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Looking at deer rifles and considering an old 1903 or Mauser. I especially like the history behind the 8mm German WWII rifles. Can they shoot or be converted to 30-06 or 308 while maintaining the markings and historic look? Any advice on another forum for information here?

I hate the Nazis but their rifles sure look bombproof. The makings and history remind me what was sacrificed for our freedom!
 

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Not as easy to find as 30-06 but either 7MM or 8MM Masuer are respectable deer rounds. Converting to either 30-06 or 308 will require re-barreling and you will lose the original appearance.
 

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msgt/ret is worth listening to.

While .30-06 is my favorite rifle cartridge of all times, I've had a 7mm (7X57) for over 30 years and it's an extremely fine cartridge. I handload for it. It's flat-shooting and hits hard. Very accurate too. The 7X57 has a great history as a world hunting round.

A co-worked I knew years ago had an 98 Mauser in 8mm. He never handloaded for it. The American ammunition was adequate though not truly "high-performance," loaded in that fashion by the factories as a measure of safety for really old rifles and also rifles having .318 bores, known as a "J" bore, rather than .323 bores, know as an "S" bore. Only the very earliest military 8mm Mausers had the J bore and a great many of them were later converted to the S bore. Some German sporting rifles were said to have J bores for a bit longer after the military converted. The conversion had to do with German military standardizing on a lighter spitzer bullet in 1905.

The German World War II military issue rifles have .323 bores. You'd be fine with the run of good imported hunting ammunition or with handloading to the 8mm's full capabilities. And the 8mm is a horse if loaded to performance levels. My friend's rifle would give a bit over 2700 fps with Norma 196 grain factory loads from a Mauser 98K made in 1941. That kind of performance gives up nothing to the .30-08 with full-powered 200 grain handloads.

I know the 7X57 is a capable big game cartridge. I believe I could happily play with a good 98 Mauser in 8mm and derive a lot of enjoyment and some deer too.
 

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For many years I have hunted with 7mm Mauser and 6.5x55 mauser's. For where I hunt both will take anything out there. Including local bears. If you like the look but want a US cartridge, try the Spanish FR-8. it is a small ring Mauser in 7.62 Nato[308]. I also would not avoid a British SMLE in either 303 or 308.

After a couple of shoulder surgery's I like the small ring mauser calibers. they are easy on the shoulder and accurate! DR
 

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Don't know how commonly they're found now, but I had an original unaltered post-World War II FN 98 Mauser in it's original chambering of .30-06 for a few years. I'd intended to sporterize it but it got away in some now forgotten trade. It's physical description resembles the German 98K both in length and in several other respects. Was a dandy rifle, nicely made.

Maybe you could turn one of those up on GunBroker.
 
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I would get a Yugo Mauser like 200-300 bucks for one lot less history being messed up if you bubba it and no nazi markings
 
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Why consider rechambering?

The 8mm (x57) Mauser is in the same category of cartridges as the .30-06 Springfield and so on. With the proper cases, they can be reloaded. Empty, new brass is not that hard to find, bullets are reasonably available and the primers and powders are very similar to most 'big bore' rifles.

No doubt some collector will scream his fool head off about shooting a collectable rifle, but not as much as if the whole thing was hacked up. They were made to be shot.
 

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The 7x57 Mauser cartridge is a good one, I had an old 1921 Spanish Mauser chambered in that. The rifle is gone though, stolen by a burglar. I used it for deer hunting and it was a good round. The Spanish Mauser was the one our troops faced in Cuba during the 1898 Spanish-American War and off of that design came the 1903 Springfield in .30-06.

Any 8mm Mauser is good, very comparable to .30-06.

Maybe think of a 7.62 x 54r Mosin-Nagant 91/30. It has a punch too and the rifles are not expensive and ammo seems to be plentiful.
 

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I believe the 8mm-06 is a very popular conversion for those who don't want to "bubba" up an old Mauser. The chamber is lengthened to accommodate the 8mm-06 wildcat round and that is about it IIRC.

8mm-06 Load Data | Nosler
 
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Any full-bore WWII battle rifle will do just fine on deer without a change in caliber or even any need for fancy ammo. You can find hunting ammo (at the very least sfot point that is 150 grain or heavier) for all of the various calibers that were in service rifles in the first half of the last century. Find one that you like, buy it, shoot it as is, enjoy it, appreciate it. Then "pay if forward" by passing that rifle on to another generation of shooters that can learn to appreciate those rifles - and the sacrifice that was made for us.
 

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6.5 sweed and 7.5 swiss I would also look into
 
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