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Gew 88 rifle. A bit rough maybe - but still nice.

Article about: I had an interesting rifle delivered today from Richard at RJ Militaria. It may be a bog-standard Gew 88, but it is unlikely to be one of the re-works for the Turkish Army. It is unusual in

  1. #1

    Default Gew 88 rifle. A bit rough maybe - but still nice.

    I had an interesting rifle delivered today from Richard at RJ Militaria. It may be a bog-standard Gew 88, but it is unlikely to be one of the re-works for the Turkish Army. It is unusual in that it doesn't have the conversion for the charger clip as is so often seen on these weapons. It has also been fitted with a bolt from the carbine version. The turned-down handle was favoured by troops because in the confines of a trench the bolt was less likely to snag on equipment belts.

    It looks as though this particular weapon saw service with the Austrian Army in WW1. Upon removing the protective barrel sleeve I found a clear stamp of the Austrian eagle. Although the sleeve is quite pitted, the rifle really isn't in that bad condition at all. There is some damage to the butt which may be combat related. Whatever it is, its certainly been that way for an awful long time. There is a good chance that the barrel sleeve would clean up well. The pitting isn't that deep - although there is a fair bit of it. I'm torn between leaving it as it is, or having a go.

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    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

  2. #2
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    Nice rifle Harry.

    As regards the barrel pitting etc, personally, I would be tempted to leave it as is.

    Regards etc
    Ian D

    AKA: Jimpy

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    me to.[Iam lazy]

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    Very nice! It's does look battle proven indeed. Great patina too! Believe it or not, but I used J-B weld on a mauser barrel I have that was pitted under the fore grip. It matches the color of the metal and creates a barrier between the wood and the metal.

  5. #5
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    Leave it as is, though you will want to find a proper straight handled bolt to replace the post service swapped bolt. While it may be an Austrian used example - Austria-Hungary called the Gew88 in their service the M1914 - there are no Austro-Hungarian marks, the eagle is German.

  6. #6

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    It's rough but characterful - great pics, too!

    Steve - is it a deact?
    If not I believe these were in the .318 not .323 8X57 - so you have to be wary of shooting full power ammo in them.
    The Mauser hunter I bought from another forum member here is in the same caliber, it took me some time to find the correct ammo for it - also called 8X57is or 8x57js, too, I believe.
    There are two sources I found here - Old West Scrounger is one.
    Last edited by pitfighter; 04-01-2014 at 06:25 PM.

  7. #7

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    Steve:
    it looks like a nice rifle. Years ago when I was a young lad. my friend and I bought one of these out of a magazine ad. It came all greased up and we had a heck of a time cleaning it. The ad said "don't shoot it. display only" Well boys will be boys. We found some ammo and we went to my families farm to shoot it. It was a dream to shoot. In fact my friend still has it. great old rifles.
    Just saying..............
    Thanks for showing us this old war horse.
    John
    I specialize in M1 carbines and Lugers.

  8. #8

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    Hi Pit fighter, John, and others who left comments,

    I know myself only too well, and I knew I wouldn't be able to resist cleaning the rifle a little bit to make it more presentable than it was. The barrel jacket protected the barrel, and so the barrel is about as perfect as you are likely to get with a bl**dy great slot cut into it. This is a 1990 deactivation, and so is done in a reasonably sympathetic fashion. I have worked on the barrel jacket a little to get the level of pitting down to a more acceptable level, and it now matches with the receiver. I shall re-blue it and see how it looks after that. But it is already a vast improvement on how it looked.

    I won't be looking for a straight bolt for it. And the reason is that I have no idea when this bolt was added to the rifle. It could have been done while in service use for reasons I explained originally. Sometimes modifications are made in the field to suit the user, and so there is no point in reverting the weapon to how it would have looked when first issued. Even for all its faults it is still a fairly rare rifle, and best of all it cost me less than half the going rate of one in good condition. Apart from the bolt it has not been modified in any way. Nearly every Gew 88's you see have been modded with charger guide added to the receiver and base of magazine housing blanked off.

    As for shooting it, that is out of the question. But then again I lost my interest in shooting a long time ago, and so it doesn't really matter!

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    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

  9. #9

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    Nice one Steve!......
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.



    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

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