Gun Digest

Reloading: The 8mm Mauser

Historical Notes:  The 8mm or 7.92 Mauser was the German military rifle cartridge through both world wars. It was officially adopted in 1888 with a bullet diameter of 0.318-inch. In 1905, the bullet diameter was increased to 0.323-inch. In Europe, the 8mm Mauser and several other 8mm cartridges are available in both sizes. The larger size is always designated as S or JS bore. In the United States, ammunition companies load only the .323-inch diameter or “S” bullet. The 8mm Mauser is widely chambered in European sporting rifles, but American gunmakers have not adopted it as a standard sporting caliber. The “J” or “I” in the name denotes infantry ammunition. The German capital “I” was mistaken for a capital “J” by U.S. military interpreters after World War I and the “J” misnomer came into common use here and even in Europe thereafter!

General Comments The 8mm Mauser had not been very popular in the United States prior to World War II. However, the large number of obsolete, surplus 8mm military rifles sold here since the end of the war has increased its use substantially. American cartridge companies only put out one loading; the 170-grain bullet at 2360 fps or so. As loaded by Norma and by other European companies, such as RWS, it is in the same class as our 30-06. It is adequate for any North American big game if the proper bullets and full loadings are used. A large variety of good .323-inch bullets is now available for the individual handloader, and this has increased the usefulness of the 8mm Mauser for the American shooter.

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