The Case for the 7x57mm Mauser Cartridge

By Peter Stevenson

7x57 Mauser
Illustration courtesy of Hornady Mfg. Co.

I have been an avid Guns and Shooting Online reader for several years. I have read many articles in which various contributors denounce the use of cartridges that are more powerful than necessary for a particular game animal ("magnumitis"). I am a young hunter, in my 20s, and I completely agree that many hunters my age, especially deer hunters, use cartridges that are more powerful than necessary to dispatch deer sized (Class 2) game.

A couple weeks ago I walked up to the gun counter in a sporting goods store to inquire about a new deer rifle. (I do not actually NEED a new deer rifle, but I am always open to the idea!) I told the young man behind the counter that I would be hunting nothing larger than deer and feral hogs. He immediately handed me two cheap rifles; one in .30-06 and one in 7mm Remington Magnum. He told me that anything less powerful was for wimps and specifically stated that a .243 Winchester is a "chick rifle."

I politely laughed with him and told him I had to run it by my wife before I could buy. He asked me what my current deer rifle is. I told him a sporterized Spanish Mauser chambered in 7x57mm Mauser, and then I asked him if they carried 7x57mm ammunition. He looked at me as if I had three heads. Apparently the 7x57mm Mauser cartridge is not hip or trendy!

Now, let's fast forward to earlier this afternoon. I took my Mauser out to the range for some practice and to make sure it is still properly sighted-in. I was at the 100 yard range with two other young men, probably late teens or early twenties. They were there for the same reason as I.

Both of them had brand new, entry level, lightweight bolt action rifles chambered in .270 Winchester. Plastic stocks and cheap scopes that came with the rifles, which guaranteed out of the box accuracy out to 200 yards. I sat down next to them with my sporterized Mauser. They glanced over and complimented the wood stock and asked what I was shooting. They had no idea what a Mauser was, let alone a 7x57mm Mauser cartridge. I showed them the cartridge and compared it to their .270 cartridges. "Wow, that has a lot of lead behind it!" exclaimed one of them. I then explained that the 7x57mm Mauser is a softer shooter than the .270 in rifles of the same weight.

We eventually got down to shooting. I watched them shoot their .270s, which appeared to cause them to flinch. This is surely because the recoil energy of their ultra-light .270s is beyond 15 ft. lbs. and the .270 is known for its sharp muzzle blast, especially in a short barrel. I then invited them to shoot my Mauser, which they did.

Despite being a brand new rifle to them, after a couple shots they were shooting it better than their own rifles. Each of them commented on how softly my 7x57mm shot, compared to their .270s. They also noticed significantly less blast, as did I, sitting beside them. I let each of them shoot a magazine of ammunition through my rifle. (I have a lot of it in the safe!) They had a good time.

This is the case for the 7x57mm Mauser. At reasonable hunting ranges, it will do everything a .270 can do and will do so with less recoil and muzzle blast. According to Remington, a 130 grain .270 Core-Lokt Pointed Soft Point (PSP) bullet has 2,702 ft. lbs. of energy at the muzzle and 1,472 ft. lbs. of energy at 300 yards. From a 7x57mm Mauser, a 140 grain Core-Lokt PSP bullet has 2,199 ft. lbs. of energy at the muzzle and 1,266 ft. lbs. of energy at 300 yards. Do you really think your quarry is going to notice the difference? I don't, but I believe the shooter will!

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Copyright 2016 by Peter Stevenson and/or All rights reserved.