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What is this rifle?

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by kikr, Apr 19, 2013.

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  1. kikr

    kikr Member

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    I inherited a bolt action rifle from my father and would like to know some history on it. Heres some pictures of the markings on it. Thank you!
     

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  2. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    1888 Commission Rifle made in 1890 in Erfurt. They were the German answer to the Lebel 86, cooked up in a big hurry by committee. But they're lovable anyway.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gewehr_1888

    Sight marks indicate foreign use--presumably Turkish. I believe it's known as a "Turked" 88. The "S" is the mark for use with the JS round. Most people use these for cast loads only as they're not as strong as a 98.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  3. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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  4. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I see a stamped "S" on the receiver, I assume that means the bore is 0.323".

    The Germans made a bore size change and later rifles had a bigger bullet. Very dangerous to fire the larger diameter bullet in a smaller bore, especially with the plain carbon steels of that era.

    It is my recollection of a mass importation of 1888's in the 70's. If your rifle does not have an importer markings it has been in the US for a while.
     
  5. kikr

    kikr Member

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    I grew up shooting the gun, but its been almost 30 years since the last time it was fired. Keeping it now purely as an heirloom. Heres a picture of the ammo box. The bullet it fires is on the left next to a 30-30 in the center and 5.56 on the right for comparisons.
     

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  6. 303tom

    303tom member

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    The guys are right it is a 1888 Commission Rifle made in 1890 in Erfurt, but that is Persian on the rear sight..............
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
  7. kikr

    kikr Member

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    So this rifle was used by a persian soldier around the turn of the century?
     
  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Turkey and Germany were allies in WW1. Germany sold a number of rifles to the Turks, your rifle could be one of them.

    After WW1, there was a lot of old obsolete military rifles that first world countries surplused. Poorer countries were happy to get them at bargain prices. Old military rifles can go through a lot Armies before they get to you.

    This German K98 was captured by the Russians (who punched out the swastika’s) and then went to Iraq. There may have been a couple of other military organizations in the loop before I finally got the thing.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Edarnold

    Edarnold Member

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    I believe the 'S' marking was added by the Turks to indicate that the gun was free-bored to reduce initial pressures as the .323 bullets enter the .320 groove diameter bore. Ruger did the same trick with the original Mini-30 to use the 7.62x39 ammunition in a .308 groove diameter barrel. The 154gr bullets used by the Turks apparently squeezed down well enough to be considered useable. I doubt if these rifles were ever considered front-line issue, so probably were not shot much.

    Post 1900, there were plenty of commercial sporters built in Germany using the Commission 88 action, including conversions to the S-bore 8x57 with new barrels. Not ideal compared with the Mauser 98, but strong enough to handle factory loads.

    The most common post WW1 US loading was the Winchester 8x57, with a soft .321 diameter bullet and reduced pressures, it was safe in either the original M88 rifles or the S-bore M98's, though less than ideal for either one. Today's full powered loads from Norma, S&B or PPU would be pushing the limits for a Commission 88, S- conversion or not.
     
  10. SDC

    SDC Member

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    Ditto; I'd suggest that you not fire this rifle to begin with, since the conversion was marginal to begin with and was really only a case of "we're desperate for rifles, so what can we do with these?". The little notch in the receiver ring was added because the overall length of an 8x57JS is a little longer than the original smaller-diameter 8mm Mauser these were built for, and they had to mill that notch to allow these rifles to be loaded with a clip.
     
  11. AethelstanAegen

    AethelstanAegen Member

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    I don't know why your picture thinks the numbers are written in two different directions, it's all written normally. None of the numbers are inverted so to speak.
     
  12. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Persian or Turkish?
     
  13. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Those are standard Arabic numerals, as used by Turkey at that time; Iranian (Farsi) numbers are different in the 4, 5, and 6. Nothing is upside down.

    The original rifling in the Model 88 had a bore diameter of .311"*, with a groove diameter of .318". But that left a land height of only .0035", not enough to resist the corrosive primers and erosive powders of the day. So, after the adoption of the Gew. 1898, the Germans adopted new rifling, with a groove diameter of .323", or a land height of .006", more than enough to stabilize bullets even after considerable wear. (The U.S. .30 caliber has a groove depth of .004", with a groove diameter of .308" - hence the designation of some .30 caliber cartridges as ".308".)

    The new Model 1898's were recalled and rebarrelled, but the obsolescent Model 1888's were to be issued only to reserves, so they weren't rebarrelled. Instead, the new reamers were run into the chamber to expand the chamber neck and allow expansion of the cartridge neck. That was enough to keep pressures within the safety range. The modified rifles were marked with an "S" on the chamber, and were converted to use the new Model 98 "stripper" clip instead of the old Model 1888 en-bloc clip. Both converted and unconverted Model 1888 rifles served German reserve units through WWI.

    Ammunition confusion did not occur, since the en-bloc clips would not fit the converted rifles, and the the new clips would not fit the unconverted rifles.

    After WWI, Germany sold a million or so of those converted M1888 rifles to Turkey, along with hundreds of thousands of Kar. 98 (Kar. 98AZ) rifles which became so associated with Turkey that they are often called "Turkish small ring Mausers", even though Turkey never made any Mauser actions.

    *English measurements used to avoid confusion.

    Jim
     
  14. kikr

    kikr Member

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    Thanks guys for all the great info. I don't intend to fire the rifle, I want to pass it on as an heirloom asit's been in my family for a couple of generations already. It's nice to have some background on it, hopeing the information will increase the appreciation for the gun. Be safe!
     
  15. kirbyw

    kirbyw Member

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    I have a friend that has an origanal 98 that he got from his american grandfather probably afrom his war chest.would it be worth anything it looks identical to the pictures posted above.he was wondering it value. He uses it to deer hunt with
     
  16. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Identical to which one-the Commission or the K98 Russian capture? There is a huge volume on military Mauser rifles and it still doesn't cover all of them. So the devil is in the details. Proofs, photos, provenance, etc.
     
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