How to Restore a K98 Mauser

by Jeremiah Blanchard

The Mauser K98, otherwise known as the K98 Kurz, is a shortened version of the Mauser 98B. The weapon fires a 7.92-by-57 mm round and was used from 1935 until the end of WWII by the German Wehrmacht. Older military surplus rifles such as the Mauser K98 often are in poor condition. Military surplus collectors and gun enthusiasts often restore the weapons in order to make the firearm usable or salable. Restoring a Mauser K98 can be accomplished with little difficulty.

1. Verify that the weapon is unloaded. Pull the bolt to the rear and visually inspect the chamber to ensure no live ammunition is present.

2. Rotate the safety lever to the vertical position. Open the bolt and pull fully to the rear. Pull and swing out the bolt release lever -- located on the left side of the rear part of the receiver. Pull the bolt out of the rifle.

3. Turn the rifle upside down to access the magazine floor plate. Insert a brass rod into the button plunger located at the rear of the trigger guard. Depress the plunger about 1/8-inch. Keep downward tension on the plunger using the rod, slide the floor plate and the rod to the rear. Release pressure on the plunger and remove the magazine floor plate, the floor plate follower spring and follower.

4. Slide the flat spring out from the follower and slide the other end of the spring out from the top of the floor plate. Ensure that you remember exactly how the spring is placed in the follower. It will only go back in the same way.

5. Hold the bolt with your left hand. Use your left thumb to push in the bolt plunger. Grab and turn the rear assembly counterclockwise using your right hand for two full turns. Unscrew the bolt assembly. Pull the firing pin assembly out from the bolt body.

6. Remove the front stock band and all stock retaining screws securing the stock to the barrel and receiver. Pull the stock away from the barrel and receiver.

7. Place all metal parts in a tub of gun cleaning solution. Typically, old Mauser rifles are preserved in a grease substance called cosmoline. This needs to be removed for the weapon to be usable. Soak all metal parts in the solution for a week. This will help dissolve any grease, and lift away and break up any corrosion or frozen powder residue.

8. Scrub any corrosion, dirt or debris off of all the weapon parts carefully, using gun cleaning solution, a nylon bristle brush and cotton swabs. Be sure not to use metal brushes or abrasive cleaning agents on finished parts. This will ruin the finish and devalue the rifle.

9. Inspect the stock for splitting, cracking, dings, scuffs and any other visible damage. Note the target areas that require restoration.

10. Strip the finish off the stock using a finish stripper. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for stripper application, as all of these products vary in use. Clean away the stripped finish.

11. Wrap the stock in a damp towel. Iron over the towel onto of the target areas. This will raise any dents or dings in the wood. Dry the stock thoroughly. Lightly sand the stock with .0000 steel wool mesh to remove rough spots on the finish.

12. Fill any cracks in the stock with wood-fill epoxy. Allow sufficient time for the wood-fill to cure. Sand away any excess wood-fill until the surface area is smooth and flush.

13. Staying with the original color, apply a stain or varnish to the entire stock. Follow manufacturer's instructions, as stains vary in application. Apply a second coat for a rich color. Allow sufficient time for the stain to dry.

14. Apply a protective clear-coat to the stock. This will help preserve the wood. Follow manufacturer's instructions for application and drying time. Reassemble the weapon.

Items you will need

  • Gun cleaning solution
  • Nylon bristle brush
  • Cotton swabs
  • Wood finish stripper
  • Towel
  • Iron
  • .0000 steel wool mesh
  • Wood fill epoxy
  • Wood stain or varnish
  • Protective clear coat