The road to firearms collecting often begins as part of a family tradition. For Pete, that tradition started with his grandfather, who gave Pete his old surplus bolt-action Mauser rifle. More specifically, the gift was a classic German Karabiner 98 kurz – commonly referred to as the Kar98k – which was an updated and shortened version of earlier German service Mausers before World War II. To be even more specific, the gun is a "bnz 43" rifle, which puts it in a class of historical World War II German Mausers.
There’s a lot that Peter loves about his old Mauser. The classic bolt-action design is elegant and reliable. He also appreciates the adjustable sights and the Mauser safety lever, which makes it easy to tell when the rifle is ready to fire. The stock even boasts a unique “takedown disk” that makes it easier to disassemble the rifle’s bolt. But more than all that, the rifle has a story.
“This was the first gun that my father learned to hunt with,” recalled Pete. “It’s a pretty heavy gun, and my grandfather’s goal was to make him good and strong and tough. I think it achieved that.”
Like many surplus rifles in America, the gun also has some unique quirks that make it unique to the owner. There’s a non-original sling mount attached to the stock, which made it easier for Pete’s father to carry the rifle. It’s certainly taken a few dings in its life, but the gun is in good shape for a wartime Mauser and still functions and shoots well.
As far as first rifles go, surplus Mausers are a classic. They used to be incredibly common and cheap to buy in American gun stores. Those old guns have since dried up, and many of the wooden stocks were modified to make them into budget-friendly sporting and hunting rifles. Pete’s Mauser has certainly grown in value over the years, and it is still just as it was when his grandfather got it, with the exception of the added sling swivel. It’s also not the only gun his grandfather passed down.
“Actually, this ended up being a collection of guns that I received from my grandfather,” Pete said. “My favorite, one of the ones that’s most important to me, is this Model 98 Mauser.”
While the Mauser holds a special place in Pete’s heart, he’s also quite proud of the other firearms his grandfather passed down to him. The collection includes a Winchester Model 94 lever-action rifle, which his grandfather particularly loved, and a Winchester Model 67 .22 LR bolt-action rifle that was the first gun Pete ever fired.
The small Model 67 even boasts a similar safety to his beloved Mauser. His grandfather also gave him a unique lever-action Savage Model 99 with a rotating internal magazine and cartridge counting mechanism.
Pete’s Mauser has now passed through the hands of three generations in his family, but he has his eyes on adding a fourth. He intends to keep all his grandfather’s rifles inside the family and continue the tradition. One day, he will pass on the guns to his own children so they can enjoy them as much as he has throughout his life.