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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Mauser 98 B Model ID & info request

I have inherited a Mauser 98 and am looking for information on it. It seems to be a Mauser 98 Sporter Model B that was used in WWII and brought back by a family member. I'm told he traded a German officer a case of soap for it.
This rifle is very special to me as its the very first firearm I ever shot some 40 years ago.

I have always assumed it was sporterized in the USA after the war. After doing some research I'm not so sure now. I have found similar pre-war Obendorf models but this doesn't have the commercial marks I saw. Looking for any relevant info.


Basics:
-8mm.

-24"+/- Barrel

-Few marks other than the Eagles and serial # 14353 b

-P and a C markings as well as an unidentified makers mark are on the bottom of the receiver.

-Engraved butterknife bolt handle.

-Double claw scope mounts.

-Double trigger.

-Leaf Sights



Can anyone date the rifle?

Factory made at?

Is the stock original? or...aftermarket German or American?

Why the military markings on what appears to be a German Sporter?

What is and how difficult would it be to get a correct optic and mount?

Value? Though I will never sell it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Thank you kindly
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Unfortunately, the info you needed was machined away when the dovetail for the front scope mount was made. I can tell you, it wasn't a "B" Sporting Rifle. The 5 digit serial number puts it in the 1943-1945 range. The work was done post war.
Immediate post war, there were a lot of gunsmiths out of work, and a lot of 98K Mausers around. With what tools they had, they made Sporters to trade to GI's for food or cigarettes, thus they fall into a class known as "Cigarette Rifles". Most have a re-worked military stock, and crude engraving.
That's where yours differs, someone had an excellent skill set!
Can you make out any proof marks on the rear sight? If there is, and I can read them, I might be able to narrow it down to the factory and year.
Also curious as to what is on the silver plate inletted to the bottom of the buttstock.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
@TRAP55 Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. That all makes sense to me based on what I have learned about the rifle. Seems odd they would mark it with a b.
I was able to find marks on the rear sight. I had not thought to look on the underside. Let me know if they mean anything to you.
The crest on the underside of the stock is the initials of my family member that brought it back from Germany.

Thank you again

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The crest on the underside of the stock is the initials of my family member that brought it back from Germany.
There is the answer to your question of if it was sporterized in Germany or in the US, the gunsmith who made it for your relative put that escutcheon with your relatives initials on it during the build.

I think your relative traded a German gunsmith (who might have been an officer during the war) that case of soap for the rifle. I'd gladly trade a case of soap for it. :)
 

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What I was looking for, I think has been polished off the rear sight. The "B" that you see after the serial number is a serial number suffix. They can be stamped after the number, or under it.
Several arsenals were making 98K's before, and during the war. Each year, each arsenal would start with serial #1, and end at 9999, then the next lot produced in that year would start with 1a-9999a, the next 1b-9999b. When they made it through the alphabet, they started with 1aa-9999aa.
There's been arguments that they exceeded the 9999, and that this^^^ is wrong information. I've seen more 98K's in the last half century than most, and I have yet to see any serial numbers over 9999. The only exceptions I know of for sure, is late 1944 and 45 Oberndorf produced rifles. So I can take an educated guess, that's what yours is.
More of your "B" confusion, comes from the stock. That stock has European written all over it, as well as the engraving. BTW...to have engraving done like that today, would cost you as much as a new deer rifle.
 

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I'm very inclined to agree with TRAP. I too believe it's post war and more than likely done as he described. I'm convinced the stock is definitely German with the exception of no schnabel. The knot in the stock in a non-structural location and the shape of the cheek rest are dead giveaways to me. I have a few pre-war German firearms with knots in the stocks. Walnut was scarce and a knot in a non-strategic location was no reason to discard a piece of wood. The engraving is of typical pre-war quality. That isn't demeaning, pre-war engraving was good. Pre-WWI was better.
 

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Definitely a post war sporterized '98 Mauser. A very nicely done job! The stock, bolt handle style, double set triggers and the scope mounting style are all German. I'd guess that with the barrel still having the Nazi Eagle (the rest markings have been polished off) it is very likely still in 8X57mm caliber. If it were made for another caliber the original barrel would have been replaced.

I doubt if the rifle was 'pre-war' to begin with because of the Eagle stamping. More than likely a WW2 "veteran" rifle sporterized. GIs in Post War Germany brought back some fantastic firearms!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you all so much for the info. Fascinating! This rifle has always been special to me. Now that I have it and more knowledge on it even more so. Are "Cigarette Rifles" like this valuable? I assume not as much as if it had been left intact.

@jim brady It is in 8x57mm. Was just researching dies & powder etc...

Can anyone tell me about optics? I know claw mounts were mostly hand fitted so it is possible to find something that fits my mounts? I'd love to add a period-correct optic.

Thanks again.
 

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The claw mount scope rings will have to be custom made to fit your rifle. @sharps4590 might have some info on having a set made and a general estimate on cost. The rifle is definitely worth the cost to have a set made, especially given it's family history.
 
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As Griz said, they have to be made to fit and, fit absolutely correctly. As gr said, they ain't cheap and you should choose your scope before having them made. They will have to be high enough for the ocular bell to clear the wing safety, commonly the way it was done in Germany or, you'll need to change the wing safety to something more scope compatible. I have two pre-war rifles that had Greener safeties installed and the original wing safety left intact and operable.

New England Custom Guns, a firm founded by Master German Gunsmith Dietrich Apel, can and will make them. You have to send them your rifle and the last approximation of cost I had was $700.00 and up.

Bear in mind most German scopes of that vintage were adjustable for elevation only. Windage was in one base or the other, nearly always the front base, as is yours. Vintage German scopes are all over the place pricewise. I just bought a vintage, crystal clear Schmidt & Bender that as far as I'm concerned I stole for $175.00. Evil bay will list "Vintage German Scopes" if you type it in and other gun auction sites often have some listed. If you go to evil bay check out the vintage German binoculars as well. Frequently you can find top of the line, vintage bino's for less than a C note. I have. I bought a set of 7 X 35's for $45.00. It's rather amusing to see folks spend $200 to $800 for bino's when if you shop, you can get better for less.
 

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My Dad told me a story. He was in The Battle of the Bulge. He was so sick of the fighting that he found a highly engraved rifle that he put it in the "y" of a tree and bent the HELL out of it. He always said he wished he hadn't done that. Such is war.
 
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