7x57mm Mauser (.275 Rigby) Calibre Review
- Thursday, 04 September 2014
The 7x57mm Mauser is another in a long line of all time great calibres with a truly impressive heritage.
Initially developed in 1892 by German brothers Wilhelm & Paul Mauser this calibre was promptly adopted by the Spanish a year later as a military cartridge. Indeed it was the Spanish that first put the 7mm to devastating effect in the Spanish – American War of 1898. During this war the decisive 7x57 Mauser gained a worldwide reputation as a world leader for accurate long range performance. For this reason it is often referred to, especially in the US, as the 7mm Spanish Mauser.
In the UK take up of the calibre was not by the military but instead by sportsmen. Here prominent UK rifle maker of the time John Rigby, chambered the calibre in many of his rifles, but referred to the 7mm in its equivalent imperial terms i.e. .275 to reflect popular UK terminology, hence in the UK rifle shooters will often be heard referring to the 7x57 as the .275 Rigby.
After its initial success, use of the calibre was restricted in part due to a failure to produce sufficient ammunition, further wide spread use was further inhibited when in 1910 the United States whole heartedly adopted the home grown and versitile.30-06.
Despite this set back many sportsmen of the day still favoured the 7mm Mauser, one such proponent was the famous African Safari Hunter W.D.M. Bell who in the early 1900’s allegedly took over 1000 Elephant using this Calibre.
(Below: Trajectory of a typical 140grain Bullet fired from the 7mmx57 Mauser)
With such seemingly impressive firepower one might expect some big numbers on the ballistics front. However this is a surprisingly manageable calibre that is extremely pleasant to shoot. Typically used with bullet weights ranging from 139grains to 173grains the 7x57 Mauser will propel a 140 grain bullet at around 2750fps producing 2250 ft/lbs at the muzzle. These are not high numbers, however like some other calibres such as the 6.5x55 Swedish the 7mm Mauser is deceptive and surprisingly effective on large game, this is in part due to its excellent penetration, which can be attributed to a fast twist rate that enables the 7mm to fire long, heavy bullets with high sectional density.
On the trajectory front a 140 grain bullet will drop around 8.5 inches at 300 yards with a 200 yard zero. Put that into perspective, this drop is not significantly worse than might be expected from the 7mm Remington Magnum however this performance comes from what is essentially a very much more pleasant, mild recoiling calibre.
So, pleasant to shoot, mild recoil, flat trajectory, great penetration, why on earth is it not more popular amongst UK Deer Stalkers? Well if you fancy a rifle chambered in this calibre beware, a quick unscientific ring around of my local gun shops revealed not a single round in stock and this is the sad reality, Deer Stalkers in the UK are remarkably staid in their preferences and as a result availability of ammunition in this all time great calibre is tragically poor.
Typical Ballistics (140 grain bullet)
Muzzle Energy: 2250 ft/lbs
Muzzle Velocity: 2750 fps
To read more about the 7x57mm Mauser follow this link: calibre-of-choice
To read more about other commonly used Rifle Calibres follow this link: rifle-calibres