7.8 X 57 pre-war

Hello -

Would love to find out if anyone has a couple of rounds of 7.8X57 commercial.
This was a slightly narrower .318 commercial round used in hunting rifles.

Would love some dimensions if possible - cannot find any on line or in my books.

Picked up a 1925 sporter in 7.8

Thank you,


Hi Pitfighter,

I guess you need the WW1-era “7.9x57 I” (aka patrone 88) rounds for that rifle.

I found following quote on the improvement of German rounds: ‘Die 7,9x57 I wurde und wird aus Waffen mit einem Lauf mit dem Feld-Zugdurchmesser 7,80 zu 8,07 mm verschossen…Das zylindrische nickel-plattierte Rundkopfgeschoß ist 8,10 mm (.318") dick und wiegt 14,7g. Die militärisch als “M88” bezeichnete Patrone enthält 2,75 g Blättchenpulver.’

This is a typical German hunting rifle for the cartridge with the CIP name 8 x 57 I (this name did not yet exist at the time as far as I know). If you look for ammo, look for 8 x 57 I (without an S).
The 8 x 57 I is a strictly civilian cartridge. The bore diameter is 7.8 mm compared to 7.9 mm of the military cartridge and the maximum bullet diameter is 8.09 mm compared to 8.22 mm for military bullets. Whatever you may find written, the 8 x 57 I was created by the German gun trade and is not an early version of the military cartridge. The military bore diameter has always(!) been 7.9 mm.

The proof marks (letters under crowns) G (gezogen, rifled) B (Beschuss, proof of complete weapon) and U (Untersuchung, examined after proof) are normal. On the side you see “St m G” for Stahlmantel-Geschoss (steel jacketed bullet) which says proof was with this bullet type. This told the user that the rifle could safely be used with jacketed bullets.

Steel jacketed bullets (with gilding cladding but not entirely gilding) are typical for ammunition of German manufacture. Proof with gilding jacketed bullets would be shown by “K m G” (Kupfermantel-Geschoss, copper jacketed bullet).

Pit - if looking for rounds please remember that 8 x 57I (or 7.92 x 57I) is the same as 8 x 57 J which is how it appears on many headstamps - most, I dare say. In this case the two letters are interchangeable in the German language. You probably knew this - pardon me if you did - but I try to supply information that some of the forum might not be familiar with.

Slightly OT but might be of interest concerning the German military round: I have read that the air force called it the 7.92mm, the army the 7.9mm and the navy the 8mm.

Tony, not in 1941.
I can show you a Luftwaffe Glimspur label with 7,9 written on it.


And an army label calling it 7,92…

So much for that, then - but it would be interesting to know if there was any logic behind the uses of 7.92mm, 7.9mm and 8mm - or was it entirely random?

I just call it .32 Deutsches Kaiserreich, to avoid confusion. ;P

The label shown by dutch again proves that everything is possible. Luftwaffe situation is a bit complicated as the weapons caliber was listed as 7.92 (FG 42 manual) while the ammunition continued to be called 7.9 mm (in LDv 4000/10 for example).

Is the label shown by orpheus72 really a German army label? With the factory name in clear in the middle of the war? Looks more like export. It is by the way the first time I hear of SmE Beschuss instead of sS Beschuss. Are the headstamps from this box known?

That is a great Label!

Unfortunately I have never seen a Beschuss round from P413/edq/tko.
Probably they were made for export to Portugal just as the label shown on top.

Please don’t ask me for who the Hirtenberg round was made.


Orpheus, JPeelen, JMoss, thank you,

I will look into the “patrone 88” - maybe that is the 7.8x57 that I am looking for.

The other comments in this thread were interesting - however, the 7.8 is a commercial round, different specs to the military round.
The military round we are all familiar with, does not quite fit into this rifle -

If someone has a spare Patrone 88 round (dummy or live) - I would be interested in buying of course.

And an army label calling it 7,92…


Actually this is no army (German military) label.

Being proof loads, with a German language label, could not that box from Lübeck be for in house use at the various German firearms factories, rather than for any specific military service? If for in-house, in-country use, that would explain the lack of the military code, much like police holsters and the like had the full name of the maker, while military holsters from the same makers were coded, because they were for indiginous use. No country embarking on aggressive war expects foreign troops on their soil (in short, expects to end up losing, so they code only stuff that could be captured on the battlefield).

John, not to forget that there would be also no good reason (if it would not be crime as per the regulations) to apply military codes to civilian goods - as police is a civilian institution.

As we discussed earlier in other threads German exports carried out by companies on a commercial basis had to feature the civilian factory markings and not the German military codes.

EOD - you are correct of course. It goes without saying that wartime expediencies often take precedent over normal practices. I think, though, it is more likely military coded items were used by “forces of the interior” (police, political etc.), which certainly happened, than civilian marked equipment going to the Army, where it could be encountered and acquired by enemy forces.

The one I always thought was funny were the very late Walther PP .32 Pistols, that had no markings on the left side of the slide, where it was the norm to put the full factory name, and just “ac” on the right side of the slide. Of course, the code is to conceal the manufacturer. However, even though those pistol of this variation that I have seen had rather crude, almost hand-checkering in lot, and very spares (big diamonds), the went to the trouble of stamping the Walther Banner trademark into them. That for use on a coded weapon, thereby identifying the code. Thanks Mr. Walther!

Of course, some weapons were so famous and so well-known to be the product of one company, such as the Walther PP and the Browning P-35(b) (FN Model GP), that for most of the war, even those supplied to the military had the full commercial markings. I suppose there were other cases of that with other equipment, although I can’t think of any important ammo examples. Most of the 7.65 Browning and 9 mm Kurz that went to the military had the commercial headstamps, although there were codes in both - “dou.” on 9 mm K and 7.65 Br, and “aux” on 7.65 Br (perhaps other unimportant rounds that are slipping my mind, or what’s left of it, right now.

All interesting info.

However - with further study…

What i am looking for for this rifle is 8X57j :)

Which I am know realizing is what 7.8x57 became as a commercial round at .318 size -
(Not the 8x57jr which has a rim and is for the single and drilling rifles.)


If anyone has a box of 8x57j in the collection I would love to buy it from them -
or, I will trade for a box of 8X60s which I found at a gunshow, on this rather epic hunt for ammo.

I think we really may have hit it with this latest round.

The Gew 1888’s use the 8X57j and this was the caliber that was chosen as a commercial version of the 8x57 round for the postWW1 years.

If I were you, I would keep the 8x60S cartridge box.
The 8x60S was a post WW1 product: posession of rifles in the military calibre became illegal. So one way out was reaming the chamber to a somewhat longer case. This was the origin of the 8x60S.

Sorry for being pedantic in a typical German fashion, but there are so many misconceptions that I take every opportunity trying to set the record straight:
Gewehr 88 fired Patrone 88.
Gewehr 98 originally also fired Patrone 88.
Both weapons had the same chamber and bore dimensions (I am simplifying a little.)
When the S-Patrone was introduced, bullet diameter was increased. Rifle bore dimensions remained unchanged!!! To accomodate the new cartridge, the neck portion of the chamber was increased. This new cartridge shape is what we know today as 8x57IS. (The very name was introduced as late as 1939 with the new German proof law which called it 8x57JS - J versus I.)

The German gun trade developed rifles with a smaller bore diameter (!) than Gewehr 88. The associated cartridge later was standardized as 8x57I. This cartridge is purely commercial and technically has no connection to the military.

The reason most G88 rifles are proofed for 8x57I simply is the old cartridge chamber which cannot accomodate the neck of an S-bullet case. If you have a G88 with the chamber modified for the S-Patrone, there is no problem to have it proofed for 8x57IS, because the bore diameter is as specified for 8x57IS. (again I simplify here)

8x57I is a purely commercial invention, having -apart from the name- really nothing to do with Patrone 88 and Gewehr 88.

Thank you for that info., sir,

To clarify, as you clearly know more than anyone on any of the other collecting forums who has chimed in on this quest :) -

My sporter G98 that is marked for 7.8X57 (see pics earlier this thread) is therefore 8X57j or 8X57i -

Should it also chamber and load 8X57js ?

I ask this, as I have found minimal sources of reloaded 8X57js - but positively no source for 8X57j

I am buying one round of vintage 8X57J from a dealer online - so that will be interesting.

*8X57 WW2 military chambers and closes with effort, fires, and then requires a lot of effort to open.
8X60s chambers but bolt does not close.

If anyone wants the 8X60s for their collection please let me know (3 rounds missing from 20), I’ll trade for fifteen any WW2 era German 8mm in box.

Like pitfighter, I have a question too. This is my one and only M88 Reichsgewehr. I think by date (1891) it is made originally in 7.92x57. But this notch at the bottom of “1891” bothers me because I think it is made after the date has been stamped. Was the tip of 7.92x57 projectile not fitting so it needed this notch to go down the magazine? I’ve read DocAV’s explanation at a different forum that the charger/clip moved forward after re-chambering for Spitzer round thus requiring this notch to be installed, but I did not really absorb that info very well. Maybe someone can run it by me one more time? Thanks.