In my quest to complete a full impression for the Bundesgrenzschutz bicycle in the 1950's style, I decided that it was time to purchase a quality replica rifle to use with the bike when I take it out in public. Since I am portraying the bike as an early BGS bicycle, I needed to find an accurate early rifle that was used by the BGS.
The Bundesgrenzschutz used the Mauser Karabiner 98k rifle from it's official inception in 1951 until 1956, using both reconditioned WW2 issue rifles and post-war French Mausers, (East Germany also used some original WW2 Mauser 98k's for a short while in the early 1950's). I already have a restored Swedish Mauser that would make a great stand-in for the German Mauser 98k, but it's a real rifle, and not one I can transport on the bike while taking the bike out for public display. What I needed was a "street-legal" replica Mauser, and I found exactly what I needed in the airsoft version, Dboys 98k rifle.
Dboys is a company that has been making some very affordable, and quite accurate, WW2 airsoft, 1:1, replica firearms. (An airsoft gun is basically an air powered or gear driven, "BB" gun that fires 6mm or 8mm plastic BB's). They make an outstanding airsoft replica version of the Karabiner 98k that is bolt action, uses replica cartridges, is metal with a real wood or replica-wood plastic stock. In all of the reviews that I read, the replica-wood plastic stock looked more like the original than the Asian "hard-wood" stock that came on the wood stocked model. I went for the plastic model and I'm glad I did. Until you look close and inspect it, you can't tell it's not wood!
The action and bolt are all metal and they look and operate exactly like the original. The safety (three place switch like the original), firing pin, and bolt slide release lever are all just like the original. The magazine will hold 5 of the replica shells and can be loaded with a stripper clip (I just happened to have a Mauser stripper clip around to try). I did find that with four shells it operates best........ with five in the magazine, the first round tends to jam and not feed well. I have an article explaining how to correct that feed problem, but that's a project for another day.
The shells are made of solid aluminum and mimic a real shell with bullet. The shell is actually a tube with a rubber o-ring seal in the back where the primer should be and the "bullet" tip is designed to hold one 6mm plastic BB.
The open rear sight is the same as the original Mauser 98k and is adjustable for elevation. The front sight has a hood, just like the original.
The barrel, magazine cover and trigger guard are all metal as well. The only thing that gives this gun away as not being a "real gun" is the fact that it has an orange tip cap installed per US Law. This shows that it is a "toy". A toy that is accurate to the original rifle, is bolt action, with "real" shells, and spits out a 6mm projectile at 350 feet per second! Sweet Pea and I popped off a few rounds with the new rifle on Friday and I can definitely tell you that it has some punch and will be pretty darn accurate once I get it sighted in!
In the interest of making the rifle look as accurate as possible, I started the "aging" process by using a green pad and wet-dry sandpaper to start wearing the bluing off of the metal in all the spots that would wear on a veteran original. I'll do some work on the stock as well, filling in the plastic seam in the plastic stock on the top of the butt stock. I'll also drill an access hole under the butt plate and fill the interior of the stock with foam to deaden the "hollow" sound.
On Sunday I made up a replica Mauser 98k, leather sling. I had a very long leather strap with buckle that I had banging around for years, knowing there would be a use for it one day.......... that day came yesterday. I cut off the buckle end of the strap and used that as the sling retainer (the buckle piece that keeps the sling from pulling through the butt stock slot). I picked up a blued steel roller buckle at the local thrift store and riveted it to the other end of the sling strap and then took two trim pieces of the strap and sewed them into retaining sliders. I oiled the whole thing up and installed it. It looks great and is a pretty darn good replica! I'll probably add my own "counterfeit" date and maker's marks on the back of the sling as well......
All in all, I would definitely recommend this rifle to anyone who wants a good looking replica that they can target practice with in the yard (or in the house), and still can be used with a historical display or in a reenactment skirmish. I'll report again on this rifle once I get the "aging" done and get a chance to do some shooting with it..........
And one of my postings is not complete until we finish things out with some historical shots, so here are a few early Bundesgrenzschutz photos from the 1950's showing the Mauser 98k in use: