Loading the 7x57 round. What is the potential

PJGunner

Handloader
Dec 11, 2010
2,107
1,090
Film 4 Junkie thought it might be interesting to maybe run a thread on the 7x57 and its potential. I agree. As we all know the round has always been kept low pressure due to the weaker (?) 93 and 95 Mauser rifles along with the 1916 Mauser which is just a modern M93. Personally. I'm of the thought they may be stronger than given credit for , for two reasons. First, they do not handle escaping gas well and a blown primer or partial case head separation will give one a snoot full of gas. Second, whwen a lot of old surplus military arms started coming it after WW2 many people bought them and made hunting rifles for their own use. This cut deeply into Winchester and Remington sales and I have to wonder if the major gun companies didn't have a hand in disparaging these rifles. My first 7x57 was a custom that may have been made in Great Britain as it had British proof marks. I bought it in 1973 and it looked very much like a Rigby but without Rigby's name on it. At the time, only one of the two hardwares stores in town had any ammo for the gun, the 175 gr. round nose by Federal. Well that load cost me a deer and I stupidly sold off what was a very nice rifle. Years later when I had another 7x57 and a chronograph I still had ammo left over from that first rifle., so ran some over the chrony. For all practical purposes I was shoots a 7MM bullet at 30-30 speed. Sectioning a few showed a jacket I felt was too thick for 30-30 speed. That ammo was nowhere near advertised velocity. My thoughts are that bullet just penciled though like a full metal jacket.

Since then, I have been doing a bit of experimentation with the cartridge. I started with W760 that some of said made for fast loads in the Mauser round. I got the 140 gr. Nosler Ballistic tip up to 2880 FPS but dropped back to close to 2800 FPS as the bolt was starting to get sticky at the higher speed. It also was a pretty hot day, somewhere between 105 and 110 in the shade. Accuracy was excellent in a Winchester M70 Featerweight at .75" average. A custom Mauser was close and even a Ruger #1A ran 1.25" average. The only problem with the load was it was the early version of the bullet with the too thin jackets.

I later started working with the 150 gr. Nosler Partition and RL17. This combo has worked very well slowly adding powder to where I reached 2847 FPS and .50" groups. I saw no problems with pressure and brass life is good. As like the 140 gr. load this was done on a 100 degree plus day I backed off to 2800 FPS although personally I think both loads would be fine at the cooler temperatures during hunting season.

Checking out the lasted load manuals I have, Speer #15and Nosler #8 seem to have some very warm loads for the cartridge. I'd like to look into them more but health issues have kind of gotten in the way. I really would like to see a discussion going on the cartridge and see what others have done. If I can get past the issues, I'm going to start working with a 160 gr. bullet. It seems the late Jack O'Connor and his wife were fond of the 160 gr. bullet for general hunting in the 7x57. I have a few hundred Speer Hot Cores on hand and they'll work as good as any.
Paul B.
 
I'll be watching this, and learning. Never have owned a 7x57, or a 275 Rigby for that matter... :)

I'm pretty sure the 7mm bullet doesn't have to be traveling at magnum velocity to be effective! I've got a couple of 7mm Rem Mags, and my son has one as well. The 7x57 always seemed like the more traditional, calmer older brother to my 7mm Mags.

Guy
 
I'll be watching this, and learning. Never have owned a 7x57, or a 275 Rigby for that matter... :)

I'm pretty sure the 7mm bullet doesn't have to be traveling at magnum velocity to be effective! I've got a couple of 7mm Rem Mags, and my son has one as well. The 7x57 always seemed like the more traditional, calmer older brother to my 7mm Mags.

Guy
This is why my favorite "non-magnum” is the 7-08.
 
Another reason I truly enjoy this forum; the most excellent experiments. And I really mean that. It isn't just the knowledge and experience from years of practical employment of arms and ammunition, it's the ongoing pursuit of new knowledge. This was excellent reading. A 150 grain bullet at 2800+ easily rivals the .308 Winchester for power, but at 7mm, has a better BC.

See, I find this sort of thing fascinating, and I do enjoy learning new things - and this? Yes, I absolutely learned something from this. I'd wanted a 7x57 in the past - just because - but it never occurred to me that it could be something to outperform an old standby like the 308.

Oh, and lest I forget - Thank you PJ.
 
I saw a picture of a grizzly my uncle shot many years ago with a 7x57 and most likely a 175 gr RN bullet. So yes it's got some potential for more than just deer sized game. I would like to find one some day, wish Tikka would chamber it. They do chamber the 7mm-08 which is a wonderful round too.
 
Just a few random thoughts. One, the late Finn Aagaard's father managed a cattle ranch in Kenya. One of his jobs was furnishing meat for the workers. He only owned one rifle according to Finn. It was either a 93 or 95 Mauser and my money is on the M95 as it was popular with the Boers. Finn showed a photo of his dad with two cattle killing lions he killed, one shot each. bang, bang, two dead ions. He also said dad shot so much game with that rifle that the bore was almost totally worn out. I'm also betting the ammo he used was the 175 gr. round nose at roughly 2300 FPS

On facebook there is a room dedicated strictly to the 7x57 Mauser. There's some good information there that worth looking at, if you're incline to take a look see. Some good reloading pages as well. One person made a comment about some that was written about the H.P. White Laboratory about pressure testing the m93 and 95 Mausers. It said they were tested to 100KPSI with no failures. Now I'm not saying one should use some of the hottest data out there for the 7x57 but it does make the point that they may not be as weak as the gun press makes out.

When touting the 7x57 people always bring up William David Maitland Bell AKA "Karamojo" Bell. He's known as the ivory hunter who killed "thousands" of elephants with the 7x57. According to his book, he killed about 1,100 elephants with 800 being taken with the 7x58. he also used a .303 Enfield with the ten round magazine, a 6.5x54 which he dropped and a .400 something that I forget which. Might the 450/400 but I'm not sure. He dropped the 6.5x54 because the 160 gr. bullets could and would bend into a banana shape and not properly penetrate. If it were for that he probably would have used that instead of the 7x57.

Jack O'Connor favored the 139 gr. bullet for the most part but when he and his wife took theirs to Africa both used 160 gr. bullets load to around 2600 FPS. Some people have said he used 160 gr. Noslers but as he was a close buddy of Vernon Speer I wonder if it wasn't either a Hot Core or Grand Slam? I've used the 165 gr. Hot Core at 2550 FPS in Ruger M77 RSI and it's a deer slayer supreme. No reason why the 160 gr. Hot Core wouldn't work just as well.
Paul B.
 
I’ll have to go back to my load books but I worked up a load with IMR 4350 that gives me 2750 fps with a 160 grainAccubond. Figured that was close enough to .280 Rem speeds not to go any further. This is out of a Number 1. No signs of pressure and it shoots as good as I’m capable of. Definitely an under rated cartridge. As a matter of fact, if you look at the photo of me in my signature/username that’s the gun with the first critter I ever took with it.
 
Just a few random thoughts. One, the late Finn Aagaard's father managed a cattle ranch in Kenya. One of his jobs was furnishing meat for the workers. He only owned one rifle according to Finn. It was either a 93 or 95 Mauser and my money is on the M95 as it was popular with the Boers. Finn showed a photo of his dad with two cattle killing lions he killed, one shot each. bang, bang, two dead ions. He also said dad shot so much game with that rifle that the bore was almost totally worn out. I'm also betting the ammo he used was the 175 gr. round nose at roughly 2300 FPS

On facebook there is a room dedicated strictly to the 7x57 Mauser. There's some good information there that worth looking at, if you're incline to take a look see. Some good reloading pages as well. One person made a comment about some that was written about the H.P. White Laboratory about pressure testing the m93 and 95 Mausers. It said they were tested to 100KPSI with no failures. Now I'm not saying one should use some of the hottest data out there for the 7x57 but it does make the point that they may not be as weak as the gun press makes out.

When touting the 7x57 people always bring up William David Maitland Bell AKA "Karamojo" Bell. He's known as the ivory hunter who killed "thousands" of elephants with the 7x57. According to his book, he killed about 1,100 elephants with 800 being taken with the 7x58. he also used a .303 Enfield with the ten round magazine, a 6.5x54 which he dropped and a .400 something that I forget which. Might the 450/400 but I'm not sure. He dropped the 6.5x54 because the 160 gr. bullets could and would bend into a banana shape and not properly penetrate. If it were for that he probably would have used that instead of the 7x57.

Jack O'Connor favored the 139 gr. bullet for the most part but when he and his wife took theirs to Africa both used 160 gr. bullets load to around 2600 FPS. Some people have said he used 160 gr. Noslers but as he was a close buddy of Vernon Speer I wonder if it wasn't either a Hot Core or Grand Slam? I've used the 165 gr. Hot Core at 2550 FPS in Ruger M77 RSI and it's a deer slayer supreme. No reason why the 160 gr. Hot Core wouldn't work just as well.
Paul B.
Excellent anecdotes, but let us not forget that in the case of Mr. Bell, he was always very, very careful in shot placement above all else. Further, by his own writing, he stated he used 200 grain round nose FMJ in the .275 (7x57) and took brain shots. I am by no means attempting to diminish either his accomplishments, nor the capability of the cartridge, but please let us keep some perspective.
 
All good info. I've held 7x57 pretty close being that it is the cartridge I first started reloading. I did figure out that the downloads for the 1916 Spanish needed a little more gas when I put them in the No. 1. That 150-175 in the number 1 will fill the freezer with no questions asked. Definitely a round that will do it all.
 
In my 7x57 fitted with a 24" barrel I use:
50.0 gr. of RL-17 pushing a 140 gr. NBT at 3070fps according to my LabRadar.
I also have a stash of 170 gr. Lapua ammo that clocks 2632 fps.
 
Kinley Water, the only reference I haave to Bell using a 200 gr. bullet but it was in relation to the .308 Win. He use ammo of German make by preference as he felt the British rounds were unreliable. He use 215 gr; FMJ bullets in the .303 British.
On his comments about the .308 and 200 gr. bullets, he was retired from elephant hunting for some time but opined that the .308 Win. with a 200 FMJ bullet at 2200 to 2300 FPS in IIRC a 1948 issue of the American Rifleman. That got me interested so one day load up some 220 gr. Sierra round nose bullets and worked up to a max of 2310 FPS with extremely good accuracy in a Winchester M70 Youth Ranger that I'd won in a raffle. Note that that is the same velocity level that pushed his 173 gr. FMJs. If he actually used a 200 gr. 7MM bullet I've never seen that in print or otherwise. so I'm not calling you wrone. I've just never heard if him doing that.
Paul B.
 
I had a 7X57 in a military mauser many years ago but the gun didn't work out. Later on I bought a Ruger bolt action in 7X57 for my wife to hunt elk with. I never got the stellar results some have mentioned as every time I got much above the minimum suggested load the bottom of the case would bulge. I tried several powders and most of them bulged the case with IMR 4831 being the worst. I ended up going with IMR 4350 and the 160 grain Speer grand slam for that hunt. Best grouping was around 3" at 100 yards. Ended up not mattering much as she never got a shot at an elk.
So she put that rifle away and took out her Ruger 44 carbine and the 7X57 rested another 10 years.
Then one day she said she wanted to shoot something with her bolt gun and out came the 7X57. All this was many years ago and I don't remember all the details of powder, bullets and charge weights but I did improve it a little. This time I remembered the problems I'd had and approached it a little different. Though I never cured the bulging case problem completely and never got the accuracy I wanted, I did however find a workable load.
IMR 4350 was the powder and the Nosler 140 grain Partition was the bullet. Velocity really didn't matter as we hunt the thick woods but bullet performance was vital. And with this combination we both killed a lot of deer with that rifle.
Even through all this I still liked the cartridge and would own one to this day if I needed another round to deal with. But I don't consider it equal or even close to the .308 at least the one we had I don't.
 
Back
Top