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  1. #1
    Contributing Member Singer B's Avatar
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    Gewehr 88 Advice

    I am looking at a Turkishicon Gewehr 88 Spandau that is for sale. Other than seeing it has been converted to accept 8mm, I know nothing about this type of gun. Any advice reference what to look for (good things, bad things) when I go look at it later this week? Thank you!


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    Really Senior Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    They were all 8mm but there is an 8mm upgrade that is important if you want to use modern 8mm ammo in it. Look for a rounded out spot where the bolt goes into the receiver which allows the longer bullets. Should also be an S on the top of the receiver but not always there. You should make sure there is a cover on the bottom of the magazine.

    There are two major versions of this rifle also the true 88 version which has the metal barrel shroud and then a "mauser" conversion that makes the rifle resemble a mauser rifle other than the magazine. You have to decide which you prefer but I think most collectors want the original 88 version.

    Other than those couple of things, just the basics. Bore condition, exterior rust, check especially close along the wood line. Check the stock for major cracks. Will most likely have turkish markings on the rear sight. Some cresent moons here and there, not always in the same place but the bolt and receiver are common. Bolt probably won't match serial numbers but is a plus if it does. Not sure what the going rate on these is, generally less than a non-turk marked Germanicon 88. Look at the sold listings on gunbroker for an idea. Last I paid attention they were in the $300+ range if decent condition. Wouldn't surprise me if they were around $400 now.

    I did check gunbroker and by the looks of things $300 is still the going rate. Now there is an exceptional example on there that sold for $600 but it still has the original finish and lack of finish on the bolt and receiver. Very nice. Very few are in that good condition.
    Last edited by Aragorn243; 03-24-2020 at 06:44 PM.

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    Contributing Member Singer B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aragorn243 View Post
    They were all 8mm but there is an 8mm upgrade that is important if you want to use modern 8mm ammo in it. Look for a rounded out spot where the bolt goes into the receiver which allows the longer bullets. Should also be an S on the top of the receiver but not always there. You should make sure there is a cover on the bottom of the magazine.

    There are two major versions of this rifle also the true 88 version which has the metal barrel shroud and then a "mauser" conversion that makes the rifle resemble a mauser rifle other than the magazine. You have to decide which you prefer but I think most collectors want the original 88 version.

    Other than those couple of things, just the basics. Bore condition, exterior rust, check especially close along the wood line. Check the stock for major cracks. Will most likely have turkish markings on the rear sight. Some cresent moons here and there, not always in the same place but the bolt and receiver are common. Bolt probably won't match serial numbers but is a plus if it does. Not sure what the going rate on these is, generally less than a non-turk marked Germanicon 88. Look at the sold listings on gunbroker for an idea. Last I paid attention they were in the $300+ range if decent condition. Wouldn't surprise me if they were around $400 now.

    I did check gunbroker and by the looks of things $300 is still the going rate. Now there is an exceptional example on there that sold for $600 but it still has the original finish and lack of finish on the bolt and receiver. Very nice. Very few are in that good condition.
    Excellent, thank you. I wouldn't plan on shooting more than a few rounds a year, so I wanted to make sure I don't end up with a wall hanger.

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    Contributing Member Eaglelord17's Avatar
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    Just because it has the 'S' marking on the chamber doesn't mean it uses modern diameter bullets. All the 'S' marking means is they made sure it would chamber the new Spitzer cartridge, which would involve possibly reaming the chamber a little (most didn't need it to begin with). These rifles were made long before modern safety standards with a serious lack of knowledge as to what they were working with. Its a very good read talking about all the issues that can go into firearms design, guns blowing up regularly as they are only a bit stronger than the cartridge, thinner chambers which were later thickened, depth of rifling issues, lack of gas venting, etc.

    You should always slug a Gewehr 88 barrel to verify diameter. I have ones with the 'S' marking and a .3215 dia bore (I use .32 Winchester special bullets for it to good effect). Most American 8mm ammo is purposely downloaded to try and make it safe for these rifles, but I find its always better to play safe, these rifles have little to no safety features (the gas vents straight back to your face for example, only a little shield on the cocking piece redirects it if needed, and that's if you have one with the upgrade) and it would suck getting injured by a 130 year old rifle because you didn't do the homework.

    If it is the later 88/05/35 the barrel will be safe for modern ammo. 88/05 and 88s can be safe depending on which barrel they have.

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    Really Senior Member bob q's Avatar
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    If your rifle is a Turk , it is a 88/05 . It will not have a barrel smaller than a .3208 groove . The smaller dia Czechicon made barrels will not be found on a 88/05 rifle , only Gew-88 rifles that went to SA . With a clear photo of the receiver markings I can tell you what your barrel is. The notch is for WHAT LONGER BULLET ?? The notch was cut to clear the original P-88 ammo with it's round nose bullet on the 05 conversion . A Turk 88/05 was made to fire the Germanicon .321 dia 154 S ammo , most Turk ammo is a copy of this . It was not made to fire German .323 Ss 198 ammo . So any US made commercial ammo is ok , reloads with .321 bullets , Romanian surplus , and Turk if you really want to push it . It could also have a German or Turk .323 barrel , photos will tell .

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    Really Senior Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    Please ignore Bob Q's recommendations. He thinks he knows everything on these and yet his posts indicate he knows little and his advice is just plain dangerous. Turk 88's are well known for having all sorts of different bore diameters as Eaglelord has pointed out. Specifically the notch was made to allow the spitzer bullets to be loaded from a charging clip. While the bullets themselves were not longer, the entire system was. Loaded individually, they would still fit without the groove but the charger put them in at a slight angle. This is part of the 05 upgrade program and specifically for the spitzer bullets.

    This comes up every time someone asks about the 88. There is an excellent reference book on these rifles by Paul Scarlatta that I and I believe Eaglelord have and reference. Bob thinks the guy is an idiot and wrong about everything. Your choice on who to believe but I for one go with Scarlatta, Germanicon Gew 88 Commission Rifle, A Collector's Guide. Isn't expensive, it's paperback, $30.
    Last edited by Aragorn243; 03-25-2020 at 11:52 AM.

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    Contributing Member Singer B's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. From what I have been reading, if I plan to purchase and shoot this rifle, I will definitely have it slugged by a true gunsmith. I will also purchase the Scarlatta book since it sounds very interesting.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singer B View Post
    I will definitely have it slugged by a true gunsmith.
    That you can do yourself, and then measure it with micrometer.
    Regards, Jim

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    Really Senior Member bob q's Avatar
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    Sorry to say but you are the one who has no idea . The notch is for the older P-88 ammo as it was still in use at the time . If you cover the notch with tape you can still load S ammo with the guide and clip . If you load the P-88 ammo in the rifle with the stripper clip you will see that the notch is exactly the same size as the round nose bullet and is beveled to guide it in . Also the period Germanicon military manual tells how to remove P-88 ammo from the en-bloc clip and put it into the Mauser stripper clip and load it into the 88/05 . But what would the German military know ???!!! As stated ALL Turk 88/05 rifles will be found with either the original .3208 groove barrel , a .323 updated German Z barrel or a Czechicon made .323 barrel installed by the Turks , PERIOD. The barrels are not " all over the place " , they are clearly marked as to size on the receiver and rear sight base . If you know what to look for. And yes I am the expert on Gew-88 rifles . You should look at about 200 real rifles and all the original German documents , not BS books by people who just made it up .

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    Really Senior Member bob q's Avatar
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    Also if I know nothing why is my info being repeated by eagle ? 20 years ago when everyone was just sure they had .318 barrels and were trying to get .318 bullets , I was the one who told them to just use the .321 Win special bullet as there bores were .3208 . I also measured 10 non S chambers and 20 S chambers to find there was NO difference at all , as stated in eagle's post , based on my info ? Old PS states in his book the throat was lengthened , that makes NO sense as the throat for the 226 P bullet was already 3x longer than needed to clear the S bullet . But if you never had any rifles to check and just repeated internet BS as research , you will write that .

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