Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
7.92 x 57 mm Mauser
The 7.92 x 57 or 7x57 Mauser, also known as the 7mm Mauser, 7mm Spanish Mauser, and .275 Rigby, was developed as a military cartridge in 1893 for use by the military forces of Spain. It was subsequently adopted by several countries as the standard military cartridge. It was a milestone in cartridge design, and although obsolete as a military cartridge remains in production as a sporting cartridge.
The Mauser Company, founded by the brothers Wilhelm and Peter-Paul Mauser, existed from the late 1860's until the end of WWII. After several innovations, and years of trying, the company's first major success was a contract to manufacture rifles for the Turkish army in 7.65 caliber.
The Spanish military adopted a new Mauser design in 1893. The new rifle was chambered for a smokeless powder center fire cartridge featuring a bullet with a nominal diameter of 7mm (.284 inch), and a case length of 57mm, from which is derived the nomenclature of 7x57 Mauser. It featured a 175 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of about 2,300+ feet per second. For the late 19th century, these ballistic factors were impressive. The change in bullet, from a rounded tip to a pointed one, was partially responsible for the performance as it virtually eliminated wind resistance at normal combat ranges
The Spanish-American War and the South African Boer War proved the qualities of the 7x57 Mauser as a military round. Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders took very heavy casualties attacking an inferior force armed with 7mm Model 93 Mauser rifles. Likewise, the British soldiers fighting in South Africa were obliged to re-evaluate rifle design and tactics after facing the Boers firing the 7x57 rounds over open ground, easily outranging the .303 British cartridge.
The U.S. Springfield rifle was adopted by American forces in 1903 along with the .30-03 Springfield cartridge, modified in 1906 as the .30-06 when a 150 grain pointed bullet replaced the 220 grain round nose bullet. The British experimented with a .276 inch cartridge, but never adopted it as standard. The .303 British cartridge was retained as standard through both world wars, and into the 1950's.
The German army adopted the 7.92 x 57 mm, or 8 mm Mauser cartridge, as standard from 1898 through WW II, used in the Mauser 98 bolt action rifle
The ballistics of the 7x57 Mauser quickly became popular with hunters. The flat trajectory, along with the penetrating effects of the 7mm sectional density, ensured its place as a big game cartridge. It was extremely popular in Africa, where it was used on everything up to, and including, elephants. Though not so popular today, the 7x57 is still loaded by most major ammunition manufacturers. Modern rifles are still chambered for the cartridge.
Due to the age and metallurgy of the rifles for which it was originally designed, many of which are still functioning, most American commercial loads do not exploit the full potential of the cartridge. European loads are loaded to higher velocities and pressures, and can only be safely used in modern rifles chambered for the 7x57 Mauser cartridge.
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