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Tanaka Kar98 Review

The Karabiner 98k "Mauser" (often abbreviated "K98k" or "Kar98k") was adopted in the mid 1930s and would be the most common infantry rifle in service within the German Army during World War II. The design was based on developed from the Karabiner 98b, one of carbines developed from the Model 1898 mentioned before. The K98k was first adopted by the Wehrmacht in 1935 to be the standard rifle, with many older versions being converted and shortened as well as the design itself entering production. Made by Gewehren Begrenzt.

In the name K98k, the first "K" stands for karabiner (carbine) and the second "k" for kurz (short). The "98" is derived from the earlier rifle's year of adoption (1898), though the carbine itself was adopted in 1935. The K98k is often confused as being the earlier Model 98 design; however, there are notable differences between them. The easiest to spot are its shorter length, and bent, rather than straight bolt handle. Less obvious are that it has different, simpler sights, and that is was a "universal rifle" for all parts of the Heer rather than having both Carbine and full length versions.

Being a big fan of WW2 movies and video games, I couldn't help but fall in love with all kinds of weapons from that time, the M1 Garand, the Kar98, the Thompson, the Bar, the MP40 and many other classics. I always wanted to own a replica of the Kar98 and the M1 but I could only find 8mm versions. 99% of airsoft guns use 6mm BBs, so I waited and waited and, yes, waited a looong time for a 6mm version.

During our trip to Hong Kong, we visited a few well known airsoft stores and in one of them, Guns 'n' Guys, I saw two Kar98k's on display, a normal and a trooper version. As soon as I found out they were both made by Tanaka and that their caliber was 6mm, I knew I had to buy one ASAP! And so I did!

The Rifle

The rifle is beautiful. I can't describe the feeling of holding a WWII rifle replica. Whoever had the chance of shooting with a M1 Garand back in the army knows what I am talking about. The body is 100% metal and the stock is made of wood. Included in the box are the gun, a mag, the manual, a bag of BBs (about 200) and a BB loader. The leather sling and the scope mount are sold separately. What's cool is that you can buy the original sling and probably a scope from ebay but you have to be either rich or crazy to be able to afford the money for them, especially for the original Kar98k scope.

If you though it was electric, you are wrong. It is gas operated, meaning no batteries, no mechbox, no upgrades. That's not as bad as it sounds though because we are talking about a WWII replica here, which even replicates the way the gun shoots! The original Kar98k would accept 5 bolt magazines but it's airsoft cousin's mag can load 10 BBs, and that's the only difference from the original gun. The rest are identical. You pull the cocking lever, you push it back in place, you aim, shoot and off you go again! That's arm, shoot and pray that you hit the target or you're toast because for those who haven't understand yet, you have to arm again after each shot, just like the good old WWII original. Thankfully, the mag can hold enough gas for maximum performance from the first shot until the last. In most airsoft gas operated guns, the mag can hold enough gas for just as many BBs as it can hold, meaning in drop of FPS performance after each shot due to gas pressure. The Tanaka Kar98k, has 350 FPS on every shot! Add a scope and you have a great sniper rifle! Oh yeah babe!

Details, details! Not many but they are there. The aiming distance selector is numbered from 1 to 18 but I still haven't figured out what the numbers mean. Yards? Feet? Meters? I only know that the original Kar98k had an effective range of about 700 metres, but when fitted with a high-quality scope, its range would increase to 1,000 metres. Hmm.

On the left side of the gun, just before the aiming selector, the Kar98 logo and a serial number can be found but I don't know if that number is unique on each Tanaka Kar98k. Also, the words "ASGK MFG TANAKA WORKS" can be seen under the serial number.

The Action
Step 1:

Take the gun
Step 2:

Pull the level up
Step 3:

Pull back
Step 4:

Insert mag
Step 5:

Push up and lock
Step 6:

Check how tight in place everything is. Nice eh?
Step 7:

Now that we're ready, push the lever forward
Step 8:

...and then down and lock
Step 9:

Aim, shoot and repeat.

The Magazines

Like I mentioned earlier, the mag can hold 10 BBs, while the original gun could hold 5 shots. Like all gas operating guns, you can shoot all 10 BBs, unlike AEGs where 3-4 BBs always remain in the mag because of the gap between the mag and the feeding mechanism.

The mag is quite heavy and can withstand an accidental drop on the ground (I am talking based on personal experience! …oops?). Here you can see 6 BBs loaded on one of the mags. The gas is inserted at the rear valve (white arrow) and before storing the mags, it is advised to remove the gas from the mag by inserting a pointy item (e.g. screw driver) in the hole on the front side (yellow arrow). This goes for all gas magazines, regardless the type of gun. Removing the gas is part of the mag's maintenance.


If you are a WWII history enthusiast and an airsoft fan, then this replica must definitely be part of your collection.

Personally, I won't be using this gun on games, and I'll keep it only for display… unless my sniper instinct awakes one day… muahahahaha! Take care!


This review was brought to you by one of our forum moderators, BoBKiD (aka Sneaky Bastard).

June 15, 2007. Athens, Greece.


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