Mauser Trench Gewehr 98

By: Austin Ellis, IMT Curator

Conceived in 1898, the Mauser Gewehr (Rifle) 98 is still the most iconic bolt action rifle design known today. Key features of this rifle’s design include a cock-on-open bolt with two large locking lugs at the front and an added third safety lug to the rear as an improvement on previous Mauser models. The 98 gained a name for itself through official military use across the globe in numerous conflicts. Out of the IMT collection, this 1916 dated Gewehr 98 is fitted with a complete set of the most advanced Imperial German accessories used in the trenches of World War One including the battles of Verdun, Somme, Passchendaele and Argonne.

Clipped on to the standard rear sight is a rare 2.5x Carl Zeiss “Glasvisier 16” bifocal scope. Over top of the front sight post is a clip-on Zeiss cover with a luminous white painted triangle. Designed for use in low light conditions, the top point of the triangle is used similar to a front sight post by lining it up with the top edge of the magnified lower section of the rear scope lens as illustrated in the photograph above. As a pair this sight system is incredibly advanced in a time way before the modern day ACOG.

A trench dust cover rides over top of the bolt, which aids in keeping mud out of the action from the rough environment experienced in the trenches. This dust cover uses a telescoping rod system riding on the left side of the stock, which works well to allow for smooth operation of the bolt while the cover is affixed.

The fixed “trench” magazine holds twenty-five rounds of staggered 7.92x57mm spitzer ammunition as opposed to the standard five round integral staggered magazine it replaces. By simply using the tip of a spitzer bullet in the button detent ahead of the trigger guard, the standard floor plate and follower are removed and the magazine with extended spring follower is inserted in its place.

The bayonet affixed is the M1898/05 pattern, nicknamed the “butcher blade” due to its resemblance. This design replaced the earlier more slender M1898 pattern “quillback” blade, which was prone to breakage. The stronger M1898/05 is the most common style of bayonet used on Gewehr 98’s during World War One. 

Cartridge

7.92x57mm (154 gr Spitzer)

Muzzle Velocity

2,880 fps

Photo Credit: Michael Fullana IMT

“Mauser Trench Gewehr 98”

Limited Edition Archival Prints Coming Soon.