Duplicating the .318 WR...

Gert Odendaal

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Apr 19, 2012
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Reading up on the .318 WR I really think is one of the all time greats...when they build rifles to last for ever...I really like the 250 gn at 2400 f/s ..it is for sure a deadly combination in our South African bush hunting..on Eland, Blue Wildebeest .....
Question: Will it be possible/functional to load a 8x57 JS (.323) custom make bullets 250 gn at 2400 f/s? Will it effectively be able to duplicate the .318 WR load....

I really would like to have member`s opinions in this regards..

Go to the Woodleigh site. They have some loading info for their heavy bullet, using AR2209 (also sold as H4350) if I recall correctly.
Whether you can duplicate the 318 WR load will depend in large part upon the length of the magazine well and throat. Also, the M98 action (assuming it is a M98) will be of consideration as well (some early, small-ring M98 actions need to be loaded more gingerly).

The 318 WR has a larger powder capacity than the 8x57 JS. It also has a marginally larger bore diameter (0.330"), which means more energy transfer per unit force (larger piston), and more bore volume to accommodate combustion (more forgiving with regard to burn rate).

The 8x57 is an African classic as it is, perhaps not as iconic as the .318 WR but it did sack its share of game, both in J bore (aka I bore) and S bore as well, back when Africa was still quite wild.

None other than Pretorius himself was badly wounded through the leg with one in German East during WW-I but, his porters and camp staff carried him away and saved his life.

I've always thought the 8x57 loaded with 200 grainers such as the Woodleigh round nose or perhaps the Swift A-Frame, would make a fine PG rifle in thick bush veld.
I have a partial box of Rhino brand 200 gr softs and a full box of Nosler Partition 200 gr, that also seem like they'd be excellent.

However, I totally agree with you that if the 8 mm can be safely loaded with 250 gr bullet at about 2400 fps, it should be quite reliable for bull eland and other somewhat smaller but very tough antelopes and zebra.

Velo Dog.
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I once had a gorgeous J bore (.318) by G.L. Rasch (a very early M98, done up splendidly). The factory Norma load (of which I've still a few) was a steel-jacketed, 196-grain soft point at approximately 2,400 fps. It was wonderfully effective.

I bought the rifle for $440, back in the early 1990's. It was easily worth 5 times what I paid. The workmanship, the overall level of quality, was outstanding (not to mention, its vintage appeal). In a moment of 375 H&H-induced weakness, though, I let her go. Selling that rifle was by far the most stupid thing I have ever done (and I've done some amazingly stupid things, in my day).
By the way, been looking for its replacement, ever since. Anything even remotely as nice tends to go for upwards of $7,000. Makes me sick.

Don't feel too sorry for yourself.
I once sold for $600. a Pre-War Model 98 in 9.3x62 that was marked "Anschutz" or however you spell it.
Like the 8 mm rifle you described, my 9.3 was a thing of beauty.
It had a full length solid rib and claw mounts (but no rings) also one standing and one folding blade rear sights.

In those carefree and ignorant days, I had no interest in the 9.3 at all.
In other words, it was during one of my typical characteristic fits of stupidity.

Since then I have had a 9.3x62 built for me but it is nothing compared to that Anschutz.

I also have an 8 mm but it is a clunker and one day I plan to have a proper rifle in 8x57S.

Velo Dummy.
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Gert...............................great cartridge and great question(s). Will you be able to duplicate the .318 load in your 8mm. Yes, probably. Will you be able to drive a 250 grainer at 2400fps? No, probably not. I doubt that the old 318 advertised loads were ever achieved in a sporting barrel. 250 grainer at 2400fps? That's about all I get in a 338-06 with warm loads. In the old days of light loading for hot tropical hunting, 2200 to 2250fps would be more like it. Having said that, I have never chronographed a 318 from yesteryear. If Westley Richards' advertised loading of 55 grains of powder driving a 180 grain bullet at 2700fps was even close to correct, then their other loading of 52 grains driving a 250 grainer would be about 2220 fps according to ballistic calculator. (lots of variables though) But whatever the velocity, it was probably enough, as it was Wally Bell's favorite cartridge (despite reports to the contrary) so it must have been a real killer on practically anything. You could probably approach 2200 fps with a 250 grainer in your 8X57 depending on your rifle/brass/technic etc. That should do it.

BTW................the old J bore 8X57 that I hunted with as a kid was loaded with a 227 or 236 grain bullet and each with a coarse flake powder with a charge weight of 38 grains. I had no chronograph then-nor did anyone else mortal- but the load and the velocity were modest. We estimated this at about 2000fps, and so added 10 grains of the same powder from a bullet pulled case, and reshot it. The bolt would not open without a mallet. I spent a lot of effort trying to get performance out of this old split bridge Mannlicher without success. Today, you will do better with the S bore, and have fun doing it. A case head failure can ruin even a good rifle, so be cautious.

If you do not have a good source of 250 grainers, PM me........................................................good shooting ....................................FW Bill

I could not find my copy of the Woodleigh loading info and you would now have to buy their manual, I suppose.

Apropos of comments by CTDolan and others, I suggest that you consider either an 8x64 S OR an 8mm-06. The 8x64 S would be easier to sell on later and has slightly more case taper, given that it was designed as a prototype military cartridge, suited for automatic weapons, whereas:

The principle criterion for the .30-06 cartridge shape seems to have been creating sufficient powder capacity to beat everyone else's velocity. The 8mm-06 would be cheaper to obtain but extremely difficult to sell and you would have to mess around with fire-forming.

Either way, I would recommend either a properly specced military barrel or a new European barrel. Taking a chance on a possibly undersized U.S. barrel (original Z rifling has a .324" groove diameter) with a top load, is not a good idea, in my opinion and ... I have done some silly things over the years! Also do not use a barrel from either a Vz 33 or G33/50 as they have a smaller bore with narrower but deeper grooves and were intended for 198-gr boat-tail bullets. Any flat-base bullet heavier then the 175-gr Speer would probably be a silly idea in those barrels.

Have fun and please do not blow yourself up! :D :eek: :A Blowup: :A Stretcher: :D Cheers:
Members, as always your replies are much appreciated....as mentioned by members who sold beautiful old rifles early in their lives I really do not want to make the same mistake..I do not think of selling my 8x57JS Turkish Mauser to purchase a rifle that will duplicate the .318 WR load...in South Africa application for rifle licences is a lengthy and difficult process, success is not guarantee at all....

I have the following rifles : .375 H&H Magnum Coggswell & Harrison ( scout rifle) , 404 Jeffery and a .458 Mannlicher Schoenauer.. and a 7.62 Israeli Mauser to top if of with a Side by side Greener Empire model with ejectors...I made a decision to use all these rifles as optimally and much as possible..reloading for each and every one where possible....part of using these rifles is to at least work out a dedicated load for every rifle...

I thought a 250 gn premium bullet like Woodleigh will be a good choice to try and reach the 2400 f/s barrier as a excellent Eland bull /blue wildebeest big body animal hunting load in the bush veld regions as well as working a load for longer shots with lighter bullets out to further than bush veld conditions like black wildebeest, blesbuck and spring buck...on open plain....one rifle two different loads...optimal use of one caliber...this is my idea...

I believe the historical conundrum regarding the .318 bore and the .323 bore in the 8 mm Mausers ensured a lot of misinformation to the detriment of the 8 mm Mauser...I am convinced the 8 mm Mauser ( .323 ) kan be loaded to hotter loads with it`s 1:9.45 rifling twist it will be able to drive a long heavy bullet at 2400 f/s...taking in account all the necessary safety precautions naturally....I have seen what it did with a 180 gn Barnes TSX on Black wildebeest my son Ruan shot a while back... some people say the Black wildebeest is tougher than the blue wildebeest...after the shot the black wildebeest received I did not noticed any tough..it dropped like a ton of bricks...

Please afford me the opportunity to upload a photo of a young hunter shooting his first animal with his father`s 8x57 JS Turkish Small ring Mauser....(y) distance was 158 meters..






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Some feedback regarding the 250 gn bullets at 2400 f/s..I managed to get hold of the new owner of Ken Stewart bullets shop, Hansie Minnaar , he agreed to manufacture 50x 250 gn softnose bonded bullets to test in the Mauser 8x57 JS....I will keep you up to date in this regards...
I am currently working on a 318 wr based on a savage 116 rifle ......having the barrel made by walther ......to produce a modern 318wr rifle ....stainless and synethic with supressor ....This hopefully will be my main culling rifle for the coming years ..

Will update as events happen ....
Congrats to the proud young hunter... SUPERB black wildebeest. Love to see father & son issues like this... makes it all worthwhile!!
Odinsraven: Are you still looking for a magazine for your Voere Titan II? I sent you a PM with some info a few days ago but no reply. Check your Inbox.
To make sure that we are not all confused by the WR 318 designation. The WR 318 is measured differently than the .318 8mm mauser (one at the land - or true bore diameter- and the other at the groove as we do here in the States and usually on the continent). Thus the 318 WR is actually a .33 caliber rifle measured at the groove. So, the .338 -06 is indeed very close to the original caliber and loadings.
I've heard of people loading up the 8x60mm with the 250 bullet to equal the 318 WR. If you compare the two rounds side by side, the cases look almost identical. Is rechambering an option?

As far as loading the 8x57mm to that level, you might be able to come close if your rifle has the long Turkish barrel on it and you are able to seat the bullets out as far as the magazine allows to make as much use of the limited powder space as possible. Access to some of the newer high energy powders would help as well.

Remember that the old loads back in the day were tested in much longer barrels than commonly used today. Most of the Westly Richards rifles were designed around a 28" barrel, so most likely the velocity of a typical sporter with a shorter barrel would not be getting the same velocity as with the full 28" barrelled one. The true velocity of the round that made such a glowing reputation was probably in the 2200-2300 range at best.

I think with careful loading you can do this in the 8x57mm.

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