The 8x57JS (8mm Mauser)

By Chuck Hawks

This is the cartridge with which Germany fought two world wars. The cartridge, officially designated the M/88, and the Commission rifle to shoot it, were adopted by the German Army in 1888.

In 1905 the cartridge was revised, and a 154 grain spitzer bullet of .323 inch diameter was adopted for the new, much stronger, Model 98 Mauser rifle. This new bullet was given a MV of about 2,800 fps and greatly extended the lethal range of the 8mm Mauser, which was now called the 8x57JS (the S stands for spitzgeschoss, from which came the Americanized term "spitzer").

In the U.S., 8x57 factory loads have always been under-loaded. This pretty well emasculated the cartridge's performance and ensured that it would never become very popular in America. This was done because the original 1888 German Commission rifle could not withstand the higher pressures of 8x57JS loads intended for use in the strong Mauser 98 action. Evidently the U.S. loading companies didn't want to bother informing American shooters about the differences between the two cartridges and the rifles that shoot them.

For the reloader with a sound Mauser 98 or other modern bolt action rifle, these problems and limits can safely be ignored. The 8mm Mauser can be loaded to a MAP of 50,000 cup and becomes a cartridge comparable to the .308 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield. Surplus rifles should always be checked by a knowledgable gunsmith before being fired.

Here are some cartridge specifications of interest to 8x57JS reloaders: bullet diameter .323", maximum COL 3.228", maximum case length 2.244", SAAMI MAP 37,000 cup.

Bullets from 125 to 220 grains are available, but the most popular are those between 150-200 grains. Medium burning rifle powders are generally the most successful in the 8x57, including VARGET, H335, H380, H414, H4350, IMR 4064, IMR 4350, W748, and VIHT N-150.

The Speer Reloading Manual No. 13 lists loads up to 50,000 psi for strong 8x57JS rifles. These give the Speer 150 grain spitzer bullet (BC .369, SD .205) a MV of 2695 fps in front of 47.0 grains of IMR 4064 powder, and up to 2,915 fps in front of a maximum load of 51.0 grains of IMR 4064 powder.

The Speer 170 grain semi-spitzer (BC .354, SD .232) can be driven to a MV of 2509 fps by 45.0 grains of IMR 4064 powder, or to a MV of 2,723 fps with a maximum load of 49.0 grains of the same powder.

The Speer 200 grain spitzer bullet (BC .411, SD .274) can be driven at a MV of 2198 fps by 42.0 grains of IMR 4064, or to muzzle velocities up to 2434 fps with 46.0 grains of IMR 4064 powder. All of these Speer loads used Remington brass and CCI 200 primers; velocities were taken in a 24 inch Mauser rifle barrel.

Note: A full length article about the 8x57 can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

Back to the Reloading Page

Copyright 2004, 2013 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.