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German Mauser K98k bolt action rifle

This is a Mauser Karabiner Modell 98k, also known as a K98k or Mauser rifle. It was manufactured in 1944 by Waffenwerke Bruenn AG at their Bystrica facility in German-occupied Czechoslovakia. The rifle has numerous signs of late-war manufacture, including machining marks on the receiver, inconsistent bluing below the rear sight, rough weld marks on both bands, and a stamped (rather than milled) floor plate and trigger guard. This rifle is a "bolt mismatch," wherein the rifle is original to itself with all matching components save for the bolt, which was taken from another rifle. This is usually explained by surrender protocol, wherein German soldiers piled rifles and bolts separately to make them temporarily unusable. GIs then "reassembled" their trophy rifles from these piles with no regard for matching numbers. Over 14,000,000 of these rifles were produced for the German armed forces before and during World War II. The basic design and operation mirror the earlier Mauser Gewehr 98, which had been the standard issue battle rifle for German troops during World War I. The K98k was shorter, lighter, and had an improved rear sight that allowed for quicker target acquisition. A leather sling would have originally been attached to the left side of the rifle. The stock has been heavily sanded. The sanding pattern near the bolt suggests the rifle was used after the war by its new owner, presumably as a target or hunting rifle. The rifle was donated by 1LT Earl Ervin Clark, formerly of 1st Battalion Headquarters, 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division. He offered no details on the origins of the rifle, but did donate numerous other German souvenirs he presumably brought home from Italy. The initials "T. W." are carved into the stock on one side, which suggest he may not have been the original owner, but obtained it from another soldier.
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