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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Mauser 98K


Old Tom
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This weapon is relevant to our period even if this context is not. A recent newspaper report of an inquest said that this rifle was unique in having a three position safety catch. It infered that the positions were safe, fire and a third position which allowed the bolt to be operated but the round could not be fired. This seems rather pointless but perhaps neither the reporter nor I have appreciated the use of the safety catch. Can anyone explain please.

Old Tom

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As I understand it, the middle position "safe"( but bolt operates) is to allow for loading/unloading of the rifle without the possibility of discharge.

The bolt needs to be movable to do this. "Safe" proper locks the bolt/sear and "fire" allows for the possibility of discharge whereas the third (actually the middle "straight up") position allows the bolt to be drawn back for loading or unloading the magazine.

Chris

EDIT: BTW I am not sure this makes the 98K unique, I think this is common on Mauser actions

Edited by 4thGordons
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If you mean the 1935 Karabiner 98 kurz (K98k), it is merely a shortened version of the Gewehr 98, plus a turned down bolt handle.

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Am I right in that the middle straight up position also sets up the bolt for dismantling when removed?

Cheers,

Tony

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Am I right in that the middle straight up position also sets up the bolt for dismantling when removed?

Cheers,

Tony

Yes, that is correct. SEE HERE

Chris

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If the inquest the OP was referring to is the same one that I read, then IIRC, it was said that the whole cartridge was ejected when the trigger was squeezed because the safety was on. Is that possible?

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If the inquest the OP was referring to is the same one that I read, then IIRC, it was said that the whole cartridge was ejected when the trigger was squeezed because the safety was on. Is that possible?

I am not sure I am understanding this correctly but in order to eject a chambered round (spent or unfired) the bolt would have to be worked (handle lifted and pulled back) which would eject the round in the normal fashion.

as far as I know this cannot be achieved by pulling the trigger regardless of the position of the safety.

Chris

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I am not sure I am understanding this correctly but in order to eject a chambered round (spent or unfired) the bolt would have to be worked (handle lifted and pulled back) which would eject the round in the normal fashion.

as far as I know this cannot be achieved by pulling the trigger regardless of the position of the safety.

Chris

I couldn't understand it either, but the inquest report I am referring to is at http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/07/horatio-chapple-inquest-mistakes-equipment-failures-report, and says:

"He grabbed the party's rifle and fired four or five times. On each occasion a bullet was simply ejected on to the ground."

"*** found one of the bullets that had been ejected, loaded the rifle and shot the animal dead.

"Turning to the party's Mauser 98 K rifle, the report concluded it must have been stored with the safety catch in a position that disabled the firing mechanism [my stress]. Training in the use of the rifle was very limited...".

It was that first quote, "On each occasion a bullet was simply ejected on to the ground.", that really caught my eye and then the second, about the safety catch... I'm not a rifle buff, so...???

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Another reason to use the correct terminology! Whoever wrote that meant the cartridge was ejected, not just the bullet.

Effectively all the firer was doing was emptying the magazine (five rounds) in a safe manner as described by Chris in Post #2.

Regards

TonyE

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Here is what I think is being described

The rifle was stored with the safety on "full safe" (Bolt locked trigger disabled)

The rifle was grabbed and safety flicked to the upright position (bolt unlocked, sear still disabled)

an attempt was made to fire (nothing would happen) so bolt was worked (to make sure it was loaded or it was not a defective round) this would have ejected the chambered round and loaded the next from the magazine.

an attempt was made to fire (nothing would happen because rifle is still on safe) etc

repeat

Chris

Ha! Tony beat me....and I KNEW that cartridge bit was coming Mr E!

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Thanks TonyE and Chris,

I had assumed that what you described was what actually happened but it is nice to have it confirmed. I had, by the way, also spotted the inaccuracy re: the 'bullet' description, and being aware of you two was careful to check before I wrote my piece with its reference to the 'cartridge'! See, your teaching . preaching to us numbskulls out here who don't do rifles and their ammunition DOES pay off!

Trajan

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If the rifle was being handled by a person unfamiliar with firearms, then it may have had nothing to do with the safety at all. I.e. the person, unaccustomed to the somewhat stiff bolt closing action, may have just worked the bolt without locking it - thereby causing the rifle to repeatedly eject the rounds. You see the same thing happen with novices on the firing point.

Someone competent with the rifle then evidently dropped a loose round into the rifle, and succeeded in delivering the shot.

I'd guess that no-one at the Inquest was familiar with firearms anyway, or familiar with the stoppages and jams that are commonly suffered by novice weapon handlers.

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