The Airsoft Kar98K Review: An In-Depth Look

So you’re one of those folks who are into Milsim, eh? You like your replica guns, the more accurate the better.

You spend countless hours on the Internet, finding scopes and accessories that match your gun’s aesthetics and the era, and if you can’t find one you get out your trusty can of spray paint and you go to work on that yourself.

If this sounds like you, today’s article is going to be a treat, and doubly so for those of you who are German military aficionados.

Today, we will be discussing gas-powered airsoft replicas of a famous piece of German technology and engineering, the Karabiner 98K, a gun which replaced the earlier Karabiner 98B in 1931.

What is the Kar98K?

KAR98K is actually an abbreviation for Karabiner 98 Kurz often known as the Carbine short, a bolt-action rifle chambered for the 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge.

It was adopted as the standard German service weapon on June 21, 1935.

This gun was one of the final developments in the long-running Mauser series of guns, and though supplemented by automatic and semi-automatic rifles during the war, it still remained the primary service weapon for the Germans till the end of the war.

At the end of World War II, millions of these rifles were captured by the Soviet Union and widely distributed as military aid.

For this reason, you can still find these guns in conflict today, as they are removed from storage during troubled times.

The KAR98K was derived from earlier rifles, namely the Mauser standard model and the Karabiner 98B, which had both been developed from the Gewehr 98.

The 98K was shorter than the earlier 98B, causing it to be dubbed the Karabiner 98 Kurz, or 98 Short.

This rifle, much like its predecessors, was known for its accuracy, reliability, and for having an effective firing range of 500 meters with iron sights and up to 1,000 meters with an 8× Telescopic sight.

Features

The Kar98K has several features that differentiate it from its predecessors, and the airsoft replicas capture these changes.

Bolt handle

On the Gewehr 98, the bolt handle was straight. This created several problems. It slowed down the operation of the bolt and made mounting optic sites above the receiver impossible.

The KAR98K fixed this problem by having a turned-down bolt handle instead of a straight one.

Sights

The KAR98K also had different sights than its predecessors. The impractical “rollercoaster” rear sights of the Mauser Gewehr were replaced with a conventional tangent leaf sight.

This sight was also flattered and did not obstruct your view while aiming as other sights would.

Stocks

Early Kar98K stocks were made of one piece of wood, usually walnut or oak.

However, it was quickly found that these stocks could warp, and they were replaced by plywood laminates in walnut and beech with elm being used as well but in smaller quantities.

Due to their dense composition, the plywood laminate stocks were heavier than their one-piece counterparts, but they were also much cheaper.

If you want a Kar98K replica that is as true to life as possible, it is important to make sure you find one with a wood stock.

Which KAR98K is Best?

When looking at the Kar98K replicas out there, you might find yourself confused. After all, they all look similar.

However, don’t let looks fool you. Some of these companies make better quality airsoft weapons than the others. That is why we are here, weeding out the good from the bad.

The three companies which make KAR98K replicas are G&G, PPS and Tanaka. Of all of these, the PPS is a clone of the Tanaka.

However, the Tanaka is much, much more expensive. For this reason, we will be comparing the PPS and G&G models.

G&G G980

We will start with the G&G G980. After all, it comes first in alphabetical order.

First Impressions

When you open the box for this rifle, the smell of the real wood stock rises out, filling you with warm fuzzies. That’s right.

This weapon has all-wood furniture and metal externals, meaning that it will feel exactly like the real thing.

Quality

The quality on this gun is stunning. Every detail that you would expect to be there definitely is.

Even more importantly, there’s no wobbling or looseness in the gun, except the bolt and the faux cleaning rod. When you cock the bolt back, it sounds exactly as if you chambered a round.

Accessories

This piece of art comes with two magazines of 500 .3 G&G pellets, as well as a really nice leather sling.

Hop-up

The hop-up for this gun is located in the base of the weapon. To use it, push on one side and a dial pops out of the other.

However, this hop-up cannot be turned by hand. You’ll need a small tool to turn it and you have to unscrew it slightly before you try to dial in.

Shooting

The gun shoots amazingly. However, loading it is a pain. Your loading nozzle is an Alan key that you screw into the magazine.

This gun’s accuracy is astounding, and the gun will shoot at about 500 FPS.

The Bottom Line

This gun has several pros. Firstly, the externals are amazing. The gun features real wood and metal, and looks exactly like a real gun.

Secondly, it’s magazine-fed. No need to buy shells as this one won’t use them.

Third, you get a gorgeous leather sling included with this weapon, though we will note that it is kind of tricky to get on at first until you get the hang of it.

Fourth, there’re Nazi trademarks behind the site. This one can be both a pro and a con, depending on your preferences, so it’s in both places.

Fifth, the bolt travels really well. When you cock it it sounds like you chambered a real round.

Finally, this gun is CO2 powered. This means that a pellet shot from it will be able to fly much farther than a pellet from a green gas-powered weapon.

Cons

The first thing you need to be aware of is that the standard CO2 size is 12G. This gun, unfortunately does not take that size cartridge. Instead, you have to fiddle about online looking for 8G cartridges.

Secondly, the weight can be a little rough for soe people. This is a heavy gun, so it may get quite tiring if you’re carrying it around on a field for hours.

Thirdly, the hop-up system is terrible. If you can get it dialed in, never ever adjust it. It isn’t worth the pain it’s going to cause you.

The final con is the Nazi trademarks. Considering recent events, Nazi trademarks might not be something you would want on your gun.

PPS

Now that we have reviewed the G&G G980, it is time to review the Kar98K from PPS.

Packaging

The gun comes in a very bare-bones package. In fact, the only accessories that come with this gun are a manual and an extra magazine.

There is no leather sling with this gun. The manual is very detailed, and features amazing operating instructions and a detailed diagram of the gun’s specs.

This package is also available with an optional CO2 magazine. This gun, like the G&G model, uses 8G CO2.

The packaging on this gun was amazing. It came with a dense foam inner liner, which protected it very nicely. There wasn’t even a scratch on our gun.

The Basics

The KAR98K is a gas-powered, bolt-action rifle. To make it look as real as possible, they used all metal on the barrel and other components and fitted it into a real German beechwood stock.

Like the Tanaka and G&G models, the gun uses a gas and mag system, the same one as Tanaka does, in fact. This means you have some aftermarket compatibility if something breaks.

The downside to the basics of this gun for some people will be that it isn’t a true sniper rifle, though PPS is apparently working on a period-accurate scope mounting system for a later release.

However, if you aren’t looking to be a sniper, this rifle is perfect. It also looks like the real gun, making it an excellent piece of equipment for those of you who are into World War II milsim or reenactments.

However, there is a safety note. This is a high-powered replica. Minimum engagement distances should always be taken into account.

The Bolt and Trigger

This gun, just like its real-world counterpart, features a metal, bolt-action receiver. You can remove the bolt from the gun using the locking lever. This lever is located on the left side.

The safety switch can be found at the rear of the bolt, and be warned. It’s stiff. You can only manipulate it when the bolt’s cocked.

Controls

The controls on this replica are actually very basic. The trigger is very crisp, light and short, though not short enough to go off on its own. The bolt handle is turned down, again just like the real gun.

It took us a little while to find the magazine release, though it is there. It just happens to be hidden, a bit like the safety latch was.

Turns out, the magazine release is inside the trigger guard. You push it forward while the bolt is cocked back to release the magazine.

Hand Guard

The gun’s hand guard provides a nice, wide place for your hand to rest, increasing the comfort. However, there’re not reference spots on the gun for your support hand.

At the front of the hand guard, the Kar98K has a sling mount, allowing you to attach any sling you might have.

Barrel

This gun’s barrel is attached firmly. There is no wobble. However, the lower section does wobble some. There is no threading for accessories, which is a definite con.

Aiming

The Kar98K is aimed by adjusting the iron sights. The rear sight is also adjustable for elevation by raising or lowering the sight.

There is a hood over the front sight for protection, but this is removable, allowing you to adjust the front sight via the flat-head screw.

Magazine

The included magazine with this replica is a good-sized one. It holds both your gas and pellets, and can hold up to ten rounds comfortably, and you get about forty shots per gas fill.

A definite pro for this unit is the fact that the gas fill valve is on the top of the magazine. You won’t have to worry about dirt or grit getting inside.

How Does It Perform?

The short answer to this question is “Absolutely amazing!” This is a gun that consistently got ranges of around 470 FPS at the low end, until the last ten shots of the gas fill.

Furthermore, it can take some pretty heavy ammo and still get a pellet into a torso-sized target from 200 feet away. That’s pretty impressive for a gun straight out of the box.

Since the gun is bolt-action, you really don’t have to worry about cool down times much. After all, it’s difficult to fire too rapidly with a bolt-action gun.

Hop-Up

The hop-up adjuster is located on the bottom of the gun, and you can adjust it with a flat-head screw driver. It’s all blissfully simple. No worries about breaking your adjustment knobs with this gun.

Pros

Firstly, this gun is much more affordable than the other shell-fed options, which is great if you don’t have a lot of money to pour into it.

Secondly, the barrel and receiver are all metal. PPS did not skimp on quality here. The stock is also made of real German beech wood.

Thirdly, the gas and mag system is efficient and consistent. Prepare to get consistent shot ranges.

Fourthly, this gun is incredibly accurate for one which came straight out of the box. The short, light bolt pull means that you can get off shots quickly, as well.

Cons

There are, sadly some cons to this rifle.

Firstly, it shoots too hot for some fields at almost 500 FPS, so before you use it, be sure to check your field’s allowances if you don’t know them already.

Secondly, the cleaning rod assembly is just for show and wobbles a lot.

Thirdly, that safety switch is pretty stiff. It isn’t easy to operate at all.

Finally, the magazine capacity is a little bit low. It’s still better than the real gun, but it could be better.

Overall this is an amazing gun. It is one that we would happily recommend.

 


If you are into World War II milsim, then you need a proper rifle, and what would work better than a replica of a Karabiner 98 Kurz?

No matter what sort of game you’re playing, this rifle will be the perfect companion and the perfect weapon for you, and now that you’ve read this article, you will know how to find the absolute best.

 

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