I've always wanted one, and have finally made my mind up to treat myself.
What am I looking for? I know I want a K98 but thats about as far as my knowledge goes. If I found three of them in a gun shop, I wouldn't know what to look at to tell which one is the best rifle for the money. Can you all help?
May I suggest someone setting up a sticky telling us dumb-dumbs what to look for when browsing the k98 aisle.
Welcome K98K fan. If you are looking for an all matching German kar98k be prepared to shell out big bucks. If you are looking for so called capture gun it will not usually have matching parts such as bolt or barrel bands. Usually Russian capture guns have X stamped on receiver. and shellac applied to stock. Good luck with your search.
These are all fine choices. If you have your heart set on an authentic German WWII Mauser(...which is my preference), Samco has some, but they have scrubbed markings and mismatched parts. For a better specimen, you'll have to look on auction sites like gunbroker and, as Mauser9 said, they are pricey. Also if you go that route, spend some time studying up on manufacturer's codes and acceptance stamps. Unfortunately, there a lot of folks out there "phonying up" WWII Mausers.
Here is a place to begin learning codes and placement:
Also you could look at Mitchell's Mausers. Although they are advertised as being "highly collectible" that is not the case or they would probably not be offered to sale to the general public. They are though usually in very nice physical condition and are almost always reported to be good shooters.
Have you decided which factory or year you are going to look for?
And as ask by someone earlier - What are you looking for - a collector or a shooter???
I have several 98ks to sell, most are RCs, from several makers and years.
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If your not dead set on a K98 you may want to consider others with the Mauser action in 8mm. The VZ24, M48 and M24/47 can be had in very good to excellent condition for much less than a K98 and with a good bore can be very accurate shooters. Most of the K98 and Russian capture K98's are really starting to dry up.