Third Party Press

Imperial German/Polish/Nazi Rework Gewehr 98

krukster86

Well-known member
If this rifle could talk, I am sure it would really have some stories to tell. (Special thanks to User/Moderator Pat for discussing this one with me and helping me to figure out an appropriate offer before I pulled the trigger on it!)

Here is what I have put together on it from my understanding. I will gladly accept any clarifications or corrections if I am mistaken.

This is a former Imperial German produced 1916 JP Sauer & Sohn Gewehr 98 that was “captured” in Poland after WWI. However, a more appropriate term would be that it was left over in Poland’s borders after the Armistice, or it was obtained during the subsequent border conflicts during the Silesian uprisings.

I am not referring to this rifle as a Wz. 98, as this was not a Mauser produced domestically in Poland (it would have been stamped PFK Warszawa, maintained the rollercoaster sights, and it would be marked with Wz98 (or similar) on the receiver side rail).

It was refurbished at some point by Fabryka Broni in Radom, given the FB in an inverted triangle on the receiver, and accepted into the Polish military inventory (Small Polish eagle proofmark on the right side of the receiver). FB Radom was in operation between 1927 and 1939, and Poland started to revert back to long rifles starting in 1936, so I am taking a leap here, but I would assume that this refurb might have been done after 1936, once war was looming, Poland started to refurb a bunch of old Gew.98’s in inventory. Unfortunately it is a bit hard to prove given the barrel and rear sight (discussed further below). The receivers were re-serialized and prefixed with a “K” stamp on the left side of the receiver, assumed by some to designate “Karabin” (rifle). I have seen 3 other examples that have the same treatment, and this is documented in several Mauser reference books.

Now here is where things get interesting, it looks like this rifle was “re-captured” by the Nazis and reworked after September 1939, as it appears that the barrel and rear sights were replaced (maybe with a Gew.98m barrel assembly?). The serial number that is stamped on the replacement barrel, complete with the “K” stamp. to match the receiver, possibly a force match by the Germans to maintain consistency. The rear sight assembly does not match the barrel/receiver, but matches itself and is dated 1941 under a code. I am not familiar enough with WW2 German proofmarks to understand this code. Again, since it is not matching it is tough to connect the dots with accuracy.

I would assume that such a rifle would be issued to 2nd or 3d line troops and sprinkled around the areas of occupation during the third reich. Now here is where I needed to make a bit of a stretch again:

Given the Century Arms import mark under the muzzle and rough external condition, I know a lot of these “odd Gew.98s” came from an import from Romania/Albania/etc in the 1990’s, and I suspect that this came out of this same import from this region of Europe. So this rifle likely was captured in this area by Soviet forces, and lived a pretty rough/abused life post-war under Soviet occupation and ultimately slathered in cosmoline for storage for a future conflict. The bluing hidden underneath the woodline has gorgeous original bluing, but everything external is pretty worn.

Despite its overall condition, I love the amount of history dripping off this rifle. As a German Gewehr 98 style of rifle, it is a bit of a letdown. However, the Polish provenance definitely moves it up a few levels of desirability, at least for me given my collecting focus.

IMG_3813 resize.jpgIMG_3818 resize.jpgIMG_3817 resize.jpg

Description/Serialization of Parts:

Receiver:
Stamped JP Sauer & Sohn over Suhl, dated 1916, with “FB” in an inverted triangle on top of receiver, Polish eagle proofmark on right side of the receiver, Stamped Gew.98 on the receiver left siderail. Imperial German proofs on right side of receiver. Serial K 2131
_6290158 resize.jpg_6290159 resize.jpg_6290160 resize.jpg

Barrel:
Gew.98m barrel? Serialized 2131 over K, with many waffenamts of eagle over 214.
_6290168 resize.jpg

Front Sight Blade:
Serial: 31
_6290171.JPG

Front Sight Base:
Imperial German proofed.
_6290172.JPG

Rear Sight Base:
Right side stamped S/42 with 2x WaA63
_6290161 resize.jpg
 
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krukster86

Well-known member
Rear Sight Assembly (Sight ladder, Slider, Slider Button):
Serial: 1068 / 68
_6290162.JPG_6290163.JPG_6290164.JPG

Rear Sight Flat Spring and Retainer:
Flat Spring: Eagle over 855?
_6290156.JPG
Retainer: SuWW over 1941 and Eagle over Su 28?
_6290154 resize.jpg

Bolt stop:
Serial: 31
_6290182.JPG

Bolt:
Polish bolt body (doesn’t match the receiver), and unmarked safety and bolt shroud. Bolt body has the typical "lucky charms" on the underside. Imperial German extractor, firing pin, and cocking piece.
_6290194.JPG_6290195.JPG_6290196.JPG

Magazine Follower:
Not sure about this one. It doesn’t match anything and the orientation of the numbers is not in the German style. The Poles didn’t serialize the followers from what I gather. Serial: 39
_6290177 resize.jpg
 

krukster86

Well-known member
Stock Assembly:
Wood stock looks to be a late war beech material. Formerly Imperial German, but all stamps/proofs are non-existent or rubbed off. Stock appears to have been coated in a reddish finish. Recoil lug, buttplate, and bayonet lug are Imperial German proofed. Stock, buttplate, and bayonet lug are serialized 4861 / 61.
_6290173.JPG_6290184.JPG_6290181.JPG

Handguard:
Looks to be a post-war replacement, as it is laminate with no serial number. Please correct me if I am mistaken. Maybe one day I will try to find a beech handguard to match the grain of the stock better.

Cleaning Rod:
Missing, however I am obtaining a replacement unmarked one for completeness.

Triggerguard and Floorplate:
Imperial German proofed. Serial: 4991 / 91.
_6290178.JPG_6290197.JPG

Action Screws:
Tough to make out (numbers are worn), however it is evident that they don’t match anything.
_6290187.JPG_6290188.JPG

Trigger Assembly:
Imperial German proofed. Serial: 24.
_6290183.JPG

Rear Barrel Band:
Imperial German proofed. Serial: 38 over 26.
_6290191.JPG

Front Barrel Band:
Imperial German proofed. Serial: 4974.
_6290186.JPG
 

Pat

Moderator
Staff member
Glad you got one you like! A few little details:

- Poland acquired many small arms not by German troops walking away from them (although this likely happened in some cases), but by interwar purchase following the terms of the Versailles Treaty. Alot of their ex-French arms were acquired through sale, too. Poland didn't exist as an independent country during WWI, so no 'captures' of foreign arms in that time frame.

- The theory of the 'K' stamp probably doesn't hold water. Karabin certainly means 'rifle,' but Karabinek means 'carbine.' The problem is that they both start with 'K,' so nothing is offered by using that to distinguish one from the other.

- Regarding units of distribution for rifles like this, correct, 2nd and 3rd line is spot on. An exception would be W-SS personnel as late as June 1941 (invasion of the USSR), some of whom are shown in combat photos using G.98M's.

- I'd ask if there were any depot stamps in the stock, but the stock on this rifle is from another rifle anyway.

Congrats again!
 

krukster86

Well-known member
- Poland acquired many small arms not by German troops walking away from them (although this likely happened in some cases), but by interwar purchase following the terms of the Versailles Treaty. Alot of their ex-French arms were acquired through sale, too. Poland didn't exist as an independent country during WWI, so no 'captures' of foreign arms in that time frame.
Correct.
- The theory of the 'K' stamp probably doesn't hold water. Karabin certainly means 'rifle,' but Karabinek means 'carbine.' The problem is that they both start with 'K,' so nothing is offered by using that to distinguish one from the other.
I was a bit unsure of that as well. That is something that I picked up from a YouTube video of a collector showing off his Polish Mauser collection.
- I'd ask if there were any depot stamps in the stock, but the stock on this rifle is from another rifle anyway.
Exactly. Regardless, during the inspection/cleaning, I tried shining all kinds of different lighting on the stock at different angles and I wasn't able to see any sort of stamps (or even faint outlines of stamps) on it.
 
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krukster86

Well-known member
To build on what you mentioned Pat, while Poland only gained its independence after WWI (independence formally confirmed following Treaty of Versailles in 1919), there were still preliminary independence movements right around Armistice day. In November 1918, there were still tens of thousands of war-weary German soldiers in what was to become Poland's new borders, particularly in Warsaw. A peaceful disarmament and evacuation of the Germans was soon negotiated with Poland taking in a lot of German weaponry from German soldiers that just wanted to go home.
Rozbrajanie_Niemców_1918.jpg
 

tokarev38

Senior Member
Very nice rifle overhauled at Radom factory. It needs bayonet like this.
 

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Telperion

Well-known member
I love those guns that have been re-used and re-used again! They all have a fascinating story to tell.
Thank you for this one!

What I find so interesting about these FB-guns (and other overhauled ones) is that the Germans produced and installed new rifle-length barrels even as of 1938 or later. I've seen some made by ERMA, Sauer and M/O, I think. Maybe there are even others out there.
And, what is more, they made rifle length stocks at the end of the 30ies. It's all quite odd, but it's real.

I was lucky enough to get one of those FB-marked G98 as well, found it in the scrap bin of a gunsmith. All I had to do was to write some descriptions for the guns he sold on online auctions and then it was mine.
It's built re-using an early Spandau receiver. Please note that the guys in the depot misread the original suffix. Normally you wouldn't expect this kind of sloppiness at that early stage of the war.
As it came as a barreled receiver, I made it a project gun. I try to find as manby parts with the correct numbers as possible. It won't fool anyone, I am quite sure about that, but it's fun!

regards

T
 

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