For some reason I figured I needed a rifle as the next item in my collection. At first I was going to choose a Mosin Nagent as they were cheaper at £110 but after some deliberation I decided to upgrade to a K98, primarily because it seemed a little more real. I was figuring that the K98 would be better built and designed. I read somewhere that the Mosin Nagent bolts fall out when you cock them and in general figured that the K98 would be more fun. Obviously it also had Nazi Symbols all over it.
When it arrived I was actually a little dissapointed as its so 'new' looking and well maintained that I thought it must be a fake. I thought that deactivated guns should be manky and old and look like antiques, not like guns that some weeks before were quite ok to fire. However, soon grew accustomed to it and was pretty excited about having something that cocked and clicked.
I think you have to bear in mind that I was still very new to guns in general, this was my third item. There was so much that was still completly new to me, and in the case of the K98 it was the strip loading of rounds. I guess id seen a strip of bullets before but having neither really fired guns before or handled them it was still all a really grey area. The mystery of the strip load was quite intriging. Obviously its all old hat now. Sadlly you cant load rounds and then slam the bolt shut, although if your careful and push them down a bit and are gentle with the bolt you can actuasly close it, however, in generally it will try to load a bullet into the chamber and then the bolt jams and you mangle a round. I still have that poor old mangled K98 round that prooved this point.
So the amazing thing about this gun is that you can actually cock and fire the mechanism, and so I found myself wandering arounf my hovel shooting things, I even tried lying on the floor for a bit of sniper fire practice.
One of the amazing things about this gun though is obviosly that its its a Nazi Rifle. The sort of rifle that was used to execute people in firing squads, and I think the Nazis were infamous for their firing squads. The text that came with the gun on the website was:
This suggests that the gun saw some action as it was captured at either Stalingrad or Kursk. The whole of the second World War still seems like a dream. As a kid I had an action man and read Commando comics but it wasnt real. My uncle was in the Desert Rats and told interesting stories about the war, but even that didnt seem very real. However, looking at this gun you get a real sense that the war was actually real, and there was actually a place called Germany where they actually marched around with Swastikas on all their stuff. They didnt have all these Nazi stamps because they were racists or facists, they had them because they were national symbols or the Third Reich, and the soldiers that held them were real, and walked about in Russia trying to kill people.
But this gun also says alot more to me. It made me realise that soldiers back then fought wars with basically 1 bullet in their gun. They would have to go to quite alot of trouble to reload it. I know they had SMG's then, but the bulk of the soldier then, AND before just had rifles. I think that that makes for a very different type of war. Im not going to say a 'better' war, as there is no such thing, but they had to think more. They might have firerd off lots of poorly aimed shots at a high rate, but in general I imagine that they would not have wanted to miss, as missing means that you have to load another round, or worse, a new strip, before you can fire again. Whilst the design of the bolt apparently meant that Germans didnt have to take their sites off of the target, I think that thats just theory. Relaoding 1 bullet is a distraction and means you have to refocus on the target again, which could well ahve moved already. But where?
The K98 is my only rifle so its more than just a K98, it represents all rifles ever, to me. And holding it you can really get a feel for the impact that things like the MP40 and self loading rifles would have had. Today, you would never see an industrialised nations army equipped with rifles. Rifles are passe. They are as out dated as muskets and spears and shields
Heres a link to the K98 Wikipedia page which has loads of interesting facts.
Heres a link to some You Tube video of the K98.
Some pictures (click to enlarge):