My guess is that it was quicker to lathe the barrel back in the day in that manner. I have one with the last two steps turned off and it shoots very well. The 8x57 is a very viable cartridge, pretty much on a par with the venerable '06. Just make sure, if you want a rifle with more power than the 30/30 or .32 SPL that you buy European ammo for it (or after market stuff). Most of the Euro stuff is loaded WAY hotter than American loaders load theirs. I use Sellier & Bellot 196gr loads in both of mine. It's a good stiff load. 2592 FPS and 2924 FPE for their 196gr load.Thanks for all the info, and im told 8mm is plenty good since it does have original barrel, but i've never seen barrel with steps in it like this. Anyone know why its like that?