Tanaka Karabiner 98k
(1943 Karabiner 98k)

888 (airsoft888@hotmail.com)

Stock Specifications
Tanaka Karabiner 98k
515 fps w/ .29g
Total Length: 1100mm
Inner Barrel: 577mm
4 Kg

Ammo capacity:


35-40 meters

Introduction: The last time I purchased an "old" gas powered rifle, I was met with immediate disappointment, which was with the now infamous Marushin "Winchester" maxi. Add to that a disappointing Tanaka Super Redhawk, I was more than just hesitant to drop $400 toward a gas powered rifle from a company that mainly specializes in gas pistols. Sure, I do believe Tanaka makes the best revolvers available in the market today, but it doesnt mean they can't produce a flop, which is exactly what I thought of the Super Redhawk when I first got it.

Although the lack of information available to me kept me in suspense, at least I wasnt hearing anything bad about it, even the various rumors circulating around concerning this rifle didn't hint anything toward possible problems or gripes.

I went through DEN Trinity again since I wanted reliable firsthand information, and also because this is the only airsoft dealer I trust outside of Japan. They have been more than generous to me in the past, and the service they provide me is never anything short of perfect.

Anyway, according to the staff there, the Kar98k was a solid buy, and I wouldn't have to anticipate any problems down the line. Well, still being a bit skeptical, but trusting what they had to say, I made my payment. Just like the PSG-1, the parcel arrived to my door in 2 days from the day of delivery ^_^

First impressions: The Tanaka Mauser Kar98k comes packaged in a plain brown box, somewhat like how the Tokyo Marui Thompson M1A1 looks like. The instruction manual follows the same format as the other airsoft guns made by Tanaka, and includes the same factory items as well. However, the usual useless speedloader included with all the revolvers has been replaced with something that actually works very well.
The Mauser Kar98k is almost as long and heavy as the PSG-1, but much better built. Because the Kar98k is constructed entirely out of wood and metal, there isn't any room left for plastic, hence no creaking. The overall build is very snug as well, so there isn't anything to make any noise when the gun is moved around.

However, the trigger itself is set quite loose to where you could somewhat move the trigger around in a circular motion. It won't affect the general performance or function in any way, but can be annoying if you are the type sensitive to having too much play on the trigger. I didn't want to dig into the mechanics yet, so when I eventually do, I'll try see if this can be remedied.

(A) The trigger has quite a bit of play when ready to fire. It can also be pushed a bit to the left and right.

(B) The magazine release lever. You need to have the bolt open to get the magazine out freely.

Any potential problems I can see down the line?

The only problem I can really anticipate would be the magazine seal or the O-rings giving out. However, this is what I predicted with the revolvers, and even after extensive use, I have yet to encounter that problem.

Looks like Tanaka has finally swept the old reputation of having "leaky mags" right out the door...

Performance: The velocity varies quite a bit, unlike the revolvers which remain quite consistent. The average reading I get falls between 526 to 537 FPS with .29g Grandmaster BBs and green gas. This was taken mid-afternoon at aproximately 74 F and with relatively high humidity (normal Hawaiian temperature)

I was told to shave down the readings by 15fps to get the actual reading, which would be about 515 FPS. I'll post another update as my friend chronos his for comparison.

Poor man's chrono: Here is a "poor mans chrono" test from 6 inches away: A Maruzen .29g bb fully penetrated the top of the can, but didn't do anything to the bottom. Nevertheless, this rivals a modified 20' Digicon Target quite well. I'll even run a chrono test with RED gas later on to satisfy my curiousity...

The one used here is a Japanese green tea can, so I'll also try it again with a Coca~Cola type can later on.

PEGASUS gas system:

The PEGASUS system is the magazine itself. The picture above left shows the plunger. Its the T-shaped lever toward the right.
The fill valve requires no adaptor or extension. Simple enough to figure out ^_^

Luckily, the loading tool is useful this time. Hand loading the shots can be done without much problem, but the spring tension is quite firm, and doing so while holding the gun will make this an awkward task.

Unlike the "slow-loaders" that come with the revolvers, this one works very well, so the term "speed-loader" would be a fitting description. Just pour in the 10 bb to the line marked "10", and simply push them in. Also simple enough, and can be done with one hand. Be careful not to load 11 as it will easily load into the magazine with the use of the loader. If you over-load, you will no longer be able to cycle the first bb forward into the chamber.

Gas consumption is somewhat normal, you can get out about 25-30 shots per single charge. The magazine does tend to get very cold after cycling 10 shots in succession, so it would likely affect the velocity, but probably not by much. If you take your time between shots, this shouldn't really be of any concern.

The function of the bolt is to load the bb into the chamber and to set the striker in place. As soon as you flip up the bolt handle, the striker is cocked. You then can pull back the bolt as short as 3/4 inch to chamber the first bb. This allows for very fast cycle time, more than any other bolt action available now.

The bolt can be removed for maintenance simply by flipping the release lever shown in the above left picture. While holding the lever open, the bolt will easily pull through without any fidgeting at all.

The hole in the left picture is where the brass ring on the magazine meets. The gas initially flows through here, so it might be best to keep this part silicone greased, not lubed.

The Safety:

With safety latch up, the trigger is disengaged, but the bolt handle still can be moved.
If the latch is far right, then both the trigger and bolt handle is disengaged.


The hop-up screw is located on the bottom of the gun, right in front of the magazine well.

If you want the shots to be consistent, I suggest removing the screw and wrapping a generous amount of teflon tape around it to keep it tight.

Mod. 98 14015 and under it in smalll print, ASGK MFG Tanaka Works

Yes, there are Nazi logo's on the gun. One on the buttstock, and another on the top of the reciever. However, they are very small and hard to notice. I even had a hard time to just get these pictures focused.

Front sight is adjustable, and so is the rear. Both are very comfortable to use. Notice the rail right under the rear sight. This is where the scope and mount slips onto. The fit is snug and very simple to do. You only need to tighten one screw to secure it in place. You could also keep it loose since the mount has a quick detach lever, and must be depressed to allow you to slip off the mount. It wont be as secure though, so I recommend doing this only if you intend to use it around the house or whatnot.

Add-on: (Scope) At first, I didn't order the scope for the Kar98k for 2 reasons:

1.) I figured being a gas rifle, it wouldn't be consistent enough to warrent the use of a scope.
2.) 1.5x 15mm seemed to be too small to be of any use. I was also concerned about the eye relief since he scope would be fitted toward the center of the gun.

(Zielfernrohr means "scope" in German)

Well, the gun turned out to be fairly consistent, and started to look a bit "naked" without one. I figured if the scope is junk, I could always mount something else.

Well, turns out the eye relief is perfecty set for the Kar98k, and the view is crystal clear. The scope & mount comes assembled, and is very easy to mount on the gun.

You can still use the iron sights with the scope mounted, so this makes for very easy calibration.

Use of the scope is very comfortable, and a full face mask will not hinder your view in any way. The Zf41 also comes with plastic lens caps so I suggest you use them if you take this gun out on a skirmish.

The Zf41 is very nicely detailed and compliments the gun very well despite the overall size. However, the build quality is rather questionable. Consider this as an investment for only the mount, and think of the scope as a freebie...

The crosshair inside the scope is very poorly secured, and will turn on its own after a given amount of time. Good thing though, it can be remedied with minimal skill, so dont worry too much.

** Scope troubleshooting info will be updated later...

Add-on: (Sling) The primary reason why I ordered the sling is to just fill the gap in the stock. Its very simple to install and the instruction manual for the gun already has the directions. Even if you can't read Japanese, the pictures are pretty self explanitory.

It's pretty good quality leather, and I think it will start to look even better as it gets worn down. Be careful of the front loop as the bracket on the gun will tend to loosen if you put too much tension on it (ie: running with gun slung on your back) I doubt it will come off, but just something to watch out for.

And so? A worthy "sniper" rifle? Well, the hop-up is adjustable, and the power source is gas, so unfortunately, I would have to say "no." The "one shot one kill" motto is going to be a bit challenging to live up to if you are used to long distance kills.

Nevertheless, it will hold its own quite well, and will easily rival a gas powered APS2/M24. The accuracy and shot consistency as of now is very similar, if not a tad bit better.

However, keep in mind if you end up having a "sniper duel" against a gas powered APS2/M24, you'll be able to cycle 2-3 times quicker. But remember, the Kar98k only has a 10 shot capacity, which in turn means you could be out of ammo about 5-6 times faster...

Conclusion: If you intend to use this as a serious skirmishing piece, I suggest you get at least one spare magazine. With an extra one handy, you will be able to reload the other magazine without having to temporarily put your rifle out of play.

You'll be able to recycle each magazine about three times before running out of gas. This is about 60 shots per game if you have an extra magazine handy, so not really bad at all if you look at it this way.

I originally bought the Kar98k with no real intention of using it on the field, but actually quite the contrary now. The Kar98k delivers a level of overall performance and reliability more than I really expected. Add to that my strong interest in "vintage" style airsoft guns, I now have exactly what I've always wanted...

A sure winner for Tanaka Works. I'm very impressed and equally amazed at the overall product. More so since I was just expecting Tanaka to follow the now infamous Western Arms tradition; saturate the market with as many variations of the same handgun...

Tanaka Works is really going to have its work cut out for them for the future if it wishes to keep this level of quality. So far its smooth sailing, maybe with the success of the KAR98k magazine, they may jump back into the GBB market.

Who really knows though... but take a look at the model guns Tanaka makes. They currently have an interesting assortment of various WWII guns, one of which happens to be the Kar98k, and a few other variations of it.

Perhaps they may continue in the WWII genre? If so, I would love to see a Mosin Nagant M91/30... Now that would really make an "Enemy at the Gates" scenario quite interesting!

Site links:
Macki's Kar98k comparision review
- a comparision between the real steel and the Tanaka replica.

External Links:
http://888airsoft.homestead.com/ - 888's own homepage
Enemy at the Gates - IMDB's page for the Jean-Jacques Annaud film

Comment on this review in the forums

Last modified: Wednesday, May 9, 2001 9:37 AM Copyright 2001 ArniesAirsoft
Enemy at the Gates imagery © 2001 Paramount Pictures and MP Film Management DOS Productions GMBH & CO. KG, Swanford Films
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