US military adopts 7mm Mauser in 1903

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by wiking, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. wiking Well-Known Member

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    Historically after the experience of the Spanish American war the US military realized it needed to upgrade it's existing rifles and ammunition to match the firepower of the new European rifles, as their .30-40 Krag's couldn't match the Spanish Mausers they encountered. That led to the .30-03 and shortly thereafter the .30-06.

    But what if they instead decided 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' and adopted an equivalent to the 7mm Mauser cartridge? Now I get that 7mm Mauser and the rifle won't likely be something they adopt to avoid having to pay royalties, but let's say that they recognized the ballistic advantages of the caliber thanks to their experience being on the receiving end, plus seeing the Boer use of the weapon around the same time to the same effect and developed their .30-40 into a rimless 7mm version around the same length as the Mauser cartridge to approximate it's performance or adopt a .30-03 type case just in .276? Like IOTL in 1906 they'd upgrade their bullets to a spitzer type and have ITTL a .276-06 instead of a .30-06. That way they'd avoid the issues they had with the OTL .30-03.

    What impact does this have on small arms development then? France and Britain were going to adopt magnum 7mm cartridges before WW1, but that war got in the way and prevented the change over. Might this not create pressure on the Entente to switch over to 7mm earlier? If not would the British adopt the US 7mm cartridge in the 1920s as they were considering doing with the .276 Pedersen because the US was considering adopting it? Might the French not adopt the 7.5mm after WW1 to synch up with the US as well? If so how much WW2 small arms be influenced if the US cartridge sets the Allied standard on 7mm and all their ammo is compatible? Might the US adopt a 7mm 'intermediate' during the interwar period that was analogous to the OTL T2 Pedersen 7mm? How about post-WW2 when the NATO standard trials start?

    In terms of small arms would the BAR be significantly different ITTL with a lighter recoiling cartridge? Or US machine guns? In terms of weight from what I've been able to find the 7mm Mauser was only about 7-8% lighter than the M2 Ball .30-06, so there isn't a substantial weight savings like there was with the Pedersen, but the recoil would be significantly less, as would the thermal load of the cartridge, while the ballistics would be quite a bit better due to muzzle velocity and sectional density of the bullet resulting in a very flat trajectory. The differences are enough that there would be room to create lighter weapons than the OTL ones.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. tomo pauk Well-Known Member

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    That would've been an excellent idea. Going by the Wiki, the military bullet was fired with less than 2800 J of energy, or simiar to the 6.5mm Arisaka. It will allow for far more user-friendly semi- and full-automatic weapon designs, as well as for soldiers to carry more ammo. A more manageble recoil than what .30-06 was doing is another benefit.
     
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  3. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    Or just spend the money developing better barrel steel and a different powder, and use the 6mm Lee Navy? Rimmed really isn't a problem, UK 303 and Russian 7.62 had very long lives

    DuPont had already introduced the first of their MR series of powders that behaved much better that the origina powder that was very similar to the original Cordite, but was in flake, rather than strand form, with no inhibitors or stabilizer additives like all Modern (thats just before WWI) powders had.
     
  4. Carnivorous Vegetarian Unknown Member

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    It's not American, and it's in metric.
     
  5. Driftless Geezer

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    Would the NIH idea have been as big at the turn of the century as it was later?
     
  6. wiking Well-Known Member

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    Too small bore and advanced for the decision makers of the day, plus not only a Navy cartridge, but a Marine cartridge, which means the Army is going to hate it immediately. Since the trend was away from rimmed and the US adopted a non-rimmed cartridge IOTL, I'm thinking it's best to stick to that and not get too 'radical' in a POD proposal.

    If not for that I'm ALL about the 6mm Lee Navy and did a thread proposing that for the interwar period. I think at the time there was just too much stacked against the Lee Navy to get it adopted, more even than the .276 Pedersen in the 1930s. Even in the 1950s it took the Air Force, a rather radical Defense Department chief, and the serious problems with the M14 to even give the 5.56 a chance. The Lee Navy didn't have those advantages in the late 1890s-early 1900s, while even if it got a shot they'd still need to adopt a 2nd cartridge for heavier longer range, which would be a tough sell given the budget at the time and the desire for a unified cartridge to simplify logistics. The 7mm at least had proven itself in combat as superior to all other options at the time.

    The .276 caliber was the American and UK version and in use in the civilian market, including hunting big game in Africa.

    It wasn't even that big of an issue later, as the US did adopt several weapons and cartridges that were foreign. Like the French 75mm.
     
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  7. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    The Springfield 03 isn't exactly an American design, so if they're going to take a German rifle and give it a few tweaks why not do the same to a German cartridge? A fraction of a degree on the shoulder and an extra 16th of an inch on the length of the cartridge and bobs your uncle, a new round and no royalties.
     
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  8. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    No, but it would probably be called .28-03
     
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  9. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    But it was able to kill a horse at 1000 yards, could also punch thru a gunshield or steam drum at closer ranges, the two things each service wanted.
    That it's flat shooting is gravy
     
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  10. Driftless Geezer

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    I'd think enforcing patent law would be much more difficult with brass cartridges, where there's a bazillion formats in existence even back then. Make the tweaks as you note and as you say: "Bob's your uncle!" ;)
     
  11. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    Do what Ackley did to make more powerful hunting cartridges, change the shoulder angle for a bit more powder capacity.
    It's close enough that standard ammo can be fired in that chamber, but not the other way around, the bolt won't close
     
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  12. yulzari Well-Known Member

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    and the Krag Jorgensen was American? The Springfield 1903 (like the Enfield P13) was a Mauser type copy.

    BTW to get around (now changed) French law .303 barrels had one thread depth removed and the cartridge similarly minutely shortened to make the '.303 Sporting' which was thus, miraculously, not a military cartridge and thus needed no special permission to own. There are ways to get around things.
     
  13. Crowbar Six Well-Known Member

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    The US went to some lengths to hide the fact the Springfield infringed on a Mauser's patents. After WW1 the US made Mauser drop any rights to pursue patent cases as part of reparations.
     
  14. wiking Well-Known Member

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    The Krag/Springfield rifle in .30-40 was a Danish design:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_Model_1892–99#History

    I like the way you're thinking. Especially if they just remove the rim on the existing .30-40 and lengthen it they would effectively had a different cartridge, as the base diameter was narrower than the Mauser one. A 7x60mm (slightly longer than the Krag) then would probably approximate the capacity of the Mauser cartridge, while being different enough that it would be hard to collect royalties on it.

    Actually no:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6mm_Lee_Navy
    They'd have had to adopt a spitzer design, but that wasn't what they did in 1903. It took them a few more years to realize their error. Plus the Spanish didn't have a spitzer 7mm until 1913, so no experience to draw on there by the time the US realized the advantages.

    Then there was this issue:
    I'm not saying those aren't fixable issues, but at the time given the institutional bias against the small caliber cartridge, that was effectively it's death kneel.
     
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  15. Crowbar Six Well-Known Member

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    It wasn't the cartridge that pissed off Mauser, it was the blatant rip off of the Mauser action that did it.
     
  16. wiking Well-Known Member

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    Yes, because the .30-03/06 was different enough that they couldn't really make a claim about it. The rifle though was just flat out patent theft.

    The only issue there is potential extraction problems, an issue for automatic weapon usage.
     
  17. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    That and the US just out right stole the stripper clip without a thought. They never even considered paying a licence fee for what was undoubtedly a Mauser invention.
     
  18. wiking Well-Known Member

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    The original round nose load yes, the lighter spitzer of 139 grains was much higher:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7×57mm_Mauser
    Also the 6.5mm Arisaka with a 139 grain bullet generated 2666 J out of a 30 inch barrel.

    For reference the M2 Ball used in WW2 produced about 3600 J out of a 24 inch barrel (about 850m/s with a 150 grain bullet noted for it's inaccuracy), while the M2 AP load did 3730 J based on one calculation.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
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  19. edgeworthy Well-Known Member

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    It was in fact considered so much a German Rifle that the US Government was successfully sued for Patent Infringement and had to pay Royalties to Mauser.

    Edit: Appears to be multiple semi-Ninjas
     
  20. wiking Well-Known Member

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    Interestingly the 7mm spitzer's sectional density is substantially higher than that of the .30 caliber M2 ball:
    https://www.chuckhawks.com/sd.htm
    For the equivalent flat base bullets:
    And heavier boat tail long range versions:
    Not exactly the same weights, as the 7mm bullet was 162 grains and the M1 Ball was 174, but close enough.
    What is a bit odd, and potentially an error on wikipedia, is that the M1 Ball's energy is very slight over that of the M2 Ball, but the heavy 7mm bullet is about 200 joules less than that of the flat base version. I'm guessing that if a function of the smaller case and resulting lower powder capacity, though the range is substantially increased for the heavy 7mm bullet. I'm guessing that with the ~127 grain Pedersen bullet the 7mm Mauser would have been a real monster; at about that weigh it is still slightly higher SD than the M2 Ball:

    Combine that with the cartridge weight reduction AND the much better ballistic coefficient plus higher muzzle velocity (~900m/s!) than the M2 Ball and to me they'd have the best cartridge in the world for decades and one that would even still be pretty great for machine guns.