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The Mauser 98 Rifle: A Classic Weapon for Modern Times

The Mauser 98 Rifle Review

The Mauser 98 Rifle, designed by Paul Mauser in 1898 and regarded as the most influential and innovative firearms designer in history, is the most influential forearm. The Mauser 98 Rifle has served as a standard service rifle for decades for multiple countries in countless wars. This rifle has certain unique factors, such as its accuracy, reliability, and durability. Today we will review The Mauser 98 Rifle and explore its origin, development, and use as a learner, collector, shooter, or history buff.

Origins and Development of the Mauser 98 Rifle

Paul Mauser and his brother Wilhelm worked hard for three decades to build this series of Mauser 98 rifles. As a result of three decades of innovations and improvements, they succeeded in their mission. Both brothers started their work in 1867, when they began to develop a bolt-action rifle based on the Dreyse needle gun. This bolt action rifle was the first rotating bolt rifle used by the German army.

Paul Mauser and Wilhelm Mauser - CarbonTV

The first successful design by Paul and his brother was the Mauser Model 1871 rifle. They used a metallic cartridge and a firing pin in manufacturing this rifle, while other people used paper cartridges with a needle back then. This gun was Germany’s first metal cartridge weapon, and the Empire adopted it as the “Gewehr 71”.

Gewehr 71 - CarbonTV

Paul continued his struggle to refine his bolt-action rifles. He made multiple designs, including:

    • Mauser Model 1889, which used a rimless cartridge and a box magazine
    • Mauser Model 1893 introduced a stronger bolt with two front locking lugs
    • Mauser Model 1896 featured a stripper clip guide and a gas venting system

He experimented with bolt action rifles by incorporating different calibers, actions, magazines, features, and technologies to enhance his action bolts’ accuracy, reliability, and durability. Finally, he got a Mauser Model 1898 rifle that combined all previous models with more accuracy and strength. This rifle has the following:

    • A larger forward receiver ring for strength.
    • A better porting system to vent away gases in a ruptured case or primer.
    • Chambered for the 7.92x57mm Mauser cartridge with a spitzer bullet that increased its velocity and range.
[Reference: “An Official Journal of the NRA | a Look Back at the Mauser Model 1898 Rifle.” An Official Journal of the NRA, Accessed 26 June 2023.]

Variants and Accessories of the Mauser 98 Rifle

The Mauser 98 rifles are not a single model but a series of rifles with different configurations. These rifles were modified according to needs, preferences, and requirements, so there are multiple variants of the Mauser 98 rifle, such as:

The Gewehr 98

The Gewehr 98 - CarbonTV

The Gewehr 98 was the original standard infantry rifle adopted by the German army in 1898. It had:

    • A 740 mm (29.1 in) long barrel
    • A straight bolt handle
    • A tangent rear sight graduated from 400 to 2,000 m (437 to 2,187 yd)
    • A cleaning rod under the barrel
[Reference: “Wikiwand – Mauser Standardmodell.” Wikiwand, Accessed 26 June 2023.]

The Karabiner 98k

The Karabiner 98k - CarbonTV

The Karabiner 98K was a shortened version of the Gewehr 98 developed in 1935, which was a widely used version during World War II by German forces and their allies. It had:

    • A 600 mm (23.6 in) long barrel
    • A turned-down bolt handle
    • A simplified rear sight graduated from 100 to 2,000 m (109 to 2,187 yd)
    • No cleaning rod

The Karabiner 98a

The Karabiner 98a - CarbonTV

The Karabiner 98a was a carbine version of the Gewehr 98 developed in 1902 and mainly used by Cavalry and artillery units. It had:

    • A 590 mm (23.2 in) long barrel
    • A turned-down bolt handle
    • A Lange Visier rear sight graduated from 400 to 2,000 m (437 to 2,187 yd)
    • No cleaning rod

The Karabiner 98b

The Karabiner 98b - CarbonTV

The Karabiner 98b was an upgraded version of the Gewehr 98 developed in 1923 and mainly used by police and paramilitary forces. It had:

    • A turned-down bolt handle
    • A tangent rear sight graduated from 100 to 2,000 m (109 to 2,187 yd)
    • A side-mounted sling attachment

Use and Maintenance of the Mauser 98 Rifle

This rifle was a manually operated, magazine-fed, bolt-action rifle. To maintain its optimal performance, this rifle required proper maintenance. Follow some simple steps to use and maintain the Mauser 98 Rifle:


To load the Mauser 98 Rifle:

    • Insert a five-round stripper clip into the clip guide on top of the receiver
    • Push the cartridges down into the internal magazine with the thumb
    • The empty clip was then ejected out of the rifle.

To chamber a round, lift the bolt handle up, pull it back, push it forward, and lock it down.

Then to fire, move the safety lever to the fire position and squeeze the trigger.

And to unload, open the bolt and press the magazine floorplate catch to release the remaining rounds.


The Mauser 98 Rifle had a three-position wing-type safety lever on the rear of the bolt shroud, and when engaged, this lever blocked the firing. The positions were:

    • Safe with the bolt locked (lever pointing to the right)
    • Safe with bolt unlocked (lever pointing up)
    • Fire (lever pointing to the left)

Manually operated magazine-fed bolt-action rifle - CarbonTV


To prevent the rifle from rust and dust, clean it regularly because corrosion and fouling can affect its performance, accuracy, and durability. Always use a stainless steel cleaning rod, patches, and solvents to clean the different parts of the rifle, such as the chamber, bore, face, extractor, ejector, etc. After cleaning, oil and grease the moving parts to provide lubrication and avoid resistance. To disassemble the rifle, remove the bolt, trigger guard and magazine assembly, barrel bands, handguard, and stock, and you can reassemble it by following the reverse order.

Use and Maintenance of the Mauser 98 Rifle - CarbonTV


The Mauser 98 Rifle was a robust and reliable rifle that rarely malfunctioned, but some of the common problems and solutions that could occur with the Mauser 98 Rifle were:

    • Failure to feed (caused by dirt or damage in the magazine or feed lips; solution: clean or replace magazine).
    • Failure to fire (caused by defective or dirty ammunition or firing pin; solution: check or replace ammunition or firing pin).
    • Failure to extract (caused by stuck or ruptured case or worn extractor; solution: remove the case with a cleaning rod or replace extractor).
    • Failure to eject (caused by weak or broken ejector spring or dirt in ejector slot; solution: replace ejector spring or clean ejector slot).

Final Analysis

The Mauser 98 rifle is a classic weapon but is well-fitted for modern times. It was an accurate, reliable, and durable rifle used in World War II on a large scale by Germany and its allies. So, this rifle has historical significance. This weapon combines simplicity, elegance, strength, beauty, tradition, and innovation, so it deserves respect and admiration. Seeking more accurate and updated knowledge about the Mauser 98 rifle? In that case, you can also consult their official website and several books written specifically on this rifle, such as “Mauser Bolt Rifles” by Ludwig Olson and a book by Jerry Kuhnhausen.


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