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Monday, October 17, 2016

K98: The Backbone of the Wehrmacht

Karabiner 98 Kurtz (short) was adopted as the standard service rifle by the German Wehrmacht 21 June 1935. It was the last of a long line of Mausers used by Germany. Though other shoulder fired arms were developed and employed by the German Army, the 98k was the primary issue weapon. Chambered in 7.92X57mm, the rifle is very reliable and accurate with iron sights out to app. 500 meters. 1,000 meter shots are realistic when the rifle is coupled with a telescopic sight. 

App. 14,6000 were produced 1935-45. K98's were used in almost every conflict (especially any that involved Soviet intervention as they had millions they had millions of captured rifles at the end of WW2) from the time of the Spanish Civil War (1935) forward. They still appear on battlefields today. After WW2 quite a few made it to the United States as veteran bring-backs. Many more were imported by various arms dealers. I have heard stories about K98's being displayed in barrels and sold in variety and sporting good stores for as little as $15 (with Russian Mosin Nagants, British Enfields, Japanese Arisakas, etd.). Today it is rare to see one for less than $250 and nicer examples of rare models sometimes fetch thousands of bucks. I had a FFL dealer order my first one from TSG in 1994. It was advertised for $69 including free shipping. I paid the dealer $15 for handling it for me. They are great guns and while they are a pleasure to shoot, they were much more fun when 8mm was plentiful and cheap. 


  1. Got the 7mm Brazilian version of the K98 from gramps when he died. My mom bought an Enfield 303 with a bayonet for dad back in the 50s for $15. I bought a Russian Mosin Nagant 91/30 from Big Five sporting goods in California in the late 90s for $50. Great guns, all of them. The only one still cheap to shoot is the Russian though. I do have a Russian Makarov pistol chambered in 380 too. It's a blast to shoot too!

  2. back in the late '90s, I bought 10 98k russian captures for $60 each. The dealer let me go through his storage area, and pick out 10 different 1944 makers. All gone but one now.

  3. A buddy of mine is a collector and has gone through dozens that he knew by the serial number, where they went after manufacture. Some with matching authentic uniforms and all accessories to match the era and location. AWESOME! Grenadier, and the Eastern Front soldier's are the best.

  4. Ahhh, memories. We will cherish them. LOL
    I was hoping I'd have some folks chime in telling how they bought a "boxcar load of K98's for a dollar", etc.
    I can remember when K98 bayonets could be bought for five dollars.
    My biggest WW2 "the one that got away" tale is when I passed on a Curio and Relics eligible-transferable MG42. With the gun included were two complete parts kits, the complete original tripod and optics, ten spare barrels with carriers, a boatload of drums/baskets, belts, linker-loader, and four thousand rounds of ammo. I could have bought the whole kit-n-kaboodle for $4,500. Not very long after I passed, these, as did most other WWII rifle, pistols, submachineguns, machineguns, militaria, etc, sky rocketed in price. A huge interest and demand for these types of weapons was generated after the debut of "Saving Private Ryan" and the "Band of Brothers. Until the economy began to tank around 2005, it was common to see MG42's in the $45,000-50,000 price range. I saw one for sale a few months back for $29,500.

  5. I can remember seeing them for $10, because M-1 Carbines were $15, and M-1 Garands were $17, you pick 'em... sigh... And that was in the mid-late 60s

  6. I can remember seeing them for $10, because M-1 Carbines were $15, and M-1 Garands were $17, you pick 'em... sigh... And that was in the mid-late 60s


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