6.8mm Chinese Mauser by Winchester


#1

On another Forum a question was aksed about 6.8mm cartridges prior to the introduction of the 270 Winchester. Both Tailgunner Bob and I were vaguely aware of the 6.8 x57 so called “Chinese Mausers” but did not have any details on Winchester possibly making contract ammo in the early 1900s.

Anybody out there know anything about this?

Ray


#2

The round is mentioned in Vol 2 of Fred Datigs books.

DWM case number 511-A


#3

Armourer

I don’t have the book. Is anything said about Winchester making ammunition in that caliber prior to their introduction of the 270?

That was really the gist of the guys question. Why did W choose the 270 caliber?? Because they were already tooled up to make 6.8mm bullets for the Chinese Mauser??

Ray


#4

Ray - Volume II of Datig does show the 6.8 x 57 mm Mauser cartridge, but has no mention of any production by the U.S. from any company.


#5

Ray,
Sorry this doesn’t answer your question but for general interest the round is also mentioned and there is a dimensions drawing in “A History of Kynoch ammunition production” by Labbett & Brown.


#6

Ray: Roy Dunlap in his Gunsmithing (p. 373) states that the .270 Winchester began as a military cartridge, was laid aside for a few years, and eventually appeared as a sporting round. He further indicated he’d seen .270 military cartridges of immediate post-World War One manufacture. JG


#7

WHS Volume I, pages 277 (coincidental, I am sure) and 278, go into some 28 caliber cartridges experimented with by Frankford Arsenal. There were two types, one from about April 1910, designed to have a danger space the height of an average-sized man over a range of 1000 yards, and a second, for the same purpose, designed in 1913. Neither of these rounds were based exactly on the .30-06 case. Also, they were actually closer to .29 caliber, with bullets of .288" diameter.

They note the following as well:

“Winchester also contributed a cartridge to the Cal. .28 experiments of this period, although it is not known whether the roundf waqs officially tested. It was essentially a Cal. .30 Model of 1906 necked to Cal. .28 and length and head dimensions were similar to the Cal. .30 service round. This cartridge is believed to date from about 1912 and was headstamped WRACO .28 W.C.F. (or plain).”

No bullet diameter is given for the winchester round. No cartridge is covered that had a .277 diameter bullet.

The latter Winchester round may have, not having been accepted by the Government, evolved later into the .27 Winchester and then the .270. I don’t know. Volume I, covering the entire period in which the .270 came to us, doesn’t mention any other rounds in this caliber range.

It is hard to know what rounds Dunlop was referring to, since it is unlikely he would have seen these rounds, I would think.


#8

John: Dunlap was speaking of a cartridge dimensionally identical to the commercial .270 Winchester but loaded with a full-patched military style bullet. It is, I suppose, possible he saw one of that series of similar but not identical experimentals, but he was generally a canny observer. JG


#9

Thanks guys.

It doesn’t help when the manufacturers cannot even agree on the calibers. You never know exactly what diameter bullet they are talking about unless they give actual dimensions. Some use bore diameter, some use groove, and some use who-knows what. This seems to be especially prevelant for cartridges in the 6.5 to 7mm sizes. And of course, the 270 fits right in the middle of those.

I think that when the 270 was developed there was a lot of resistance to the “millimeter” cartridges and W didn’t want to risk poor sales so they simply chose something that wasn’t available in Europe. The same thing happened with the 243 Winchester which was originally called the 6mm Winchester.

Ray


#10

Does anyone have a .270 in their collection with a military-type FMJ bullet (that they know is factory loaded)? Just wondered. Not up on this caliber too well, but love to learn about any of this stuff.


#11

John: I have two 270 win with a military type headstamp. F A . 3 9, it is almost looks like it has a protected primer. But it has a spire point bullet, not a military round but does not look tampered with doubt some one would resize a 30-06 when there is so much 270 Win brass around…

2nd is a military contract L 8 .270 again it has a spire point bullet not the fmj you are looking for. Vic


#12

Armourer - I would not rule out that an F.A. 39-dated case for .30-06 was converted to .270. The date is almost perfect for one of the few eras where that was probably a common practice. During and immediately after WWII, it was hard in the U.S. to get brass cases for any caliber of ammunition. I have numerous samples of .38 Special cases - THE american police cartridge at the time so still supplied in quantity during the war, since Police become part of the national defense apparatus - converted to 9mm Parabellum during and right after the war, for all the souvenir guns coming back and in an absence of loaded ammo and components from an industry still recovering from war production. I don’t know of any U.S. Military production of .270 Winchester at that time, although I am not really expert in that field. None is mentioned by HWS and they are expert…

You do not mention if the “spire point” bullets you are talking about are FMJ or not.

If I am reading your typed headstamp correctly, “L 8 .270” is one of a group of calibers and similar headstamp markings made by Hirtenberg for the Republic of South Africa during the embargo against that country. If I am correct in my interpretation of your typed headstamp, it is not a military cartridge at all, but rather a sporting round. I have similar headstamps in 6.35mm, 7.65mm Browning, 9mm Browning Short, and 9mm Parabellum. It was also supplied in many sporting rifle calibers (some of which, like .308 and .30-06 are also military calibers), as well as some revolver calibers. The headstamp was designed to conceal the point of manufacture, but the manufacturing characteristics of the ammo made it immediately obvious to anyone who knows ammo well who made it. I assume yours has a nickle primer and red primer seal, although I recall some calibers did not have the primer seal, if it is the headstamp I am picturing from your description.


#13

[quote=“Vic”]John: I have two 270 win with a military type headstamp. F A . 3 9, it is almost looks like it has a protected primer. But it has a spire point bullet, not a military round but does not look tampered with doubt some one would resize a 30-06 when there is so much 270 Win brass around…

2nd is a military contract L 8 .270 again it has a spire point bullet not the fmj you are looking for. Vic[/quote]

Vic

The real 270 case is longer than the '06. If yours is '06 CL I would bet that it is a reload using surplus brass. Quite a common way to get cases for your rifle. Original brass was not always available and the number of different cartridges using cases made from GI brass would astound you. Many, if not most of my old original wildcats are made from GI brass. It’s still a standard practice today.

How about a photo of that primer.

What is "military contract L 8 ??

Ooops! John’s post snuck in whilst I was typing.

Ray


#14

I had a .270 round in my general collection that was made from a “F A 49” case if I recall correctly. Oddly it had a grey primer that looked like it had some sort of plastic coating on it. A friend’s father loaded this round for his hunting rifle most likely because .30-06 brass was more available at the time. I would say it is not at all unusual to find .270 made from a variety of '06 cases simply because it can be done. Even with 7,9 Mauser boxer primed brass commonly available, I still make it out of .30-06 because I have a ton of it and I am a cheapskate…

AKMS


#15

AKMS

Funny thing - I have some wildcat cartridges in a box somewhere with a name like “30 CHEAPSKATE”, or something like that. Probably named after you. :) :) And for the same reason too. :) :)

Ray


#16

This is amazing, with out a photo you have Id both of the 270’s to a T one does have the sealed annulus which I had not seen, and the other is 30-06 length, which I never checked due to it was given to me as a military round, I guess I better start checking. Enclosed is a photo of the headstamp which seems from a distance a protected primer.

Vic


#17

[quote=“Ray Meketa”]AKMS

Funny thing - I have some wildcat cartridges in a box somewhere with a name like “30 CHEAPSKATE”, or something like that. Probably named after you. :) :) And for the same reason too. :) :)

Ray[/quote]

Ray
As I’m sure you know (but for the edcuation of others), the “CHEAPSKATE” series of cartridges were created by Howard L. Smith. They are available in both rimmed and rimless versions


#18

China adopted the Mauser M1907 Rifle in calibre 6,8x57, and had received part of its original Purchse by 1914, when Mauser’s production was re-directed to the War Effort, and undelivered Chinese rifles were re-bored to 7,9x57 for use Locally (Wurttemburg regiments).

The Chinese manufactured 6,8 ammo to supplement the DWM supplies which had dried up in late 1914, and by 1917, had decided to go with the 7,9 Mauser cartridge, as used in their “Hanyang” Rifle (7,9J, RN projectile.)

At the time, the Superintendant of the Hanyang Arsenal, General Liu, a western trained Engineer, had developed a Self Loading Rifle, based on pre-war Danish “Bang” designs ( Gas trap Muzzle system) using both the 6,8 cartridge and the 7,9 cartridge.
In the early 1920s, he visited Springfield Armory, with his rifles, which were tested in one of the many SA rifle trials of the period ( along with the early Pedersen, Garand and other designs.).
Nothing came of these trials, as far as Gen. Liu was concerned, because his rifle disappears from the horizon, both in the US and in China.
The FMJ Projectile of the 6,8, however, must have captured the imagination of both Winchester ( at the time involved in a lot of Ammo experimentation with SA ( through both Hatcher and Askins); and although Frankford Arsenal was developing a “28” Springfieldd cartridge ( effectively a 7mm/06…on the lines of the British P13 .276 cartridge or the .280 Ross)…it seems the ballistics of the 6,8 pill ( .277 diameter) caught on for Winchester, and in 1925, the .270 Winchester was born.

FMJ .270 projectiles: I have about 1000 of 120 and 140 grain NORMA .277 diameter FMJ projectiles, made in the 1960s, from the box label designs (maybe earlier); someone, somewhere was using a FMJ .270 for hunting or target shooting ( may be a Pelt& Meat Hunter, using “head-shots” so as not to damage an expensive pelt…or the meat underneath it.)

I have saved these to make my own 6,8x57 Mauser Cartridges, on a project rifle of M1907 design (have made the Dies, have a 1907 marked Mauser Commercial receiver, the bands etc are the same as a M904 Portuguese Vergueiro; Just need to Make/assemble a correct M04/07 Stock, and get a .270 cal barrel 29 inches long —could always make a M1907 Carbine…easier to get a Mauser threaded .270 Sporter barrel and recut threads and cut to length.).

Anyway, back to 1925 and the .270Win…Although I have no Documentary proof about the sequence of events beyond the Encounters of Liu, Askins and Hatcher, and the timings ( 1920-25), and the existence of a Liu rifle ( assembled by the Springfield Tool Room, under Liu’s supervision) in the SA collection,and that Both Hatcher and Askins were “consultants” for WRA in ammo matters, there you have it.

One other thing, the Chinese 6,8 cartridges are actually TWO, a 6,8x57 and a 6,8x60 (Woodin info); The latter, Longer necked case would have been more influential in a possible .270WIN design, as the 60mm cases more resembles the final Winchester cartridge. (6,8x64) (MY Musings)

If anybody has more info or documentary traces, please let us know.

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#19

[quote=“Vic”]This is amazing, with out a photo you have Id both of the 270’s to a T one does have the sealed annulus which I had not seen, and the other is 30-06 length, which I never checked due to it was given to me as a military round, I guess I better start checking. Enclosed is a photo of the headstamp which seems from a distance a protected primer.

Vic[/quote]
Vic, your round has what is called a ring crimped primer. M. Rea


#20

Doc AV

Wow! That’s a lot more than I expected to get.

A copy of your post goes into my files, for sure.

Can I get your permission to copy it and send to the guy on the other Forum? I’m sure he will be appreciative.

Ray