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An “Ersatz” Sharpshooter Mauser K98k

Searching head on for the myth of the German “Mauser sniper” of the WWII by looking for a true original piece could be similar to the quest for the Holy Grail and at the same time to participate in a pigeon shooting game, but on the wrong side of the buttstock, as there are so many+ fakes circulating on the market. In the absence of vintage copies, ersatz (a clever reformulation intended to designate a copy known to be a “fake”), would deliberately give some answers on the implementation of these particular weapons. These do not relate to the nature of a hallmark or that of an assembly, but to a shooting technique common to all these materials. As for a ballistic performance elevated to the rank of drunkard tales, is it necessary to recall that these are only simple infantry rifles. We will begin this modest study with the model called in the Anglo-Saxon literature “short side rail mount“. (Pic. 1)

The weapon

This is of course an authentic Mauser K98k of CE manufacture, the factory code for JP Sauer & Sohn in Suhl indicates the year 1941. Its first advantage is to be all matching number and to possess a mirror-like barrel that has not suffered the outrage of time and men. A front sight tunnel, a cleaning rod and a vintage strap complete it. Laminated stock, cupped buttplate and machined parts place it in the category of carefully manufactured weapons. This is already a first positive point. The quality of shooting is also at the rendezvous as the shooting tests will show. No need to dwell on the description of the weapon, nothing notable brightens up our copy. (Pic. 2) Now purists may have to avert their eyes, it is in 8×60, a rechambering not only of historical value, but the least mutilating of them all. Indeed, many “war rifles” were demilitarized as such to make hunting weapons in Germany by the end of WWI. This cartridge duplicates the original load for this K98k in heavy pointed bullet “schweres Spitzgeschoss” (known as s.S.) of 12.8 g. This cartridge therefore logically made it possible to “civilize” this veteran in the dark days when it was thought that it posed a risk to Judeo-Christian civilization and civil peace. (TN: For many years in France, military related caliber such as 8×57 IS or .30-06 Springfield were subject to a very binding regulation) A much wiser choice than the 8×64 S and 8×68 S that have forever mutilated many authentic barrels.

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    Pierre Breuvart

    Shooter. Collector. Military training. Now retired after 22 years of service. Reservist of the French Gendarmerie Nationale (all smallarms Shooting Instructor).

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