The Mauser 98 (M98) or Gewehr 98 (G98) was the standard German military rifle from 1898 to 1935, when it was replaced by the Mauser K98. The Mauser 98 named for the first year of its manufacture, superseded the earlier Gewehr 88. The Mauser 98 is a controlled-feed, bolt-action rifle designed by Perter Paul Mauser and patented on September 9, 1895.
The German Rifle Testing Commission adopted the Mauser 98 on April 5, 1898. In 1901, the first troop issues of the Mauser 98 rifles were issued to the East Asian Expeditionary Force, the Navy and three premier Prussian Army Corps. The Mauser 98 received its first combat use in the Boxer Rebellion from 1898 to 1901. In 1904, contracts were placed with Mauser Gun Works for 290,000 rifles and German Gun and Ammunition Works (DWM) for 210,000 rifles. he M/88 7.92x57mm I cartridge which was introduced in 1888 and loaded with a 8.08mm (.318 in) 14.6 g (226 gr) round nose bullet was replaced by the 7.92x57mm IS loaded with a new 8.20mm (.323 in) 9.9 g (154 gr) spitzer bullet in 1905. The ammunition conversion was indicated by a small "S" stamped above the chamber and on the barrel at the back of the rear sight base. Since the new IS cartridge had a flatter trajectory the rear sight had to be changed with an "S" redesigned rear sight.
The M98 action is really the end result of trial and error, starting with the experimental 1889/90 and 91 models to the Mauser 93 “Spanish Mauser” through to the Mauser 96. The original design was that of a dual locking lug, controlled-feed, rotating bolt with an integral magazine feed system.
The two great designed features was a large claw type extractor and tapered floor magazine. The claw extractor would grab a cartridge from the magazine and hold it firmly against the bolt face in a controlled motion that feed the cartridge into the chamber. The claw extractor being so large and robust could then pull the spent round from the chamber despite any stickiness. The tapered magazine well with a “Z” shaped magazine spring was conceived to allow the tapered case of the 7x57mm Mauser cartridge to sit flat on the bottom of the magazine and feed level on the action rails when engaged by the claw extractor.
The final changes in the Mauser action line that culminated in the M98 action was: better gas venting ports; a larger receiver ring dimensions to handling the greater internal pressures of the smokeless powder cartridge (7.92 x 57 mm), a third "safety" lug on the bolt body and a notch in the top of receiver to the rear of the magazine for the use of a stripper-clip magazine feeding system.
The Mauser 98 came in both small ring and large ring.
The Mauser 98 rifle is the most prolific military and sporting, bolt action rifle of all time. Only the AK-47, Kalashnikov semi-automatic rifle is more prolific. M98 action is the most copied rifle action of all time. The most notable copy (variant) is the pre64 M70 action made by (then) the Winchester-Western company for the Winchester Model 70 rifle. The Springfield Armory also copied the M98 action for its M1903 Springfield rifle. Subsequently the United Stats lost a patent violation suite and had to pay the estate of Peter Paul Mauser for copying the M98 action. Today there are many manufacturers and custom gun makers that product the M98 action, its clones and variants. It could be argued that the modern push-fed, bolt action, rifle is a child of the M98 action.