Even in the pre-cartridge era, citizens of the German States were prohibited from owning firearms of “military” Calibre.
When cartridges were developed inthe 1870s, the gun-making trade immediately sidestepped these regulations by making Hunting rifles in “civilian” calibres, by the simple device of secribing the calibres by their “Groove” diameters, rather thyan their “bore” diameters, as did the Military.
Thus the 11mm M71 became the “11.15x60R” ( Bore of the M71 was 10,95mm, Grooves 11.15mm or bigger).
This " smokescreen" was continued when the German Kommission developed the 7,9mm M88 Patrone (Bore 7,9mm, grooves between 8,15 and 8,2 depending on period;) The commercial barrel makers bored the sporting barrels 7,88mm, grooved them anything from 8,1 to 8,2mm, and called the cartridge the 8mmx57 , fitted with soft point or expanding Point bullets. Thus the rifle barrels on the commercial sporters were “Different” from the Military rifles. german sporting Combination guns (“drilling etc”) also stuck by this convention, adding the “R” (rim) to the originally rimless cartridge case, making the 8x57JR ( M88 profile case, but with Rim)
From these developed the “8,15 x 47R Normal-patrone,” the standardised
"Shuetzen" or Wehrmanns gewehr ( Servicemans) Rifle, for off-duty practice in covered ranges similar to the TSN walled ranges still in existence in Italy.
And as well there was a whole series or 8x XXR Drilling cartridges, from the low power 8x42R, up to the 8x72R case.
Then when the “S” bullet was introduced into Military use, and the bore/rifling modified to 7,9–8,15/8,2, by 1903-5, the commercial makers followed suit with the use of the “S” bullet in many of the commercial cartridges…and again called it the “8mm”, but added “S” to the name…so we have the 8x57JRS ( an “8mm” sporting projectile, in a J profile cartridge case, with rim, and holding an “S” (Pointed, 8,2mm diameter) bullet.
The Germans were nothing if not meticulous ( “i soliti pignoli tedeschi”)
After WW I, the Versailles Treaty added to the already existing prohibitions in German law on the civilian holding of "military " calibres, so the resourceful gun trade had a simple solution…the numerous WW I Gew98 rifles which were about to be destroyed, were converted to Sporting rifles for export, and also for internal use, by re-cutting the chamber to 8x60S ( simply lengthening the cartridge case by 3mm, and pushing the shoulder forward, so “theoretically” it would not chamber a normal 7,9mm Military cartridge anymore…it did anyway, but with some case blowing effects.
Another re-chambering was to the 8x64 Brennecke design of just before WW I ( about 1908); This Versailles imposition lasted till the 1930s, when Hitler’s Arms Control Law(1934) put even further restrictions on private firearms possession, by further calibre prohibitions etc. Unless one was a registered hunter ( a bit like getting into a Masonic Lodge) in the 1930s Germany, one could not even dream of getting a legal rifled firearm for modern ammo. Shotgun and .22 yes, centerfires hardly a chance.
After WW II, of course, no German was allowed to own any firearms up untill about 1955, when things were somewhat relaxed, but Military calibres (unless completely obsolete, or the weapons “DEKO” by their age or deactivation) were still largely restricted without extensive licensing. The “civil” calibres, were a bit more liberal, but not much. Italy had much the same regulatiuons up until the late 1980s, when the growth of “Ex ordinanza” shooting allowed for a deregulation of nearly all bolt-action rifles, and a lot of WWII Semi-Auto rifles.
Getting back to the “Funny” German sporting cartridges designed around the 7,9mm Military cartridge, this also led to the American misinterpretation of the 7,9x57 Military cartridge, and calling it the “8mm Mauser” rather than its proper name of 7,9mm.
But I won’t go into that minefield…
cerea ne’, Pivi, stame bin’