Evolution of the Karabiner 98k, From Prewar to Kriegsmodell

These rifles are selling at Rock Island on December 1 and 2, 2018: prewar S/42G, 1944 bcd, and 1945 byf.

The Mauser Karabiner 98k began production as an excellent quality rifle, with every nuance of fine fit and finish one would have expected form the Mauser company. World War Two had barely begun by the time a few compromises began to be made to maintain production, however – and by the end of the war the K98k was a mere shadow or its former self. As with the similar deterioration in quality with Japanese Arisaka rifles, the critical mechanical elements of the K98k were just as safe and functional at the very end as the were at the beginning – but the ancillary aspects came crashing down. One might argue that these changes should have been made from the beginning; that issuing an infantry rifle made to the same finish as a fine commercial sporting arm is a silly waste of resources…