History was made when German arms makers Peter (Paul) Mauser and his older brother Wilhelm sold the Mauser Model 98, Gewehr (rifle) Model 1898 or Gew. 98, to the German Army in the spring of 1898. The culmination of years of Mauser innovation, the Mauser Model 1898 set the bar for successive bolt action rifles up to and including the best produced today.

The brothers Mauser, sons of gunsmith Franz Andreas Mauser, developed their first rifle, the Model 1871-an infantry weapon with a barrel length of over 33 inches.

An export version, the Model 71/84 features an eight-shot tubular magazine.

Exported Mausers included the '89 Belgian, '90 Turkish and the '91 Argentine, and in 1892, Mauser introduced their famous non-rotating claw extractor on the M92.

In 1893, design changes were introduced with the now-famous 7mm Mauser (a.k.a., Spanish Mauser). This bad boy has a staggered-column magazine (box) that held five, 7x57mm rounds. Successive models include the 94, 95 and Model 96 chambered for 6.5x55mm. And despite a brilliant career as rifle makers, Mauser dabbled with an abbreviated Broomhandle C1896, of which over a million units were sold.

But the brothers are best remembered for their Model 98.

Primarily, the Model 98 features an improved magazine and bolt action.

Its beefed up receiver is capable of coping with the increased pressure of its 7.92x57 cartridge-a spitzer round with enhanced accuracy and downrange wallop.

Rounds can be loaded singly or with a stripper clip into the five-round, two-row magazine. The magazine has a detachable floor plate, however, operators preferred to unload the weapon by operating the bolt with the middle-safe (the Model 98 features a 3-switch safety at the rear of the bolt) position engaged. The user-friendly, 3-positon safety was engaged by the shooter's right thumb (I guess Southpaws were just SOL).

The Model 98 has the Mauser 92's "claw extractor" controlling shell casings through their life cycle-from pulling a round from the magazine through extraction.

The 98 has a solid wood stock that runs almost the length of its 49 inches.

The barrel measures 29 inches, and a Mauser 98 weighs a hefty nine pounds.

In the world of rifles, the Mauser action has become synonymous with quality.