MAUSER MODEL 1898
Rifle|November - December 2021
DOWN RANGE
Mike Venturino

Without a doubt, I consider the Mauser Model 1898 as king of bolt-action rifles – both military and sporting types. Nearly every twentieth-century, bolt-action sporting rifle was based on the ’98 Mauser’s design to one degree or another.

Mauser ’98s were issued by armed forces around the world. Virtually every South American country adopted them, in one form or another, from the beginning of the twentieth century until well after World War II. I’m not a Mauser collector by any stretch of the imagination, but in my vault are almost a dozen ’98 Mausers.

Along with the ones in my World War II collection, I’ve ended up with a Brazilian Model 1908, an Argentine Model 1909 and a Chilean Model 1935. Their chamberings are 7x57mm for the first and third, and 7.65x53mm for the second one. Most of Europe’s Model 1898s fired the 8x57mm (known in Europe as the 7.9x57mm or 7.92x57mm).

Model 1898s were not only adopted by many European armed forces but were manufactured all over that continent. In Germany, Mauser ’98s served as the primary battle rifle through both World Wars: first as Gewehr 98 and starting in 1935 as the Karabiner 98k. In the 10 years until 1945, at least 10 million K98ks were produced for the German Wehrmacht. Interestingly, when war broke out between Germany and Poland in 1939, both sides used its own versions of Model 1898 Mausers produced in their own factories. Both sides also used the 8x57mm for chambering. For that matter, so did China in its war against the Japanese, circa 1937-1945. Many of those Chinese 98s were turned against American troops by Chinese Communist troops in the Korean War of 1950-1953.

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