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Thread: Backbone of the Wehrmacht hazards?

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    Junior Member GulagACapella's Avatar
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    Default Backbone of the Wehrmacht hazards?

    So I've been reading the (in)famous BOTW while waiting for some Karabiner K98k volumes to arrive. Are there any giant red flags in BOTW that I should make a note to disregard before diving into the Karem and Steves books? Any and all help would be appreciated.

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    Id be curious to know of any inaccuracies in the series as well l. Ive had both volumes for a while and have considered them very informative and extremely useful for quick "authentication" at gunshows and the like.

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    Senior Member ltong29's Avatar
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    From off the top of my head, I think the BNZ 40 is a fake (they overstamped a 0 over the 1) and some of the single runes are also fake

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    Community Organizer Hambone's Avatar
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    For its time it was a book we all marveled over as collectors. My copy has grease stained pages. All we had then was each other on the phone, pictures by mail, the KCN, no internets, and then BOTW. We didn't know what we didn't know. BOTW compared to the Karem/Steves books is comparing a 1980s Sony Trinitron with network broadcast to a 2016 Sony 70" 4K HD flat screen with cat 6 connections, internet, and a Sonos custom installed surround sound system. At the time, all you had was that 80s Trinitron and the channels you had.

    That said BOTW is rife with all kinds of errors. It has some notorious fakes in it, information and extrapolations based upon limited (i.e., single rifle) examinations. If you want a book to have a general understanding of the K98k and do not intend to collect them, it's fine I reckon. If you are relying upon it to vet rifles for originality, it is not. I doubt I have a single rifle which matches one of those many data sheets.
    Last edited by Hambone; 04-12-2019 at 03:39 PM.
    “Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose.” - Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, 1933-1945

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    Beavis the Cornholio mdarnell19's Avatar
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    His sniper variations has numerous examples. He explains that Gustloff developed and was the sole producer of long side rails, Zf41s were built in the field by armors with what ever rifle was available, turret rifles used long key safeties, I think he also mentions that Sauer built single claws..... all wrong info. I’ll look through the book later.

    I’m general, I totally agree with Ham, at the time it was a good book. Now it is a very outdated book. Stick to this forum and the three volume set.
    Last edited by mdarnell19; 04-12-2019 at 03:57 PM.

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    Moderator² Loewe's Avatar
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    I do not think the bnz/40 is necessarily fake, matter of fact I tend to favor the probability they are real, though there are valid arguments for and against the variation. I think Mike did a good job explaining the arguments, as i recall he didn't feel there was enough evidence to call it either way, and left the question open, which was proper on this subject. (we need more & better examples, the same old song...)

    As for Backbone, its still worth owning, the datasheets are almost all flawed, - though I tend to look at them as snapshots, not "biblical" (some stinkers made it in too) - the general text i think is good, well written, the main flaw with the books is the limited pool of rifles to form conclusions, which was hardly the authors fault. For those that weren't collecting or familiar with the technology of the late 1980's-early 1990's, communication/travel was a lot slower, costly and unreliable. Today's technological advances over the last few decades are grossly exaggerated, there is far more that is worse than better by comparison, but communications, both in access, speed and cost, is vastly improved. Law & Jensen had no control over that and they did a very good job with what they had, - plus Jensen is a gifted and articulate man, he writes simply (the best authors do, they do not overpower their audience with elaborate verse to be clever, making the the read easier for the casual reader), but he actually edits books, and i have seen his work, - which is first rate. (he is also a gentleman like John Wall was, like many of the old New Englanders, unassuming and gentle in their editorial advice, - he does his best to not to offend! Which is not always so common today, some editors like to be critical in their editing, harshly picking apart your grammar and construction, which might be the best way to make a "student" remember/learn, but it is a bit discouraging...)

    Quote Originally Posted by ltong29 View Post
    From off the top of my head, I think the BNZ 40 is a fake (they overstamped a 0 over the 1) and some of the single runes are also fake

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    Community Organizer Hambone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loewe View Post
    I do not think the bnz/40 is necessarily fake, matter of fact I tend to favor the probability they are real, though there are valid arguments for and against the variation. I think Mike did a good job explaining the arguments, as i recall he didn't feel there was enough evidence to call it either way, and left the question open, which was proper on this subject. (we need more & better examples, the same old song...)

    As for Backbone, its still worth owning, the datasheets are almost all flawed, - though I tend to look at them as snapshots, not "biblical" (some stinkers made it in too) - the general text i think is good, well written, the main flaw with the books is the limited pool of rifles to form conclusions, which was hardly the authors fault. For those that weren't collecting or familiar with the technology of the late 1980's-early 1990's, communication/travel was a lot slower, costly and unreliable. Today's technological advances over the last few decades are grossly exaggerated, there is far more that is worse than better by comparison, but communications, both in access, speed and cost, is vastly improved. Law & Jensen had no control over that and they did a very good job with what they had, - plus Jensen is a gifted and articulate man, he writes simply (the best authors do, they do not overpower their audience with elaborate verse to be clever, making the the read easier for the casual reader), but he actually edits books, and i have seen his work, - which is first rate. (he is also a gentleman like John Wall was, like many of the old New Englanders, unassuming and gentle in their editorial advice, - he does his best to not to offend! Which is not always so common today, some editors like to be critical in their editing, harshly picking apart your grammar and construction, which might be the best way to make a "student" remember/learn, but it is a bit discouraging...)
    FWIW, I agree with this assessment.
    “Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose.” - Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, 1933-1945

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    As others have said, the data sheets are not very accurate but probably provide decent estimates.
    In particular, the serial number ranges for each manufacturer/year and production total estimates are not exact but in most cases are not too far off in my limited experience

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    Moderator² Pisgah's Avatar
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    So long as you are talking about rifles that followed the usual German serial numbering pattern, most of Law's estimates are at least in the ballpark (1-9999, 1a-9999a, etc.). He didn't understand how the numbering changed at Mauser Oberndorf in 1943 and at Brünn, Gustloff, and Steyr in 1944-45, so his estimates in those time periods for those manufacturers are not close. I agree with the others who stated how important BOTW was 20 plus years ago. I carried mine around so much that the covers fell off and the book is now in several pieces. It is a bit smudged up from using it while disassembling rifles and comparing to the book too. Regardless, I haven't opened it in years. I do remember that even 20 years ago I could pretty much find one or more errors on every page. In its time it was the best thing we had and also helped most of us make it to the next level with regard to our knowledge of the topic. I wouldn't discourage anyone from buying BOTW but I would buy Bruce and Mike's books first. Their series on the 98k will be the best reference on the topic for years, if not always. If you do buy BOTW, just remember that it is flawed and better for general type information than specifics.
    WTB/WTT: (1)late E/H marked bcd stock either standard or semi-Kriegs; (2)unnumbered late MO Zf-41 stock, Kriegs or standard stock; (3)transitional late unnumbered type dot stock which uses bandspring and has bayo mount but no cleaning rod hole; (4)unnumbered byf standard stock as typically found on some byf 44 K and L block rifles; (5)unnumbered E/H bnz standard stock as typically found on bnz.4 and bnz 44 N, O, and P block rifles; (6)any bnz Kriegsmodell stock either with E/H or without

  10. #10
    No War Eagles For You! mrfarb's Avatar
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    It’s a good book as a starter book, but as most say the data is flawed, which is the biggest thing people use it for. Many fakes have been built using that series and they are easy to spot due to the errors. My copy was given to me in 94 by my father, all the pages are grease stained and worn. I wouldn’t sell it but I wouldn’t use it to authenticate anything. I’d even suggest people buy it, just know the limitations.


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