Wwii Reproductions Abound

Numrich's Zf41 scope & Accumounts' base

Zf41 Scope Mount

For several years I've been working at assembling a variety of World War II sniper rifles, and so far original American, British, Soviet and Japanese versions have fallen into my hands. The stumbling block has been German ones. Authentic German sniper rifles bring amazingly hefty prices and, besides, fakes are in abundance. Even so I was able to obtain one with reasonable bona fides. Well, sort of: said not due to its authenticity but whether it was actually a "sniper rifle."

That's because it is a K98k 8mm mounted with their little Zf41 1.5X telescope set atop the open rear sight. (A "scout rifle" that predated their debut in America by about 50 years.) The German military did not intend for this rifle/scope arrangement to be an actual "sniper rifle." It was meant to be issued one per squad to above average marksmen for more precise shooting than possible with open sights. Regardless of what was meant, it was actually pressed into service with Wehrmacht snipers, hence my "sort of."

My rifle/scope combination is "reasonably authentic" because both items' serial numbers with manufacturers' codes are shown in photos in Phillip D. Law's book Backbone Of The Wehrmacht Volume II: Sniper Variations Of The German K98k Rifle. That was the good news. The bad news was the scope is cloudy, a fact I knew upon buying it in 2006. My intention was to have someone clean it, which has not come to pass. Therefore, until recently this otherwise very nice rifle sat, mostly unfired, in my vault.

Browsing an Internet firearms auction site, I became excited upon discovering Numrich Gun Parts Corporation is selling reproduction Zf41 scopes. Their photos looked nice and the price of $350, while not cheap was not unreasonable especially since I hate having rifles sitting about unused. I ordered one and indeed it is nice. There are no maker's markings. Surely they're being made offshore: my guess is most likely in Eastern Europe. Again there's good news and bad news. The good news is the scope has great optics. The bad is it didn't fit in my original Zf41 scope mount. The scope has a "waist" that sets into a corresponding recess in the mount, and it didn't by a tiny fraction. The mount could have been filed but that's not going to happen with it being original and fitting the original scope perfectly.

In for a penny in for a pound: so back to the Internet. It is amazing how much WWII equipment is being reproduced and I was happy to find Zf41 mounts are too. They are available at $249 from Accumounts and the new scope did fit in them perfectly. Accumounts' Zf41 set up comes with an adaptor base so it can fit on regular K98k rear sights (and several other '98 Mausers) without gunsmithing or any permanent alteration. I didn't need that as my rifle's Zf41 base mated with the Accumounts' rings perfectly.

Here we go again. That was the good news. The bad news is Zf41 scopes are difficult to adjust. Instead of the reticle moving up and down and right and left as we modern shooters are used to, the Zf41's move on eccentrics. To move it a lock ring on the fore-end of the scope is loosened. That allows interior rotating drums to move. There are holes exposed in slots atop the scope and correct size plugs are supposed to be inserted into the holes so they can be rotated. Numrich also sells an adjustment kit and translation of the original German manual for this scope at nominal cost. I highly recommend them.

Tough Adjustments

To give a word about the difficulty in adjusting a Zf41 scope precisely, Law's book says the Wehrmacht's instruction to troops issued K98k rifles with Zf41 scopes was not to mess with them. Only "technical sergeants" were to adjust them using a special kit including a magnifying lens mounted to the fore-end of the scope in the process. The problem mi

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