BRIEF LIST (20th CENTURY)
MODEL 1899: In 1899, Serbia contracted DWM and Steyr to supply Chilean-style Model 1895 rifles, these were delivered between 1899 and 1906, with modifications made over the term of the contract. The model designations were the M1899, M1899/07, and M1899/08. Very minor differences between models, but the M1899/08 was also supplied in a carbine model, actually a shortened version of the Steyr rifle.
A typical German export rifle, patterned after the Costa Rican Model 1910.
MODELS OF 1924
In the 1920’s, the Yugoslavians received M24B rifles from Steyr, (ex-Mexican rifles), and the arsenal at Kragujevac (later to become Preduzece 44), converted captured Turkish Model 1890 rifles into a short rifle configuration in 8mm caliber. They also purchased 50,000 FN Model 1922 short rifles, 40,000 FN Model 1924 short rifles, as well as FN Model 30 short rifles and carbines, and 40,000 Czech VZ-24 short rifles. The FN Model 1924 short rifle and carbines were also produced at the Kragujevac arsenal on machinery purchased from FN.
In 1948, Yugoslavia started producing a variation of the German K98k, called the M48, and also started converting many of the FN Model 1924 short rifles to M24/47. The Czech VZ-24’s were also converted to VZ-24/52 configuration.
All of the FN weapons supplied above, were built on an intermediate action length, not a standard M98 action. Also, the Yugoslavian produced weapons are an intermediate action length. The Czech VZ-24 was built on a standard length action, therefore, the VZ-24/52 is also a standard length action.
After WWII, the Yugoslavians received a large number of German K98k rifles and a huge stockpile of K98k parts as war reparations. These rifles were refurbished, with German receiver codes removed, and the Yugoslavian Communist crest applied in its place. Most small parts were used as is, with German waffenamts still in place on many of them. These rifles can be any variation of the 98k, from early solid walnut stocks with flat buttplate, to late laminated stocks with cupped buttplates.
K98k: The Yugoslavian reworked K98k’s are standard in every way except markings. The original German receiver markings were ground off, and replaced with the Yugoslavian Communist crest. On the left side of the receiver ring was stamped PREDUZECE 44 (pred-oo-zay-shay) This translates to “PUBLIC ESTABLISHMENT” 44. Under the Communist government, all previously state-owned businesses became public property. The “44” is the number of the establishment, it has nothing to do with the date. This is the same arsenal at Kragujevac.
The original German marking “MOD.98” on the left receiver rail was left in place. The easiest way to tell the difference at a glance between the refurbed K98k and the M48 is to look at the handguard. The refurbed K98k used the original handguard that extended from the lower band to the front of the rear sight base. The M48 handguard extended full length to the front of the receiver ring.
M48: This was a newly manufactured weapon (with an intermediate length action, as discussed above). This weapon incorporates a seldom used Mauser patent called the enclosed cartridge head feature. It required milling an extractor clearance cut in the breech face of the barrel. It was seldom used because of the extra machining required, and the problem of lining up the barrel (with extractor cut) to the receiver. It is considered an improvement in safety, but is rarely a concern if you use modern brass.
As discussed above, one of the other differences is the handguard used on the M48, another is the rear sight. On the right side of the rear sight leaf, there are notches or grooves milled into the edge for the catch on the slider to engage in. These notches are coarser (and fewer) as compared to 98k sight leaf.
All of the M48’s that I have seen have a new stock, solid, not laminated, with no bolt disassembly washer installed. Many people report that these stocks are made of teak. The stocks are typically finished very roughly, they don’t appear to have been sanded at all.
STANDARD M48: Standard in every way, all parts milled, a little rougher than German parts, but a well made and handy weapon.
M48A: Same as above, but some parts are stamped instead of milled, typically the trigger guard and bands.
M48bo: The bo designation stands for bez oznake, which means without markings. These will have no receiver crest or Preduzece 44 markings, typically only serial numbers and inspection markings. These were made for Egypt in the early 50’s. Reportedly, only a few hundred were delivered before the Suez crisis in 1956. Also reportedly, only 5,000 were made, I find this hard to believe, as they are pretty common in the States right now. Many dealers are calling these “Bosnian Mausers”, either because they honestly don’t know what “bo” means, or they think the “Bosnian” tag will help to promote sales.
SYRIAN M48: M48’s were also made for Syria, same as the standard M48, but with a Syrian crest on the receiver ring. These are not too common in the U.S., as we do not share good relations with Syria.