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7.92×57mm Mauser

7.92×57mm Mauser

The 7.92×57mm Mauser (designated as the 8mm Mauser or 8×57mm by the SAAMI [2] and 8 × 57 IS by the C.I.P.[3]) is a rimless bottlenecked rifle cartridge. The 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge was adopted by the German Empire in 1903–1905, and was the German service cartridge in both World Wars. In its day, the 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge was one of the world’s most popular military cartridges. In the 21st century it is still a popular sport and hunting cartridge that is factory-produced in Europe and the United States.

7.92×57mm Mauser
Military Cartridges.jpg
From left to right 7.92×33mm Kurz, 7.62×39mm, 5.56×45mm NATO, 7.62×51mm NATO, .303 British, 6.5×55mm Swedish, 7.92×57mm Mauser, and .30-06 Springfield military cartridges
Place of originGerman Empire
Service history
In service1905–present
Used byGermany, United Kingdom, Spain, Czechoslovakia, Poland, China, Dominican Republic, Yugoslavia, Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, and many other countries
WarsWorld War I,
World War II
and numerous others
Production history
DesignerGerman Rifle Testing Commission
Variants8×57mm IRS (rimmed)
Parent caseM/88
Case typeRimless, bottleneck
Bullet diameter8.22 mm (0.324 in)
Neck diameter9.08 mm (0.357 in)
Shoulder diameter10.95 mm (0.431 in)
Base diameter11.94 mm (0.470 in)
Rim diameter11.95 mm (0.470 in)
Rim thickness1.30 mm (0.051 in)
Case length57.00 mm (2.244 in)
Overall length82.00 mm (3.228 in)
Case capacity4.09 cm3(63.1 gr H2O)
Rifling twist240 mm (1 in 9.45 in)
Primer typeLarge rifle
Maximum pressure (C.I.P.)390.0 MPa (56,560 psi)
Maximum pressure (SAAMI)241.3 MPa (35,000 psi)
Ballistic performance
Bullet mass/typeVelocityEnergy
11.7 g (181 gr) RWS DK820 m/s (2,700 ft/s)3,934 J (2,902 ft⋅lbf)
12.1 LP RWS HMK820 m/s (2,700 ft/s)4,068 J (3,000 ft⋅lbf)
12.7 g (196 gr) RWS TMR800 m/s (2,600 ft/s)4,064 J (2,997 ft⋅lbf)
12.8 g (198 gr) RWS ID Classic800 m/s (2,600 ft/s)4,096 J (3,021 ft⋅lbf)
Test barrel length: 600 mm (23.62 in)
Source(s): RWS / RUAG Ammotech [1]


Parent cartridge Patrone 88

The parent cartridge, upon which the 7.92×57mm Mauser is based, was adopted by Germany in 1888 as the Patrone 88 (cartridge 88) or M/88 (along with the Gewehr 1888 service rifle). It was a first-generation smokeless propellant cartridge designed by the German Gewehr-Prüfungskommission (G.P.K.) (Rifle Testing Commission), as the new smokeless propellant introduced as Poudre B in the 1886 pattern 8mm Lebel had started a military rifle ammunition revolution. The M/88 cartridge was loaded with 2.75 g (42.4 gr) of single-base (based on nitrocellulose) smokeless powder and a relatively heavy, 14.7 grams (227 gr), round-nosed ball bullet with a diameter of 8.08 mm (0.318 in). The M/88 bore originally had 7.90 mm (0.311 in) lands diameter and 8.10 mm (0.319 in) grooves diameter. The M/88 barrel bore specification was changed by 1894–1895 to 7.90 mm (0.311 in) lands diameter and 8.20 mm (0.323 in) grooves diameter to improve accuracy and reduce barrel wear in M/88 chambered arms.[4]

7.92×57mm Mauser S Patrone

German government driven efforts to further improve on the performance of the military M/88 ammunition and the service arms in which the M/88 was used after several development steps eventually resulted in the official adoption on 3 April 1903 by the Gewehr-Prüfungskommission of the dimensionally redesigned 7.92×57mm Mauser chambering. Besides the chambering, the bore (designated as "S-bore") was also dimensionally redesigned. The 1903 pattern 7.92×57mm Mauser S Patrone (S ball cartridge) was loaded with a lighter 9.9 grams (153 gr), pointed Spitzgeschoß (spire point bullet) of 8.2 mm (0.323 in) diameter and more powerful double-base (based on nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin) smokeless powder resulting in nearly 38% higher muzzle velocity and 27% more muzzle energy.[5][6][4] The operating pressure was 300 MPa (43,511 psi). With the improved ballistic coefficient of the new bullet, the 1903 pattern cartridge had an improved maximum effective range and a flatter trajectory, and was therefore less critical of range estimation compared to the M/88 cartridge.[7]

In German military service the Patrone 88 was replaced in 1904 and 1905 by the S Patrone. As the bolt thrust of the 7.92×57mm Mauser is relatively low compared to many other service rounds used in the early 20th century, many arms originally chambered for the Patrone 88 could be and were adapted for chambering the S Patrone by reaming out metal from the chamber as it required a wider chamber throat to take the differently shaped and thicker brass of the new S Patrone.

The rimless cartridge cases have been used as parent case for several other necked down and necked up cartridges and a rimmed variant.

Military use

Due to restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, the Germans were not able to develop or sell any military equipment after World War I. In the post-war years, 7.92×57mm Mauser chambered Gewehr 98 pattern rifles were produced in Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Mexico, Austria and China. This, and the cartridge's high performance and versatility, led to the 7.92×57mm Mauser being adopted by the armed forces of various governments. These included: Spain, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Iran, Turkey, China, Egypt, Yugoslavia, former German African colonies. This made the round the most widely used military rifle cartridge in the world during the inter-war years.[8]

During World War II it was one of the few cartridges used by both the Axis and Allied powers, a distinction it shared with the 9×19mm Parabellum pistol round. Apart from being the standard rifle cartridge of the German and Polish armed forces, it was also used by the armed forces of Great Britain in the Besa machine gun, which was mounted in some of their tanks and other armoured vehicles, as well as being extensively used by the Chinese, especially early in the war. After World War II it was used by the early Bundeswehr of West Germany. Later, when Egypt decided to manufacture the Hakim rifle, a licensed copy of the Swedish Ag m/42, they redesigned the breech to accept the 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge rather than use the original 6.5×55mm Ag m/42 cartridge. Its military use continues today (2012) in the former Yugoslavia in the Zastava M76 sniper rifle and the license-built copy of the MG 42, the M53 Šarac machine gun.[9]

Rifles formerly manufactured for the Wehrmacht, captured by the Allies and acquired by Israel were important in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Israel did not have a domestic arms industry and could not manufacture rifles but it could produce replacement parts and refurbish weapons. Israel only used its Mauser rifles in their original configuration for a short period, when NATO countries adopted a standard rifle cartridge, the 7.62×51mm NATO, Israel replaced all of the 7.92×57mm Mauser barrels on its Mauser rifles with barrels chambered for the new 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge.

Civilian use

After World War I the Treaty of Versailles imposed comprehensive and complex restrictions upon the post-war German armed forces (the Reichswehr). According to the treaty the Reichswehr could on a limited scale continue using the 7.92×57mm Mauser as their service cartridge. The Treaty of Versailles however effectively nixed the civilian use of 7.92×57mm Mauser chambered rifles by German hunters and sport shooters. During the mid 1930s Germany stopped obeying the restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles and gradually the civilian use of 7.92×57mm Mauser chambered rifles by German hunters and sport shooters was resumed. In 1939 the Normalisierungsverordnung (Normalization regulation) effectively prohibited the production of non S-bore/7.92×57mm Mauser chambered arms in Nazi Germany. In post World War 2 Germany the production of the various preceding chamberings is allowed again, but these chamberings have become rare in post 1939 produced arms.[4]

The 7.92×57mm Mauser is a common chambering offering in rifles marketed for European and North American sportsmen, alongside broadly similar cartridges such as the 5.6×57mm, 6.5×55mm, 6.5×57mm, and the 6.5×68mm and 8×68mm S magnum hunting cartridges. Major European manufacturers like Zastava Arms, Blaser, Česká Zbrojovka firearms, Heym, Mauser Jagdwaffen GmbH and Steyr Mannlicher produce factory new 7.92×57mm Mauser hunting rifles and European ammunition manufacturers like Blaser, RUAG Ammotec/RWS, Prvi Partizan, Sako and Sellier & Bellot produce factory new ammunition.[4] In 2004 Remington Arms offered a limited-edition Model 700 Classic bolt action hunting rifle chambered for the 7.92×57mm Mauser.[10]

The 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge's performance makes it suitable for the hunting all medium-sized game such as the deer family, chamois, mouflon, bighorn sheep, wild boar and bear. The 7.92×57mm Mauser can offer very good penetrating ability due to a fast twist rate that enables it to fire long, heavy bullets with a high sectional density.

The 7.92×57mm Mauser cannot be used in countries which ban civil use of former or current military rifle cartridges, though since 2013 is no longer restricted in France.

The rimmed variant of the 7.92×57mm Mauser, the 8×57mm IRS, was developed later for break-barrel rifles and combination guns.[11] The 8×57mm IRS is commercially offered as a chambering option in European break-action rifles.[1][11]

Cartridge naming

The naming of this cartridge is cultural and epoch dependent and hence not uniform around the world.

The 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge is also known by the following designations:

  • 7.9, 7.9mm[12]

  • 7.9 Mauser, 7.9mm Mauser

  • 7.92, 7.92mm

  • 7.92 Mauser, 7.92mm Mauser

  • Cartridge SA, 7.92

  • 7.92×57, 7.92×57mm

  • 7.92×57 Mauser, 7.92×57mm Mauser

  • 8mm Mauser

  • 8×57, 8×57mm

  • 8×57 Mauser, 8×57mm Mauser

  • 8 × 57 IS, 8 × 57 JS

This list is not conclusive and other nomenclature or designation variations might be encountered.

The 7.92 naming convention is often used by English speaking sources for the military issued 7.92×57mm Mauser and 7.92×33mm Kurz cartridges. Remarkably, both the 7.92 and 7,9 used in these and alike designations do not exactly comply to the actual C.I.P. or SAAMI cartridge, chamber and bore dimensions. All other non-military issued rimless and rimmed rifle cartridges originating from Germany having approximately 8 mm bullet diameter are connected to 8 mm namings.[3]

The widespread use in German military Gewehr 98 and Karabiner 98k service rifles designed and manufactured by Mauser caused the "Mauser" tag, though the Mauser company had nothing to do with the development of this cartridge.[7]

The letter "J" often mentioned by English speaking sources is actually an "I" for Infanterie (German for "infantry"). A stamped "I" at the cartridge bottom in writing styles used in the past in Germany could be easily mistaken for a "J". Even in the 21st century the "I" is often substituted by a "J" in English speaking communities and German ammunition manufacturers often write "JS" instead of "IS" to avoid confusing customers. The letter "S" stands for Spitzgeschoß ("pointed bullet"), and the English designation "spitzer" for that style of bullet is derived from this German term.

Current European civil C.I.P. designation

The mainly European arms standards body Commission Internationale Permanente pour l'Epreuve des Armes à Feu Portatives (Permanent International Commission for portable firearms testing) (C.I.P.)—an organisation for standards in ammunition for civilian use—currently (2012) designates the 7.92×57mm Mauser as the 8 × 57 IS. This designation has the power of law for civil use in C.I.P. member states like the United Kingdom.[3]

Current U.S. civil SAAMI designations

The United States standardizing body for sporting cartridges Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) currently (2012) designates the 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge as the 8mm Mauser, also known as 8×57mm.[2]

Since the SAAMI has no authority to issue nomenclature rulings, the nomenclature used for this cartridge can vary in the United States.

Historic military designations

The German military used 7,9mm as designation or omitted any diameter reference and only printed the exact type of loading on ammunition boxes during World War II.

In Sweden the cartridge was designated "8mm patron m/39"[13]

The Polish military used 7,9mm or 7,92mm designations (mostly 7,9mm).[14]

The Norwegian military used the designation 7,92x57 mm, sometimes "7,92 Lett" ("lett" meaning light) to differentiate it from the similar but not interchangable 7,92x61 Tung (heavy).[15] Ammunition produced by Raufoss after the war was designated 7,92x57.

The British military's Besa machine gun was chambered for the 7.92×57mm Mauser, and was used in armoured vehicles during World War II. The British referred to this ammunition as Cartridge SA, 7.92.[16]

United States intelligence documents from World War II refer to the cartridge as 7.92 or 7.92 mm or 7.92-mm.[17][18]

Cartridge drawings and dimensions

The 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge has a cartridge case capacity of 4.09 ml (63 grains) H2O. The exterior shape of the case was designed to promote reliable case feeding and extraction in bolt action rifles and machine guns alike, under extreme conditions.

[[INLINE_IMAGE|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5f/8_x_57_IS.jpg/400px-8_x_57_IS.jpg|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5f/8_x_57_IS.jpg/600px-8_x_57_IS.jpg 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5f/8_x_57_IS.jpg/800px-8_x_57_IS.jpg 2x|8 x 57 IS.jpg|h284|w400]]

7.92×57mm Mauser maximum C.I.P. cartridge dimensions. All sizes in millimeters.

Americans would define the shoulder angle at alpha/2 ≈ 19.1 degrees. The common rifling twist rate for this cartridge is 240 mm (1 in 9.45 in), 4 grooves, Ø of the lands = 7.89 mm (0.311 in), Ø grooves = 8.20 mm (0.323 in), land width = 4.40 mm (0.173 in) and the primer type is large rifle.

According to the official C.I.P. (Commission Internationale Permanente pour l'Epreuve des Armes à Feu Portatives) rulings the 7.92×57mm Mauser can handle up to 390.00 MPa (56,565 psi) Pmax piezo pressure. In C.I.P. regulated countries every rifle cartridge combo has to be proofed at 125% of this maximum C.I.P. pressure to certify for sale to consumers.[3] This means that 7.92×57mm Mauser chambered arms in C.I.P. regulated countries are currently (2013) proof tested at 487.50 MPa (70,706 psi) PE piezo pressure.[3]

The SAAMI (voluntary) Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) for this cartridge is 35,000 psi (241.3 MPa) piezo pressure or (37,000 CUP).[19][20] This is considerably lower than the C.I.P. pressure limit and is done for liability reasons, in case a 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge is fired in an "I-bore" rifle that has a narrower throat and barrel diameter. Most European ammunition manufacturers generally only load to a lower pressure limit for I-bore cartridges; and the US based manufacturer Hornady followed their lead in their (now discontinued) EuroSpec brand 8×57 JS load.

German military ammunition

"There were many German military versions of the cartridge, and Germany never stopped its development of different variations until the end" of World War II. "The bullet lengths varied a great deal through the different types, but all were loaded to an overall length" of 80.6 mm (3.17 in). The Germans had started using steel cases in World War I, "and by the end of 1943, most German ammunition had that type of case."[21] The weights and case capacities of the World War II military cartridge cases varied somewhat. The German military ammunition manufacturer Polte produced brass cartridge cases weighing 10.32 g (159 gr) with 4.03 ml (62 gr) H2O case capacity and steel cartridge cases weighing 10.90 g (168 gr) with 3.95 ml (61 gr) H2O case capacity.[22] The steel cartridge cases were produced in copper plated and lacquered executions. Some military cartridge cases were made with to aim to use less material and their ammunition boxes were marked Für Gewehr ("for rifle") use. Other military cartridge cases were made extra sturdy and their ammunition boxes were marked Für MG ("for machine gun") use.[23]

German military standard ball service rifle cartridge evolution

7.92×57mm Mauser German military standard issue rifle cartridges
NameYearCaliberBullet massLengthRimBaseShoulderNeckOALMuzzle velocityMuzzle energyOperating pressure
M/8818888.07 mm (0.318 in)14.6 g (225.3 gr)57 mm (2.2 in)11.95 mm (0.470 in)11.94 mm (0.470 in)10.95 mm (0.431 in)8.99 mm (0.354 in)80.6 mm (3.17 in)639 m/s (2,096 ft/s)2,983 joules (2,200 ft⋅lbf)
S Patrone19038.2 mm (0.323 in)9.9 g (152.8 gr)57 mm (2.2 in)11.95 mm (0.470 in)11.94 mm (0.470 in)10.95 mm (0.431 in)9.08 mm (0.357 in)80.6 mm (3.17 in)878 m/s (2,881 ft/s)3,816 joules (2,815 ft⋅lbf)300 MPa (43,511 psi)
s.S. Patrone19338.2 mm (0.323 in)12.8 g (197.5 gr)57 mm (2.2 in)11.95 mm (0.470 in)11.94 mm (0.470 in)10.95 mm (0.431 in)9.08 mm (0.357 in)80.6 mm (3.17 in)760 m/s (2,493 ft/s)3,697 joules (2,727 ft⋅lbf)320 MPa (46,412 psi)

The data for the M/88 and the 7.92×57mm Mauser S Patrone of 1905 is for Gewehr 98 rifles with 740 mm (29.1 in) barrel length. The data for the 7.92×57mm Mauser s.S. Patrone of 1934 is for Karabiner 98k rifles with 600 mm (23.6 in) barrel length.

German cartridge variants during World War II

The German standard s.S. Patrone ("s.S. ball cartridge") was originally designed for long range machine gun use. It was loaded with a 35.3 mm (1.39 in) long, boat-tailed, s.S. - schweres Spitzgeschoß ("heavy pointed or spitzer bullet") full metal jacket bullet and very well made.[21][25] It was lead filled, had a gilding-metal-plated jacket, and weighed 12.8 grams (197.53 gr). The s.S. Patrone had a muzzle velocity of 760 m/s (2,493 ft/s) and an operating pressure of 320 MPa (46,412 psi). From its 1914 introduction the s.S. Patrone was mainly issued for aerial combat and as of 1918 in the later stages of World War I to infantry machine gunners. The desire for adapting new shorter barreled rifles and introduction of the Karabiner 98k were reasons for changing the standard German service ball rifle cartridge. The 1903 pattern 7.92×57mm Mauser S Patrone produced excessive muzzle flash when fired from arms that did not have a long barrel like the Gewehr 98. It was found that the s.S. Patrone, originally designed for long range machine gun use, produced less muzzle flash out of rifles that had a less long barrel and also provided better accuracy. Because of this the S Patrone was phased out in 1933 and the s.S. Patrone became the standard German service ball cartridge in the 1930s when the German rearmament program started.[23][8] The s.S. ball projectile with a 5.9 millimetres (0.23 in) long 6° 25′ 51″ boat tail was designed for long range use and offered the best aerodynamic efficiency and external ballistic performance of any standard rifle bullet used during World War II, with a G1 ballistic coefficient between 0.593 and 0.557 (ballistic coefficients are somewhat debatable) or a ballistic coefficient of approximately 0.295 (G7). When fired at the typical muzzle velocity of 760 m/s (2,493 ft/s) out of a 600 mm (23.6 in) barrel the s.S. bullet retained supersonic velocity up to and past 1,000 m (1,094 yd) (V1000 ≈ Mach 1.07) under International Standard Atmosphere conditions at sea level (air density ρ = 1.225 kg/m3). It had a maximum range of approximately 4,700 m (5,140 yd)[7] Even by contemporary (2012) standards 1000+ m (1,094+ yards) effective supersonic range is quite remarkable for a standard military rifle round. For recognition the primer sealant was green, and it had a yellow-tip marked bullet.

The regular s.S. projectile had the following penetration performance: 85 cm (33 in) of dry pine wood at 100 m (109 yd), 65 cm (26 in) at 400 m (437 yd), 45 cm (18 in) at 800 m (875 yd) and 10 cm (4 in) at 1,800 m (1,969 yd), 10 mm (0.39 in) of iron at 300 m (328 yd), 7 mm (0.28 in) at 550 m (601 yd), 5 mm (0.20 in) of steel at 100 m (109 yd) and 3 mm (0.12 in) at 600 m (656 yd).

During World War II German snipers were issued with purpose-manufactured sniping ammunition, known as the 'effect-firing' s.S. round.[26] The 'effect-firing' s.S. round featured an extra carefully measured propellant charge and seated an sS full-metal-jacketed boat-tail projectile of match-grade build quality, lacking usual features such as a cannelure, to further improve the already high G1 ballistic coefficient to approximately 0.595 (G1) or 0.300 (G7).[27] The 'effect-firing' s.S. projectile had a form factor (G7 i) of 0.869, which indicates good aerodynamic efficiency and external ballistic performance for the bullet diameter.[28][29]

In 1940 Germany introduced S.m.E. - Spitzgeschoß mit Eisenkern ("spitzer with iron core") — mild steel cored projectile ammunition.[23][30] The S.m.E. ammunition was developed to replace the s.S. ammunition to save on lead and other metals that became scarce in Germany during World War II. The projectile core was covered by a relatively thin layer of lead. Muzzle velocity was 790 m/s (2,592 ft/s) and the operating pressure was 310 MPa (44,962 psi). For recognition the primer annulus or whole primers were colored blue. S.m.E. bullets were 37.3 mm (1.47 in) long, boat-tailed, and weighed 11.55 g (178.2 gr). The mild steel core weights varied between the four production sub-executions from 5.47 to 5.79 g (84.4 to 89.4 gr).[23] From 1942 onwards S.m.E. ammunition practically replaced the s.S. ammunition.[23] In 1943 the lead content of the S.m.E. bullet was further reduced. To compensate for the lead reduction the mild steel core was redesigned resulting in a projectile lengthened to 39.8 mm (1.57 in) to retain the original S.m.E. bullet weight of 11.55 g (178.2 gr).[31][32] This ammunition was designated S.m.E. lg - Spitzgeschoß mit Eisenkern lang ("spitzer with iron core long") and lacked recognition marks. The S.m.E. lg external ballistic characteristics were practically identical to s.S. ammunition up to 1,400 m (1,531 yd) and the lengthened S.m.E. lg projectile was more accurate compared to the shorter S.m.E. projectile.[23]

Special ammunition included:[22][33][34]

  • S.m.K. - Spitzgeschoß mit Kern ("spitzer with core") — hardened steel cored projectile for use against targets behind thick covers, tanks, or airplanes. Red circular cap groove, yellow bullet, bullet weight 11.85 g (182.9 gr), muzzle velocity 785 m/s (2,575 ft/s), operating pressure 300 MPa (43,511 psi). This ammunition was also produced in a S.m.K.-v high-velocity or "v" ammunition variant that added 100 m/s (328 ft/s) muzzle velocity to the normal S.m.K. variant.[35] There was also a version S.m.K.H. - Spitzgeschoß mit Hartkern ("spitzer with hardcore") which had a tungsten carbide instead of a steel core. Sintered iron and mild steel cores also came into use in this ammunition. German Spitzgeschoss mit Kern armor-piercing bullets were very good, being very stable and accurate at long ranges.[21]

  • S.m.K. L'spur - Spitzgeschoß mit Kern Leuchtspur ("spitzer with core tracer") — red circular groove, black bullet point—German tracer bullets "were the best put out by any country — streamlined and with excellent ballistics".[21] The bullet was basically the same as used in the S.m.K. ammunition but combined with a tracer that burned for 800 to 1,000 m (875 to 1,094 yd). It had a bullet weight of 10.00 g (154.3 gr) and a muzzle velocity of 810 m/s (2,657 ft/s) and an operating pressure of 280 MPa (40,611 psi). This ammunition was also produced in a S.m.K. L'spur-v high-velocity or "v" ammunition variant that added 115 m/s (377 ft/s) muzzle velocity to the normal S.m.K. L'spur variant.[35] These rounds were also available in 'S.m.K. L'spur 100/600' and S.m.K. L'spur-v 100/600 variants for aerial use that burned between 100 and 600 m (109 and 656 yd).

  • S.m.K. Gl'spur - Spitzgeschoß mit Kern Glimmspur ("spitzer with core night tracer" )— red circular groove, black bullet point—German night tracer bullets. The bullet was basically the same as used in the S.m.K. ammunition but combined with a dimmed tracer that was visible from 150 m (164 yd) to 800 to 1,000 m (875 to 1,094 yd) and would not temporarily blind dark adapted eyes in low light conditions. It had a bullet weight of 10.00 g (154.3 gr) and a muzzle velocity of 810 m/s (2,657 ft/s) and an operating pressure of 280 MPa (40,611 psi). This ammunition was also produced in a S.m.K. Gl'spur-v high-velocity or "v" ammunition variant that added 115 m/s (377 ft/s) muzzle velocity to the normal S.m.K. Gl'spur variant.[35] These rounds were also available in S.m.K. Gl'spur 100/600 and S.m.K. Gl'spur-v 100/600 variants for aerial use that burned between 100 and 600 m (109 and 656 yd).

  • P.m.K. - Phosphor mit Kern ("phosphorus with steel core") machine gun ammunition loaded with the 10.15 grams (156.6 gr) P.m.K. bullets that had a muzzle velocity of 830 m/s (2,723 ft/s) and an operating pressure of 280 MPa (40,611 psi). This cartridge can be recognised by the black primer sealant and yellow tipped bullet. This ammunition was also produced in a P.m.K.-v high-velocity or "v" ammunition variant that added 115 m/s (377 ft/s) muzzle velocity to the normal P.m.K. variant.[35]

  • B - Beobachtung ("observation") — The German Luftwaffe 10.85 grams (167.4 gr) B (Beobachtung—"observation") high-explosive incendiary ball bullets contained phosphorus and "had a pellet in it which exploded on contact with any target, however frail".[21] The projectile featured an internal floating firing pin mechanism that automatically armed during firing and detonates a small capsule of tetryl which in turn ignites the white phosphorus in the nose of the projectile during sudden deceleration producing a clearly observable amount of flash and smoke. It had a muzzle velocity of 800 m/s (2,625 ft/s) and an operating pressure of 300 MPa (43,511 psi).[23] The B bullet was like any other high-explosive or incendiary bullet, illegal for anti-personnel use according to the Saint Petersburg Declaration and Hague Conventions. "The Germans maintained that it was used mainly for observation and range-finding, but observers report having seen them in rifle clips and machine gun belts".[21] Often this round was used to set vehicles and aircraft on fire.[23] The regular German infantry units were not allowed to use this round; however German snipers on the Eastern Front were permitted by Adolf Hitler in February 1945 to use these rounds that caused horrendous wounds as the projectiles tended to detonate after 100 to 130 millimetres (3.9 to 5.1 in) penetration in human tissue. Karabiner 98k service rifles handled these cartridges without issues.[36] This cartridge can be recognised by the black primer sealant, yellow bullet. This ammunition was also produced in a B-v high-velocity or "v" ammunition variant that added 110 m/s (361 ft/s) muzzle velocity to the normal B variant.[35]

All verbesserte (v) ("improved") high-velocity ammunition variants were loaded to a 50 MPa (7,252 psi) higher operating pressure than the corresponding normal ammunition variants. This increase in operating pressure resulted in a noticeable increase in muzzle velocity and barrel wear.[35]
  • Patrone L.S. - Leichtes Spitzgeschoß ("light spitzer bullet") — machine gun anti aircraft training ammunition loaded with 5.5 grams (85 gr) bullets with aluminium cores that had a muzzle velocity of 925 m/s (3,035 ft/s). Due to the lightweight bullet the maximum range was limited to approximately 2,000 m (2,187 yd). This cartridge can be recognized by the green stripe painted over the case head.

  • Patrone L.S. L'spur - Leichtes Spitzgeschoß Leuchtspur ("light spitzer bullet with tracer") — machine gun anti aircraft training ammunition. The L.S. L'spur bullet weighed 6 grams (93 gr) and was basically the same as used in the L.S. ammunition but combined with a tracer that added 0.5 grams (7.7 gr) extra weight. This cartridge can be recognized by the green stripe over the case head and a black bullet tip.

  • Platzpatrone 33 (blank cartridge) — two cannelures in the brass, red wood- or cardboard-bullet, cardboard plug (Fließpappe-Pfropfen) between bullet and propellant powder. Safe distance given at 25 m (27 yd).

  • Exerzierpatrone ("drill cartridge" ) — two variants: Exerzierpatrone S.K. ("drill cartridge S.K.") with vertical grooves in the brass for aiming exercises. Werkzeugpatrone s.S. ("toolcartridge s.S.") with the same weight as a s.S. ball cartridge for examining the functioning of a firearms action. A horizontal ring of small holes above the extractor grooves differentiated the Werkzeug round from the s.S. ball cartridge.

  • Beschußpatrone s.S. ("proof cartridge s.S.") — proof test cartridge that produced 450 MPa (65,267 psi) proof pressure. This is lower than the civilian C.I.P. 487.50 MPa (70,706 psi) PE piezo pressure proof test required for new or old refurbished 7.92×57mm Mauser chambered arms.[3]

  • Anschußpatrone s.S. ("sighting-in cartridge s.S.") — s.S. cartridge purpose-manufactured with particularly low production tolerances. These were used for zeroing in new arms. Due to their precision they were also popular with snipers. There were no markings on the cartridge itself present to distinguish it from a normal s.S. cartridge. For recognition the cartridge boxes had a label with the word Anschuß on the outside.

British military ammunition

British cartridges included "ball", "armour-piercing", "tracer", and "incendiary". Blanks and a drill round were also available for instruction purposes. The drill round was an aluminium bullet fixed in a chromium-plated case which had three deep lengthwise recesses painted red to identify it. Ammunition was supplied in belted form with 225 rounds per belt.[16]

DesignationMarksAnnulus colourNotes
Cartridge, SA, Ball, 7.92mmMark I.Z, Mark II.ZDark purple if presentMark II.Z bullet has "flatter" nose and longer parallel portion to engage with rifling
Cartridge, SA, Armour-piercing, 7.92mmMark I.Z, Mark II.ZGreenHard steel core, lead-antimony sleeve, steel envelope
Cartridge, SA, Tracer, 7.92mmMark I.Z, Mark II.ZRedRed tracer composition in non-streamlined bullet. Effective for 900 yards.
Cartridge, SA, Incendiary, 7.92mmMark IBlue

The ball case was filled with a charge of around 45 grains (3 g) of nitro-cellulose.[16]

The British cartridge was used in only one weapon—the Besa machine gun. This was a Czechoslovak ZB-53 design adopted shortly before the war as a move towards rimless ammunition across the armed service. However the move was disrupted by the lead up to war. The BESA was only fitted to tanks and armoured cars of British design (the original Czech design was also produced for German use following the occupation of Czechoslovakia) and captured German ammunition was used when available.

Polish military ammunition

The cartridges manufactured in Poland during the interwar period were mainly copies or modifications of the corresponding original German cartridge designs. The standard rifle cartridge was loaded with the 9.9 g (152.8 gr) S bullet (Spiczasty, "Pointed [Ball]"), a copy of the 1905 pattern German S Patrone. For machine guns a cartridge variant loaded with the heavier 12.8 g (197.5 gr) SC bullet (Spiczasty Ciężki, "Pointed, Heavy [Ball]") — a copy of the German 1934 pattern s.S. cartridge — was used. The variant loaded with the armor-piercing P bullet (przeciwpancerny) was a copy of the German SmK cartridge. The armor-piercing-with-tracer PS (przeciwpancerny smugowy) and incendiary Z (zapalający) cartridges were Polish modifications of the original German counterpart designs. The Polish designed a machine gun cartridge loaded with the long-range D bullet (dalekosiężny), which offered a maximum plunging fire range of 5,200 m (5,687 yd) to 5,500 m (6,015 yd).[14]

Romanian military ammunition

The Romanian military used the 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge as standard issue from its independence. It gradually converted over in the 1950s and 1960s to using Warsaw Pact standard calibers.

The 7.92 LPS gs MD71 (7.92×56mm) cartridge was manufactured in Romania by their Factory 22 (UM Sadu) from 1972 to 1978. It had a 10 g (154.3 gr) Semi-Armor-Piercing bullet with a copper jacket and mild steel core, corrosive VT stick propellant, and a Berdan-primed steel case with a green lacquer coating. The case mouth and primer pocket were sealed with a red sealant. It is unusual in that it has a uniform 56mm-long case, perhaps for cleaner extraction when used in belt-fed 8mm machine guns. Since it is from the portion after the neck, it chambers and feeds safely and extracts positively. It has sometimes been confused with the rather different Hungarian 8×56mmR Mannlicher cartridge. Some cartrologists mistakenly believed it to be an experimental rimless pointed-bullet Hungarian "sniper rifle cartridge" developed by Hungary's Factory 22 (Andezit Muvek) until it became available as surplus.

It is not clear why the cartridge was manufactured, as the Romanian military used the standard Communist-Bloc 7.62mm M91 Mosin-Nagant rifle round. Some believe it may have been for an experimental self-loading rifle or for a Communist Bloc client. It was most likely for use in the obsolete 8mm vz 24 rifles and MG 42 machine guns used by the Romanian Garzile Patriotice ("Patriotic Guards") from 1968 to the early 1980s.

Yugoslav military ammunition

After World War II the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia used the 7.92×57mm Mauser as a military service round. The Yugoslav National Army (JNA) designated their 7.92×57mm Mauser ammunition as 7.9 mm. At the end of the 1940s the Yugoslav National Army adopted a 7.9 mm cartridge, ball M49 variant, designated M49, as infantry ammunition.[37] As extra accurate ammunition for sniper and designated marksman use the Yugoslav National Army adopted a 7.9 mm cartridge, sniper, with universal ball M75, designated M75.[38] Besides ball ammunition the Yugoslav National Army also adopted a tracer round 7.9 mm cartridge, ball with tracer M70, designated M70. The M70 tracer round burns out to 900 m (980 yd).[39] For training and ceremonial use a 7.9 mm cartridge, blank was adopted.[40] After the breakup of Yugoslavia this ammunition was extensively used in the 1990s during the Yugoslav wars.

The 7.92×57mm Mauser as parent case

This was the parent case for many other later cartridges, such as:

  • 5.6×57mm

  • 6×57mm Triebel (wildcat)

  • 8×60mm S

  • 9×57mm Mauser

  • 9.3×57mm

See also

  • List of rifle cartridges

  • Table of handgun and rifle cartridges

  • 8mm caliber

  • 7.92×33mm Kurz

Contemporary military rifle cartridges
  • 7.5×55mm Swiss

  • 7.62×54mmR

  • 8mm Lebel

  • .303 British

  • .30-06 Springfield


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