k98 questions


February 28, 2009, 08:08 PM
I was able to find my grandfather's K98 Mauser earlier today. It has the manufacturing code "bnz 4" which means it was made by Steyr.

The wood definitely needs refinishing. It is very dark and feels dirty and has a few dings in it. What # sand paper should I use to sand the wood and what stain would you use to finish the wood? I want a glossy and durable finish (doesn't get damaged easily).

As for the mechanical part, I will have a gunsmith check the head space. But there is a problem with the follower, when the bolt is pulled all the way back the follower rises too much and stops me from closing the bolt. Is there something I can do to fix it?

Last question. The safety switch on the bolt doesn't budge at all, it seems stuck on "fire" (all the way to the left). What can I do to fix that? Thanks for any help, I cant wait to finish this baby and have some fun at the range.

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February 28, 2009, 08:21 PM
The follower blocking the bolt is by design not a flaw. It was to keep the soldier from closing the bolt on an empty chamber. I always bevel the follower to allow the bolt to close on an empty chamber unless I am keeping it all original.

February 28, 2009, 08:29 PM
Is the bolt cocked? Will the bolt open? If the gun isn't cocked the safety wont move.The cocking piece may be worn causing the piece to block the movement of the safety. Wash hot water and Dawn dishwashing detergent first. If the gun is all original,you may want to leave it that way.

February 28, 2009, 08:29 PM
okay thanks I was just wondering if it was by design. I was also able to get the safety to work (just required some elbow grease :rolleyes:)

February 28, 2009, 08:44 PM
Everything seems to be working alright now. Next step is to get the headspace checked then pretty up that wood.

Float Pilot
February 28, 2009, 09:25 PM
The M98 actions require that the gun be cocked in order to move the safety. Straight up is safe and all the way over to the right side is safe and bolt locked closed.
The magazine follower is supposed to block the bolt so a soldier in the prone or fox-hole position would know he was empty and then be able to relaod using a 5 round stripper clip.

It the bolt serial number matches the receiver serial number the headspace is probably right on.

Do not go nuts with sand paper. You will change the dimensions and the stock to metal fit can be ruined.

If it is covered with old grease, dirt and oil, try wiping it down a few times with mineral spirits. You will be amazed how much junk comes off.
Of course this is done after removing all the metal parts.

Even denatured alcohol will take off a lot of crude.

Then wrap the stock in a damp towel. Then steal a steam iron from your unsuspecting wife and steam iron the wood through the damp towel.

When you do this a few times all sorts of black gunk will seep out of the stock. It can be wiped away with denatured alcohol on a rag.

This will also make the lesser dents in the wood swell back out,

You can then use steel wool, or even a green scrubby pad from the hardware store to get rid of most of the remaining scratches and dings.
Finish with finer steel wool as you go.

If you like the glossy finsih, Birchwood Casey gun stock finish works just great. I have a hunting rifle around here that I finsihed in the early 1970s. I used DEFT which was / is for finishing bar tops. It was a real pain in the butt to use and the fumes will make you an idiot....
But that finish has lasted for over 30 years and all sorts of yearly adventures.

Tung oil will also work and looks OK on military stocks.

February 28, 2009, 09:27 PM
For some good ideas on stock restoration, go over to surplusrifleforum.com. There's a whole subforum dedicated to it. Look for posts by Candyman - he's the expert.

February 28, 2009, 10:11 PM
Be careful with your restoration. That rifle could be worth quite a bit more without it.

February 28, 2009, 10:26 PM
Just clean it gently before you do anything else. You may be amazed at the difference. If you're gonna scrub it and refinish it you may as well buy one from Mitchell's.

I had an opportunity to show mine to an advanced collector yesterday; he offered me $1800 on the spot and said it was the best one he had ever seen. If I'd taken sandpaper to it that wouldn't have happened. Oh yeah, I turned him down but promised to call him first if I ever change my mind. That little beauty set me back a whole $150 way back when.

February 28, 2009, 10:30 PM
zoom6zoom,what made your k98 worth $1800?

February 28, 2009, 10:30 PM
It's your rifle to do what you want with, but I would not touch that stock with sandpaper or any abrasive, just wipe it down to get the dirt off.
And for the dents and dings it earned them and it's part of it's history.

Ohio Gun Guy
February 28, 2009, 10:34 PM
If it is in original condition it is worth A LOT MORE the way it is!!!!

You should have it evaulated by someone FIRST. Once you do something to it, it is not original anymore.

If it is aready "Sporterized"......have at it and have fun!

February 28, 2009, 10:35 PM
acetone cleans oiled stocks wonderful without sanding and will remove all traces of oil that your finish won't stick too.

the rest answered you mechanical questions accurately- nothing wrong with it .

Don't sell the oiled finish short. Although high gloss poly, epoxy or varnish may look nice, in actuality the oiled finish is more durable and maintainable. If you ding the high gloss, it will chip and you have to completely refinish again. With oil, you can easily remove a scratch or dent and just re-oil it

February 28, 2009, 10:38 PM
That's good advice Ohio Gun Guy.

March 1, 2009, 01:13 AM
Okay I guess I'll leave it the way it is, but just clean off the gunk on it. I really don't plan on selling it cause its my grandpa's and I've always wanted a Mauser.

its not sporterized, so I guess cleaning the dirt off is the best thing. The bolt serial #'s dont match (stock and reciever are the same). Is there a way I can check headspace myself?

Oh and the comment about my unsuspecting wife.... I'm glad I'm not married (only 18) and I don't think I will be for awhile cause then they start taking all the gun money, range time and xbox time :p

March 1, 2009, 01:20 AM
Do you know the history of how your grandfather came by the Mauser? Does it have an "X" stamped on the receiver indicating it was captured and reconditioned by the Russians after the war?

March 1, 2009, 01:24 AM
As someone already stated, the follower is designed to do that. A lot of old battle rifles are like that. You can always push it down if you want to close the bolt.

March 1, 2009, 03:20 AM
There looks like there is a "V" on the reciever but it looks like usage dents rather than a stamp.

My grandpa didn't serve in WWII but he did serve in Okinawa during Korea. I bet he got it from a gun store or a friend, I don't know how many countless buddies he had at the VFW and senior center that could have sold him that gun.

March 1, 2009, 05:44 AM
To check head space get a round and a roll of tape. load gun at where its safe to be loaded and pointed up range and stick take on the back of the case. The amount of tape that it takes to make the gun not want to lock will show how lose it is on head space.

March 1, 2009, 10:14 AM
As alemonkey said, surplusrifleforum.com is the place to go to find out how to clean up the stock. As a C&R license holder I've now cleaned up a number of cosmoline-soaked stocks following the advice you'll find there.

The key to cosmoline removal in stocks is heat. Sanding will do nothing to help you, since the entire stock is permeated by the oil. You will never be able to sand down below the level of oil, because it is soaked through to the center. You also want to avoid putting it in the dishwasher as some have already suggested. While the hot water will certainly help get the oil out, it can also result in waterlogging the wood fibers and splitting the stock.

There are a variety of ways to heat the stock gently enough to avoid burning it but high enough to get the oil out. My favorite is the black trash bag on the dash method, but that would require you to wait until the weather warms up a little, unless you live in South Texas. Fortunately there are some other ways if you are more impatient than that. The experts are at surplusrifleforum.com. Go there and read carefully before doing anything.

March 1, 2009, 01:01 PM
edit to remove double tap post

March 1, 2009, 01:02 PM
zoom6zoom,what made your k98 worth $1800?
Well, I didn't have him write out a report or anything, but a bit of what I remember:
First, it's in almost perfect condition with almost 100% blue. Wood is also in great shape. No rust or pitting. Four digit serial number with no prefix, all matching. Original sling with same date as rifle. Bore is perfect. No import marks, and no signs of ever having been "restored".

This is from a guy who knows his Mausers, and if he was willing to pay that much for mine I'll believe his estimate!

March 1, 2009, 01:20 PM
Congrats,zoom6zoom,you have a keeper for sure.

March 1, 2009, 05:25 PM
Boiled linseed oil mixed with turpentine heated over a candle is all the 'refinishing' your wood needs. This exact method is FROM surplus rifle.com and I've used it on several old stocks.

All you need is fine steel wool and some dishwashing gloves, maybe an old toothbrush. AND your grandfather's permission!

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