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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I haven't posted in a long time because I haven't acquired a firearm in a long time . . . However, Bill U. (Geladen) is a corrupting influence and convinced me to take a chance on "a rare" Ethiopian Vz98N offered by Royal Tiger Imports. When I ordered mine, they had 8 left and the matching option (for an additional $200) wasn't available, but, interestingly, the matching option is now available. So, I took a chance with $599 of my hard-earned money and ended up getting a matching rifle (bolt and receiver match, but no other part is numbered). A K98k is one of the rifles that I've always wanted but never been able to afford, and this one was cheaper, and cooler, than a Russian capture K98k. The barrel has a Reichsadler along with the Czech acceptance mark. This was, hands down, the dirtiest rifle I've ever received in almost 10 years of collecting. Handling it for 3 minutes turned my palms brown. The good news is that what I thought was rust turned out to be grime, which came off with some penetrating oil and brass wool. The bore is bright, but it is basically a smooth bore rifle. There is some slight evidence that the gun was once rifled. I don't expect it to hit targets at 25 yards. The sling is crazy - I don't even know what to make of the wool thread or whatever it is that is taking the place of buckles. It came with a sight hood, but I had to remove it to get the action out of the stock and I can't get it back on (I've ordered a pair of spanner pliers).

I also got a correct Vz24 bayonet, but the release button (I'm sure I'm not using the correct term) is rusted in place so that will take some work.

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That rifle is a B block. I think the Ethiopian contract must have been the first of the post WWII ZB VZ98N contracts. The original bayonets that Royal Tiger has for these have the rare post WWII markings. Their website shows 7 rifles and 13 bayonets still available. I ordered mine the day before Andy and it still has not shipped, although they told me yesterday that it would ship yesterday.

Your rifle did clean up nicely. I hope you disinfected it before you started to work on it. :)

You said "This was, hands down, the dirtiest rifle I've ever received in almost 10 years of collecting." Did you know that the worst of the muck was cleaned off before they left Ethiopia? There are some interesting videos on youtube.

And it is much, much, much "cooler than a Russian capture K98k". And much more rare than most K98k rifles which were not scrambled by the Russians.

Your sling is special. I am not expecting to get a sling on mine and I have a well worn Yugo M48 sling standing by. If this is the same as my later I block VZ98N (which I expect), the stock will not be drilled for a cleaning rod channel.

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I’m interested to learn if that sling wrapping is typical of Ethiopia or other African countries. It has some clasp burrows in the string.
Clasp burrows? Are they still alive?

I never saw a sling like that before - but then I never had an Ethiopian rifle before.
 

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Congrats OP! Very cool.

Here's a couple of pics of my post war VZ98N.

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#1320 over N
Thanks for the 1320N photo. Sorry, I meant s/n suffix, not prefix.

Royal Tiger said in a video that the Ethiopian contract was for 50,000. That would be the A, B, C, D, and E blocks unless they started with a no-suffix block, then it would be no-suffix, A, B, C, and D blocks.

Later came rifles for Israel and Pakistan, then the new Czechoslovak Army. I think my unissued I block rifle probably came from Pakistan. The N block might have been for Pakistan also, I don't know how many they bought.

Later the Czechoslovak Army rifles had the lion crest scrubbed and they were sold when the VZ52 rifle replaced the VZ98N. There are a couple around that still have the lion crest but they are few and far between. The Ethiopian rifles were not even known to collectors until Royal Tiger imported them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That rifle is a B block. I think the Ethiopian contract must have been the first of the post WWII ZB VZ98N contracts. The original bayonets that Royal Tiger has for these have the rare post WWII markings. Their website shows 7 rifles and 13 bayonets still available. I ordered mine the day before Andy and it still has not shipped, although they told me yesterday that it would ship yesterday.

Your rifle did clean up nicely. I hope you disinfected it before you started to work on it. :)

You said "This was, hands down, the dirtiest rifle I've ever received in almost 10 years of collecting." Did you know that the worst of the muck was cleaned off before they left Ethiopia? There are some interesting videos on youtube.

And it is much, much, much "cooler than a Russian capture K98k". And much more rare than most K98k rifles which were not scrambled by the Russians.

Your sling is special. I am not expecting to get a sling on mine and I have a well worn Yugo M48 sling standing by. If this is the same as my later I block VZ98N (which I expect), the stock will not be drilled for a cleaning rod channel.

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My stock is not drilled for a cleaning rod and my bayonet has only one mark - a C in circle on the base of the blade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the 1320N. Sorry, I meant s/n suffix, not prefix.

Royal Tiger said in a video that the Ethiopian contract was for 50,000. That would be the A, B, C, D, and E blocks unless they started with a no-suffix block, then it would be no-suffix, A, B, C, and D blocks.

Later came rifles for Israel and Pakistan, then the new Czechoslovak Army. I think my unissued I block rifle probably came from Pakistan. The N block might have been for Pakistan also, I don't know how many they bought.

Later the Czechoslovak Army rifles had the lion crest scrubbed and they were sold when the VZ52 rifle replaced the VZ98N. There are a couple around that still have the lion crest but they are few and far between. The Ethiopian rifles were not even known to collectors until Royal Tiger imported them.
I read on the interwebz that Classic had these a year or so ago.
 

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My stock is not drilled for a cleaning rod and my bayonet has only one mark - a C in circle on the base of the blade.
A bayonet photo would be nice. The post-WWII marking that I saw on the bayonet pictured on the Royal Tiger website was the circle with a Z inside a rifled barrel, the same as on the frog stud on my 1946 bayonet in my photo above.

I am not exact, but I think Classic/Royal Tiger imported many different types of rifles from Ethiopia over a long period beginning around Spring 2020.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A bayonet photo would be nice. The post-WWII marking that I saw on the bayonet pictured on the Royal Tiger website was the circle with a Z inside a rifled barrel, the same as on the frog stud on my 1946 bayonet in my photo above.

I am not exact, but I think Classic/Royal Tiger imported many different types of rifles from Ethiopia over a long period beginning around Spring 2020.
A bayonet photo would be nice. The post-WWII marking that I saw on the bayonet pictured on the Royal Tiger website was the circle with a Z inside a rifled barrel, the same as on the frog stud on my 1946 bayonet in my photo above.

I am not exact, but I think Classic/Royal Tiger imported many different types of rifles from Ethiopia over a long period beginning around Spring 2020.
See attached. You are correct - it's a circle Z. I might have wasted $70 on this bayo. The catch is rusted in place.

My rifle has an IO import stamp on the underside
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of the muzzle. I don't know what that means in terms of timing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
That stock disk is interesting. Is that unique to these Ethiopian rifles?
I believe so, but Bill is the better one to answer. The coin depicts St. George slaying a dragon; he is the patron saint of Ethiopia. I don't know if the coin was used on other models or for other countries (I believe that St. George is also the patron saint of other countries). Royal Tiger's website shows an Ethiopian contract FN Model 1924, an Ethiopian contract FN Model 1930, and an Ethiopian contract Model 1933, none of which have a coin in their stocks.
 

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See attached. You are correct - it's a circle Z. I might have wasted $70 on this bayo. The catch is rusted in place.

My rifle has an IO import stamp on the underside View attachment 3774515 of the muzzle. I don't know what that means in terms of timing.
Your circle Z mark is confirmed as post-WWII. These should be 1945 bayonets although they are probably not dated. The circle Z marking used on the rifle safety and other parts of earlier VZ24 rifles is a different marking. There is also an earlier double circle Z marking (without the rifled barrel) that indicates Povazska Bystrica (dou) manufacture. You can't see the rifling on your marking but it is more clear in my post #3 frog stud photo.

Put penetrating oil repeatedly on both sides of your bayonet release for a couple of days. Then put the hilt on a wooden block with the release button on top. Be sure the bottom part of the release is clear of the block, then smack the release button hard with a plastic face hammer. Been there, done that.
 

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I believe so, but Bill is the better one to answer. The coin depicts St. George slaying a dragon; he is the patron saint of Ethiopia. I don't know if the coin was used on other models or for other countries (I believe that St. George is also the patron saint of other countries). Royal Tiger's website shows an Ethiopian contract FN Model 1924, an Ethiopian contract FN Model 1930, and an Ethiopian contract Model 1933, none of which have a coin in their stocks.
I don't know of any St. George stock disks other than on the Ethiopian VZ98N rifles, and I don't know of any other stock disks (other than the standard marking disk) on any ZB rifles.

The first photo shows St. George on the bolt of a Greek M1903/14/30 carbine . . . and the last photo shows my username marked on a P08 extractor (photo found while looking for St. George on Greek rifles). If anyone finds my name marked on their pistol, please send the pistol back to me.

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I haven't posted in a long time because I haven't acquired a firearm in a long time . . . However, Bill U. (Geladen) is a corrupting influence and convinced me to take a chance on "a rare" Ethiopian Vz98N offered by Royal Tiger Imports. When I ordered mine, they had 8 left and the matching option (for an additional $200) wasn't available, but, interestingly, the matching option is now available. So, I took a chance with $599 of my hard-earned money and ended up getting a matching rifle (bolt and receiver match, but no other part is numbered). A K98k is one of the rifles that I've always wanted but never been able to afford, and this one was cheaper, and cooler, than a Russian capture K98k. The barrel has a Reichsadler along with the Czech acceptance mark. This was, hands down, the dirtiest rifle I've ever received in almost 10 years of collecting. Handling it for 3 minutes turned my palms brown. The good news is that what I thought was rust turned out to be grime, which came off with some penetrating oil and brass wool. The bore is bright, but it is basically a smooth bore rifle. There is some slight evidence that the gun was once rifled. I don't expect it to hit targets at 25 yards. The sling is crazy - I don't even know what to make of the wool thread or whatever it is that is taking the place of buckles. It came with a sight hood, but I had to remove it to get the action out of the stock and I can't get it back on (I've ordered a pair of spanner pliers).

I also got a correct Vz24 bayonet, but the release button (I'm sure I'm not using the correct term) is rusted in place so that will take some work.
Hi Andy, wow, that's a really nice last-ditch German K98k!
Even better, if she's an Ethiopian rifle! What speaks for the Ethiopian origin, are
  • condition: the worse, the more correct. I had 3 Belgian Congo rifles, and the worst of them was better than your description of rifle condition:' the dirtiest rifle I've ever received in almost 10 years of collecting'. Ok, i was 2nd (western) owner of mine...
  • the Czech Lion proof mark on receiver and barrel!!! That's definitely something you won't find on Nazi German rifles!
    Bill's rifle has the same proof mark. That's a clear sign that the rifle was sold from the Czech republic after WW2.
  • - the coin on the buttstock: that's very easy to fake, so i wouldn't give too much on this. This does not say that your rifle is a fake (not from Ethiopia), but there might be problems to prove her Ethiopian origins in the future...

Finally: a really beautiful, all-matching, last-ditch K98k !
Chris
 

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According to IO/Royal Tiger, there were supposed to have been 50,000 VZ98N rifles sold to Ethiopia at the beginning of production in 1945. I have seen photos of Ethiopian VZ98N rifles in the no-suffix, A, B, e, and G blocks. Why the "e" is lower case, I don't know - it was not produced for Germany. Maybe they lost or damaged the E stamp but still had a German e stamp. All of the rifles through the G block would be 80,000, so 30,000 must have gone to somewhere other than Ethiopia. Maybe that would be the C, D, and F blocks.

My VZ98N, which I suspect because of the unused condition was sold to Pakistan, is an I block (as in the letter " i " - the font used on this website does not have a very good upper case I - but the same font upper case I is used on my rifle). The other non-Ethiopian VZ98N rifle in this post is an N block; it also looks unused in the photos. You can bet those two rifles did not go to Israel.

These VZ98N rifles differ slightly from the last of the Kriegsmodell K98k rifles. The VZ98N rifles have:

A bayonet lug (but the stock is still not drilled for a cleaning rod)

A spring between the bands instead of screws - some bands have screw holes and some don't, but no screws were used in the bands.

And of course the so-called "winter" trigger guard. I heard that was a Mauser design but never put into production until after the war by ZB.

The swp 45 marked German K98k rifles had many more sheet metal non-adjustable rear sights than they did standard adjustable sights. Only the first few swp 45 rifles still had adjustable sights. The swp 45 VZ98N rifles, of course, all had adjustable rear sights. Other VZ98N rifles are marked dou 45 and dot 45.

And the only VZ98N rifles with a stock disk were the Ethiopian ones. IO/Royal Tiger calls that a "coin" but it is not.
 
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