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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, here are some questions for the K98 gurus in the forums. I am saving up about $350 for a decent German or RC K98 at the gunshow in January. Now what should I be looking for in a K98 when I go to buy it (Besides the obvious correct parts and other things)? I have very minimal experience with them, only being able to identify the Totenkopf mark and the BNZ code, as well as knowing the difference between German used, Russian Captured, and foreign contract examples. Other than that, my knowledge is very limited. Is there any specific factory that made better quality recievers than the others (other than BNZ of course)? What factory marks would be the best ones to find, even in an RC? How about barrel strength, were any of the barrels considered better quality than the others? What years should I be looking for to get the best value for my money? Finally, what in God's good name is a sight hood, or a retaining screw? I've seen companies often saying they don't include them, but I have not the faintest idea what they are and why I would need them. I'm sorry for all the questions, but like I said, all I know about these is that they were German rifles from WW2, chambered for 7.92mm, and are very reliable. Thanks in advance for any help yall.
 

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Sight Hood

The sight hood is just what it says. It is the metal piece that shrouds the sight. Easily put on with a pair of snap ring pliers. The capture screws are used to lock the two other screws that hold the floor plate and trigger guard in the stock.
 

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Finally, what in God's good name is a sight hood, or a retaining screw? I've seen companies often saying they don't include them, but I have not the faintest idea what they are and why I would need them.
Front sight hood



Installing/removing a front sight hood



While Russian Capture K98k's are missing the front sight hood, not all rifles had them originally. They were approved in December 1939 and started appearing in 1940.

The smaller triggerguard screws are locking screws AKA "capture screws". Not all triggerguards had locking screws. They were deleted later in the war.




RCs are also missing the cleaning rod, if one was originally fitted. Like the locking screws, it was deleted later in the war.

When looking at RC K98k's, look at the overall condition of the metal, and the condition and appropriateness of the stock. The current condition of the metal is probably more significant than which contractor originally made it. Earlier stocks had flat buttplates. Cupped buttplates started appearing in 1940.
 

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All the “finishers/assemblers” are the same, some had lower standards to finish or appearance.. Steyr the worst, Gustloff too poor, Sauer low quality finish, thin, polished even early on (one of the reasons its less popular with collectors- high quality workmanship but thin finish and weak markings due to polishing.. find a nice one and it’s a plus!).
Top quality is what you seek? Seek out Mauser Oberndorf or the occupied Czech makers; they had the highest quality across the board.

No one beat Mauser Oberndorf on quality (34-45), and the Czechs were next by far, they were in house and top quality.

As to metal quality- not an issue, they all received blanks of equal quality and no differences of note to worry over, these rifles were “accepted” by a standard set of controls, and they all met the standard or they would not be “acceptanced” or finaled... Its finish and QC that you should look too if that is your thing.. typically the most common are the best made (byf/dot) but they are all essentially the same material wise.
 

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rc's are a barreled receiver, a refinished barreled receiver.. they are nothing more, they are, err well, err garbage. From a collectors pov they are junk.

I know they deserve respect, they were at Stalingrad etc.. but they are still junk.

If you want a re-enactor piece, something to hold during re-runs of "Band of Brothers" (a Garand would be more appropriate through..) or you can't find a swjXE, 35/ERMA or 35/Borsigwalde then ok, but otherwise you are a sucker and will be sorry when you sell.

Tough love Bro, they are junk- All Caps JUNK.. avoid them if you can.. buy a bolt m/m for $100 more?


When looking at RC K98k's, look at the overall condition of the metal, and the condition and appropriateness of the stock. The current condition of the metal is probably more significant than which contractor originally made it. Earlier stocks had flat buttplates. Cupped buttplates started appearing in 1940.
 

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rc's... they are, err well, err garbage. From a collectors pov they are junk.... but they are still junk..... but otherwise you are a sucker and will be sorry when you sell.... they are junk- All Caps JUNK.. avoid them if you can.. buy a bolt m/m for $100 more?
In his own harsh way Simson makes a good point...but it is hard to see through his diatribe against RC's.....

If you are looking for an investment, and something more collectible...save a bit more money and buy a bolt only mismatch rifle....(400-800 range).

This option will hold its value more, and increase in value more.

An RC is an RC...some "German use only" collectors see them as an abomination...Others have come to accept them for what they are...post war reworks... Some buy them thinking it is a low $$ entry level way to get a German 98k...(IE: I'll buy one cheap and spend more money and time making it look real and this will get me a real German 98k) That said...don't waste the money buying an RC and then trying to re-germanize it...refinish, adding and mix and matching stocks and parts etc etc.... If you want an RC buy an RC....If you want a german 98k then save more money and buy a bolt mismatch as an entry level rifle. You will be happier in the long run.
 

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Bill, Diatribe or not they are junk, and I do think they are the poorest of themes to collect- they have almost no merit in any collection.

I have been offered and even turned down $400 bolt mismatches.. bought a few even for less, - if you take the time to make “collector” friends you can find nice bolt m/m for much less..

We do agree on one thing, they are what they are- and in this case Russian rifles made from a German rifle base; they should not be "restored" as they really can't be.

Most you can do is make them "representative" of what you need- and unless its something nearly unattainable- swjXE, 35/Brosigwalde or 35/ERMA (all nearly impossible to find "original/matching") then its a wasteful diversion best avoided.

(A 37 BSW in original trim, matching is a little rare, an rc is common, - most are rc's that exist today- either way no BSW is an 35 Borsigwalde or 35/ERMA, even though when 98k rarity is discussed BSW is so revered.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the info. I'd really like to find a bolt m/m, but I've never really seen any at the gun shows I've been to. It's probably just really bad luck and being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the only ones I've ever seen are contract Mausers and RCs. I've been told everything under the sun from people trying to push contract Mausers, but I'm not interested in ones that were never issued to the German army. Basically the collector value isn't of terrible interest to me because I'm in this for the history and shootability, the history part obviously removes any chance of me even considering a pinged rifle. The only rifles I collect for value are SKSes because they're the only ones I can bring myself, as a world war II buff, to part with. That being said, however, the historical value is often directly proportional to the collectors value, so I most definitely am interested in getting it as close to original condition as possible. I know there's not a snowball's chance in hell that I'll find one in original all matching condition for anywhere close to my available price range, but I'm very interested in the bolt m/m. However, I have a question about the BNZ code mausers. Are they really considered any better than any of the others? Or are they just more expensive because of their supposed production in concentration camps? Also, does the Totenkopfgruppen mark make them any more valuable?
 

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Steyr/bnz by midwar are generally the worst finished, sloppy is a good description.. Steyr are popular I suppose for the sinister reputation they have?

All the rifle makers "essential" standards were the same- steel, fit and interchangeability (none were any better than the other I suspect, 100% parts interchangeability was never achieved) but "finish and appearance" Steyr (imo) is the least quality.

You must remember few of the rifle mfg were "only" rifle makers, they all had other lines, and Steyr more than the rest this was true.. they were bigtime makers of the 98k but they made the widest array of products and probably was the largest of the firms in the total sense (either by themselves as a diverse company or by who owned Steyr- the largest of the large in nazi dirtbag Germany)

Anyway, Steyr is not popular for its "quality" of a finished product, (early in the war they were high quality- look at the gorgeous 29o) as they were the first to use slave labor and had the best ss connections they were also the first to lower finish standards. I suspect they had a lot of rejected parts too and probably played a part in the later ss production.

Steyr is a fascinating company though, both before the war and till the very end.. this subject is covered in some depth in Bruce's and Mike's new book.

However, I have a question about the BNZ code mausers. Are they really considered any better than any of the others? Or are they just more expensive because of their supposed production in concentration camps? Also, does the Totenkopfgruppen mark make them any more valuable?
 

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....they are junk, and I do think they are the poorest of themes to collect- they have almost no merit in any collection.
I understand your opinion, but it is a little like arguing over what is tastier...Caviar or shrimp....some will like one or the other simply as a matter of taste, some can afford only to enjoy shrimp...some canl enjoy both.

No matter what side of the argument a person falls into...both sides are just agrguing over a subjective opinion...there is no real right or wrong answer as set forth by God, Alah, Buddha, Mars or whoever....so in the end it comes down to "bung" holes....like opinions we all have one.
 

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I understand your opinion as well, and no argument for the most part- your money buy what you like.

People in this country are buying obama coins so nothing surprises me anymore.. considering the accepted standard of excellence in this country the rc standard is quite normal.


I understand your opinion, but it is a little like arguing over what is tastier...Caviar or shrimp....some will like one or the other simply as a matter of taste, some can afford only to enjoy shrimp...some canl enjoy both.

No matter what side of the argument a person falls into...both sides are just agrguing over a subjective opinion...there is no real right or wrong answer as set forth by God, Alah, Buddha, Mars or whoever....so in the end it comes down to "bung" holes....like opinions we all have one.
 

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Maybe just 1 RC

Fatherandersonthepaladin,

Like the others said, you can do what ever makes you happy. However, I was in your same mindset not too long ago. So here is one bit of advice I wish I had . Let me say that eventually an RC will not be enough. However, I think buying one RC is great for a new person starting out, it was for me anyway. Pictures and books are important, but nothing helps you learn like handling the real thing. You can take it apart or give it the "what for" and not change the value. Plus, since they are "mixmasters", it helped me learn by trying to figure out where or when each peice of the rifle was made. Where I feel like I messed up was that I bought six of them because I was too scared of getting a humper. Now I wished I had saved the $1500 dollars (300 or so times 5) and bought a matching rifle.
If you do buy an RC, make sure it has a good bore because that is where the only monetary value is.

Long story short. Just buy one so you can learn about it, shoot it until your arm is sore (without feeling like you could possibly devalue it), and lastly so you can have one rifle that has that "russian capture" portion of the k98 history. IMHO
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow simson, thanks for clearing the BNZ code up for me. I was told by an apparently dishonest salesman that the code meant concentration camp. I guess it's the curse of noviceness that makes me vulnerable to people telling me things like that. I'm extremely glad this forum exists or I'd have paid the $500 for the non matching BNZ. I have one final question, what code should I look for to identify Mauser Obendorf and what markings did the Czechs use? I know I'm full of questions but all I had to go on till now was my Great Grandpa's stories of his days in the Imperial German Army that he told me as a very young kid. I'm still working on getting his old luger and G88 from the war, both were in excellent condition and fully matching. No idea what they'd be worth, but I'd still love to have them on my gunrack.
 

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Mauser used S42, 42 and byf, all are the standard for the year they are made.. earlier are better but year for year its my opinion they are the consistent highest quality.
Czech are dot and dou for the 98k, they too were owned by the same 'corporation’ or rather ‘conglomerate’ that owned Steyr, and when they were disinvested by this concern they too remained under the same umbrella management firm (in this case Speer's Ministry, though Steyr was slightly different and had special management)

If you want top quality, buy an early rifle, pre-39 is best, pre-42 is good, after this time frame standards dropped by order of the Adolf, but year for year I would stick with byf or dot for top quality- consistent top quality.

If your salesman said that bnz rifles are mostly made in concentration camps I say he is a liar.. if he said they were largely made with slave labor he is less a liar. Steyr at Radom was very heavily involved in slave and forced labor (and most components came from Radom for Steyr assembly)- the most extreme of existence short of a concentration camp. In Austria Steyr was the first to take advantage of slave labor and they used it extensively but the many things are not clear as to where or what parts of Steyr used this labor first (Steyr was a corporation of many parts) or how and where it was developed.
I wrote an extensive piece on Steyr history, Mike wrote one on the aspects of Steyr latewar, wait 6 months and hopefully you can read what we discovered in our research.
 

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If you want top quality, buy an early rifle, pre-39 is best, pre-42 is good, after this time frame standards dropped by order of the Adolf, but year for year I would stick with byf or dot for top quality- consistent top quality.
Being you are a bit of a newbie I want to expand a bit on the above "Father and Son".....any year and any maker you come across will be fully serviceable for the purpose they were intended....warfare... The quality standards that declined as mentioned by Simson were mostly related to fit and finish as the war went on, and the related manufacturing short cuts intended to increase production. So don't rule out a nice 44 or 45 dated rifle as completely unshootable. Just realize that the earlier rifles will tend to have smoother actions, and a better fit and finish.
 

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R/C's are not junk are have proved themselves to be quite collectible, if you want to strip off the shellac and clean the metal, it will also usually net you an added $100 on resale on the online auctions....Listen up, theres good info here on the boards, but when someone tells you something is junk and not collectible, you need to have the ability to discern what is reality and what is mearly an opinion... no one here sets the agenda for whats collectble, they have no control over that what-so-ever, fact is simply that i have seen many r/c rifles command more money then mismatched k98's. it is in your benefit to buy a bolt mismatch for sure, however calling a r/c junk and not collectible, is nothing short of ABSURD........
 

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Mauser Oberndorf

It sounds like you are going to buy just one Mauser. So get a K98k made by Mauser Oberndorf the originator of the design! IMHO Mauser Oberndorf is also the top maker of the K98k in terms of quality! Here are the codes for each year Mauser Oberndorf made the K98k.

1934 S/42K
1935 S/42G
1936 S/42
1937 S/42
1938 S/42, 42
1939 42
1940 42
1941 byf
1942 byf
1943 byf
1944 byf
1945 byf, svw, svwMB
 

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When some one is telling you rc's aren't junk and they are collectable it is merely an opinion.. one derived by lack of experience. Fact is all hobbies have standards, members of that hobby set those standards, I have collected the 98k since 1984 and know many in the hobby, and very few "collectors" I know have a high regard for the rc (none actually).. from a collectors pov rc's have no merit, they are below the standard most experienced collectors (of German rifles- Russian collectors probably marvel at their quality as these are soviet rifles) have set. As coin collectors, antique collectors or collectors of cars will tell you originality is the standard, anything refinished, restored are heavily de-valued and if bad enough is worth what the item is (a used chair or a drivable car or for parts) same here a rc is a rifle, for shooting, jumping around in mud holes dressed up like Kiska, or hunting..

Anyway, the reality is some here know nothing of the subject they discuss or post about. Some have 180 posts, many probably in this forum and have never had an opinion that should be taken seriously. All opinions should be taken with two things in mind (imo) the level of experience on the subject and motivation.
I don't sell rifles publicly, am not heavily invested in an rc collection, and have experience in the hobby, know most experienced collectors, many face to face. Others either sell, have sold, or are heavily invested in the rc, and have almost no experience outside of Backbone and their collection of rc's/misc junk they have accumulated over the months they have collected the rc.

Of course take all information available to you and form your own opinion, that is the purpose of forums. They give you the information to form your own opinion.


Listen up, theres good info here on the boards, but when someone tells you something is junk and not collectible, you need to have the ability to discern what is reality and what is mearly an opinion... .....
 

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When some one is telling you rc's aren't junk and they are collectable it is merely an opinion.. one derived by lack of experience. Fact is all hobbies have standards, members of that hobby set those standards, I have collected the 98k since 1984 and know many in the hobby, and very few "collectors" I know have a high regard for the rc (none actually).. from a collectors pov rc's have no merit, they are below the standard most experienced collectors (of German rifles- Russian collectors probably marvel at their quality as these are soviet rifles) have set.[END QUOTE]

sorry you dont set the standard for what is collectible in the mauser world, and frankly sound like an Idiot for saying you do... you are not one of very few elites who set the standard, your just a guy who knows a decent amout about K98's and fell victim to BIG HEAD syndrome... R/C's are as collectible as any other gun anyone wants to collect... some statements simply have the ring of truth, and then we have what you say.......
 
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