Home Reviews Tanaka Kar98k TANAKA Karabiner 98k Review

TANAKA Karabiner 98k Review

by Arnie

Karabiner 98k

(1943 Karabiner 98k)


Karabiner 98k
fps w/ .29g
Length: 1100mm
Inner Barrel: 577mm




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.

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.

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…

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.

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.

gas system:

PEGASUS system is the magazine itself. The picture above left shows
the plunger. Its the T-shaped lever toward the right.
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.


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

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.

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.

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.

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…

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!

Macki’s Kar98k comparision review

– a comparision between the real steel and the Tanaka replica.

– 888’s own homepage
Enemy at
the Gates
– IMDB’s page for the Jean-Jacques Annaud film

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
Limited and Little Bird Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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