I have an 8x57irs o/u rifle and am very happy with my choice of calibre. Recoil is relatively mild yet at the same time you are aware that it speaks with some authority (roughly equating to a 30.06 in muzzle energy).
The French think of 8x57 as a smaller calibre when used as a boar rifle, and possibly the larger 9.3x74R is more popular according to the armurier who sold me my rifle.
I have not yet blooded my rifle but it is my intention to use it for both deer and boar and I am confident that it will perform admirably in both tasks. My rifle is accurate if used within its design limitations, which means that I accept barrel convergance limits the use of the bottom barrel to 60m, but by slecting top barrel first and zeroing the scope for this, shots can be taken at all normal stalking distances. 100yd groups from my rifle using just the top barrel average around 1", however I am sure with more load development work improvements will be made.
Reloading is slightly interesting as data is not forthcoming from U.S. sites where this calibre is a rarity, Vihtavouri, Norma and Nobelsport are good sources of information.
Dies are the usual 8mm Mauser (7.92x57) but using shell holders for .44/40 or .38/40 instead. Similar rules apply if trimming cases using Lee trimming kit.
I bought a finnclassic shotgun so that I could put a set of double rifle barrels on it if I wanted at some point. Having found that .308 is illegal in france and liking the idea of driving to where I am going to shoot this now looks a good decision. I accept that accuracy would not be the same as for a bolt but cant imagine that this is too important at the ranges I might shoot at and especially if the target is on the move. Where are you likely to go. The americans appear to load this calibre down so they dont have difficulties with it bieng loaded in classic weapons
I would treat all information from the U.S. with caution as regards this calibre, the best sources of information are in europe.
You won't go wrong with a Finn classic as regards strength of action but you should still remember that loads for break action guns are generally loaded to lower pressures than other actions. Do not be tempted to try and duplicate 8mm Mauser (7.92x57) loads.
I was very tempted by the Finn classic myself, and reading some of the French magazine write ups indicate that it has a good reputation. In the end I decided that I wanted a rifle based on a 20 bore action without the open space between the barrels, so based on aesthetic grounds I bought a Unifrance (Zoli Focus).
There is an advertisment in "Sporting Rifle" at the moment for a Finn Classic with .308 barrels which looks like it may be a good buy.
I agree that the ability to drive over to France has tremendous appeal and I have found Brittany Ferries and Eurotunnel very helpful in this regard. Do you have any particular area of France in mind?
I like the Loire. Only been there once but it was a wonderful place and the drive was just fantastic. I think however I may have been a bit of a muppet because if all military calibres are illegal in France then so is the 8x57. How do you find it on the shoulder.
8x57irs is the rimmed version of the military rimless round, so is legal in France and very popular in break action guns. The Germans have produced many different rounds over the years that employ rims so that they may be used in break actions, less of a problem with ejectors!
Many of these designs copy the rimless version dimensionally except for the addition of the rim.
As a general rule rimmed cartridges work better in break actions and rimless in bolt actions. Personally I don't understand why many more continental calibres haven't caught on in this country as often they are better than the American designs that are so common.
Forgot to mention - easy on shoulder, probably due to stock configuration and balance of the rifle. An absolute pleasure to shoot but at the same time you know that you are hitting the target hard with a 198grn bullet travelling at about 2600 fps.
Thanks thats very helpful. Have you fixed any form of sight to your rifle or do you only use iron sights. Are there any things I should take into account when using a double rifle over a bolt action. When are you planning on using it in anger.
I have put an inexpensive variable scope on my rifle as a stop gap while I develop loads (Simmons 1.5-5x20).
It is my intention to eventually mount a 1.5-6x42 30mm tube with an illuminated reticle, but am finding it difficult to source suitable quick release mounts. For some reason I fail to get replies from some of the dealers that I have contacted and most gunshops that I have visited in this country are uninterested as it is not run of the mill. The open sights fitted to the rifle are simply superb and designed for quick acquisition at ranges up to 60m as in battue, I therefore wish to retain the ability to fall back on these if necessary. I did attempt to fit a weaver rail but this was not successful.
Not sure when I will put this rifle to proper use but the urge is there to arrange a trip to France for later in the year.
Can't say I have been too impressed with the red dot that I've got.
I know that for short range driven shots they are very popular on the other side of the channel, I certainly wouldn't entertain one for deer stalking.
I will stick with my intentions for now of mounting a reasonable quality 1-6 variable with the option of using the illuminated reticule, or of removing the scope and using the open sights for close range.
I have got an old German hunting rifle I bought of a mate in the states in 8 x 57 it was shipped into this country and anther friend who is a dealer has been looking after it for several years.
I have just got round to getting an FAC the licensing officer wasn't keen on me applying for my ticket with this calibre at all, told me it is not a deer calibre? But I can have a 308 and swap it for the 8mil .. what a system !!
I have shot 8 x 57 many times on the ranges and thought it a very good round and the guy from the states hunted Elk with it and thats a bloody big deer !!! So it should suit your purpose very well, it woulsd be very interesting to know what loads you found work best.