The 7.65x53 and 7.65x53R
By Chuck Hawks
The 7.65x53 Mauser cartridge was adopted by the Belgian military around 1889, so the 7.65x53 is commonly known as the 7.65 Belgian Mauser. Shortly thereafter the 7.65x53 was adopted by several South American countries, including Argentina, so it is also known as the 7.65mm Argentine, particularly in North America.
The 7.65x53 has a rim diameter of .474" and a case length of 53mm (2.09"). 7.65mm translates to .303 caliber in English usage, and the 7.65x53 uses the same .311" diameter bullets as the .303 British.
Ballistically the 7.65x53 is similar to the .303 British cartridge. Handloaders should approach maximum loads with caution, as the old Mauser 1889/1890/1891 rifles in which the 7.65x53 is usually found are not as strong as the later Model 1898 Mauser or modern rifles.
Factory loaded ammunition for the 7.65x53 (7.65mm Argentine) from Norma is available in the US with a 180 grain soft point bullet loaded to a muzzle velocity (MV) of 2592 fps and a muzzle energy (ME) of 2686 ft. lbs. Norma trajectory figures look like this: +2.3" at 100 yards, 0 at 200 yards, and -9.6" at 300 yards.
Handloaders do not have a great selection of .311" bullets, but it is adequate for most purposes. According to the Hornady Handbook, Third Edition handloaders with Argentine Mausers in excellent condition or good commercial rifles can drive the 150 grain spire point bullet to a MV of 2400 fps with 36.1 grains of IMR 3031 powder, and 2700 fps with 41.1 grains of IMR 3031. The 174 grain Round Nose bullet can be driven to a MV of 2300 fps by 36.3 grains of IMR 3031 powder, and 2600 fps by 41.7 grains of IMR 3031. These Hornady loads were developed using Norma brass and Federal 210 primers in an 1891 Mauser rifle with a 29" barrel.
There is also a rimmed version of the 7.65x53mm called the 7.65x53R, designed for use in break-open rifles. It has remained fairly popular for the purpose and a variety of factory loads for the 7.65x53R are available from Sako and probably other European loading companies.
Because of the relative weakness of the early Mauser Model 1889, 1890, and 1891 bolt actions, the break-action combination guns are at least as strong and can handle pressures at lease a high as those recommended for the rimless 7.65x53, so 7.63x53 rimless data should be safe to use for reloading the 7.65x53R cartridge.
Note: Another article about the 7.65x53 and 7.65x53R can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.
Copyright 2005 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.