8 x 51mm Mauser

I recently found this 8 x 51mm Mauser in with some 7.62 x 51mm. The H/s is K DWM K M 88 H. I have looked up the case in DWM Cartridges 1896-1956 and identified it as no 366L M/88H Mauser Puerschbuesche kal 8 x 51mm “K”. Can anyone tell me anything about the cartridge, is it Mil or Sporting, what weapon was it used in is, it an experimental cartridge?


Ian Jones


It was used in and designed for short action mauser rifles ( K,A and M types)

It is a commercial civilian cartridge and it is a shortened version of the 8 x 57 M88 mauser cartridge.There is also a rimmed version

Called the 8x51 K because it was always a Sporting Cartridge. Actual Bullet is a J diameter (.319) and was used in the .311-.318/9 type Commission barrel specs.

NOT a “Mauser” Cartridge, having been developed for use in M88 Sportinbg rifles as early as the 1890s, and only subsequently adopted by Mauser for their “K” Mauser Sporting actions (as well as the longer normal actions.

A rimmed version was also produced for drillings; it wea contemporaneous with the Rimless version, and both were probably already in use by 1890-91 ( as a “Free” civilian alternative to the Military 7,9M88 (prohibited to civilians).

A short cartridge which “Missed its Vocation” as a Potential Auto rifle cartridge in the early 1900 Semi-auto developments, which mostly failed because the ful;l Power 7,9mm cartridge was just too much for the fragile auto mechaniss of the times.

Doc AV

I was told that some german 8 mm cartridges were developed because the use of the 8 x 57 mm cartridge was illegal for the private citizens ( 8 x 51 and 8 x 60).However I think that some of these were developed to improve the 8 x 57 performance ( 8 x 60 I think) or to create some rounds less potent,adapted for target purposes ( 8 x 42R M88).What is the truth?

Ciao ( pronunciato in piemontese)

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’

Doc AV
AV Ballistics

Dear Pivi and Doc

Thanks for the all the information

Kind regards


Has anyone actually seen a specimen of the 8x51R?

The 8x51R is only known with “DWM K M/88H2 K” hs : See Buttweiler VI/2 #159

There is an Utendoerffer 8x52R equivalent but this appears not to be interchangeable with the DWM version.

I am going to buy a round listed as " 8 x 52 R M88" with “H Untendoerffer” hds.
Is this the cartridge you were talking about,not interchangeable with the 8 x 51R ?

Pivi, The Utendoerffer equivalent of the DWM M88H2 (M5) was first seen in RWS/Utendoerffer c1900 catalog (see images). Titled “M88 52m/m lang”, this has a slightly longer case but more significantly, a higher shoulder than the DWM 8x51R, which means they are not the same cartridge. However, rifles in 8x52R calibre could well chamber 8x51R cases but this would not be advised.

Confusingly, by the RWS 1921 catalog it is listed as “8x51R (for Model 88/52/8mm with rim)”. However only examples with the “H.UTENDOERFFER NURNBERG” hs or "R.W.S. N

I think the 8x51 and 8x51R ammo is also listed in the ALFA 1911 catalogue ( reprints by an American publisher). This catalogue is a very informative collection of guns and Ammo available from this German Wholesale outfitter.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

Doc, to clarify this issue. As well as DWM catalogs, the 8x51 was also listed in the 1911 ALFA, Various G.Roth, GECADO and GECO catalogs. An RWS drawing is also known. However only DM-K/DWM and Roth examples are known to exist.

The scarce 8x51R was only produced by DWM. It was listed in the 1930 GECADO catalog but not in the 1911 ALFA catalog. A checklist in IAA #408 lists a 8x51R Mauser with “KYNOCH 8mm” hs but this is very unlikely to be true. It appears that the 8x51R was only ever produced by DWM.

The RWS/Utendoerffer 8x52R was listed by RWS, GECADO, GECO and an RWS drawing was shown in the ALFA 1911 catalog. Only RWS/Utendoerffer examples are known.

it is interesting to note that the 1930 Gecado catalog lists the 8x51R M88H2 (ie the DWM designation) as also being 8x52R mittellang (middle length - traditionally the Utendoerffer/RWS designation). So it appears that G.C Dornheim, at least, thought that these cases were interchangeable but I don’t believe that this was correct.