The 7.63 Mauser (aka .30 Mauser)

Dating from 1896, this is one of the earliest cartridges that was designed to be used in a self-loading pistol. Paul Mauser wanted to make a more practical pistol than the 1893 Borchardt and he used the same dimension cartridge that Hugo Borchardt had used but Mauser loaded it to higher pressure (and velocity). Mauser turned the project over to the Federle brothers who did most of the work on it. The 7.63 Mauser was the highest-velocity handgun cartridge in the world until the introduction of the .357 Magnum in 1935. It is almost dimensionally identical to the Russian 7.62 Tokarev. But... don't use Tokarev ammo in an old Broomhandle Mauser as it is often loaded to higher pressures than the C-96 Mauser (aka: Broomhandle) can safely handle.

This "oldie but goodie" is one of my personal favourites. Both the Mauser C-96 pistol and the 7.63 Mauser cartridge are just fun to shoot. Besides there's nothing quite like shooting a 100 year-old piece of history that can still do the job. I do reload almost all my cartridges and this one is no exception. New ammo is often hard to find and almost always expensive. The Fiocci company makes it in Boxer-primed brass cases that are reloadable. Their prices aren't bad either -- at least at most places.

This case has the same size base as the 9mm Parabellum and is 25mm in length. It is "necked down" to .308" at the case mouth. The bottleneck design does facilitate reliable feeding -- even of jacketed hollow point bullets -- in the old Broomhandle. I actually usually load the 90 grain Hornady SXT bullet and it works just fine. The original-spec ammo uses an 86 grain bullet. I have also successfully used the 100 grain Speer Plinkerô bullet. Most loading manuals have data for this round.

I do not know of any pistols being made in this calibre today. These days it is pretty much a round just to shoot for the fun of it, but I have no fear that it would do the job in a self-defense situation. 1620 fps and 525 ft.-lbs. is nothing to sneeze at -- especially when using something like the 90 grain SXT bullet.