ŠPaul M. Alvarez 2003>
Quality European firearms combine practicallity with beauty. Featured is a drilling that I had the privelage to own and shoot for a time. The gun is a pre-war double barrel16 ga. boxlock action with a Greener crossbolt, made by Robert Schuler with an 8X57JR rifle barrel underneath. Tthe style of proofmarks indicate that it was manufactured between 1908 and 1938.
The barrels are made by the historic Krupp barrel works in Essen and are marked: R.Schuler Koln. They are made of Fluid Steel (Fluss Stahl) and are Nitro Proofed as shown by the Crown-N proof mark. The left shot barrel is choked as shown by the Crown W marking while the right barrel is cylinder bore
The rifle barrel shows the Eagle and Crowned U definitive proofmark, Crown N Nitro proofmark and the Crown G designating a solid projectile. The St. M.G. 13 g marking designates this as using a 'Stahl Mantel Geschoss" or steel jacketed bullet of 13 grams in weight or about 200 grains. The 7.8 over 57 designation shows that this is an 8mm Mauser but that it uses the "J" bore of .318 diameter, a fact demonstrated by slugging the bore. Of course, it uses the rimmed Mauser case developed specifically for combination guns and single shots.
Drillings frequently carry 16 ga. tubes as the slightly smaller diameter tends to be more in proportion with the rifle tube and makes for a smaller action which keeps the weight and size of the action at a reasonable level. The 16 ga., which is still popular in Europe, was very popular in this country in the early part of the 20th century. Though now overshadowed by the 12 ga., it does provide a middle ground between the 20 and the 12, being more powerful than the former without being as punishing as the latter. It is still loaded by all of the major ammo manufacturers and is available in shot, buck, and slug loads. With these modern loadings it is still an effective cartridge.
The 8 mm Mauser cartridge is much maligned in this country. Take an 8 mm rifle to a gunshow and watch people turn their noses up at it and tell you that they are not much interested. This is particularly so with the "J" bore guns. Much of this is due to the confusion of the different bore diameters and the consequent underloading by the U.S. ammo makers in defference to the Comission Rifle 88 that originally used this cartridge and are not up to handling the full power "S" loading. For some reason that has never been explained to my satisfaction, new "J" bore guns were still being made commercially long after the "S" bore was adopted by the military in 1905.
Loaded ammo and components for the "JR" cartridge, though limited, are available. It is nothing more than a rimmed version of the 8 mm Mauser military cardridge. RWS lists one loading with a 196 grain bullet that is very effective and for which the sights are regulated. These bullets are also available for reloading as are empty cases. Norma used to list the 8X57R and currently lists 7X57R cases which are easily fire-formed. Loading dies are available from RCBS and probably others. Lead bullet molds are also available.
Ballistically, a .32 caliber 200 grain bullet traveling at 2500+ feet per second is certainly adequate for any North American game. With the added advantage of the two shotgun barrels firing shot, buck, or slugs this gun would be suitable for virtually anything that walks, crawls or flies on this continent.
The action has extensive engraving over its entire surface.
The safety is on the left side of the action while the barrel selector is situated on the tang. Pushing the selector forward selects the rifle barrel and raises the rear sight for use. The sight is engraved and blends into the rib when not in use to provide a flat plane for shooting the shotgun. The rib is also machined for a scope mount.
Just above the the buffalo horn trigger guard on the frame are cocking indicators. These turn when the action is cocked or fired to give you a visual indication of the status of the action.
The gun handles very well and does not seem to weigh any more than a conventional side-by-side. It comes to the shoulder easily and breaking hand thrown clays was not difficult. It would be a very effective piece for boar hunting.