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Old August 25, 2011, 09:14 AM   #1
Josh Smith
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Gewehr 88/05 Kaboom?


The brass, dies and bullets (200grn soft-point 0.318") should be here today for my Gewehr 88/05.

Before I handload any caliber, I check the web and pick peoples' brains for failures of that caliber or the rifle I'll be reloading for.

I've found failures in Carcanos, Mosin-Nagants, 1911s, and a host of other rifles, shotguns and pistols, but I can't find a single one with regard to the m88/05 Commission Rifle.

I have found folks shooting modern surplus in the "S" marked ones, though it's not advised at all.

Though mine is S marked, it has a Czech barrel (I was told this from pics, anyway) that slugs to 0.310" by 0.316" or so (lead sinker, may be by 0.318").

Supposedly the S marked ones were opened up on the chamber end to swage down the new 0.323" projectiles.

Sill, I'm not risking it and am manufacturing the old style 7.92x57j instead of the 7.92x57js. Max speed will be around 2200fps.

Anyway, I see folks putting up numerous warnings about what to feed these rifles.

However, I with all the folks loading them light to heavy (and heavier than recommended), I'd expect to see a failure or two. I simply cannot find a single one.

What am I missing here?


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Old August 25, 2011, 09:46 AM   #2
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The reason you don't hear much about failures of 88's is that they never were used much. The Germans obsoleted them after only 10 years of peace duty, after which they were relegated to home defense/national guard type units before permanently disappearing in arsenals. They failed early on or never reached the typical fatigue life depending on the metal quality.
Now, I'm sure you can get one to fail by starting to feed it a constant diet of IsS rounds, but with occasional appropriate I loads you should be fine.
I used to love being able to hit hard at 1000 yards. As I get older I find hitting a mini ram at 200 yards with the 22 oddly more satisfying.
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Old August 26, 2011, 08:52 AM   #3
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I have one english translation of a German Weapons book, in passing it mentions failures in service.

I expect the production period of these rifles went from 1888 to 1898. The materials and processes of that era were primitive to say the least. Complex alloys, agreements on what material properties were important, did not exist. I don't think the first phase diagrams were published till 1895.

So what I am saying is be nice to the rifle. Always use good brass, nothing more than mid range loads.

In terms of failure reports, people don't like to report accidents. Human society view failures negatively, regardless of how it happened, and as a reflection on the person involved in the accident. Many people have this Medieval view that good people, “virtuous” people, don't have accidents. But bad people, “villains”, suffer accidents, because God is punishing them.

Ever tell your wife how you broke something while you were working on it, but came up with a permanent solution that fixed the issue? Did she think you clever because of your problem solving ability or did she think you an idiot because you broke something.?

So, where is the incentive to report a failure?
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