7.9x57 M88 Nil headstamp

There is nothing to add to what you wrote the problem in the original barrel design was in the fact that at time
they did not understand the working effect of a lead bullet or a jacketed bullet going trough a barrel and that
fact for a while had devastating consequences until they discovered what was causing it and a lot of injured
and dead people after that debacle they did what you related.Regarding the scandal that thing was much
bigger at the time than you care to realize,involving in particular the Maschinenfabrik Ludwig Loewe,Loewe
was Jewish and this whole thing already indicated somewhat of things later to come

Nothing wrong with the speculation and assumption from peelen I however think that these cartridges
somehow were already made for the military because they were packet in clips and not loose,is there
any split neck cases amongst them??in my humble opinion these cartridges were made by DM in
Karlsruhe before it became part of DWM.And no these cartridges could never ever been connected
to the Irish and their cause in any way the bullet diameter of 318 alone would have ruled that out.

Why would the bullet diameter have ruled out an Irish connection with these rounds, one of which I had when I was collecting 7.9 x 57? Ireland, to my knowledge, received some quantities of German rifles.

Personally, I see nothing in the characteristics of the cartridges that point to DM/DWM K,
or any other of the factories of that company. I could be wrong, but I had 12,600 7.9 x 57 in my collection when I disposed of it. I am fairly familiar with DWM ammunition of that caliber.

Just my thoughts on it.

John M.

I could not think of the circumstance that the Germans when these troubles in Ireland started about 1916-1917
that they would have tried to supply those insurgent with old mod 1888 guns wich only took the 318 bullet
the Mauser Long rifle 1898 with wich the Germans then fought all over was using the 323 bullet besides
as far as I know even at that time those mod 1888 even in Germany those guns were only or mostly used
for guard duty I know that the Turks used them but in 7.65mm cal and 7.92 I own one made in Erfurt first
but did they make a mess of them


Did somebody hold both cartridges in his hand?
He can see that the colour of the UFV brass is different as the Germans M88 cases.

This is also one of the reasons why I think this round was not made in Germany

Dutch, the ‘UVF contract’ 7.9mm cartridges are quite a ‘bright brass’, appearing to have a high zinc content, and are prone to neck cracks. I think what is often overlooked is that this was a commercial contract, with the UVF paying around £50,000 in 1913 for the 20,000 Steyr 1904 and Mauser Gewehr M.88 rifles, along with the 2 milllion rounds of 7.9mm ammunition. The supplier was Bruno Spiro of the firm ‘Benny Spiro, Waffen, Munition und Militar-Effekten (1864), who had offices in Berlin & Hamburg. It is unlikely the manufacturer would have been aware of who the final customer was, & therefore presumably wouldn’t have cared about the markings remaining on the bullets. For those familiar with the Steyr 1904 and the Gewehr M.88 you will know that YES, these are the cartridges suitable for the rifles bought AND the clip is an integral part of the internal magazine functioning of these type of rifles, and therefore of course all cartridges had to come in clips.

Please note, none of the rifles had the serial numbers or manufacturer’s markings removed, therefore I don’t buy the theory that Spandau marked bullets were purposely used to deceive anybody who happened to pull a bullet, or recover a fired one. Remember, it was a purchase from a commercial supplier, therefore it is still possible they purchased from a foreign manufacturer for the 2 million round contract, which used a reduced load different from the standard M.88 cartridge. Although it has always been assumed in Northern Ireland that the ammunition was actually manufactured in Germany, it is possible the contractor simply loaded German bullets in a third country.

Having seen hundreds of rounds of this UVF contract ammunition, and being personally content that these are identical to the rounds being shown on this thread, it is entirely possible that there was an ‘over-run’ from that contract that were sold to other customers, or indeed, the same manufacturer and/or supplier doing new runs of the same load for new customers. All the clips I have seen from this contract were either unmarked, or had a ‘I’, ‘II’, or ‘O’ impressed into them, but I will have another check over my records when I get the time to see if there were any other markings used, Pete.

The powder charge weight is 36.5 grains. As pictured above the powder flake is a little larger than the later
2 x 2 x 0.45 standard powder flake size.

Sheryl - remember, the Irish were not exact friends of the English during WWI. I have heard, but not sure if the sources were correct, that Ireland allowed the surfacing of German U-Boats during WWI. If so, perhaps the way military gear was supplied to the IRA, etc., in Ireland.

It has been a long time since I studied the “Irish Question” regarding the British involvement in “The Great European War” of 1914-1918.

John Moss

The case that I pulled the projectile from now has a neck crack I would guess as a result of pulling the projectile. The crack is not parallel to the case as most neck cracks but rather a spiral crack starting a little on the shoulder then spiralling up to the mouth.
It’s a shame the case cracked but It was worth it I think to verify the M on the base of the projectile.
I will check the other four cartridges in the clip and report back on any other cracks I may find.

No I only wanted to see how old those cases might be but no they are not old enough in the very
beginning they had a lot of problems with that but I am really going back here they had to learn to
anneal cases it was back then as it is still today anything new takes its time to perfect it.In the very very
beginning the Germans had to scrap god know how much ammo that was already stored for war use
and trough casual inspection they found out that most of the case necks were cracked a very expensive
learning expirience

Yes this Irish thing is quite a mess I was only refering to gun smuggel by Submarine before the easter
rising or during the first war now do not forget the whole of Ireland belonged to Britain until what !922???and to what extent the Germans were succesfull in shipping arms in there I could never really determine I only know
that the Brits hung a few known people over it.How ever I find the post from Muskey welcome info to add
a little more to the Irish saga.

Muskey, thank you for adding important information to this thread.

But I cannot help to point out that the rifle you call “Gewehr M.88” was -not- a Mauser design. It was designed by Prussian military installations (Gewehr-Prüfungskommission, Spandau Gewehrfabrik) and Mauser was in no way involved. (It was also the first item to drop the “Model” or M and became simply Gewehr 88).

On a more general note let me state again to all readers of this thread that in 1903-1905 ALL rifles 88 and 98 existing within the German military were re-chambered (! not re-bored) to take the .323 S-Patrone. It therefore is an error to assume that around WW1 years Gewehr 88 could only handle .311 Patrone 88 rounds. As I wrote in an earlier message, bore dimensions of Gewehr 88 (from 1896) and Gewehr 98 (including successors through 1945) were identical. The folklore that Gewehr 88 had a tighter bore is plain wrong. It already was 7.9 mm in 1888 an remained so through 1945. The only thing that changed in military small arms was the neck diameter of the chamber.

As you correctly point out, the main practical difference was that Gewehr 88 required the cartridges being held in Mannlicher clips to be useable as a repeating rifle.

JPeelen, thanks for the correction & pointing that out. I’ve been too quick to refer to the historical documentation from that time that refers to ‘new Austrian Steyr Mannlicher’ rifles and ‘ex-German Army (Mauser)’ rifles, along with ‘standard Mannlicher ammunition in clips of five’, instead of independently checking my technical details. Apologies, school-boy error! By the way, I’ve had a look at the markings on a Gewehr 88 suspected of being in this shipment, and it is stamped ‘Spandau 1890’, Pete.

Question, if I may, and excuse me if I missed this explanation:
You state that, “…bore dimensions of Gewehr 88 (from 1896) and Gewehr 98 (including successors through 1945) were identical.”
But, as my calculator says:
.311 inch = 7.899 mm, rounded to 7.9 mm
.323 inch = 8.204 mm
Also, when they changed from the .311 diameter bullet to the .323 diameter bullet, would that not, by necessity, change both the bore diameter and the sartridge/chamber dimensions, in order for the larger caliber case neck to chamber, or did I miss something?
We have been warned for 45+ years NOT to shoot .323 daimeter projectiles in the .311 diameter bore of the WWI and earlier German rifles.

If it is alway’s written in some books, so it must be the truth.
This is not correct!!

I will try to explain.
It is not a matter of the barrel but from the bullet.

By firing the M88 cartridge, the bullet is compressed and therefore the diameter getting bigger. It was expanding and follows the grooves and fields.

The “S” bullet did not do that, so it was necessary to increase the diameter from the bullet so it could also follow the grooves and fields.
The bore diameter stays the same.


Dutch already explained the basics.

The warning you mention does not apply to German military rifles, but to some German >civilian< rifles. Some in the German gun trade had the “smart” idea to make barrels with a bore of only 7.8 mm, and some of them even smaller 7.7 mm. The groove diameter was 8.1 mm or slightly less, corresponding to the Patrone 88 bullet diameter.
A dangerous situation can occur if you try to fire an ordinary 7.9 mm bullet (8.2 mm diameter) form such a 7.8 mm/8.1 mm barrel.
This foolish decision of the German gun trade of the time (offering barrels that are actually dangerously tighter than the ordinary military bore profile because “they shoot better”) is the cause of so much confusion. At the time there was no standardization of dimensions. It took until 1926 when at least the industry agreed upon a standard.
Since that time we have designation 8x57 J for the smaller civilian bore diameter and 8x57 JS for the military 7.9 mm dimensions. The associated bore and groove diameters became official with the proof law of 1939 and are still in effect today. (SAAMI 8x57 “Mauser” --not a Mauser catridge as I already mentioned-- corresponds to 8x57 JS).

I have, over 40+ years, slugged many dozens of German MILITARY rifles, from the Commission rifle to late war model 98 rifles, and I have seen those slugs measure anywhere from .311~ with variable in between~.323, deffinitely NOT the same bore diameters. Some of these variations may have had to do with wear, some with manufacturers, some with wear on the tools used in cutting the rifling, (I am not, and never have been a machinist), but we have for MANY years slugged the bores on probably thousands of rifles to be cerrtain the person uses the correct bullet diameter for that particular rifle, in order to avoid an unsafe condition.
As an aside, we have also encountered over a dozen Model 98 Military rifles that had the chamber altered to 8mm-06, with no obvious markings as to the chamber change, and a few [I think 2] had the .318 bore, the rest were .323.

I think we are not speaking of the same things here: If the bullet is compressed, therefor becoming smaller, how is the diameter getting bigger?

The British call this set-up. Under its own inertia and the gas pressure on its base, the bullet is compressed in longitudinal direction and consequently increases in diameter, thereby filling the grooves.
German Geschoss 88, French balle M and Russian bullet of 1891 are examples of bullets having a smaller diameter when loaded than the groove diameter of the barrel.

The rifles you measured cannot tell us their probably very colorful story. What we definitely know are the dimensions and tolerances given on military barrel drawings. From 1896 on it was 7.90+0.04 mm bore diameter and 0.15+0.015 mm groove depth (7.90+0.15+0.15 = 8.20), the same as in WW2.
Before 1896 it was 7.9+0.05 mm and the grooves were 0.10+0.025 mm deep.

This is what we generally reffer to as “Bump Up” or “Obturate”, thus creating a tighter fit into the bore, where lead cast bullet shooting is concerned, especially in black powder cartridge and muzzle loading.
Difference of name and wording.

The Gew-88 DID get an increase in BORE dia , that was the first barrel size update . I am going to use inch measurements for the US shooters . The original bore size was .314 -321 [ .3208 to be exact ] . For proof just check your dozen 1889 and very early 1890 rifles with the original barrels on them , they are all .314 - .321 . The German documents state they had a problem with bore wear , .007 of rifling was not enough . So in early 1890 they increased the rifling depth by .003 to make the grooves deeper . They did it by making the BORE smaller at .311 . Now they had .010 deep rifling with the .311 - .321 barrel . That is where all the .318 nonsense comes from . People read the grooves where made deeper by .003 and they are now .321 . SO they must have been .318 to start . Proof , all rifles made from early 1890 to 1896 have .311 - .321 original barrels . Then in 1896 they DID make the GROOVES deeper to .323 to help with barrel fowling from the bullets jacket material . The S ammo was made with a .321 dia bullet and a small sealing ring to be fired in the Gew-88 , since all had at least a .321 barrel . The chamber and barrel were never changed after that , right to 1945 . That is why the later rifles have such long throats , they have the P-88 chamber .