One of the special treats of getting to present for RWTV is having access to some really cool rifles from the huge catalog of airsoft guns found on our online store. Some of my personal favorites that are not so often carried by many other retailers are classic guns. Tanaka Works is a manufacture based in Japan that is usually more common here in Asia but more rare in the US and Europe for two main reasons. 1., they are usually rather expensive and more designed for collectors, and 2. they are usually limited with their production and very often there aren’t enough to go around anyways. What this means is most of these guns find homes in Japan or throughout Asia. Historically Japan has long had a love for German small arms so when it comes to making replicas of German classics like this one, they really go all in. While I love the AR/M4 platform, EVERYONE and their grandmother and their dog has seen on or knows about them, this old classic is a breath of fresh air.
For the most part, many of these classic rifles I have reviewed are bolt action such as the Mosin and they were either powered by gas or just used regular springs. Tanaka’s system is particularly noteworthy because the system offered has easy power upgrade potential compared to some of the other manufacturers (not named Tokyo Marui).
The Kar 98k is a German WWII era bolt action rifle that started its life in 1935 and some places are still using this gun in all be it limited roles. Much like its other contemporary partners such as the Lee Enfield series and the offerings from he US, the gun’s body is made from wood and was top loaded. The airsoft version here from Tanaka is an extremely well made, faithful replica of the real steel version. Like its real steel counter part this rifle is made from real wood, weathered in the right color and grain. In our current age of milled, billet, stamped, forged EVERYTHING there is something earthy and organic about having a wooden rifle that makes you feel good. And because it’s real wood with natural grain pattern, no two rifles will be exactly the same.
The gun works like a standard bolt action rifle where you lift the lever, pull the bolt back, and push the bolt back forward to chamber the round. On this note, this bolt is incredibly smooth to the point where its going to give the VSR 10 or Silverback SRS a run for its money. The travel feels like its short stroked but its is a full travel pull. The bolt is also relatively light, allowing you to shoot faster than most bolt rifles. The most important parts of any bolt action rifle is how smooth the pull of the bolt is going to be and how consistent the gun will shoot.
The rear sight of the gun is adjustable and you can easily align it with the front sight which is hooded to help you with focusing. While we are on the subject of the sights, you might want to adjust your hop up while you dial in your sights, you can easily adjust it by lifting the rear sight you will conveniently find the hop up adjustment lever under it. With each gun you will get a magazine that houses 24rds with is twice the capacity of the Mosin, almost 3 times the capacity the G&G G980 C02 version and almost 5 times that of the the G&G G980 SE (shell ejecting) version. More fire power is always a bonus.
Over all the feeling of the gun is what you would expect a classic rifle to feel like. The gun has a good amount of weight to it as any wood body rifle would. The weight should not hamper the shooting experience but you will need time to adjust to how the sights are placed, takes a bit of time to get use to them but they are easy to align. The front sight being hooded really does help direct your eyes to the front sight post and for the first few times that might actually help act as a reference point for you to line up your rear sight as well. The shooting experience is enhanced by its buttery smooth action and I really cannot stress how much of a distraction or detraction a poor action could be to a gun, no matter it be real steel or in our case airsoft. The trigger breaks quite well and is not very heavy as you would expect and virtually has not take up after the gun is ready to shoot.
The one thing I made mention to about the gun is just how rich and exquisite the wood is. Its almost a little too perfect and that is something (personally) more of a distraction. While there does feel like there is a small mount of weathering, there is no where near the proper amount necessary to really turn this rifle into a head turner. Some simple techniques to help with some weathering is some basic oils, fine and coarse grain sandpaper, and some varnish remover. Some places that I would highly recommend that some weathering be done is around the grip area, cheek well, and handguard (where your hand would naturally be placed). With the sandpaper, I would recommend that you can use the find grain paper to take a bit of the shine off the metal rings holding the gun together and with the coarse grain paper you can use it on some of the larger controls such as the charging handle, barrel, chamber, etc. The gun already looks great and just with a little bit of weathering you can transform this gun into something you can proudly hang on a wall as a display piece.
Upon chrono-ing the gun we found that the gun was extremely consistent with a deviation of no more than 3-4FPS at best. With this consistent FPS, that means you will get much better groups and consistent shooting down range at targets.
The Tanaka Kar 98K is a fantastic rifle and you are getting great quality out of it. While you might not have the FPS and if you are going to take it to games, this is going to be an issue because you are going to get outshot by other rifles other wise powered by Co2 or just has a stronger spring. But while you do have a lower power trade off, you have much more ammo in your magazine which means if you choose your engagements wisely, you could potentially have the upper hand! (if you are looking to skirmish with it). At the end of the day, the person buying this rifle is most likely a collector and this rifle may see more action at home than on the field, unless it’s a re-enactor’s field!
There’s been a lot of debate about whether classic guns like these have a place in the game field, when frankly you can achieve the same performance (or even better) with a VSR-10 that’s about ¼ of the price? I’d like to hear what you guys think so please give me your views in the comments section below. If you are interested to learn more about his rifle on our online store you can own HERE!