7.8mm Cartridge for a Czech Holak Rifle


#1

There is an ad at the following URL for a Czech Holak rifle from 1938 that is advertised to be in 276 Pederson. The caliber on the rifle is apparently marked “7.8”. I don’t recall a 7.8mm cartridge from this time frame. Any suggestions on the true caliber of the rifle?

http://www.cabelas.com/hamburg-gun-library-holek-automat-276-pederson-sporting-rifle.shtml


#2

Lew - where did you determine that the barrel is marked “7.8?” The ad doesn’t mention it, but coincidentally says the rifle weighs 7 Lbs 8 oz. That would mean a bore diameter of 0.307" which, with the long-appearing magazine, could be .30-06. However, Cabelas has some pretty good “gun people” working for them and it is hard for me to believe that they wouldn’t have checked out the caliber of this rifle, for liability, if no other reason.

We had a Holek in the store collection, although it was pretty well ruined in the fire we had in 1990 or there abouts. It was marked 7.9 and was a 7.9 x 57. It was not exactly like the one in the picture. It was sort of a cross between a sporting and military version, with longer forearms than the rifle shown, but checkered like a sporting rifle. The sights, as I recall, were more military n form than the ones on the pictured rifle.

Was there anything other than the barrel marking that led you to believe that the one pictured was NOT .276 Pedersen? Just wondered.


#3

Perhaps the figure of 7.8 follows the Austrian practice of noting groove to groove diameter rather than land to land. This usage is seen in the 6.5 m/m Mannlicher, which in Austrian nomenclature is often identified as 6.7 m/m. Jack


#4

Is the “7,8” stamped into the barrel, in the usual place that Czech ( and esp. German) rifles have their BORE ( NOT Groove) Calibre marking??? If so, then this rifle should be in “8x57 I” whose bores were in the 7,8 to 7,88 range. ( ie, the old Kommission 88 Sporting Cartridge, round nosed, heavy ball, with a .316-318 Bullet)

It would be more usual for a Hunting rifle to be chambered and bored for the Sporting cartridge, rather than any military cartridge.

AS both German and Czech Hunting ammo was available in the US in the 1930s, it is possible it was imported at that time, but it is more likely that the Rifle was “Brought back” after 1945, either from Germany or actually from Czechoslovakia…US units did raid into the western part of Czecholovakia in 1945 to save the Lippizaner Horses of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna from the Soviets…even a film was made of the Raid ( Robert Taylor played the part of the German Cavalry officer)…can’t remember the unit, could have been elements of the 36th (Texas)??.

Anyway, going on the “germanic” Bore marking, that is what the calibre should be., and NOT 30/06 or .276 Pedersen ( which Bore marking would be about 7,0 actually).

I think somebody just assumed that the calibre would be .276 Pederson, because of the Military Trials rifles…the Holek ZH29 and 31 Rifles were originally developed in 7,9mm ( naturally for the Czechs); the Pedersen cartridge was only used as this was a condition of the Semi-Auto rifle trials in the USA. A sporting rifle for general world use would have been made in a common sporting calibre…ie, 7,9 I . ( as was permitted in Germany and probably Czechoslovakia as well).

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#5

I’m not sure if this is relevant but in Czechoslovakia the 7.65x53 Mauser was generally referred to the 7.8x53.


#6

This sporting rifle designated “Original Holek Automat” was only made between 1939 and 1944 so it’s not from “Circa the Late 1930’s” as Cabela’s is saying.

Besides the one John says was marked “7.9” some of this were also marked “8 X 57” on the right side. I don’t know if refers to the M88 or S cartridge. Others were marked "7 X 57 on the left side.

I don’t believe this to be a .276 Pedersen caliber rifle.


#7

Fede - now that I see what you wrote, I think our rifle was marked “8 x 57” on the side. It was marked so that it was absolutely clear that it was 8 x 57 mm Mauser. That’s for sure. I don’t recall us ever having the bore diameter checked as we did not offer it for sale, nor did we have any intention of ever firing it. Sadly, our fire turned an excellent condition rifle, in its case, into pretty much a very poor specimen. I don’t know if the owners kept it or not after we closed. A lot of the store collection went to auction about a year after we closed.

Since you say that these guns were made between 1939 and 1940, I could not call Cabela’s us of the term “circa the late 1930s” inaccurate. the year 1939 certainly represents “the late 1930s.” I wonder if they have ever had a chamber cast made and taken a bore measurement.


#8

A very advanced gun collector bought this gun and the only marking he could find to indicate a caliber was the 7.8 marking and the “dot” was up high near the top of the “7” and “8” and not near the bottom as written above. He seriously doubts that it is a 276 Pererson for a lot of good reasons. Carbelas confirmed that all the information on the gun was provided by the seller and they had not checked the caliber or taken a chamber cast.

Apparently these rifles are usually found in 7x57mm or 8x57mm and this appears to be neither. WBD may have nailed it as a 7.65x53mm going under the name of 7.8x53mm.

Still, a chamber cast is the only reliable method of sorting this out in my opinion.

Thanks for all the info. Anyone else have any thoughts???

Cheers,

Lew