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Hulse
December 13, 2005, 10:01 PM
I recently recieved this gun from a family member, it has been in are family for years but no one knows anything about the gun itself. I would like to find out a little history and what kind of gun it is, the cal and if magazines are still availible. Thank you to all who can help

The gun is stamped KAR.88. on the left side of the reciever and is stamped S V.C. Schilling SUHL 1890. on top of the reciever ring.

Jim Watson
December 14, 2005, 01:07 PM
Kar 88 was the German service carbine from 1888 to 1898, held in reserve and wartime emergency reissue for WW I and WW II.
V.C. Schilling was the manufacturer in Suhl, Germany; year 1890.

Original caliber was 7.9x57J for a .318" roundnose bullet

"S" marking means that the chamber neck and throat were reamed for use with the 7.92x57JS high velocity .323" spitzer bullet that Germany went to in 1905.

All lumped together these days as 8mm Mauser.

BUT those old guns are not really strong enough for the more powerful "S" cartridge. They were converted for use by reserves and support troops who didn't do much shooting under the theory that if one gun in a company blew up, at least the rest of the company HAD rifles.

You will hear different recommendations:
1. It is old, don't shoot it at all.
2. It is really a different caliber, shoot only with proper 7.9x57J (8x57J) .318" bullet ammunition... if you can find any. I found this but don't know if it is a current offering: http://www.qual-cart.com/8x57j.htm
Me? I handload and could produce the ammo but it would take some scratching to find the .318" bullets even so.
3. Modern American 8mm Mauser ammunition is loaded with a 170 grain .323" bullet but it is based on the old 8mm Remington Special introduced after WW I and has a thin jacket, soft core and is loaded to low pressures so as to be usable in the old guns. It is supposed to squeeze down in the J barrels and still fill the rifling and shoot accurately in an S barrel. But see 1 and 2 above.
4. Do NOT shoot with the current crop of Turkish and other European surplus, that stuff is all S bore and is loaded hot.

The rifle has an internal magazine. It originally used an en-bloc clip that held five rounds, was loaded from the top and dropped out the bottom opening when empty. Some of the rifles with the "S" conversion were altered to pop the empty clip out the top like a Garand and the hole in the bottom of the magazine covered; some were further altered to load from a '98 Mauser stripper clip and will have clip slots at the rear of the receiver opening. I don't know where to get '88 clips, either.

Somebody will come along and tell you why not to shoot it anyhow.

Mike Irwin
December 14, 2005, 03:04 PM
If it's "S" marked and has, in fact, had the barrel and chamber reamed to take the new ammunition, there's no reason in the world not to load for it and shoot it.

.323 bullets are commonly available, as are cases.

James K
December 14, 2005, 03:39 PM
I offer this but note that it is not a recommendation. My checking showed that, contrary to what has been written, the conversion of the M1888 Commission Rifle did not involve rebarrelling, re-boring or re-rifling, only reaming for the chamber neck and throat, as Jim W. says. I fired 25 rounds of mixed 8mm, including German WWII service ball ammo, Turkish, Yugoslav, and S&B, through a converted M1888 with no problem and no signs of high pressure. So, in spite of the cries of alarm, I don't think .005" difference in groove diameter matters too much. But the chamber neck is a different story; if the case neck can't expand to release the bullet, pressure goes very high.

(It is interesting that a great fuss is made about headspace, but AFAIK, there are not even gauges available for chamber neck size. I saw one report by a man with an M14 clone that he was having high pressure until he reamed the chamber, so he now tells everyone that tight headspace causes high pressure. He never considered that reaming the chamber also reamed the neck and throat area.)

Jim

Jim Watson
December 14, 2005, 05:14 PM
I have looked up some stuff.
American made 8mm is at a SAAMI standard pressure limit of 37,000 psi, whilst .30-40 Krag is 40,000 CUP. I figure an '88 is as strong as a Krag and would not worry over shooting US 8mm in one with "S" neck and throat.
P.O. Ackley said he got no signs of excess pressure shooting .35 Whelen in a .30-06 barrel WITH THE NECK AND THROAT ENLARGED TO LET THE .358" BULLET GET STARTED down the .308" barrel.

I still haven't found a source for '88 clips, one place advertised them at
$6 but none in stock.

Pictures would be a big help.

Hulse
December 15, 2005, 12:07 AM
Thank you To all that replied i really appreciate it. I will try to post some pics,Thanks again