Help!! Mauser K98 safety not functioning


Rob McCormack
April 27, 2003, 02:03 PM
Just finished cleaning my K98 from SOG.

It has the import engravings 180* out from the front site and some hand engraved serial numbers (to match the barrel and receiver numbers) on the bolt and trigger guard. Can I assume that this means it was probably cobbled together from spare parts during some re-arsenal period way back when?

My bigger concern...playing with the rifle right out of the box the safety functioned normally albeit a bit stiff. After cleaning, the safety won't engage. The firing pin carrier is not moving sufficiently rearward to allow the safety cam to align with the slot.

Did I screw the piece up somehow? Any ideas?

Thanks, Rob

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April 28, 2003, 03:32 PM
It would be pretty difficult to screw up a Mauser on reassembly. Is the bolt in the rifle? Will it cock and fire normally? Mauser safeties are sometimes very stiff to apply but relatively easy to take "off safe." If the bolt is not in the rifle, you have to pull back the cocking piece to get the safety to rotate to the disassembly position. That is a job of the edge of a workbench and a strong constitution.

Rob McCormack
April 28, 2003, 11:51 PM
Thanks for your response Clemson.

I agree that it would be difficult to screw up the rifle with a simple cleaning but I wondered if there wasn't something that informed mauser afficionados could offer.

When assembled the rifle cocks and fires normally but the safety still won't engage. I can see the slot into which the safety's cam surface is supposed to go but it is about 1/32-1/16 out of position to the muzzle end. The trigger is reeeaaaal creepy but I wonder if that's not due to the fact that it is not the original bolt.

I called SOG and they are sending a call tag to exchange the rifle. I don't do any home smithing and I don't want to modify the rifle anyway. Hopefully the replacement will perform better.

Thanks again, Rob

Jim K
May 1, 2003, 12:04 AM
Although you have sent the rifle back, I will comment that this is usually due to material being removed either from the sear or from the cocking piece. Could be wear or mismatched parts, but more likely someone tried to "improve" the trigger pull.

Yes, the electric pencil numbering was done somewhere along the line so the parts would match the receiver. Could have been an arsenal, but probably was the importer, so he could advertise "all matching numbers".


Rob McCormack
May 2, 2003, 09:24 PM
Hi Jim.

I agree with your thoughts on mismatched parts or misguided smithing. As I cleaned the piece I was getting large flakes of what seemed to be paint in the residue. Once this material was removed any poor machining would have become much more evident.

Prior to cleaning, the metal components looked similar to some of the "arsenal refinished" Mosins. Additionally, I read somewhere that this lot of firearms was captured and re-arsenaled by Russian forces during WWII. Did these guys use paint as a finishing treatment on their weapons?

The pencil engraving was hidden by the paint and only became visible after cleaning. The stamped numbers on the bolt handle (near it's junction with the bolt sleeve) were neatly done, appeared to be done at the factory, and didn't match any other numbers. The trigger guard seemed to be numbered as an afterthought.

I just received the call tag today and the rifle awaits a box. My new question is...

Is it worth the $200 originally spent to get a replacement that may indeed function properly but is otherwise not particularly pretty and most likely unmatched in serial numbers?

I'm not a collector of specific Nazi memorabilia but I want something representative of German armament and this seemed to fill the bill. Are K98's becoming rare enough that I should stand on this deal?

I do require that my guns be shootable and affordable (hence the C&R).

Jim K
May 2, 2003, 10:39 PM
I would pass those questions about the paint and the like on to the seller. I have not seen any of those East Bloc capture guns that were painted; most were reblued and looked reasonably good. $200 is not too bad a price for a real K.98k in decent condition, even with mismatched parts, but it is not good if it won't function OK.

FWIW, the capture guns were mostly just stored away without even a good cleaning. The Russians had a lot more to worry about at that time than preserving German guns for American collectors. The Soviets probably would have used them for arming various "liberation" forces had they not had plenty of AK-47's to go around. But, as it is, they are old junk, and the Russians need hard currency more than they need warehouses full of old rifles.

Most, I understand were refurbished for sale by Russian arsenals, the same ones that did the old Russian guns. But "arsenal refinished" is a vague term; any importer can put a sign "Arsenal" on the door to his back room and have a bunch of kids cleaning up guns. (Yes, it has been done.)


May 5, 2003, 11:08 AM
Am I out of touch, or are the old Mausers getting scarce? It seems very recent that there were a "plethora" of those guys around, and at $75.00 to $150.00 prices. Nice rifles.

May 5, 2003, 11:27 AM
Same thing happened to me.

Take the bolt completely apart, clean it and reassemble it. I know you probably just did this but I had the same problem and then I just re did the cleaning and reassembly and it works fine.

Probably a little piece of crap in there or something not mating up just right.


Rob McCormack
May 5, 2003, 05:01 PM
cslinger- It's a moot point now as the rifle is in the mail but I had cleaned the bolt fairly well by my standards.

I broke it down into the two major assemblies, degreased, and oiled the components. I don't have some of the nicer bench blocks and special tools so I decided to wait on further disassembly until I could research the process better. I learned the hard way while re-assembling a Winchester bolt a few years ago that it is a bit more tricky than expected when the jerk behind the trigger is un-educated.

I will ensure that the bolt is detail stripped before I make any decisions on the next rifle. Thanks for your thoughts.


winwun - I agree that there are lots of mausers available and I indeed may have paid too much. I'm no expert on the subject.

I think the heftier price is based on the assertion that these were made in Germany by the original tooling, they carry Nazi markings, and they are K98 vice the more plentiful M48's. Additionally, they were touted as having excellent bores and in overall good condition.

If you have a source that offers the above specifications at your prices, please point me in the right direction. Thank you for your response.


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