.308 Winchester case and the 8mm X 56R Austrian Hungarian Mannlicher Vs 8mm X 50R Austrian Mannlicher

My father was a dedicated .308 Winchester shooter. As a youngster we would lie on the floor with the 1st edition COW, Fred Datig and Charles Logan and discuss cartridges.
Dad would often stand the 8mm X 50R Austrian Mannlicher up beside a .300 Savage and a .308 Winchester and speculate on the origin of the .308.
Popular discussion with one of my Hunting Uncles, a fan of the .300 Savage, was the thought the .300 Savage could have been used, as-is, for the new military cartridge.
The military studied all manner of cartridges and made several trial cartridges prior to settling on the .308/7.62 X 51mm.
The similarities between the 8mm X 50R, the 7.62 X 51mm, 8mm X 56R and even the 8mm X 52R Siamese Type 66 make for interesting speculation.
300 Savage, 8mm X 50R, .308 Winchester


8mm X 56R headstamp

Howdy William
In the bible: History of Modern US Military Small Arms Ammunition by Hackley, F., Woodin, W., & Scranton, E.L. a modified .300 Savage was the parent case for the .308 Win. / 7.62x51 NATO

YES,in the search for a case with the potential to replace the .30 -06, the .300 Savage was selected as a starting point, as it had the same head diameter; the Savage was a 7,62x47 ; the 30 cal a 7,62x63.
By experimentation they arrived at 7,62x51 ( at the same time, Britain and FN also trailed a 7mm cartridge of similar dimensions, but circumstances forced them firstly to adopt the .30 cal case Head diameter, then eventually the 30 cal. bullet ( 7,62).
The mention of the 8x50R and the 8x56R is a non-sequitur…ie, ofno comparison. The 8x56R was developed as a MG cartridge in the late 1920s, to improve the performance of the M93 Round nose cylindrical 8x50R cartridge, without having to adopt a new Rifle design from the M95 Mannlicher, or M1907/12 Schwarzelose MG…needing only a Barrel rechamber and sights adjustment. ( 8mm"S" M30):
Bullet was changed from.324" RN to .329" Spitzer- Boattail…the increase on Diameter was to accomodate the Original Barrel Rifling Grooves of .329" to .330"…
The smaller diameter RN worked on “Base Upset Obturation” to seal the Rifling on firing, but with reduced fouling and friction and pressure ( long cylindrical bearing surface; the M30 projectile was lighter ( 207grn vs 244grn), and Boattails don’t Base Upset…also the shortened bearing surface also lowered metal fouling etc.
The case was simply lengthened to allow for a heavier powder charge (lighter bullet, higher
velocity) and also for the longer reamer to cleanup any neck and throat erosion from the M93 Cartridge.
Any Barrels too eroded were replaced.
Also to note that whilst the 7,62x51, the 8x50R, and the 8x56R
All have similar Head to Shoulder Lengths, their case capacities and Head diameters are Widely Different…470" for 7,62; .488-.490" for both the 8x50R and the 8x56R.
Also, the Powders used are also different, both Chemically and Physically.
Doc AV

I appreciate the answers. Everything I have read indicates the .300 Savage was the starting point.
What I intended to put across was the similarity of case neck length and over basic appearance. The cartridges have a similar look to the finished .308.
Its easy to picture a wildcatter taking a look at the cartridges and saying to himself: If I pushed the shoulder forward and blew the case out a bit…

It just seemed like the Army would have looked around at short necked cartridges to see what had worked. If they did there would have been some discussion somewhere.

At the time the 7.62 NATO cartridge was being developed, tested, early issues etc., there were volumes of information written on it - some accurate, and as always, a certain percentage that had errors. Some of it was controversial, as there were some very unhappy feelings in Europe within some countries, since the 7.62 x 51 cartridge was kind of forced on the NATO countries by the US. Those feelings came back again when the US, after pressuring NATO to accept the 7.62, largely changed over to the 5.56 mm NATO (.223 Remington). A long store that has been discussed to death over the years.

John Moss

I have read quite a bit about the development of the .308/7.62 cartridge and its rifles.
The thread on the Indian 7.62 ammunition had me wondering about the early thinking which led to the .308/7.62 cartridge.
Guns Magazine in the 1950’s was pretty fair in the discussion of the U.S. and European thoughts on a rifle and cartridge for NATO. Julian Hatcher in his 1962 Third Edition of Hatchers Note Book writes at least a brief overview.
One of the shortest but still interesting overviews of the problems between the U. S. and the rest of NATO was penned by Joseph W. Shields Jr. in his book From Flintlock to M-1. Shields describes his first encounter with a shortened cartridge case headstamped FA 48 and a shorter case headtsamped RG 49 280/30. This at Fort Benning in July of 1950.
There is a lot of testing and comparison of cartridges and the rifles that shoot them. Reading some of the backstory is interesting.