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Czech 98/22 Or Chinese Mauser

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I have a mauser that I purchased that was advertised as being a Czech BRNO made 98/22 export to China.


Because it was "Chinese" most people stayed away from it. I looked at it as an opportunity to buy a nice 98/22 project action at a Chinese price. The stock is banged up quite a bit, but the metal looks pretty good.


(References to Ball's Mauser Military Rifles of the World, Second Edition)


However, the crest is not the normal Czech export (BRNO) stamp that I've seen on other 98/22 exports or that Ball shows in his book in the China section for the 98/22. The crest is actually more like the "Chaing Kai-Shek" Model Short Rifle image that Ball shows (with the Chinese ideograph mauser-like banner below and the circle around bow/arrow above). The bottom part of the crest is pretty visible but the top part is very faint.


It's also not in 98/22 configuration. It's much shorter and the top handguard doesn't butt up to the front ring - it starts after the front sight - like the "Chaing Kai-Shek" model short rifle.


I haven't taken it apart yet so I don't have more details, but I did notice that the left side of the front ring, the barrel, bottom metal, and a few other of the normal parts were stamped with a serial number like E6219 (not the real serial number), which seemed odd to me if it was a Chinese made rifle. I would assume the S/N would be in Chinese if it were Chinese made. Ball doesn't show a side view of the Chinese made Mauser with a serial number. The stamping of the serial number actually looks similar to side view image of the serial number for the 98/22 in the Ball book.


I know that a lot of countries restamp the receiver rings when they re-arsenal, so I'm not ruling out that could be the case with this rifle. In fact I'm hoping that is the case because I wanted a Czech made 98/22 to use for building a project rifle, not a Chinese made Mauser collecting dust in my safe.


I'm wondering what made the seller think this was a 98/22 rather than a Chinese made version. I need some "proof" one way or another I guess so I can be happy with my 98/22 or go back to the seller and tell him he misrepresented something he sold me.


What signs (proofs, other marking) should I look for to check if it was originally a Czech 98/22 (or other European country / model) rather than a Chinese made rifle?

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If it is a Czech made action it will have a small circle with a z in it, on the bottom of the receiver.

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Okay, I tore it down this evening. I can tell you that this is the first time this thing has been taken apart in a long, long time. In that sense it's so different from any of the Turk mausers or others that I've gotten that originated from Century. Those things are jammed full of cosmoline everywhere. This is just full of dust and old mud and some kind of mold in one place in the stock. This thing hasn't been opened up in a long time.


Anyway. Here is what I found...


Long story short - there are a lot of things that suggest this is a Chinese made rifle. There is nothing that really tells me it is a Czech made rifle. But there are some weird things about it (probably just because of mine - and nearly everyone else's - lack of familiarity with Chinese mausers).


[Much of the below taken from Terence W. Lapin's Mauser Military Rifle Markings, 2nd Edition]


1. Crest, though tough to see in the image, on the top is the typical "Chinese Army Ordnance Dept." symbol as defined by Lapin in the Emblems chapter. This emblem is very faint and you can just barely see it. The bottom part of the crest is the "China Standard Model (Arsenal #21)" emblem from Lapin's Inscriptions in Non-Western Languages chapter. It's the one with the swastika in it rather than the star or diamonds.




2. As mentioned previously the serial number is interesting. I don't know much about Chinese Mausers but I would assume that they wouldn't use western style numbers. But that is what this rifle has. This is one of the reasons I thought it might be a Czech made rifle originally. It is all numbers matching.




3. A shot of the rifle from the bolt handle side. You can see the grasping groove and how the top handguard starts after the rear sight. According the Ball the Chinese import mausers were not configured like this, only the Chinese made short rifles were.




4. Triggerguard - note the capture screws




5. The rear sight looks like the standard Euro type rear sight to me with European style numbers. Again I would have expected a Chinese made rifle to use Chinese numerals.




6. Underside of the barrel. After some scrubbing I found two marks. What appears to be a "7", circled in white, and a small swastica, circled in red. I got excited after finding the swastica, but afterward found that Lapin says the left facing swastica, which is what this is, is the factory logo for the Chinese Aresenal #21 at Hanyang.




7. I was surprised to not really find a lot of acceptance marks and stamps on the underside of the receiver, like I've seen on most european and turk mausers. The only marking that I can really see is what appears to be an "11", circled in red. I couldn't find anything in the Lapin book referencing that, but that's not surprising since he doesn't go into a lot of detail with Chinese mausers.




8. The final thing I found was kind of intriguing. There were no proof markings or acceptance stamps on the bottom of the recoil lug, but there were two marking on the front of it. The marking circled in red looks like an "O" or a "0". The marking circled in blue (I know you can't see it that good in the picture) looks like it is a "Z", and is very similar to markings that I've seen on the bottom of German/Czech mausers.




So there are a few things that are interesting - the serial numbers and the Z marking on the recoil lug. But I cannot say that Chinese made mausers have or don't have those without looking at other specimens. So, as I said before, there's really no evidence that this is a Czech made mauser. But there is lots of evidence that it is a standard Chinese short rifle made by Arsenal 21 - the crest, the arsenal stamp on the barrel, etc.


I think what I have is a Chinese made rifle.


Given that, the fit and finish of the rifle is pretty good. I haven't compared it side by side with German or Czech rifle so I can't comment on tolerances, but it looks pretty good. Not German quality good, but as good as most K.Kale Turks that I've seen.


I'm not really a collector so I don't plan on keeping it. I now have two options: I can ask the seller to let me return it and get a refund or I can try to resell it as Chinese Mauser. I would consider it in fair condition overall. Everything has a patina, a slight bit of pitting under the woodline, but nice condition overall. The stock brings it down to fair, it is banged up quite a bit - looks like the typical 70+ year old mauser stock. But it is all numbers matching, the stock even has the serial number stamped into the barrel channel. And I can now provide background of where it was manufactured, approximately when, etc. I got it very cheap so even though Chinese mausers don't go for much on Gunbroker or Auction Arms I can probably at least break even by selling it as what it is. But I'm still ticked off that what I recieved is not what I expected or what it was described as being. Luckily this is the first time I've gotten a bad deal from one of the auction sites.



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When the 98/22's first came in, I bought quite a few of them. This is not a 98/22. It would not be unusual for the Chinese to number rifles in that manner. The only country that I can think of that strictly used their own alpha/nummeric system was Siam. Many of the others use a combination. For example, Arisakas and 98/22's that have been to Turkey.


Another thing, the Chinese were copying the Mauser without being licensed. They should look roughly like whatever they had on hand to copy. China industry does things its own way today, I can only imagine what the process could have been like 70 years ago. There would have been as much emphasis on the mystical and magical as the logical.

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