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GUNS Magazine May 2010 - Page 28
™ • HOLT BODINSON • WAS IST dAS? Ein Zimmerstutzen! ruising Murphy’s Guns in Tucson, Arizona, I spotted a lone Model 98 Mauser racked in the rimfire section of the store. Actually, it had C the distinctive lines of a WWI-era Model 98AZ carbine (AZ standing for “Aufpflanz-und Zusammenstellvorrichtung” which translates into “means for fixing bayonet and stacking arms”). The Model 98AZ, later designated the Model 98a, was issued to cavalry, artillery and special infantry units and saw wide use in WWI. But why was it racked up with rimfires? Asking to see it, I opened the bolt and much to my surprise saw that it had been converted into a Zimmerstutzen. Model 98a carbines are pretty rare. The last great batch was imported in the 1970s, and many of those were torn down for their actions to build svelte sporters. In issued condition, the Model 98a is a desirable collectible. could not be seen by looking down the muzzle of the 23.6" long barrel of the 98a, the next question was how long was the 4mm barrel? Dropping a cleaning rod down the muzzle it came to rest 7-1/2" from the breech. Turning the rifle over in my hands, I noticed a slot on the underside of the forearm just ahead of where the muzzle of the 4mm barrel would end. The slot showed signs of carbon. It became obvious it was designed to exhaust the gas of the 4mm cartridge. Looking into the slot with a flashlight, I could see a perforated metal pipe, probably an extension of the barrel itself that both protected the wood of the stock and would cool the exiting gases. The more I saw the more intrigued I became with this gun. Examining the modified 98a bolt was a revelation. The bolt face had been converted to fire a rimfire round and was fitted with an offset firing pin. The normal centerfire firing pin had been cut off. The striker spring had been retained which now drove a piston so-to-speak Small Ring The action features the lighter, small ring receiver with an integral undercut ring that retains the rear of the handguard. The lightweight barrel is not stepped down in traditional Mauser fashion but is turned to a conventional taper. The unique bolt handle is both turned down and flattened and knurled on the underside of the bolt knob. Possibly the most distinctive features of the Model 98a are its prominent stacking hook, its hinged upper stock band, a small lug projecting from the front sight base that secures a muzzle cover or flash hider and the absence of a cleaning rod. I peered down the small hole in the chamber and then looked at the muzzle of the 98a in my hands. It wasn’t an 8mm muzzle any longer. The bore measured 13mm while the chamber measured slightly over 4.5mm. The 8mm barrel had been bored out to 13mm and a 4mm barrel installed. Since the muzzle of the 4mm barrel NoBang!JustanicequietPop!theMauserModel98acarbine(below)isdistinctiveinitsdesignandwasusedwidelyinWWI.Intheiroriginal8mm, theyareacollectibleMilsurp,andconversionslikethisto4mmareevenscarcer. 28 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • MAY 2010