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Thread: Simson Gew.98b - Darn you, bubba!

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    Senior Member Wolfsburg's Avatar
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    Default Simson Gew.98b - Darn you, bubba?

    Well, I saw this up for auction recently and having never seen an actual Gew.98b (as opposed to a K98b or "modified Gew.98"), I decided to go for it. Sadly it has been cut down and the original stock is long gone. I had some hope it could be a legit 98k conversion but with Paul's kind guidance, upon hands on inspection I see no evidence that it is.

    Everything matches except the pre-war JPS stock it's currently in and stock hardware. It has a repro rod that I added. I can't fathom why someone would've converted this rifle to a 98k configuration unless this was some sort of sporter rescue. Regardless, it would seem at some point that someone has hacked up what was once probably a gorgeous and rare rifle originally. The fire bluing(?) accents are beautiful, especially on the rear sight leaf spring and ejector box.

    My understanding is a Gew.98b in original trim would've essentially been a newly made Gew.98, except with a bent bolt and bolt cut out, using the original Gew.98-style bottom sling mounting and not the side mount sling arrangement with stock cut-out. The rear sight was updated for s.S. patrone at some point. Barrel code is K58D with e/43 acceptance. Looking everything over, it seems very little was overlooked when it came to acceptance stamps, usually e/6 or e/43, even on small parts. Even in this compromised state, this rifle has a feel of quality and the bolt action is incredibly smooth. I hate what has happened to this poor thing but I've never encountered a Gew.98b in any condition and I paid for it what many RCs are going for these days so it was totally worth it to me, even as a novelty!

    Please forgive the lighting and quality of my hasty pics. I was in a rush and I had just oiled her up if the pics look a little odd!
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    Last edited by Wolfsburg; 07-29-2018 at 01:25 AM.

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    ax - hole Warrior1354's Avatar
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    I'm hoping Paul can tell us more about this one. I for one have never seen one before marked like this too be honest. But regardless its a very neat rifle made in one of the toughest periods Germany wasn't facing at the time. I'm just glad too see you still have the matching bolt!
    "Don't use your musket if you can kill 'em with your hatchet"

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    Senior Member Wolfsburg's Avatar
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    Honestly, most all I know is what I've read in the Simson section of Vol.1 of the 98k books. I can't find much online about them. I know older collectors sometimes referred to the "modified" Gew.98 with s.S. visier, or so-called "Gew.98m", as the Gew.98b but as far as I know in that context, it's as much a collector term as "98m" is. The book states the "real" Gew.98b fall in the "e" block of Simson production and apparently very few were ever made?

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    The barrel cut-down looks to have been fairly well done by someone. Not so crude as the Interarms hacked barrels on the Spanish imports. Certainly a very uncommon siderail marking. How well does the upper band fit without a barrel step at that location?

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    Senior Member Wolfsburg's Avatar
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    Yeah I had thought about the Interarms angle but it seems reasonably well done. The upper band fits well. I actually replaced the band it came with with another that has better finish and both fit fine. The missing step is usually immediately ahead of the upper band so I suppose band fitment wouldn’t really have been affected either way.

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    Moderator˛ Loewe's Avatar
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    The Gew.98b siderails are just an unusual variation that is sandwiched between normal siderailed rifles in the latter half of the 5500-6000 e-block. The three known rifles with original bolts and stocks appear to be hybrids, ScottB owns two of them, the most original rifle has a normal bent bolt with cutout in the stock, - but no side sling arrangement. His other rifle is a RM rework, seemingly the same deal with the stock, but the bolt is RM replaced with a ordnance spare G98 bolt body. Hard to say much about either really, Scott didn't provide the best photographs and there is little chance of getting him to dig it out today. The only other matching rifle is like ScottB's first rifle, a hybrid, bottom sling arrangement and bent bolt with cutout. Two others are mismatchers.

    It is extremely likely your rifle is one of these hybrids originally, - it falls well within the range, after Scott's first rifle and before this last rifle (it was featured in the MRJ by Marion Mericle, with a datasheet, but no pictures)

    I would say that there is a very good chance these rifles were sold to the RM in a batch, it is known the RM were fond of these hybrids, bottom mounted slings and bent bolts, not sure why but several RM reworks have these features (possibly because the limited supply of spare parts, the RM spent a lot of money, for such a small force, but mostly it went to research and experimentation, - not small arms procurement or spare parts. They probably were armed with G98's for the most part... so in the search for uniformity, they ordered these to conform?). These were probably sold this way under contract. I should also note this variation is the beginning of the change in inspectors, waffenamt e/6 seems to get "promoted" to relative obscurity, after the introduction of these he is rarely seen on receiver inspection. I think in this early period the inspectors actually did much of the hands-on work and not through teams, - obviously the required frugality would have limited the teams in either case, but the slow production and inspectors moving around suggest this as well. Later, under the National Socialists this would change dramatically, - socialistic leaders/governments have no qualms about spending other peoples money, real or imagined, with the rise of the "nazis" money and labor would be plentiful in armament production (though the money would be next to worthless outside of Germany, to the point the Germans had to essentially take up bartering to get raw material)

    Regarding this rifle, if I understand you, this barrel only has one barrel step? What is the length of the barrel? Where does this step measure from the muzzle? Why not run a rule from the muzzle to the barrel shoulder and take a photograph so we can get scale, hard to say if the barrel is the right length here, - I find the original RS curious if this is a period shortening, might have to ask my tech guru about the differences between the RS requirements of a longer (G98 length) vs shorter (98k length). Also take a picture of the muzzle-front band area assembled?

    I hesitate to hop on the podium (soap box) and yell fraud, really these are so rare (fewer still well documented) that next to no one has enough experience to tell the real deal from fraud, - especially something that may have a RM/KM connection. Those guys made some pretty shaky builds... they were "artists"!

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    Senior Member Wolfsburg's Avatar
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    Truly fascinating! I assumed the bottom sling arrangement was what qualified these to be uniquely marked as a Gew.98b, since karabiners used the side mount arrangement. I think I had read that these rifles also used the narrow Gew98-style rear band as well? The Reichsmarine connection is one I never would've guessed! So these all likely would've been made exclusively for a RM contract? Am I understanding correctly? I assume any RM identifying markings would've been on the stock? If this is a legitimate modification done by the RM "artists" (haha), I wonder what the stock would've looked like? Would the original stock likely have been cut down or would it have been replaced entirely? If so, by what? Probably no way to know?

    I'll try and take better pics of the barrel and show some measurements for scale. The barrel does indeed have only one step, which I tried to show in my pictures. Hopefully I can take more pics this weekend.

    Thank you so much for the insight so far, Paul. You truly are a font of knowledge!

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    Senior Member Wolfsburg's Avatar
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    Okay, here are a few more pics. I also compared it to a Gew.98 and a 98k barreled action I had handy (bSw as it happens). It looks like this Gew.98b as it sits now has a barrel length perhaps just slightly longer than a standard 98k. It appears the barrel was cut off right around where the first step was. I haven't disassembled the rifle again to show exactly where the second step is but I think I covered everything else. I also noticed the front sight base sits higher than what's on the 98k and Gew98. I wonder if that compensates for the shorter barrel with the original rear sight? If so, someone put some thought into it at least...
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    I was eyeing that and didn't have internet when the auction ended. Glad someone here got it at least. It's interesting to say the least.

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    The information on the three matching rifles is incomplete; Scott's most original rifle doesn't show the lower (rear) band, but his RM rework shows a e/6 wide rear band with bottom swivel. I believe it is the original band, from the looks of it and that Marion's article states his rifle is the same.

    Both original rifles (Scott's RM rework and Marion's rifle) have normal Reichsheer (RH) E/H on the RS, Scott's other rifle doesn't show this area of the stock (he focuses on the LS repair to the buttstock). The pictures i have are from 2008, possibly Gunboards, but more likely G/K, I have the text also, but nothing regarding Scott's opinion regarding history. I can't share the pictures because of his animus for this forum, so you will just have to take my evaluation at face value regarding Scott's rifles.

    I will post scans of Marion's article, it should prove helpful, but the known range for this variation is 5572 e through the early 6000 e block, which is Scott's rework.

    Regarding this rifles alteration, I would like to see the barrel contour better, in relation to the other rifles you illustrated, but from what I see it could go either way, - it doesn't follow normal true conversions the Heer did during the war, but the KM did some pretty shoddy work 1920's through the middle of the war, - the G.29/40 builds come to mind, but all manner of strange cobbling of rifles together (though they also typically have some form of acceptance, though itself is also some wacky variation, - this maybe because of the necessity of fireproofing a new build, perhaps the RM didn't require reproofing when shortening a barrel?)

    Lastly, my techie buddy came back and said in his opinion the shortening would alter the accuracy, but only slightly, but this observation would also argue against period done (because the RS looks factory to me)

    Anyway, I would say this could be real-deal but you will certainly face a headwind arguing that position among specialists (narrowly focused specialized collectors most familiar with the subject). Would have been a good subject to run by Scott and CB, we use to talk about such specialized topics, - they both knew a great deal about the republican (interwar) era. Just spitting in the wind, but I suspect CB would have been skeptical, Scott almost for sure, but I think its possible.
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