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Review

Kar98K Sporter - a peek
  • Manufacturer 
     Marushin
  • Model 
     Kar98K Sporter
  • Capacity 
     5
  • Weight 
     2700 g
  • Power 
     290 fps (0.34g)
  • Power Source 
     HFC134a
  • Blowback 
     None
  • Hop-up 
     Adjustable LD-2
  • Shooting Mode 
     Manual action
  • Construction 
     Real wood, aluminum, ABS

Pros

+Highly realistic construction and action
+Beautiful finish
+Decent power out of the box
+Ejecting shells
 

Cons

-Small capacity
-Niche 8mm caliber
-Ejecting shells
 

Verdict

A very realistic Kar98k-based rifle for a unique look and unsurpassed realism. Loading this rifle with stripper clips and cycling the action to load the shells is an experience way above any electric sewing machine!

 

A GERMAN RIFLE

If you thought that the Kar98 from the year '98 turns 10 years old, you were mistaken by a hundred years. When this rifle was adopted, it was considered a short rifle, hence the name Karabiner, which is obviously German for Carbine. The Kar98k (for Kurz) model was shortened further for the use of the Wehrmacht in 1935, but even with this chopmod it was still 1110 mm long. With its 600mm (~24") barrel it would be a sniper rifle by today's standards. The Kar98k had a small magazine capacity of five, but overlooking the infantryman's firepower was balanced by the effective use of machineguns at squad level.

The designers at Mauser really hit the nail on the head with their original design, because the Mauser action is a very widespread norm among rifle manufacturers all over the world from Europe to Asia and the United States. One could say it is to bolt action rifles what Browning's short barrel recoil is to self-loading pistols. In this light it is not surprising that it has spawned many sporting and hunting variants, more or less based on the very same action from the times of the German Empire.

GAS OPERATED, SHELL EJECTING

The most intriquing feature of the Marushin Kar98k series is the operation, which is clearly more realistic than any APS or VSR, and even a notch higher compared to the Tanaka and STAR rifles. Gas is loaded into a surprisingly large gas tank hidden within the bolt, and the BBs are loaded in the brass casings. The ammo can be loaded into the magazine of the rifle one by one, or with the help of a clip if you're in a hurry and need the convenience. Spare shells are available, and they can be carried in WWII-era pouches! One gas charge is enough for dozens and dozens of shots, so you'll be reloading the rifle quite a few times before you have to wake up from the immersion in the game, and grab the gas bottle.

It is an entirely different feeling to play with a bolt-action rifle of this type, compared to the hassle-free electric guns or even the more demanding bolt action rifles, which only let you shoot one BB at the time. It is certainly not easy, but the feeling you get when you grip this rifle in your hands with only four rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber is like stepping into a time-machine. The rush from dropping an opponent is on a different level entirely!

When the included scope mount is attached, gas can still be easily charged from the side.
The scope mount blocks the stripper clip, but the large shells are easy to handle even when separated.
Here you can see ammo pressed from a clip into a magazine. "Clip" is often incorrectly used when talking about a magazine.

Cycling the Marushin Kar98k requires a swift and decisive loading action, but with the right touch it doesn't tackle - and will smoothen out in a short time when you use it. It shoots the BB quite accurately, and the first stage of acceleration happens already within the shell. The barrel has two hop-up nubs to provide enough backspin for the heavy BB.

The power out of the box is a decent 290 fps with HFC134a and 0.34g BBs, which means 1.32 joules of energy, and equals almost 380 fps in "0.2g world". These figures are still perfectly legal even in Japan, because 8mm Airsoft models are excempt from the strict 0.98 Joule limit, and have to be below 1.64 joules instead. Using Top Gas boosts the energy to 1.92 joules, which equals the energy of a 0.2g BB traveling over 450 fps! However, the high pressure gas requires you to block a dump valve next to the fill valve. As a disclaimer, we can't recommend you to try this on your own.

The front of the hole looks intimidating compared to the regular 6mm size.
The engravings are deep and very carefully made, and the real wood grain is without comparison in Airsoft.

With gas blowbacks becoming more and more popular, there is a natural drive to make manual action weapons more appealing somehow. Blowback would be difficult to execute for these, but the use of shells is something gas blowbacks can't offer in a sensible manner. We've already seen the Tanaka shotguns (not to forget the Airsoft Surgeon Slugshot and Buckshot!), Tanaka just released a gas-in-the-shells version of their famous M500 with the SAA next in line, so the bolt action rifles deserve some attention as well.

To be honest, shell ejecting models are not for everybody. With a capacity of five and a virtual "must" to catch the shells, it takes a lot of skill and the right mindset to use these weapons in the field. If you're man enough to take on the challenge, it is not unheard of to see these in action in the skirmish fields, but for the rest of us they are still great fun for plinking!

Stainless model with urethane stock: [MS-CR-KAR98KSVSPORT]

Black model with real wood stock: [MS-CR-KAR98KSPORT]

Spare shells: [MRZ-KAR98K8-SHELL]