Karabiner 98k Rifle
The Gewehr 98 was the principle German service rifle of World War One. This Mauser rifle was rugged, dependable and accurate. In the intervening war years, German military planners concluded the Gewehr 98’s length and unwieldiness made it unsuitable in the radical Blitzkrieg tactics under development. The Gewehr 98 was modified to a new standard, the Karabiner 98b. Despite the ‘carbine’ designation, the 98b modifications excluded a shorter length. In 1939, a new and final version resulted in the Gewehr Karabiner 98k or Kar98k, the ‘k’ designation derived from the word ‘kurtz’ or short in German. Even in this final form, the length of the Kar98k carbine model was equal to most of the major battle rifles of the war, like the Garand M1 or the British Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk IV.
The Karabiner 98k was the standard shoulder weapon of the German Army during all of WW2. American soldiers familiar with the U. S. M1903 Springfield service rifle faced little difficulty in using the German’s handy and accurate short rifle. Although the German rifle had no windage adjustment or peep-sight, it gave good results at medium ranges. Despite all the weapon innovations by the Germans during the war, production continued from start to finish. The rifle equipped every service branch of the Wehrmacht during all stages of the conflict. Despite this, the swiftly changing face of war forced the introduction of radical and new German designed small-arms like the Stg44 and the Gewehr 43.
The Mauser Kar98k rifle is identified by:
1. Shorter barrel of 23.4 inches.
2. Upper and lower bands very close together.
3. Cleaning rod section fitted into the stock under the muzzle.
4. Open V notch, leaf rear sight, sliding on a ramp and graduated from 100 to 2,000 meters.
5. Bolt action similar to the U. S. M1903 Springfield rifle.
6. Semi-pistol grip stock, with sling on the left side and a metal-lined hole through the stock, behind the hole for the butt end of the sling.
7. Marking "Mod 98" on the left receiver wall.
The Karabiner 98k rifle or carbine is a bolt-operated, magazine-fed shoulder weapon. It has a leaf rear sight, with an open 'V' notch that slides on a ramp and is graduated from 100 to 2,000 meters (109 to 2,187 yards). Older models, like the Kar98b which operate exactly as does the Kar 98K and differ only in that they have longer barrels and minor variations in fittings.
Principle of operation: Manually bolt-operated
Caliber 7.92 mm (.312 inches)
Capacity of magazine: 5-round clips
Ammunition: 7.92 German small-arms ammunition (rifle or machine-gun)
Weight: 9 pounds (approximately)
Length of barrel: 23.4 inches
Over-all length: 43.5 inches
Muzzle velocity: 2,800 feet per second
Sights: Front- Inverted V blade (which is sometimes equipped with a hood to provide shade). Rear- Leaf with open V notch sliding on ramp, graduated from 100 to 2,000 meters; no windage adjustment
Range: Maximum- 3,000 yards; Effective- 800 yards
General. Each Gewehr Kar98k rifle was furnished with a short length of cleaning rod, fitted through the bayonet stud. The rods from 3 rifles will make one full-length cleaning rod. A small metal case carried on the person holds an oiler, a pull-through, brushes, and short lengths of tow used as patches. Ammunition was carried in 2 leather ammunition pouches attached to the belt, which hold 60 rounds in 5-round clips. Muzzle and breech covers were sometimes used. Rifle grenade launchers were attached to the rifle. In addition, a short knife bayonet is available, fixed to the rifle.
Grenade launchers and sights. Two types: 1) A spigot-type, hollow-charge rifle grenade, the Schuss G.P. 40. This grenade launcher was fitted to the bayonet lug and the grenade slipped over the cylindrical part of the launcher. 2) The high-explosive rifle grenade (G. Sprgr.) and the armor-piercing rifle grenade (G. Pzgr.). These two grenades are inserted with a twisting motion into the cup section of the launcher.
There are two types of sights which are used with the Kar98k rifle grenade launchers. The sight is a simple attachment clamping to the left-hand side of the rifle behind the rear sight. The sight is composed of a sighting device placed on a base which revolves about an axis and is leveled by a small spirit bubble. There are two range scales reading from 0 to 250 meters for low-angle fire and from 250 to 50 meters for high-angle fire. These graduations apply to the high-explosive grenade only. When the armor-piercing grenade is fired, 75 meters on the low-angle scale corresponds to a range of 100 meters, and 50 meters on the high-angle scale corresponds to a range of 65 meters.
Grenades. (1) High-explosive grenade (Gewehr Sprenggranate, G. Sprgr.). The high-explosive grenade consists of a blackened steel body with an aluminum nose fuse and a grooved collar fitting into the rifling of the bore of the launcher. The fuse operates on impact, but the shock of discharge also initiates a delay system in the base which, in the event of the nose fuse’s failing to function, detonates the filling after a delay of 4 to 5 seconds. The collar carrying the rifling may be unscrewed from the body and the igniter string pulled, in which case the projectile can then be thrown as a hand grenade, operating after 4 to 5 seconds. The effect is equivalent to that of a "defensive" type of grenade, the radius of fragmentation being described by an enemy document as about 30 yards and a maximum range of 265 yards when fired from a Kar98.
(2) A later model, the Gewehr Sprenggranate mit Gesteigerter Reichweite, a high explosive hand or rifle grenade was fired by a new propelling charge and had a maximum range of only 71 yards. In addition, the self-destroying device was eliminated. The propelling charge was a standard 7.92 mm. blank cartridge with a wood bullet crimped at the neck and sealed with wax.
(3) Armor-piercing grenade (Gewehr Panzergranate 30, or G. Pzgr. 30). The rifle grenade for use against armor incorporates the hollow-charge principle. The Gewehr Panzergranate 30 consisted of a seamless steel tubular forward section containing a ballistic cap, hollow-charge cone, and TNT bursting charge and a rear portion made up of light aluminum alloy containing a fuse and exploder system.
How to Operate
Safety. The safety is a thumb-operated lever mounted on the bolt plug. The Mauser rifle can be fired and the bolt worked when the safety lock is moved to the left. When the safety lock is moved to the right, the piece is locked. The safety lock can be moved only when the rifle is cocked.
To load and fire. Open the bolt, place a clip of cartridges in the clip guides, and press them down into the magazine. Close the bolt; this action will eject any empty clip. The trigger has a double pull, so take up the slack before squeezing the trigger. To unload. Open the bolt and work it back and forth until both the magazine and the chamber empties.
The ammunition used in includes various types of 7.92-mm (.312-inch) small-arms ammunition. Ball ammunition was packed in cases holding 1,500 rounds, and the label is overprinted “I.L.” to indicate that the ammunition in a case is packed in 5-round clips.
(1) Stripping (a) To remove bolt. Cock the rifle by working the bolt, and set the safety lever halfway between the safe and the locked positions. Pull the bolt back. Then pull out the near end of the bolt stop, which is located on the left side of the receiver near the cutoff. Hold the bolt stop out while you remove the bolt from the receiver.
(b) To disassemble bolt. Press in the bolt-sleeve lock and unscrew the bolt sleeve, firing pin, and spring assembly. Now place the tip of the firing pin in the hole in the stock of the rifle. Compress the spring, pushing down on the bolt sleeve until the bolt sleeve clears the headless cocking piece. Turn the cocking piece a quarter turn in either direction and remove it from the firing pin shaft. Ease up on the bolt sleeve so as not to allow the spring to escape suddenly. Remove the bolt sleeve and firing-pin spring from the firing pin.
(c) To remove magazine floor plate. Insert the point of a bullet or a pointed tool into the small hole in the magazine floor plate, and exert pressure while at the same time pushing the floor plate toward the trigger guard. This will release the catch and the magazine floor-plate spring and follower can then be removed and broken down into their separate units. Further stripping is not usually necessary.
(2) Assembly. The assembling is done in the reverse order to that described above.