standard K98 bolt, and is blued.
Two floor plates for the K98. The one on the right is a milled floorplate.  This type can be found on pre-war, and early war time K98 models.  The left one is a stamped floor plate, and is found on late war K98s.  Notice also on this one that it is also missing the locking screws.  That is because this floor plate is for a K98 Kriegsmodell.
Two K98 trigger guards.  The one on the right is a milled trigger guard. Again these are found on pre-war and early war K98s.  The one on the left is a stamped trigger guard, and is found on late war K98s. Notice again that this stamped trigger guard is missing the locking screws, which means that this trigger guard is for a Kriegsmodell K98.
Front barrel band.  This is a mid-war production barrel band. It is milled type, but not formed like the "H" types.  Serial number are marked on these, but late war stamped barrel bands usually won't have serial numbers on them.  This is a 1943 date K98.

The test firing proof will be located on the aft of the bolt handle.  As shown here.

Serial numbers on the k98 stocks are usually located under the stock, half way between the hand grip, and the buttplate.  As shown here.
Bolt of the K98 shows us 3 serial number locations: top of bolt, safety lever, and bolt handle.

Serial numbers as found on the rear sight leaf, and sight adjustment. Note that very late war K98s might not have any serial numbers marked on these parts. All early war or pre-war K98s should have serial numbers on these though! This K98 is a 1943 date.
Serial numbers for the reciever and barrel on a K98. Note aslo the acceptance proof markings.

Serial numbers also found on rear sight base. This is also a 1943 k98.

If you look at the top view of the bolt of a G33/40 you will not see any serial numbers on it like was shown on the top of a K98 bolt assembly.  You will notice that you can see the test fire proof marking on the top of the bolt handle.
That is because the serial number is located on the aft side of the bolt turn down handle as shown here.

Business end of the G33/40 shows us more differences from the K98.   The cleaning rod is shorter.   The sight hood cover is also smaller.  Also you will notice that the barrel is the same diameter throughout, unlike the K98 which has a wider step for the front sight to mounted to.
The floor plate and trigger guard assemble, are both milled types, and are very similar to that of the K98. However, notice that the G33/40 will not have any locking screws like the K98 (exception being the Kriegsmodell K98). Notice also, the hollowed out bolt knob.
Of couse the G33/40 will be marked as such in the same location on the reciever as the K98 is.
Also the rear sight on the G33/40 is much smaller, and is marked in different graduations.
Even the barrel bands are different on a G33/40! The front barrel band appears to be the same as on an early K98, but you will notice that the band spring is mounted on the left side, and not on the right side as on a K98! The rear band is totally different, and has a retaining screw at the bottom of the band.
Of course the G33/40 will be marked as such in the same location on the receiver as the K98 is.

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