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Thread: Zn marked receiver

  1. #1
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    Default Zn marked receiver

    I recently saw a Gew98 that had been reworked to 98k configuration,shortened barrel and the new rear sight. The receiver marked with a Zn over crown Spandau over 1917/26 rt side receiver has 2 weimar eagle 11. Was this a Simson rework and what are the eagle 11's?

    Thx AndyH

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    "Ach du lieber!" Bigdibbs88's Avatar
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    Zeithahn. If it didn’t have issues, hopefully you bought it!

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    Default Zn

    Unfortunately I didn't have the opportunity. What is Zeithan? Certainly looked interesting, any ideas on those proofs?

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    Zeithain (not far from Leipzig and Dresden - Saxony) was a former Imperial training ground, after the German Army (Reichsheer) was reconstituted (November 1918-December 1918 it essentially dissolved itself) these training grounds, especially in the east (facing Poland), were increasingly used to train the "Black Reichswehr", which essentially were paramilitary organizations and local militia types, to support the German Army (Reichsheer) in an emergency.

    Zeithain was one such training ground near the eastern frontier, though I have never seen it specifically mentioned in books, most of the more active training grounds (engaged in training the Black Reichswehr) were along the German-Polish frontier. However it was one of the earlier HZa reconstituted and listed in most documents on the subject, so this activity probably pre-dates its actual "official" status. Little is known about this early period, 1919-1927, very secret and illegal at the time.

    What is known is that Zeithain was a old training grounds, these grounds were extensively used to train because they were large, isolated and rarely if ever inspected. This was especially important in Prussia because the Prussian government was hostile (far left) to any military activity, because they felt the far right (military, aristocracy, any one of the old order - "nazis" were never-ever "far right" in ideology, the "far right" thought they could use them and build upon the nationalism appeal they had among the masses, as Groerner once stated "harness the masses with nationalism"... most of the old order ridiculed the nazis and rightfully so, as Georg Escherich once called them, nazis are "Nationalistic Bolsheviks", not men of the right.) was more of a threat than the Poles.

    Secondly, Zeithain was a known HZa when they were officially reconstituted, - technically the ordnance shops operated illegally, they were not allowed under the peace treaty/diktat, though it was never pushed by the IAMCC as everyone knew the German response, - they would deny they existed, rename them and move them if necessary (as they did with every complaint). Officially three HZa existed early on, one at each Reichsheer HQ, Berlin/Spandau, Cassel/Kassel and a smaller operation in isolated Königsberg. It stands to reason that these reconstituted HZa had an earlier life, but little is known of its operations beside these few surviving rifles.

    The rifles, they were made 1924-1928, the vast majority on leftover Spandau marked receivers, but a number of others are known, leftover Simson, Amberg and Suhl makes are known, especially early on. 1927 dated is most common, probably because this was when the pressure was most lax on this type of activity. The IAMCC was out, and these rifles stopped in 1928 because secrecy was less important after 1927. Basically illegal rifle making was practically impossible 1919-1923, between the chaos, the madness, the lack of structure, and later the scrutiny after the IAMCC came (strongest up until 1925) into being all made rifle production a very bad business to engage in. Very few rifles seem to have been made in 1925, probably due to the Ruhr crisis (France's and Belgium's effort to make sure the republic in Germany would fail), but by August 1925 things seem to have settle in and most rifles were made in 1926-1927, lingering into 1928.

    The eagle/11 was one of several waffenamts used to inspect/accept the rifles.

    These rifles are fairly common in lower grades, the vast majority are heavily used and abused, rifles with any original parts are rare. They are exceedingly rare in upper grades, - matching and original, especially with the original stocks. Only a handful have any matching parts, only a couple with their original stocks. While one of these in original matching condition would be as rare as an Simson 1924 or 1926 in like condition, many more were made, they just have a dismal survival rate in upper grades. While they are rarely seen nice, it is likely their prices would be soft compared to a Simson 98b, for one, fewer know much about them, secondly these were made as G98's so far as can be said. The only surviving rifles with stocks are all G98 configuration and would appeal to a smaller clientele...

    The subject rifle was probably not worth tackling, unless it was a German conversion. Most aren't when found shortened. Would have been nice to get the data off the rifle though, - see if i had it documented already.

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    Here is a 1924 Zeithain built on a 1916 Simpson reciever from my collection. Unfortunately it was in the Interarms shipment from Spain so little matches other than the barrel and the receiver.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    These early rifles are next to impossible to find, like yours the earliest seem to be based upon Simson receivers (wartime), all clearly leftover receivers, which again points to Saxony as the origins of this variation. That ties in with the history of the period also, by early 1924 the madness was coming to an end, if only on the surface, Seeckt gave back his near dictatorial powers early in 1924 and only in Bavaria, Thuringia and Saxony did a state of emergency continue. This had to be a perfect opportunity to establish ordnance shops in the east, very possibly at Zeithain as MW suggests, - once old training grounds with barracks, workshops and schools; a perfect place to move Dresden's machinery and take up limited rifle production (never has Dresden's machinery come up in IAMCC reports).

    Anyway, your rifle lacks its original serial, this is not the original 1924 applied serial and the receiver FP (very distinctive early on) is missing. For whatever reason these earliest examples got sold off to Spain (Hitler didn't give Franco anything.. all was on credit) and elsewhere, a couple like yours are seen with these new serialing. A damn tragedy imo, but these being what they are, basically assemblies of leftover parts, were probably considered undesirable by the early 1930's and when scrounging for junk to send Franco, such rifles were probably top of the list. It would make sense keeping the best rifles and sending the lesser or worn rifles as aid, - and these could have gone much later that we assume, Germany supplied arms to Spain in trade through 1944.

    I assume the barrel isn't original or lacks the serial, scrubbed or not, or you would have shown it? Is it at least period? Also the acceptance on the RR E/7 E/10? This rifle probably had a much lower serial than 3269, Simson's are usually the earliest and 3269 is nearly double the known range for 1924. The next highest serial in 1571. That is a large leap for such a rare rifle. I should also mention that "probably" Zeithan serialed w/o rolling over 1924 to 1925 and this rifle would blow a big fat hole in that theory...

    Try and do more pictures that show details, maybe "ghosts" of original markings and the barrel markings, if any. Anything that might be original to 1924.

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    Loewe, I'll see what else I can find and let you know. No problem to pull it out of the stock and see what's under the wood. Just so happens that the entire batch of 98m's are out for cleaning. 4 are Spanish mixmeisters so not a lot of good info there. A fifth is from the Century Arms Albanian shipment and not much better in the matching department. I pulled it out of the stock today. But the last one is a bring back that was only partially sporterized (bent bolt and drilled for scope only). I'll do a thread on it before I put them away.

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    Default 1924 Zeithain receiver and barrel markings

    Attached are receiver and barrel markings
    Receiver top: Zn, SIMPSON & Co, SUHL, 1916/24
    Receiver left: 3269 and Gew 98
    Receiver right: Crown B, E7, E10
    Receiver bottom: Circle 2 on receiver ring, various inspection marks on flat
    Barrel: S on top behind rear sight base, firing proof on bottom, left side below stock and ahead of rear sight base inspector's mark B ! and a sideways Sa. About halfway between the rear sight and the first step there is a small crown and a 3 and 10 marked near the first step.

    I also noticed in a first on a Spanish mixmeister that the sear is serialized to the receiver 67. The trigger is imperial marked but not numbered. Hopefully something can be learned from this.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by gewehr hund; 07-05-2019 at 10:14 AM.

  9. #9
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    Very helpful, original barrel, a leftover ordnance spare from WWI, - Sa=Saxony and is probably related to Dresden, you see these on WWI re-barrels.

    The RR is helpful, pretty diverse mix of acceptance on these, must have been a lot of inspectors over time. Still a huge amount of guessing involved with these, but the diversity of the patterns complicates solving all but the simplest of questions. These were clearly not done in a formal factory setting (mass production), the few rifles that do have original components show considerable variation in markings.

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