Mauser rifle 1898

German infantry rifle Mauser Gewehr 1898 from World War One.
History, development, service, specifications, pictures and model.

Mauser Gewehr 1898
German Mauser Gewehr 1898.

Mauser Gewehr 1898
Type: Infantry Rifle.


The initial Mauser rifle accepted for German military service was the Mauser Model 1888. This utilized a Mauser bolt-action which has continued to be almost un­altered even today, however with it a somewhat dated 8-mm (O.315-in) cartridge. Studies resulted in the usage of a fresh 7.92-mm (0.312-in) cartridge, along with an innovative rifle to fire it, became called the Gewehr 1898 or Gew 98 (Rifle Model 1898).

This all new rifle was likely to be one of the popular commonly used and effective weapons of its type, and it was produced in huge numbers. Numerous subsequently rifles could find their roots back to the Gewehr 1898.
It was the ‘classic’ Mauser rifle, fine and somewhat lengthy, however well-balanced and with ev­erything outstandingly designed and in general very well manufactured. The phrase ‘in general’ is needed advisedly, finally World War One was into its stride the specifications of production needed to be relaxed and a few somewhat harsh examples had been distributed to the soldiers.

But the majority were really well-made with excellent quality wooden furniture that was emphasized by the use of a pistol-type grip behind the trigger to aid holding as well as aiming. The initial rear-sight was a really complicated affair with sliding ramps as well as other niceties that required knowledge for successful use, however some bigger types were less difficult.

The bolt-action retained the typical Mauser front-lug locking sys­tems, with incorporating of an additional lug to make the amount up to 3 for additional safety using the new and much more potent cartridge. The bolt utilized a straight-pull motion which was and still is somewhat uncomfortable to use rapidly and easily, however in service created only a few issues. The integral box magazine hosted 5 rounds loaded from a charger clip.


While the Gewehr 1898 was produced mostly for the German military, it was also the first step for numerous rifle designs that distribute around the globe. Spain was an initial operator of the basic Mauser action and models manufactured there differed minimal from the Gewehr 1898.

The manufacturing of Mauser models from Germany and Spain were quickly encountered worldwide in armies as far aside as China and Costa Rica. The Mauser action gathered an envi­able reputation for reliability, power and accuracy, and the quarrels rage to this day whether the Gewehr 1898 and its numerous family members were the best service rifles of time.

What is confident is that during the years 1914 to 1918 the Gewehr 1898 served the German army effectively. The front-line soldiers needed to look after them, in fact this extended no further than maintaining the bolt area co­vered with a cloth all the time when the rifle wasn’t being used.

Some types including sniper rifle showed up with distinctive sights, including several types of optic­al sight, and the rifle still has the claim to fame that it was one of the very first, if not the earliest, anti-tank weapon. This occurred by the chance discov­ery that the armor of the first British Tank Mk I could be penetrated by the sim­ple expedient of reversing the bullets used in the Gewehr 1898 prior to be fired: the blunt end easily pun­ched a hole through the armor ahead of the bullet could warp.

The German rifle Model 98 has been even further perfected over the years during its production, and in 1935 replaced by the Karabiner 98k for the Wehrmacht in Second World War.

Specifications Mauser Gewehr Model 1898


Gewehr Modell 1898Specification
TypeInfantry rifle
Calibre 7.92 mm (0.312 in)
Lenght 49.2 in (125 cm)
Barrel 29.1 in (74 cm)
Weight 9.26 lb (4.2 kg)
Feed system 5-round integral box
System of operation Mauser turn-bolt
Muzzle velocity 2,100 ft/sec (640 m/s)

button go successor in WW2: Mauser Karabiner 98k

References and literature

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War I (Chris Bishop)
An Illustrated History of the Weapons of World War One (Ian Westwell)
Illustriertes Lexikon der Waffen im 1. und 2. Weltkrieg (V. Dolinek, V. Francev, J. Sach)

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