After my last test I examined the remainder of the Turkish 8mm I had in inventory. More than half had cracked necks - so - I pulled all the bullets and saved the powder which was dry and did not have any bad odor. ( a sure way to determine if powder has gone bad). I weighed the powder charges which ranged from 46 to 48.4 grains. The majority averaged around 47.7 grains so I decided that would be close to the intended load. I searched all my drawers for any remaining 8mm bullets. (In 50 years of reloading you tend to accumulate small lots of everything) I found 20 150gr, 15 125gr, and at the back of a drawer a very old box of Hornady 225 gr Round nose bullets with 4o remaining. All were .323 dia. The pulled Turkish S bullets were all .323 and weighed a fairy consistant 154gr with the concave rear identified for the 8mm Patrone 88 S bullet. So, I had 200 prepared 8mm cases with Federal Primers.All had been full length resized. trimmed, primer pockets unified and the primer holes reamed as I would for match cases. I felt sure I could duplicate the original S cartridge. I loaded 80 cases with the original Turkish powder, 47.7 gr and the S bullets. Cases were crimped with a Lee crimping die. As I started I cycled some of the cartridges through the rifle to ensure they would load properly into the chamber. I loaded the 150 gr bullets with 50 gr of 4064, the 125s with 50 gr. of 4895. I was not sure that the 225 gr bullets would load into the 88/05 (I was not sure how deep the chamber/neck reaming had gone) So I intended to try them in one of my 98k rifles. To my surprise the long, round nose .323 bullet loads chambered easily. I am not sure that this is true for all of these rifles - if anyone else has experience I would like to know. These were loaded with 42 gr of 4065, a very mild load. Now ready to go to the range.
I started with the duplicate S loads at 50 yards. The average of four five shot groups was about 2.5 inches in fairly circular groups. After time for barrel cooling and wiping the bore, I tried the 125 gr. loads. 14 shots in about 7 inches in a shotgun pattern -not so good. The 150 gr. loads - four groups of five rounds averaged about three groups with a good pattern. I am afraid that my 70 year old eyes and the small sights may have affected this. I took some time off, wiped the bore again (NO OIL) and gave my eyes some time to rest. Last were the 225 grain loads. Very light recoil. Since I was getting tired, I fired in five shot groups without looking into the scope. Imagine my surprise when I looked at the group and there were five holes in an inch and a half dead center in the target. (I use shoot-and-see target centers to make hits more visible) Couldn't believe that so I fired three more groups at the same target - same result but with three flyers which I take the blame for. Comparing these results I have to say that this particular rifle really prefers the long round nose bullets. I wonder if this is true for all of the 88/05s. Good shooting, Mike
General Information & Facts Pertaining To The German Model 1888 Commission Rifle
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Mike thanks for the report the fact that the longer bullets did better was interesting i have been thinking about building a load that works well in my rifles the .318 diameter are not commercially made orbill has been on the waiting list at OWS for a while & last i heard from him he is still waiting so reloading might be the way to go