Question about switching KAR 98k bolts

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by CCubed, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. CCubed

    CCubed New Member

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    Does anyone have decent to excellent experience with refurbishing KAR 98k's? I just picked one up and, although it's in good condition and it's definitely serviceable, I really want to fix it up.

    Since I don't know of any way to get rid of the electropenciling on the bolt (which is just so hideously ugly, I get mad every time I think about it), I'm planning on simply replacing the bolt altogether (with a correct bolt, of course).

    My question is: How often are there headspace problems associated with this type of switch? I haven't been able to get the headspace checked on this gun with this crappy bolt, but the guy who I bought it from said he bought a batch and even bought on himself and said no one had complained or come back, so... Anyway, my question is, before I go and spend $100 to rebuilt this bolt (actually, buying one is cheaper than building a new one from parts), I was wondering what everyone thinks the chances of me having headspace problems with such a move would be. Thanks.
  2. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    CCubed:

    "chances of me having headspace problems with such a move"

    Virtually 100% probability that you will HAVE headspace problems. Perhaps they won't be serious but they could limit brass life significantly or could be serious and allow cases to have head seperations. It purely the luck of the draw. The tolerances are tight and there are many variables (Receiver tolerances on ledge inside that controls the position of the end of the barrel, receiver tolerances on the position of the receiver locking lugs, tolerances of the position of the end of the bolt in reference to the locking lugs of the bolt, current depth of the chamber).

    I think it better to find a way to remove the markings through polishing or other metal removal methods that remove the marked surface.

    But what's so bad about the marking? Its part of the history of the gun. This is not a new gun but one that had a life before you got it....history. You didn't buy a new perfect gun (there are many guns available today new that work on the principals of the Mauser). You bought a slice of history and the pencil marking on the bolt is part of that history even if it was put on yesterday.

    LDBennett
  3. Sarge

    Sarge Former Guest

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    I disagree! I have been collecting and shooting K98k rifles for 50 years. I have never had a headspace problem from swithcing bolts and I don't know anyone who has. Yes, it is "possible", but there is only a very slim chance!
    The K98k was like the 03/03A3, Garand and Carbine, they were all made for universal interchangeability. Dissasemble any 10 of either and throw the parts into a pile. Randomly pick parts out of the pile and reassemble the 10 rifles. Unless one rifle had had extremely hard use there will be no headspace or functioning problems in any of them.

    I do however agree, why change bolts or bolt bodies? Most of the RC bolts did not have heavy pencil etching and so it should polish out, or nearly so, and when reblued won't be viseable.

    What is the mfg code & date on your rifle? What is the proof mark on the flat under the bolt handle?
    Sarge
  4. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Headspace is a 0.010 inch tolerance in most guns when the guns are setup originally. If you end up on the wrong side because the tolerances add up wrong, you at a minimum may suffer short brass life and at a maximum a head seperation of the case. Where is your gun after a bolt change? Who knows? The headspace gage does! Yes, you can change out the bolt but don't shoot it until you check it with a go-nogo-field set of gages. That's called safety. In fact any of these old guns should be checked for correct headspace before firing them, even if the bolt is the original. Some are nearly a century old! Or at least 50 years old!

    The bolt and receiver are suppose to stay together when guns are issued to users. Thats why they were serialized! When they were arsenal refinished they often had the parts mixed up but.... part of the refurb was to check the headspace. A lot of these military guns do not have the original bolts and have gone through more than one refurb but a lot, that have not been refurbed, have their matching number bolt still with the gun. If the norm was to mix up parts during cleaning why are so many military guns still in matching numbers.

    Change the bolt if you wish but gage it and don't shoot it if it is out of spec. Safety first!

    LDBennett
  5. CCubed

    CCubed New Member

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    Well, I'm definitely going to check the headspace after I switch a bolt - even on the 98 action.

    I, personally, don't have the tools (right now) to polish out the electropenciling & I, frankly, think that it's not quite such a great piece of the weapon's history. I mean, I could cut the stock down, chop off the barrel & sporterize this great piece of history but few would appreciate that, myself included. So, I'm not a big fan of forced-match, electropenciled Mauser bolts. Sorry. :)

    Sarge: here's my codes: bcd 41 with an x on the top of the receiver; naturally, a Russian capture. The serial number on both the barrel and receiver is 68XX. The barrel has the same serial number as the receiver; however, the barrel is marked "bys". The Waffenampts on the barrel have the number 13 under them. Under the bolt handle, there's just two Waffenampts with 214 under them.

    Did the Germans make black cupped buttplates? I thought I only ever saw silver ones, but maybe that's just me. Mine has a black (blued?) cupped buttplate. Someone painted the stock disk black, so I was curious whether someone tampered with the buttplate as well. I know, though, that the buttplate doesn't match the stock. The stock, barrel & receiver all have matching serial numbers. After that, forget it. :)
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2007
  6. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    sounds like you got a typical, run of the mill, mil-surp mauser. they are fine weapons but are not without thier quirks... i ordered mine from mitchells mausers. i got the collectors grade with all the original issue accessories. and it look practically new, and shoots just as well...
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2007
  7. Mark

    Mark New Member

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    There are oodles of 98 mausers with mismatched bolts out there, and very few problems. Personally, I get a little nervous about this. The serial numbers were on the bolts for a reason, unlike the 03A3 or pattern 17 rifles. I have a "wienerized" G33/40 with prick punch marks on the trigger guard, so the armorers could turn the screws to the correct position. Originally, mausers were intended to have a specific bolt.

    Replacing your bolt may pose yet another problem. As more and more mauser variations are imported, it seems there are a few different bolt configurations. A replacement bolt may not fit in your KAR98, action length is one issue.

    There are a few different views of your electropenciled arsenal rework. IMO, the mismatched electropenciled bolt is a very big part of the rifle's history. The soviets thought enough of the 98 not to throw all the captured rifles into a scrap heap, but refurbish them, Some of the refurbished 98's found their way into the Egyptian/Israel conflict of 1956 on the Egyptian side.

    Read Biederman's book, IN DEADLY COMBAT for a real life look at the soviet front. I think after this book, you will really value this rifle as is. A rifle made in 1941 saw a lot of action.
    Mark
  8. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    My son-in-law collects Mausers. He has a safe full of all the different Mausers with markings that represent different manufacturers and useage. He has many of the different models and versions as well from the 1800's to post WII. Mauser collecting is a hobby that can be huge, expensive, and consuming!

    I have just one rifle (CZECH marked but may not actually be CZECH made????) and one CZECH made receiver that is in the process of becoming sporterized and in 9.3 x 62 caliber (if I can get the barrel fitted for a decent price). Two will be enough for me but not my son-in-law. He has just shooters, collectables, sportorized guns, sniper guns, 308, 8mm, all Mausers.

    LDBennett
  9. CCubed

    CCubed New Member

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    so, I tried this. Wouldn't you know it: the people who I bought the replacement bolt from wouldn't know a Mauser 98 bolt from a 93 bolt. LOL Nah, it wasn't that bad, but they sent me a Kriegsmarine (excuse the spelling; you get the idea) bolt. I put it in my 98k & tested the headspace. Way too tight! So, I took some of the better pieces from the Kriegsmarine bolt & swapped them for parts on my original bolt (which, BTW, had very good headspace).

    So, the lesson learned is that you might end up with too much or too little headspace when you switch a Mauser 98 bolt. Someone needs to open up a store where they provide a whole box of 98 bolts & you can just walk in there with your gun & gauges and find one that works. :) LOL
  10. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    CCubed:

    I warned you!

    Swapping bolts is not the hot setup!

    LDBennett
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