View Full Version : 8mm "mystery" rifle

March 15, 2009, 08:00 PM
Actually, the mystery is more in what it is, as it was built up custom in the 60's - my father purchased it new while working at a sporting goods store, and purchased the barrel / action, stock separately. He has always said it is "not a Mauser", which I've wondered if he was told that in terms of manufacturer or type.

He was told at that time that ammunition production for it would stop shortly, and purchased extra bullets and brass.

We're wondering exactly what it is, and if ammunition is now available for it, or not.

Information available:

Ammunition box he has states "8mm Semi-Spitzer 318"

Notes he sent to me this evening:
Barrel reads:

2,67 G.B.B.P.
St. m G

Fluid-Steel- Krupp-Essen


Scope reads;
HELIA 4 [email protected]
Nr. 43922

Bought about 1962 for about $240 (for wages working at $.50 an hour) and added scope and swivel mount. Spent about 20 hours re-sanding and waxing/polishing stock.


Any light anyone could shed on this would be greatly appreciated!

March 15, 2009, 09:23 PM
Get a gunsmith to do a chamber cast and slug the bore, then you can measure the casting and identify the chambering. The smith can possibly also help you identify the rifle.

Not to start an argument, but it sounds like a parts gun made with a pre-WW2 civilian 8mm J-bore barrel, which could be chambered for any one of several civilian 8mm cartridges (8X47, 8X51, 8X53, 8X57J, etc). If it was built new in the 1960s, it would likely not have the .318" bore, as that bore dimension was pretty much dead after WW1, and definitely obsolete after WW2. The bore dimension coupled with the barrel markings point to a prewar rifle. Some bullets are available (Woodleigh), but it is an odd size.

Jim Watson
March 15, 2009, 10:14 PM
2,67 G.B.B.P.
St. m G

Means proof tested with 2.67 grams (41.2 grains) of flake smokeless powder and a steel jacketed bullet. Standard mark for the 7.9x57 1888 which agrees with the .318" bullet. (Except there should only be on letter B in the powder designation, but the proofhouse clerk was probably overworked and hit the stamp twice.)

Krupp was the big steel company in Essen, Germany.

Kahles was and is still a good brand of scope sight, now a division of Swarofski.

"Not a Mauser?"
Show pictures. It might be a sporterized 1888 which is not really a Mauser. it might be a Mannlicher in 8x57 instead of 8x56. Who knows? Time for Show and Tell.

March 16, 2009, 09:20 AM
Failing pics, what type of magazine does it have ?

Is it internal, staggering cartridges - or is it external, holding cartridges inline below the stock just ahead of the triggerguard.

Where does the bolt handle rest, in battery - ahead of the rear receiver ring, or behind it ?

Is it a turnbolt, or a straight-pull ?

Curious minds want to know. ;)


March 16, 2009, 01:20 PM
Mannlicher made a 8X51 Mauser, for the sporting rifle market. I have a Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifle in that caliber. So marked on the action. I was rebarreled and to put it back where it was suppose to be I ordered a reamer & headspace gages from Cramer.

It is a .318 bore instead of the 323. Problem is in reloading info, the only mention I've found in any of my reloading manuals (or on the internet) is in Col Sharps COMPLETE GUIDE TO RELOADING. The good Col says, if you have to reload this rifle, you are on your own.

Anyway the Measurements for this case is RIM; .470, CASE; 1.996, BODY:.470, NECK; .353, BULLET; .318.

March 16, 2009, 05:03 PM
I'll try and post some images sometime this week.

I printed off the post for him, and he corrected a few things:
1) Is a Mauser or Mauser type.
2) Was not new - purchased used from a local fellow who was in his 60's.

I asked him to get images of the entire rifle for me to post, with close ups of barrel markings and action.

It has a set trigger, and is bolt action - that much I do remember (I haven't looked at it in years - I should have when I was up there the other day).

He purchased enough bullets for several hundred rounds back in the 60's when they stopped making ammunition for it.

Thank you all for your help so far! I suspect it is a 1888 model at this point.

March 18, 2009, 07:29 PM
Well, 2nd try on the images. Must have timed out the first time around.

Some of the close-ups are not the greatest. If there are any in particular that would be helpful please post - I'll see him this weekend, and can bring my camera up.


March 18, 2009, 07:42 PM
2nd batch


Jim Watson
March 18, 2009, 11:12 PM
A typical post WW I German sporting rifle modified to fit American tastes of the 1960s.

Original equipment includes double set triggers, shotgun type trigger guard, lever magazine floorplate release, and ribbed octagon barrel. A very handsome rifle in its day, built on a '98 Mauser action. Maybe ex military by the thumb notch in the left rail.

Changes to suit Yankee tastes include California Weatherbyish stock and Austrian scope mounted in an American Pachmayr pivot mount.

I do not see a front sight. Is there one or at least a base for it? I'd hate to think of a complex contour barrel like that sawn off to be "handy in the brush" but a lot of rifle barrels were shortened in those days.

Isn't there an inscription around the breech end of the barrel? What does it say?

March 19, 2009, 06:09 AM
My father said everything he could read he wrote to me, and I posted above. I'll look over it this weekend for anything else. It does not have a front site - I'll look for marks.

One question I DO have, though - if it's based on the 98 Mauser action, why do the numbers on the barrel, as well as bullets he have seem to be an 88 (.318)? Or am I misunderstanding something? (very likely!).

Thank you all for sharing your time and knowledge.

Jim Watson
March 19, 2009, 09:06 AM
Even German military 98s were 7.9/.318/J-bore until 1905 when the larger spitzer bullet came in. Sporting rifles in the old caliber hung on for a long time. Partly conservatism among hunters and gunsmiths and I think partly due to post WW I Versailles Treaty restrictions on military calibers. Your rifle in the tight bore version is nothing out of the ordinary for the period of the 1920s and 1930s.

March 19, 2009, 09:59 AM
It's not a bad rifle - There's many a Mauser owner who'd love to have the DS triggers and the hinged floorplate with the toggle latch.

Just to be sure, you could slug the bore, or take a cerrosafe cast of it to determine the bore diameter.

If it's .318", then ensure that any commercial ammo shot through it is 8x57J, and not plain 8x57 (which is usually 8x57SJ - a .323" spitzer) - and/or use only .318" bullets for handloading.

March 19, 2009, 10:36 AM
you can use 32 win or 32/40 bullets.the 88 has a split bridge IE the bolt handl goes thru it and locks ahead of the bridge.that gun locks back of bridge so is a 98.at that price it must have been complete.for in the 60s the price for barreled reciever would have been low whole gun 98 would be $10/20 .I bought them for that.before WW2 I bought a barreled acton WW1 simpson for .10 cents.and a 73 win for $5.:rolleyes::eek::D

March 19, 2009, 05:08 PM
Thank you all for your assistance. I'll take a look this weekend, and if I find any other markings I'll post here. Otherwise, we'll stick to the 8mm rounds made for the 8mm, and the brass / bullets he has already.

I'm assuming that since he has the 98 Mauser action that it can handle a bit more than the 88 (though at this point I doubt he'll go through the supply he has already made up in his lifetime. He doesn't fire it much).

Thank you again!

January 1, 2012, 03:19 PM
I have and recently fired (Dec. 26,2011 a rifle that looks very much like the one in your pics. I too receive this when my dad passed away in 1957 (I was 10 yrs. old then) and use this as my only deer rifle, but know very little about it. I am using 8mm. (8mm.x57) rounds and guess I got lucky when buying them without knowing much about the weapon. The rounds left to me in '57 had 256 grain bullets and my current rounds are 196 grain. Any info will be greatly appreciated.

January 1, 2012, 06:20 PM
That's definately a '98 or large ring action. The .318 dia bullet was still used in sporting rifles past WWII. Ya can still get them from www.huntingtons.com

January 2, 2012, 05:39 PM
Take the barrel out of the stock, and check for a date stamp. With no date stamp and the old proof mark with the proof weights, the .318 I barrel is a distinct possibility. If there's a post-1920 date stamp I'd guess .323 IS bullet.