During the turn of the century all the western European countries, and the US had equipped themselves with very similar weapons. Bolt actions and with similar performing cartridges. The Brits and the Czar’s Russians had rimmed cartridges, while nearly everyone else went rimless. Rimless cartridges feed smoother through bolt actions and are superior in machineguns. The Russian 7.62x54R (the “R” means rimmed) and the .303 British (metric: 7.7x57R) became near cultural icons for these countries and soldiered on through two world wars and Korea. The Germans had their 7.9×57 Mauser (8mm Mauser in the US), the Italians had their 6.5×52 mm in their inventory while the US forces used the .30-06 (metric: 7.62×63). Ballistics were similar and the rifle sights on all these guns had sights marked out to a hopeful 1000+ yards. In World War I they did have some utility in area denial situations across no-man’s land. Many of the other countries in Europe were armed with a Mauser type action with similar cartridges. But England, Germany, France, US and Russia where the main belligerents. By the way, the French fought WWI armed with the Lebel rifles firing their 8x50R converting over to the MAS 36 in 7.5×54 mm, a rimless cartridge in the late 1920’s.
Spitzer Point Bullet
It was during the First World War that the modern spitzer boat tail bullet was introduced. US and the British cartridges were originally loaded with round nose bullets. The Spanish Mauser used by the Spanish on Cuba and the Boars in South Africa with spitzer (German for “pointed”) bullets gave those belligerents a range and accuracy advantage over the rainbow-like trajectories of the round nose bullets. By the beginning of World War 1 they were all shooting pointed bullets, except for the Italians. Superior range and flatter trajectories were the impetus for the adoption of the boat tail projectiles. Up until the Germans introduced the intermediate 7.9×33 mm doctrine dictated that engagements where to be at ranges exceeding practicality. At a thousand yards the typical blade front sight would completely cover a man sized target. Given poor lighting and the rainy conditions or dust and dirt on the western front sighting at ranges beyond 600 yards was problematic. It was the Germans experience on the Eastern Front during WWII that they were made cognizant that most engagements where at 350 meters or less. Hence modern doctrines dictating intermediate cartridges and the iconic ‘assault rifle’ of modern practice.
Hunting Rifles & Weapons
As it turned out the German, British, US and Russian rounds translated to the sporting world very well. They are all capable of taking any game in the Americas or the Continent. Over kill for small game, and maybe marginal for bear, moose or bison, they will and have taken all manner of game. These calibers are all ideal for deer sized game. Of the group the German 7.9mm round and the .30-06 were considered very accurate and enjoyed a brief reign as targeting rounds. The 308 Winchester supplemented the round in the US as the target round of choice. Also known as the 7.62×51 NATO it is popular internationally.
Custom Portable Shooting Ranges & Equipment
We all thought pretty much alike for battle rifles during most of the twentieth century. And to think of all the wildcat and factory cartridges inspired by these rounds. Shooting Range Industries offers custom modular shooting ranges for firearm training and practice. Contact us to learn more today!