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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all,

I was up at my gunsmith's last night having him drill/tap for a SSR on my '42 Sauer RC. While we we talking he told me that he'd never shoot any K98 from 1941-45 because they were all made with slave labor. First time I'd heard a mid war rifle questioned.

I responded that to my knowledge, the only factories that were known to have used slave labor were Gustloff and Steyr--and only then in the late war. I had also always heard that while cosmetic quality declined, the functionality of 98ks was relatively solid until you get into late 44-early 45 production. What do you guys think?



I feel safe shooting any of mine-- and have on many occasions. Hell, I shoot my bcd g43 occasionally (with shooter kit!)

-Chris
 

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This is why I shudder when people talk about taking their K98k's to a gunsmith.
 

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Well i have never heard of a K98 blowing up on anyone.But any of these should be checked for head space and have a careful parts inspection.The only Nazi era rifle i would worry about would be K/G 43 rifles And really those just need new recoil springs and careful ammo selection.And a adjustable gas system.And for the most part a Late AC45 would be ok to shoot as is with new recoil springs.Most of those will have gas cyls with holes added to reduce gas pressure and recoil
 

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another oldie who dosent know computers.
could someone post a link to my you tube 'mauser cigerette ligher' video. this should put it to rest.
yes ive seen a barrel (one) that i might not shoot due to pitting.one.
ive seen a couple barrels shot out? or what ever and wouldnt group. you could count em on one hand.
but go ahead and pass em by. somebody here will snap it up!
 

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This thing with the receivers actually started in some popular Mauser shop manuals. The heat treat as issued is fine though I would not file or grind off a .125 thousands on the ring without heat treating it again. With few exceptions these guns will perform as designed. As stated above if the headspace is good and the action locks up tight proceed and look at the fired brass as it has a story to tell. Sunfish
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, that's pretty much what I chalked it up to--old wives tale. I just brought it to him b/c I don't have the machinery to drill/tap. The safety advice was unsolicited. I just thanked him anyway and told him I wasn't worried about it.

I break down and inspect every '98 I buy to do a safety check. Bores may be dark, but I haven't seen one that is pitted to the point that I'd be worried to shoot it.
 

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There is no way I would worry about a 42 JPS coming apart. If it happens, it will not be because of wartime production quality. The gunsmith has heard too many wives tales. Imagine what he would say about a late war t-99 or a Naval Special with iron receiver.
 

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Hey all,

I was up at my gunsmith's last night having him drill/tap for a SSR on my '42 Sauer RC. While we we talking he told me that he'd never shoot any K98 from 1941-45 because they were all made with slave labor. First time I'd heard a mid war rifle questioned.
Chris, I can honestly say that I've never even heard that rumor. I've heard variations re FN P.35s, maybe G.43s parts, perhaps late late unfinished bnz 45s. That fellow, while perhaps well meaning, shouldn't be giving advice. I've never heard of a K98k KB, or for that matter a T99 KB or an MN KB. I've heard of and seen modern firearms KBs.
 

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They all used "coerced" labor, from the occupied territories, though the treatment varied with the firms.

Steyr used slave labor primarily on construction projects early on (1942 on) and the parts in their firearms (98k) were made primarily from a mix of slave labor (Jews) and less than enthusiastic Poles at their Radom & Warsaw factories 1940-41 on.. most of the Jews were sent to Auschwitz on or about 20 July 1944 (about 1800 Jews altogether). With the loss of Radom, KZ Gusen was also given the task of making 98k components; they had only been involved with MP component manufacture up to that time. No 98k was assembled at Steyr after 1942 anyway, as it was moved to make room for more important aircraft related production.
Gustloff Weimar used slave labor also, but not exclusively, they had a lot of German workers, and coerced workers, at their actual factory (not to be confused with their operations at Buchenwald)- rifles (98k) were but a sideline for them, very unimportant to the overall structure of the company.

Although the nazis-ss increasingly forced slave & coerced labor on the industrialist, the treatment and conditions varied widely depending on the company and men operating the plants. Slave labor conditions were much worse in all cases as generally the ss had more of a role to play when they were used, but actual “slave labor” was only given to firms that had "special" ties to the party or government. Steyr & Gustloff were government owned firms, so they had access to funds and labor most privately owned firms couldn't acquire. (When I say "privately owned" I mean that is the looses possible way- the owners controlled very little of how their property was managed or operated, from raw materials to labor to profit taking the government had the strictest controls, and you made what you were allowed to make generally. Often even "free German labor" was moved around without a firm, or the worker in most cases, having a say about it- even top nazis like Milch couldn't stop labor plundering... even Speer lost control to the ss near the end.)

Regardless of labor source, manufacturing was strictly controlled and the penalty for sabotage, work slow down, or any hinky business was severe and “sabotage” in the traditional sense is very overstated. Generally workers worked to survive, the Czechs postwar reports state it best- they did what they had to but nothing more, it was dangerous to try to resist openly, and even if you could get someone replaced (a manager you didn’t like by inefficiency or poor work) you would often just get a worse manager and even more scrutiny. The real problems of latewar rifles has more to do with short cuts and raw material issues, but any rifle with a fireproof and final acceptance should be relatively safe to shoot, with the proper ammunition and normal safety practices. (even late in the war quality control caught bad batches of barrels before leaving the factory – Döhlen barrels specifically)
 

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There are all kinds of gunsmiths with different skill levels from highly qualified and competent to unqualified and incompetent. If your gunsmith relies on rumors and myth to compensate for his lack of knowledge, skills, and ability, then it’s time to find another gunsmith.
 

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As far as I know, no 98ks produced by nazi Germany were actually unsafe to shoot. Some were not much to look at because of production shortcuts that became more and more widespread as the war progressed. The steels used were good, and the design was excellent, featuring both locking and safety lugs.

As far as sabotage goes, it's good to remember that, stories aside, not everyone was in the resistance. Not everyone was sabotaging war production. Inspection protocols remained in place, and most workers only wanted to survive. That largely meant doing the job assigned, often to the best of one's ability, given conditions. Heroism could get you shot, along with your family and others on your shift.
 

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BEFORE the internet didn't hear of any guns blown up.....any kind!( maybe a Jap gun story)
handled one blown up 98..7 x 57 mm....shot with a 300 savage cartridge.... stamped on the bolt face in brass....
bolt locked up beat open with hammer, both lugs sheared, stock broken two places, barrel could be unscrewed by hand, trigger guard, floor plate bent .....
hurt the shooter, splinters, burns, metal pepered in the face...
 
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