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Old 01-11-2012, 11:37 PM   #1
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Can anyone help me ID this old German rifle?

Friends, here's the wildcard for you. I have never seen a rifle like it before and cannot reference it in any firearm encyclopedia, internet search, or otherwise. Here's what I know about it:

When the elderly man who lived next door to my parents passed away, his wife had my father and a couple of other close friends of his "clean out the basement and garage." She couldn't maintain the house on her own and moved on to an assisted-living community (nice place!) before she sold the house. In a dark corner of the basement, my father found a tightly rolled-up burlap bundle, and this rifle was in it. The man who had previously owned it was a veteran of WWII and took part in the European theater, that much we know. His wife said he had it since before they met, and that would be just after the cessation of hostilities.

It's clearly some kind of Mauser-inspired design but it doesn't fit into the K98 category completely. I have never seen such a rifle with the double-trigger "hair setting" setup like that before. Let me tell you, when you pull that rear trigger back and "set" the primary trigger, it can easily be set off by the brush of a feather.

Here are some photos I took of it for your observations. Please help me understand exactly what it is my Dad found in that musty old basement... this is one of the finest firearms I've ever seen. The quality and machining work done on it are incredible... the pictures do it no justice. Warning: BIG pictures!








Have you ever seen anything like this before? If so, please, please do tell!

-Pilotsteve
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:33 AM   #2
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You have to just love those old German rifles. Workmanship is fantastic.

Double-set triggers!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had one of those old rifles that was made using the old M1888 action. The absolutely smoothest bolt action I have ever seen!

I know what you mean about the trigger! Don't even touch it until you are ready to go...........

Last edited by Conman37; 02-10-2012 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:37 AM   #3
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What are the letters in the last pic? StmG? Are those the only markings?

ETA: Here's a discussion on GB that might help. At least the rifle looks very similar. http://forums.gunbroker.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=538299

And this one, which looks to be the same gun, says you may find more info on the barrel if you remove the stock. http://www.gunvaluesboard.com/pre-ww...-15195233.html

The StmG and the number beneath apparently indicate it was tested with steel jacketed ammo and the weight.

You might be able to find out more here: http://www.germanguns.com/index.html
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:20 PM   #4
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Steve: It's a fairly typical European sporting rifle converted from a WWI military Mauser Gewehr 98. It could have been made before WWII or shortly thereafter. Many returning GIs found rifles like this or had them built up by local gunsmiths and brought them home.

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Old 01-12-2012, 02:01 PM   #5
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The original works in a new dressing, then? Interesting.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jonm61 View Post
What are the letters in the last pic? StmG? Are those the only markings?
The only markings anywhere on the rifle are on the left side. The close-up picture I took didn't come out very good so I sketched them here for you:



The only other markings on the rifle are on the sights, which are American. There's patent numbers written on it (sorry, didn't record this date) as well as the manufacturer. The only other instance of writing is on the steel butt plate. Inscribed in a fine script is the word, "Germany." I find this strange because "Germany" is actually an English word. I would have thought it would read "Deutschland".

I find it incredibly odd how nowhere on the rifle is the ammunition it uses indicated. That is a fundamental of all firearms that I know of - literally a cardinal rule any manufacturer should adhere to. I think my only clue is the "14,6 gr" imprinted on the weapon. Is this actually 14.6 grams, or about 225 grains? If so, it should elude to the intended (or maximum) weight of the bullet. This rifle should fire the 7.92 x 57mm (or 8mm Mauser) cartridge, but how to be sure?

Thank you for the very tantalizing clues though, my friends. Although I'll never know the story behind this beautiful, incredibly well-built rifle, it'll be something to know at least what it is...

-Pilotsteve

Last edited by Pilotsteve; 01-12-2012 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:42 AM   #7
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The bore size is sometimes stamped under the barrel. You can make a cast of the chamber with "cerrosafe", a metal alloy that melts at a low temp - available from Brownell's. Then you will know for certain if it has been rechambered.

The fact that the rifle is stamped "Germany" iindicates it was exported after WW1 - which accounts for the U.S. made sights.

For the rest of it, Mike gave you the straight "poop".
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilotsteve View Post
I think my only clue is the "14,6 gr" imprinted on the weapon.
From what I read on the sites I linked, that's the bullet weight it was tested with, along with the StmG indicating steel jacketed bullet. The crown over N indicates smokeless powder. Those proofs put it after 1912. This is all found here German Gun Collectors Association

Apparently, after WW1, German civilians were not allowed to possess the 7.92 x 57, so the guns were rechambered to 8 x 60 (I'm guessing that's really 7.92 x 60, as what I've read says that they only made the chamber a little deeper).

Looking at this is confusing, because it looks like you've got a 1950+ E German proof and a 1952+ W German proof, but it's hard to say for sure. Take a look at this PDF. You can identify the proofs better than I can from the picture and sketch. http://www.phoenixinvestmentarms.com...Proofmarks.pdf

That second one I haven't seen anywhere and the numbers don't line up with anything I've seen yet; everything says it should either be a date, caliber or gauge, but 4494 doesn't match up with any of them.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jonm61 View Post
...Take a look at this PDF. You can identify the proofs better than I can from the picture and sketch.
Thank you for the helpful information, jonm61. I have gone through every chart I've found available listing proof marks and have not yet found the one on this rifle. When I sketched the proofmark I was looking closely with an eyeloop, so I could see the very fine details. It's a bird-like shape with a tiny star above his head. Also, the marking over the "N" is a star as well, not a crown. Right next to (slightly overlapping) the bird-like proofmark is a crown.



I have gone up and down this rifle and there is nothing under the barrel or anywhere else. You may be right in that there might be something beneath the barrel or otherwise which would only be found if the stock were removed, but I'll be verdammt if I'm taking that rifle apart!

-Pilotsteve
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:49 PM   #10
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There's no big mystery. Just yank out the bolt and then see if an 8x57 cartridge will drop in the chamber with just enough case sticking out for the extractor to grab. If it fits, then stick the bullet end of the cartridge into the muzzle and see it it's loose. If it's not, it's almost certainly 8x57. If still in doubt, make a chamber cast with Cerrosafe.

Don't be timid. Rotate the lock screws in the trigger guard assembly to allow the larger guard screws to be unscrewed, then lift up the barrel and take it out of the stock. It's as easy as field-stripping a PPK. Not that this will tell you anything, but you can evaluate the workmanship more easily. Some of these guns are quite well-made, others are mediocre.

"Germany" on the buttplate is almost surely an import mark, so it might have been purchased here rather than "brought back".

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