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Thread: 1915 Erfurt 98a w/“1920” property mark . . . . .

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014

    Default 1915 Erfurt 98a w/“1920” property mark . . . . .

    Found a “bubbaized” 1915 Erfurt, 98a that was, I believe, re-blued, re-stocked, and had an all-matching (to itself) bolt installed. The excellent-condition, “ding-free”, number-matching stock has NO grasping grooves, but does have the bolt take-down “tube and washer” device aft of the sling well. I believe this was done during the “1920” rebuild.

    Bubba is guilty of hacksawing the stacking rod off the base (leaving a very rough rod base which I subsequently smoothed up and polished) and he “slathered on” about 3 quarts of some varnish-type finish . . . EVERYWHERE!! . . . . INCLUDING the metal parts!! (I’ve since removed it, and applied an oil finish.)

    My inquiry to this board’s members is;
    The follower has the rear-end tapered to allow the bolt to close on an empty magazine (original, I believe) BUT . . . .
    The follower rises up sufficiently to block bolt travel when the magazine is empty.
    Do you think the follower was PURPOSELY modified when the “1920” rebuild took place? I believe it was.

    This neat old rifle has no collector value now, but my “sweat-equity” in this piece makes it a favorite of mine! —TIA, Jim

  2. #2
    Moderator² Loewe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010


    There is a thread in this forum that details the purpose of the 1920 property marking, it has nothing to do with reworking and its only purpose was to identify the rifle as "government property" during the time of the arms round up. Specifically, the marking was designed to prevent people from trying to obtain the reward being offered to civilians that turned in stolen military equipment. It means nothing more and most rifles that were marked were subsequently destroyed because Germany was vastly over legal limits at the time.

    Typically these rifles that are property marked are reworked, but this has nothing to do with the marking. Rather it is because the rifle was in government hands and being used that it was eventually reworked... most of these 98a carbines were issued to the various forms of police, - Germany at the time had nearly as many "police" organizations as the US has today, - they were just as police nuts as our society... however the Germans at least had a good reason to be, revolution and revolts were always a real threat until 1925-26 and eventually this instability (mostly caused by French and Belgian governments who undermined the republic at every opportunity) brought Hitler to power. The Germans of this period generally used the police as a ready reserve for the military, which is exactly what the French feared (and everyone knew at the time) so these carbines often were reworked. Actually almost always with some features, like modifying the follower to stop the bolt on empty, something Imperial rifles generally do not have and all rifles after 1918 do (all 98b, upgraded G98 and 98k do). There are many clues to postwar rework, some very subtle, the follower, the rearsight pinning, bluing all metal, takedown, added digits to small components, sometimes cut stacking hooks and blued buttplates....

    Without pictures it is difficult to assess your rifle, but it is sounds like a typical interwar or early NS rework, perhaps tampered with more recently (slathered in varnish isn't typical of reworks)

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