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Arctic K98k Czech with Winter Trigger guard

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:25 am
by Popeye
From Ed Hoffer - Apr 16, 2006

Jeff Diederichs; with authors permission

The "Arctic" K98k

After the capitulation of Germany at the end of World War Two, Europe had much to accomplish before returning to any semblance normalcy - both in terms of rebuilding of infrastructure, and the revitalization of economic progress.

Czechoslovakia was no exception, and following the end of control of these weapons production facilities by Germany, production was resumed as quickly as was practical. Czechoslovakian factories had filled military small arms orders preceding the advent of German control, and resumption of weapon production for foreign and domestic military entities began shortly after return of their sovereignty.

German production of the K98k rifle (and other weapons) had continued right up until the "bitter end" of the war, as Soviet forces advanced across the "Ostfront" through Eastern Europe. Consequently, production was essentially "frozen", with much work in process at various stages of manufacturing filling the stockrooms and littering assembly lines of the Brno and Povazská Bystrica plants. These parts represented a vast amount of potential capital, and vested man-hours of labor. Many pieces and parts, however, had been inspected and marked according to Waffenamt inspector's doctrines - some barreled receivers even bore German Eagle/Swastika firing proofs. These parts were used, along with newly manufactured parts, to assemble complete rifles for sale and export. Receiver codes from late German production appear on some receivers, some receiver rings are totally blank, as they filtered through the production lines in various states of German and "liberated" Czechoslovakian production. Some receivers were "scrubbed", or divested of their German date and code markings by grinding. Assembled rifles do, however, display a Czech "Rampant Lion" firing proof, regardless of German markings, and rifles with letter suffixes on their serial numbers display capital letter fonts for the alphabetical character, as opposed to the lower case suffix used exclusively on German produced rifles.

No longer under the extreme pressures of a German supply system in the waning days of a total war, some of the production "shortcuts" employed in the "Kriegsmodell" program were reversed. Czechoslovakia was no longer under the restrictions of the strained German supply system. The bayonet lug was a desirable attribute for many militaries, though the Germans had deemed it's value marginal enough to omit it to save production cost and time. It's use was reinstated for postwar Czechoslovakian K98k rifles.

Stock finish standards returned to earlier, higher levels. The "Kriegsmodell" buttplate with the bolt takedown provision was retained, however. This, in combination with the return of the bayonet lug, is fairly consistent for these rifles.

The characteristic enlarged, stamped triggerguard, with an integral non-removable magazine floorplate is a hallmark of these rifles. The purpose of the enlargement of the guard loop itself is said to facilitate use of the rifle with heavy gloved hands.

It is speculated that by 1945, the Czech and Slovak plants had been almost exclusively supplied with triggerguards from other suppliers in Germany - the main Mauser Oberndorf plant, and Lübecker Maschinenfabrik, both large suppliers of Brno and Povazská Bystrica since 1942. So much so, in fact, that Brno and Povazská Bystrica dropped off utilization of triggerguards of their own manufacture. Following the war, the rifles needed triggerguards, and the German supply had obviously ceased - so the plants began production of this one-piece stamped variety to continue production cost effectively. It is generally held that this was not a German innovation, as they do not display Waffenamts, nor is there documentation of German design (blueprints, specifications, etc.) In any event, they do not appear to show up on pre May 1945 German K98k rifles.

These rifles are, however, every bit as functional as wartime K98k's (and in many cases more finely finished), but are not wartime produced German pieces. Some of the more rare and desirable German codes (dou.45, for example) are displayed on these rifles, and are often misrepresented as of German /Czech origin - replete with the addition of bogus German final firing proofs, and the destruction of Czech "Lion" proofs and markings. Notable is the appearance of the "dot 1945" code on some of these rifles - (see the page for specific information regarding that code here).

One of the first major contracts for postwar Czechoslovakian production was the Israeli Defense Force, or "IDF", after it's establishment in 1948. Many of these rifles display IDF markings. (See the "Israeli Rifles" page).

Re: Arctic K98k Czech with Winter Trigger guard

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:20 pm
by OldGrouchyGuy
Popeye, Thanks for that excellent writeup from Ed. Those were some of my first milsurp purchases back in the day when SAMCO had them. I have 3 of them. 2 of them are scrubbed recvrs from SAMCO , the third is marked is DOU 45 and was from a private sale. I like pictures so I found these.
MauserFullViewSmall.jpg (58.14 KiB) Viewed 2350 times
Scrubbed recr SAMCO rifle
K98ArcticRevrSmall.jpg (105.8 KiB) Viewed 2350 times
Close up SAMCO RIFLE scrubbed recr
Hakim_K98_K98Small.jpg (135.76 KiB) Viewed 2350 times
Bottom rifle (below Hakim) is a private sale k98 Arctic trigger guard
dou 45Small.jpg
dou 45Small.jpg (139.65 KiB) Viewed 2350 times
Close up of recvr. This rifle has lots of markings stamped in the metal

Re: Arctic K98k Czech with Winter Trigger guard

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:08 pm
by EdHoffer
Quick note, this was not my research. I found it on the web, validated it was true and re-posted it on the forum. I will try to find the info again to give the author due credit, and gain any updates he might have found.

Re: Arctic K98k Czech with Winter Trigger guard

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:42 am
by yooper_sjd
Still a nice article, thanx for posting!


Re: Arctic K98k Czech with Winter Trigger guard

Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:56 am
by FamilyFirearms
What great timing to find this!

I bought a collection of guns off a guy and one of these rifles were in the collection. Kreigsmodell stock with bayonet lug, same winter style trigger guard and ground receiver. I purchased it excited about the stock but then realized it had the spring cut in it and lug. Now it is nice to know what it really is.

Re: Arctic K98k Czech with Winter Trigger guard

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:42 pm
by mauserdad
Yes, thanks for the info. I had bought two from Samco. One with the German code crest and one that was scrubbed.

Re: Arctic K98k Czech with Winter Trigger guard

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:00 pm
by indy1919a4
Just a question, Does anyone know why the Germans retreated with out destroying these plants and parts. I realize that the war moved fast, but you would think there would be a plan to do so.. It seems like they ran at the last minute leaving all the tools and machinery in place..

Re: Arctic K98k Czech with Winter Trigger guard

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:32 pm
by retread12345678
Thanks for your clarification on these At the time ( 1960s) these were the cheapest M98 rifles around Mine was a good shooter
with any military 8mm ammo, and nothing ever fell off or broke

Re: Arctic K98k Czech with Winter Trigger guard

Posted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:31 am
by dogboysdad
It wasn't that long ago that you could buy one for $100

Re: Arctic K98k Czech with Winter Trigger guard

Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:11 pm
by EdHoffer
personal feeling, subject to proof. In the German retreat in Czechoslovakia, France and all else. I don't believe the destroyed factories etc.. However I do sincerely believe they destroyed (if they had the means, manpower and moral) to destroy anything that would help the allies to catch them in their retreat. To include bridges, blocking mountain passes etc.

Seeing that they were caught with the proverbial nickers down, and by this time demoralized, their military might be a memory. Seeing the war films they were a haggard troop of men with nothing but safety on their minds.

When they came on the market I snatched them up. Noting the history they were POST WW2 rifles from a rebuilt Czechoslovakia, which was not done over night, nor in month. When they got their act together as portrayed in updated versions of the same article, the arms industry was just one of their cash cows to bring money back into a savaged country.

For what it's worth.