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Model of 1938

The Model of 1938 isn't really a single model, but rather a common set of features. This designation isn't even one that the Turks used, rather it is a designation that U.S. importers have made up. There is the assumption that the Turks took whatever rifles they had and did their best to convert them to the Model of 1938 design. Most common among the rifles called Model 1938 are the K.Kale marked rifles and the Gew.98 conversions. Sometimes the importers even marked converted 1893 and 1903 rifles on the barrels with Model of 1938.

K.Kale marked rifles

It appears that the vast majority of receivers marked with K. Kale are new receivers, probably made in Turkey, clearly some have been manufactured elsewhere and are simply rebuilds. Most K.Kale marked receivers that are obviously rebuilds are from 1940. The only certain way to tell the difference is to look at the receiver face to see if there are old marking underneath the new Turkish marks. If you strip down the action, you can also check the barrel size. Receivers made specifically for Turkey are going to have small shank barrels even when they have the large ring of the 98 series (LRSSM). 

You'll also find that the K.Kale marked receivers will not have a matching numbered barrel. It seems that the barrels were taken off  some other small shank Mausers and assembled on the new receivers. Or, is it possible that they were mismatched on purpose? Again, it isn't clear how this all happened and the Turks have been rather secretive about it.

K. Kale stands for Kirikkale Tufek Fabrikast. This was a state run rifle factor east of Ankara. Other abbreviations or markings that you may see are T.C, Turkiye Cumhuriyeti or Republic of Turkey; .ASFA., Askari Fabrika or Military Factory, ANK ARA or Ankara, and ATF, Ankara Tufek Fabrikast.

T.C Turkiye Cumhuriyeti Republic of Turkey
ASFA Askari Fabrika Military Factory
ANK ARA Ankara Ankara (City)
K. Kale Kirikkale Tufek Fabrikast Kirikkale Rifle Factory
ATF Ankara Tufek Fabrikast Ankara Rifle Factory

The most common receiver markings for M1938 receivers is T.C., ASFA, Ankara,. This basically means, Republic of Turkey, Ankara Military Rifle Factory. Again, any rifle could have these markings although the K.Kale will usually indicate a receiver that was made at Kirikkale. And ATF will indicate a Gew.98 conversion. Most Kirikkale marked rifles have a "B" mark on them, on various parts and under the receiver; rarely some stocks also have "ATF" and "B" on them.

Receiver Face Receiver Bottom - Z Marked? Bayonet
K.Kale Receiver Z - Marked Receiver Turk Bayonet

K.Kale Serial Number Survey Data

This data is a consolidation of what is on the serial number page. For the most part, the serial numbers are continuous and do not overlap from one year to the next, but there are always exceptions.

High serial numbers by year for K'Kale marked rifles:

1939 from ? to ?: too few data points.

1940 0 to 40136: approximately 40,000 rifles.

1941 to 66952: 26,000 rifles.

1942 to 113321: 53,000 rifles.

1943 to 150354: 36,000 rifles.

1944 to 199454: 49,000 rifles.

1945 to 221343: 21,000 rifles.

1946 to 239120: 17,000 rifles.

Approximately 250,000 K'Kale marked rifles were produced from 1940 to 1946, if one includes the 1944-46 run of K'Kale marked short rifles in the total. I have seen an example of a K'Kale marked rifle that was clearly dated 1939 and had a serial number with 4 digits. I'm not sure if these 1939 rifles are random serial numbers on recycled recievers or a valid range of serial numbers that was reset in 1940.

The Turks, although neutral, were courted by both the Axis and the Allies. Turkey staunchly maintained her neutrality to the end of the war, giving haven to Germans escaping the Soviet juggernaut in Bulgaria and Romania in 1944, and from the Allies in Greece in 1944-45. Of course, any surrendered Kar. 98K's and other equipment were immediately absorbed by the Turkish Army.