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Gewehr 88 ammo question

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Southyness, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. Southyness

    Southyness Member

    I may soon be getting a Gewehr 88 from my boss, and I'm somewhat of a noob to high power rifles. Always been a shotgun guy. Anyways I've heard many of them use different types of ammo. My boss knows very little about it. All he said was that it was a German ww1 Mauser and it had a metal shroud running down the whole barrel. I concluded it was an 88 based on the shroud, but he said he got it over 30 years ago and that it used 7mm but that sounded wrong to me. How can I find out what ammo to use safely in it? Thanks in advance, and I don't have money for a handloading set up for it, so that's out of the question.
  2. stan rose

    stan rose Well-Known Member

    When you get it post pictures of it, especialy the markings on the barrel and receiver. Then slug the bore and if needed do a chamber casting. If I misread your post, and the chambering will decide on the purchasing of said rifle then see if he will allow you to have a chamber casting performed, this would also help in selling it to others if you decided to pass on it. A GEW 88 should be chambered in 8x57j, although a good number of them were converted to the 8x57js.
  3. waidmann

    waidmann Well-Known Member

    Hi Stan, OP, that's .318 (J) vs. .323 (JS) if there is a noticable S stamped over the chamber area you should have a conversion. We are discussing the 1888 commissioin rifle not the Gewehr 1898 Mauser. For several reasons I'll receommend honorable retirement.
  4. lathedog

    lathedog Well-Known Member

    I concur that a Gewehr 1888 is not a best choice for a new foray into high power rifle shooting. Cool rifle with a lot of history, but also a lot of "baggage".

    If you cannot afford a reloading setup, you will probably want to pass on this.

    The first thing I would do is cast the chamber with cerrosafe and slug the bore. Check headspace with a set of go/no-go gauges, etc.

    One thought: the cartridge is often referred to as a 7,9mm. Maybe your boss mis-spoke, or forgot, ...or maybe he ran 7x57 thru this rifle. Did he say anything about really really poor accuracy?

    Bottom line is that this rifle will not be inexpensive to shoot, even assuming that it is safe to shoot at all and not inherently flawed.
  5. Southyness

    Southyness Member

    It's Not gonna cost much if anything for the rifle so that isn't a problem. He's had it 30 years and hasn't used it for 20, he said he didn't even remember the accuracy but he just told me he has a few boxes of ammo so hopefully that will shed some light. I also just picked up a mosin 91/30 from big 5 so I have that to work with too. I know he did fire the rifle quite a bit when he first got it and it's been in his safe ever since so I'm assuming headspace and all that should still be good, since he never had any problems irony it and it hasn't been beat up or modified since. Also, what does slugging the barrel mean? I know I'm being a noob but that's why I'm on here checking first, so I don't shoot an unsafe gun
  6. Vaarok

    Vaarok Well-Known Member

    Slugging the bore means jamming a fishing sinker into the rifling and then measuring the diameter it's squished to, so you know how tight the bore is, and which internal barrel dimension to use.

    I disagree strongly about the Gew88 being a bad/retire rifle. I've got a '94 Steyr with a .318 bore, a Heym New Model Mannlicher, and I think there's another 88 somewhere in the pile. They're the first truly modern smokeless rifle, and a great historical piece, as well as phenomenal shooters. That barrel jacket freefloat system definitely works.

    Just don't blow yourself up doing something stupid like shoving hot Turk surplus down a .318 and you should be fine.

    The Gunboards.com Mannlicher & Black Powder Cartridge Rifle forum is a great resource- Krag literally wrote the book on Gew88s, and the moderator Nick probably knows even more.
  7. Southyness

    Southyness Member

    What's the easiest way to post pics off an iPhone? I got the rifle today. The throat is pretty wrecked but the rifle it self is quite decent. It has a good feel and I like it a lot. I'd love to shoot it soon. Also it says gew 88, serial 939, spandau, 1890, and it has an s stamped above the spandau crown. It also has a bent bolt handle instead of a straight one and a cover on the bottom of the mag with 1914 and a different proof mark on it

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