• 1945-1950 Post-War Czech K98k (Karabiner 98) Rifle

    Post-War Czech K98k (Karabiner 98) Rifle
    (Mfg 1945-1950 by Ceskoslovenská Zbrojovka, A.S., BRNO)



    (Click PIC to Enlarge)


    Caliber: ................................. 7.92 x 57mm (8mm Mauser)
    Rifling & Twist: ....................... 4 Groove, Right Hand
    Barrel Length: ........................ 23.62 in. (600mm)
    Overall Length: ...................... 43.7 in. (1110mm)
    Weight: ................................. 8.38 lb. (3.8 kg without sling, ammo or bayonet)
    Magazine Capacity: ................ 5 rounds
    Total K98k Qty Mfg ................. unknown quantity (1945 - 1950 {estimated})

    Sources: ....................... The "Arctic" K98k (click here), LateWar.com (click here), CZECHOSLOVAK Mauser Bayonets and Variations (click here) and MG34-MG42 GERMAN UNIVERSAL MACHINEGUNS by Folke Myrvang ISBN No. 0-88935-278-X

    Canadian Collector Market Value Estimate: $


    Post-War Czech K98k (Karabiner 98) Rifle

    (37 picture virtual tour)
    Observations: (by "Claven2")
    Note: Pics of rifle provided courtesy of Milsurps.com moderator Claven2.

    Before the Second World War, Czechoslovakia had produced the VZ-24 Mauser rifle for many years at their arms factory in in the city of Brno, having received most of their tooling from Germany under the Versailles Treaty in the 1920's. When the Third Reich occupied the Sudatenland and annexed the rest of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939 respectively, the arms plant at Brno was incorporated into the Nazi armaments industry. The VZ-24 continued to be manufactured as the G24(t) and in 1940, the G33/40 mountaineer's carbine was added to production for the German Heer. All this changed in 1943 when pressures on the German arms industry and re-organization of rifle production within the Reich dictated that the Brno factory be re-assigned to begin production of the standard K98k pattern service rifle. At the same time, the plant also took the lead in MG34 manufacture despite the MG34 having been largely supplanted in the infantry by the MG42. This was because the MG34 was better suited to static defense positions in fortress mounts and for use in armored vehicles. From 1942 through 1944, the factory at Brno (known at the time as Waffen-Werke Brunn) utilized the manufacturer's code "dot", though in 1945 it was switched to "swp".

    When the war ended, the Brno factory was largely untouched by the war. After the German surrender, the Czech government kept the production lines open and producing armaments. The earliest weapons were assembled entirely of parts left over from the German undertakings at the factory. Thousands of receivers and small parts were still in the production queue and required only final assembly. swp45 and dot44 coded rifles with upper-case serial number suffixes and rampant lion firing proofs are of post-war assembly, regardless the number of German proofs found on the individual parts. "dot45" coded weapons are, without exception, of post-war manufacture, the Czechs having adopted the older dot code after using up all the left-over swp45 and dot44 coded receivers first, many of which had sat in storage after being rejected by WaffenAmpt inspectors for minor flaws during the war.

    Early in post-war production, the supply of trigger guards was depleted. Waffen Werke Brunn had received trigger guards and floorplates primarily from Mauser and Gustloff Werke after 1943 due to the abundance of extra production at these facilities once the stamped and welded construction bottom metal parts had been adopted. As the Brno factory no longer posessed the necessary machines to manufacture the older pattern parts, it was decided to tool up to manufacture newer, mass-produced, stamped and welded bottom metal assemblies which combined the features of the American M1903A3 trigger guard and the late-war stamped K98k bottom metal assemblies. The result was an integrated magazine and trigger guard with an enlarged trigger guard bow to facilitate the rifle's operation when wearing gloves. Despite modern marketing techniques, the post-war Czech triger guard design was NEVER implemented during the war by the Germans. The Germans issued a winter trigger guard insert with a toggle that extended along the stock's pistol grip for winter combat. Additionally, the Czechs NEVER marketed their post-war Mausers as "winter" or "Arctic" models. Rather, they sought to provide one model of rifle to their armed forces which could be used in a variety of climates. The feature proved successful and once immediate dometic needs for arms had been addressed, the post-war Czech version of the K98k rapidly became a very popular export rifle until production ceased in about 1950. It is believed that the last receiver code to be used was "tgf50", apparently for sale to East Germany, though tgf coded bayonets have been reported with dates as early as 1946. The first year that tgf was used as a rifle code is unknown to the author.

    Most of the post-war Czech K98k's intended for domestic consumption were built without German-style factory codes, or in the case where a coded receiver was used, the codes were scrubbed. The receivers were then roll-marked with the Czech "Rampant Lion" crest. Probably the largest early purchaser of Czech K98k rifles was the fledgling state of Israel. Israel purchased many thousands of new and refurbished WW2 German K98k rifles from the Czechs. They can be found with original ww2 German markings, with post-war dot and swp codes, and occasionally with the domestic production style rampant lion crest. Most were later refurbished in Israel during the 1950's and converted to 7.62 Nato. Although other countries also purchased large quantities of Czech produced K98k's, it is very uncommon to encounter these rifles with intact rampant lion crests. At some point after the initial sales to Israel, it appears the Czechs decided to not sell rifles with their domestic rampant lion crest to foreign customers any longer. Late-production rifles will be coded with the earlier dot45 markings or will bear the tgf production code. As the Czech military began phasing out the issuing of K98k rifles in favor of semi-automatic and select-fire rifles, namely the VZ52 and VZ58, these largely obsolete Mausers were typically lightly refurbished and the Czech lion crests finely ground off prior to being reblued. These ex-Czech army rifles were subsequently sold to a host of customer nations. It is not known to the author whether the crests were ground off to facilitate sale, or if the crests were removed as a matter of policy while still in Czech inventories.



    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Rifles which were refurbished and subsequently sold out of Czech Army inventories will generally have the 1950's era "crossed swords" proof addded next to the serial number in addition to the normally encountered rampant lion firing proofs. Some very late tgf coded rifles sold abroad may also have the crossed swords proof as well, as it is generally accepted that the marking came into use in approximately 1950.

    Typical features of Czech post-war production include:

    -Rampant Lion firing proofs.
    -Semi-kriegsmodel stock with the bolt take-down in the cupped buttplate. Stocks will most commonly be equipped with a bayonet lug.
    -Often WW2 german marked parts are found mixed with new production parts.
    -Stocks are usually made of either laminated Beech or Walnut.
    -Trigger guards are typically either recycled German parts or post-war stamped construction with enlarged trigger guard bow.
    -Serial numbers will have upper-case serial number suffixes.
    -Receivers rings will typically be: scrubbed, stamped with rampant lion crest, or coded dot44, dot45, swp45 or tgf50.
    -Bolt bodies will often be of the kriegsmodel pattern without a guide rib and with drilled round gas escape holes, though the late tgf50 coded rifle bolts had guide ribs.
    -Extractors will usually be CZ marked on the reverse side.
    -Rifles will be serial number marked on the receiver, buttplate, bolt handle, safety, cocking piece, firing pin, bolt shroud, both barrel bands, trigger guard and the buttstock.
    -Rear sight will be of the late-war pattern, unserialized, and without reverse side range markings.
    -Czech made K98k slings resemble WW2 German slings except that they usually lack the cross-hatch pattern, and the sling loop will be riveted together, not sewn.
    -Czech made bolt bodies will be stamped with the rampant lion firing proof on the bolt knob.
    -On receivers not of Nazi origin, the side-wall will generally be stamped "Ceskoslovenská Zbrojovka, A.S., BRNO"



    Collector's Comments and Feedback:

    1. Post-war Czech made K98k's offer the budget-minded collector a wonderful opportunity to experience what using a matching, non-refurb German K98k is like. These Czech rifles were made to the same standard, on the same machinery, and in many cases by the same workers who produced the dot coded rifles for the Germans in occupied Czechoslovakia. The rifles are well made of quality components and typically are great shooters. They are also collectible as cold-war era Mauser rifles and can still be had inexpensively if the potential buyer looks around a bit for a nice example. Many of these rifles, expecially the ex-Czech army rifles with scrubbed lion crests, tend to be sold inexpensively by un-informed dealers who presume the rifles are of German origin and that someone has "customized" a Nazi K98k to the point it is no longer collectible. The situation is exacerbated by the utter lack of published info available on post-war Czech made mausers.

    In the event a collector encounters a Czech K98k with an intact rampant lion crest which has not been refurbished in Israel or converted to 7.62, the savvy collector will note that such a rifle is rare as post-war mausers go and will pay accordingly. This being said, ex-Czech army mausers with the "crossed-swords" proof next to the serial number are normally encountered scrubbed and this should not diminish the value significantly as the work was done while the rifle was still in a Czech arsenal prior to being surplused or sold.

    Typically, these rifles are easily found matching and in VG or better condition.
    ........... (Feedback by "Claven2")
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 1945-1950 Post-War Czech K98k (Karabiner 98) Rifle started by Badger View original post
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. BIGJOHN's Avatar
      I Have a VZ23 That looks like a K.98 Do you have any info on that. Its a Strange one. The Family That I bought it from says it is original. They same way there Grandfather brought it back.
    1. Badger's Avatar
      Try asking your question and posting pics in the Mauser Rifles Forum (click here)

      Also, here's an all correct 1923 Vz23 BRNO (7.92 x 57mm) Mauser Short Rifle (click here) MKL entry complete with photo montage for you to compare what you have against.

      Regards,
      Doug
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