Boer Mauser


Below is a part of South African history:

Although the Boer Mauser is almost identical to the Spanish Mauser Model 93, there are minor differences. The Boer Mauser has often been referred to as a Model 95, Model 96 or Model 97, depending on the date inscribed on the receiver. The model’s designation is more an indication of date of manufacture than of design differences. There are only very minor differences between different batches of Mausers purchased. Ludwig Loewe in their correspondence refer to the Boer Mauser as the Mauser System Model 93/95. As so many countries adopted similar rifles, with only slight variations, perhaps it is best we refer to these rifles as the Boer Mauser Model 95/96/97, as the case may be.

Let us briefly consider this rifle from a technical point of view.

The action (receiver, trigger mechanism, bolt stop, bolt and magazine) consists of only twenty-five parts, as opposed to the thirty-one of the German Mod. 88. The receiver is milled from a single piece of forged steel and is bridged over at the rear to offer firm resistance. It is the same width throughout, unlike many subsequent models. On the front edge of the receiver bridge there are two notches into which the cartridge clip (holding five rounds) can be inserted and fixed. These cartridges are stripped into the magazine by downward pressure on the top round. The empty clip is ejected as the breech is closed by the front end of the bolt.
The one-piece bolt has dual-opposing locking lugs on its front end, which cam into recesses milled in the receiver ring, securely holding the bolt against the breech end of the barrel, when closed. The right lug, (bottom one when bolt is closed) is solid, and the left (or upper) lug is slotted for the ejector to slide through to make contact with the cartridge rim when the bolt is drawn to the rear. On the left side of the receiver there is a longitudinal ridge over which the slotted left locking lug slides. This ridge, riding in the ejector slot, helps to guide the bolt when moved backwards or forwards providing a smoother action.

The bolt face is partly recessed enclosing about sixty percent of the cartridge rim; the left lug projects forward, forming part of this recess. The bolt face is square underneath, unlike many other Mod. 95 Mausers. The tang, rear of the receiver and top of the magazine-well, are cut accordingly, to accommodate this squared portion of the bolt. This shape conforms to the earlier Model 93’s because of the belief that it provided securer cartridge feeding, as well as a smoother action, as the
squared corners run in corresponding grooves in the bottom of the receiver. However, later Model 95’s had a round bolt face as it,vas realised that there was no real advantage. The bolt face of the Boer Mauser is thus unusual and characteristic in that its bottom is square.

The extractor is of the long spring type lying on the right side of the bolt. It is attached to the bolt by means of a ring which turns independently of the bolt and cannot be displaced. This ring is not complete; the ends forming hooks which slip into recesses in the extractor spring, holding it in place. The front end of the extractor has a lip machined into it, which rides in a groove around the bolt-head. The extractor does not rotate as the bolt is turned. The hook (of the extractor)
holds the cartridge firmly in the bolt-head until it is ejected. This useful innovation makes sure that once a cartridge is picked up from the magazine, it will stay attached to the bolt-head until ejected. This feature prevents a cartridge being pushed out of the magazine, and while lying loose in the receiver, another round being picked up, thus causing double feeding and irksome jams in the heat of
battle.

The bolt handle, at the rear of the bolt, is forged as part of the bolt. Except for some rifles from the last batches of Free State Mausers the bolt shaft on the Boer Mauser rifles is straight but on the carbines and sporting Mausers it is bent. As many Boers preferred the turned down bolt handle, they were inclined to modify their rifle bolts accordingly or replace them with the interchangeable carbine bolt.
The right rear of the receiver bridge is cut in such a way that when the bolt stem moves up against it, it provides initial camming power to the extractor. The firing pin is joined to the cocking piece by means of a series of interrupted lugs. The cocking piece is surrounded, except on the bottom, by the bolt sleeve which screws into the bolt body. A cam on the cocking piece projects through this slot in the bolt sleeve and this cam catches the rear edge of the trigger sear when the bolt is closed. Tile firing pin is surrounded by a coiled main spring, which is compressed between the bolt sleeve and a ridge on the front end of the firing pin. As suggested, the action is cocked when the bolt is closed. Tl1is characteristic, that a Boer Mauser cocks on closing of the bolt, as opposed to the Model 98 which cocks as the bolt handle is lifted on opening, is one of the easiest ways of differentiating between these two models Tile trigger has a typical double stage let-off, and is arranged in such a way that the rifle cannot be fired until the breech is fully closed. Tile reason for this is that there
is a small projection on the forward arm of the sear, which enters a corresponding slot in the bottom of the bolt only when the latter is turned fully closed. Tile safety-catch is of the wing or flag type and is situated on top of the bolt sleeve. When swung to the left the rifle is in the “fire” mode. In the upright position, the rifle is safe; the bolt can then also be opened and the bolt sleeve unscrewed for
further disassembly. In this upright position the magazine can be unloaded without fear of firing off a round. With the safety swung to the right the bolt is locked in position within the receiver and the rifle is safe. The bolt stop is attached to the left side of the receiver and is hinged at its rear. Tl1is same device serves both as bolt stop and cartridge ejector.

Tile magazine box and trigger guard form one piece. Tile floor plate of the magazine is detachable and the cartridge follower, unlike many other Model 95’s, is beveled at the rear. Thus, the bolt can be closed over an empty magazine without having to depress the follower manually.

Tile stock is of the straight hand type and consists of one piece. Tile receiver and barrel are held firmly to the stock by means of two screws through the front and rear ends of the magazine guard plate. Tile barrel is further held in place by two barrel bands. Tile front band has a bayonet lug at the bottom. Two flat spring
catches, behind and below each band, keep them in place. Ludwig Loewe-made
Boer Mausers, have a first or lower barrel band with longer swivel extensions. Tile
swivel being held in place by means of a screw. On most D.W.M.-made Boer
Mausers, this band does not project as far below the rifle, is more rounded, and the
swivel passes through the lower end of the band without being held in place by
means of a screw. On some Boer War photos this aspect helps with identification.
Tl1ere is a wooden guard over the barrel extending from the receiver to the lower
band, permitting free handling of the rifle even if the barrel is heated by continuous
firing. The front sight is dovetailed into a ring (surrounding the barrel) which is
screwed arid soldered into place. The rear sight is of the ladder type and has two
notches. One, with ladder flat, is marked 300, for distances up to 300 meters while
the other notch is on the ladder slide for distances from 400 to 2 000 meters. On
the Boer Mauser carbine the ladder is marked from 400 to 1 400 meters.
Boer Mauser carbine showing removable foresight protector.
The front sight has a hole through the sight block, for the attachment of a foresight
protector. These protector wings were unpopular and most carbines are found
without them today. Apparently, in the heat of battle, a person could easily, by
mistake, take aim over  of the sight protector wings, instead of the true sight

 

mauser2.JPG (6470 bytes)

Brass muzzle and foresight protector.

 

To summarize, the carbine differs from the long rifle as follows:
I. Sights – as mentioned.
2. The bolt handle is turned down – ex factory.
3. The barrel length is only 456 mm in length as opposed to 738 mm of the
rifle. Unlike the Spanish Mod. 95 carbine, the stock does not extend to the
muzzle.
4. The rear barrel band has a swivel affixed to its left side. There is also a sling
swivel and ring attached to the left by means of screws through the
stock fastening into a plate on the opposite (right) side. This arrangement
ensures easier slinging on horseback.

Boer Mausers do not have a thumb cut-out in the left receiver wall (with the
exception of some Plezier Mausers) nor a third safety lug behind the bolt stem as
found on other Model 95’s.

This might be the opportune place to mention some other minor differences. On
some Boer Mausers the bolt knob is round and meets the bolt stem at right angles,
on others the bolt knob goes smoothly over to the bolt stem. Another minor
variation is found with the rear trigger guard screw. On some it is flush with the
surrounding metal while on others the screw hole is countersunk and offset.

By looking at but one example of all the different types which will be described in
more detail later, these variations can be tabulated as follows:

Type Bolt knob/stem sharp angle Bolt knob/stem round angle Screw hole counter sunk Screw hole not counter sunk
O.F.S  1895 L.L X   X
O.F.S  1896 L.L X   X
O.F.S    1897 D.W.M X   X
O.F.S  D.W.M   X   X
Z.A.R.L.L             A Series X   X
Z.A.R.L.L           B Series   X   X
Z.A.R D.W.M   X   X
Z.A.R         Carbine L.L   X   X
Z.A.R        Carbine D.W.M   X   X

in conclusion it can be said that at the time of the Boer War, the Boer Mauser was
one of the best (if not the best) bolt action rifles available. Its shortcomings are few
but the following two points are worthy of mention.

The action is not quite as strong as its successor the Mod. 98.
No provision is made to divert the escape of hot gases rearwards in the
event of a primer rupturing, later Mausers had gas escape vents in their
bolts.

For those interested, a complete list of specifications as published in a
contemporary Mauser catalogue is provided below.

SPECIFICATIONS

Particulars of the Mauser Magazine Rifle, Pattern 93 to 95,
and the Mauser Carbine, Pattern 93 to 95.
A. Rifle
Caliber………………………………………… 7 mm
Length of rifle (without bayonet) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , 1235 mm
Weight of rifle with empty magazine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 kg
do, of bayonet (376 mm length), without scabbard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400 gr.
Length of barrel …………………………………. 738 mm
4 concentric rifling, twist to the right, with one
revolution in ………………………………….. 220mm
Length of twist of rifling in caliber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31,4 mm
Angle of twist of rifling in caliber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5ø42’30”
Depth of the rifling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0,125 mm
Width of the rifling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,9 mm
Length of the line of sight, measured from the
fixed sight ………………………………….. 642,8 mm
The sight has 2 notches, and is graduated up to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2000 m
The wooden guard reaches from receiver to lower band.
The Breech mechanism is that of a bolt system with 2 vertical
studs forward.
The Magazine lies in the middle of the stock, and is not visible, the cartridges are
stripped into it from the clip, and lie zigzag.
Weight of the empty clip for 5 cartridges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 gr.
Weight of cartridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24,8 gr.
Length of cartridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 mm
do. of cartridge case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56,5 mm
Weight of bullet ……………………………….., ,2 gr.
Length of bullet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30,8 mm
Length of bullet in caliber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,4
Largest diameter of bullet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,25 mm
Powder (smokeless, in leaves)
Weight of charge ………………………………… 2,sgr
Proportion of charge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,48
Sectional weight of the projectile in grams per cm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29,1
Muzzle-velocity…………………………………… 728m
do. 25 m from the muzzle …………………………… 700m
(Barometer = 728 mm; Thermometer = 16øC.; Hygrometer = 409b)
Gas Pressure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3100 – 3300 kg
Number of revolutions of bullet in the first second . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3200
Working effect of the bullet at the muzzle . . . .’. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303 M. kg
Velocity of recoil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,04 M, kg
Effect of recoil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8,15 M, kg
Penetration of the bullet, 12 meters from the muzzle
in pine………………………………….. 138 to140 cm
in beech…………………………………… 72 to 78 cm
in ice ……………………………………….. 160 cm
Vertical height of trajectory
at 500 meters distance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . , 1034 mm
at 550 meters distance …………………………… 1295 mm
at 600 meters distance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1696 mm
Results of firing (3 series of 20 rounds each)
Spread
Height Width
m m
at 200 meters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0,154 0,126
500 meters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0,440 0,280
900 meters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,183 0,830
1200 meters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,863 0,930
1 500 meters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,333 1,787
2 000 meters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,277 1,533
Total range at an angle of elevation of about 30ø above 4 000m
Danger zone
against infantry (1,7 m height) . . . . . . 600m
against cavalry (2,5 m height) . . . . . . . 700m
Velocity of fire, with aim . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 per minute
do. mechanically . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 per minute
B. Carbine
Length, without bayonet . . . . . . . . . . . . 854 mm
Weight without bayonet (magazine empty) 3,25 to 3,5 kg
Bayonet same as with rifle
Length of Barrel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 456 mm
Length of line of sight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 357,3 mm
The sight has 2 notches, and is graduated up to 1 400m
Muzzle-velocity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 665 m
do. 25 m from the muzzle . . . . . . . . . 640 m
(Barometer = 726 mm; Thermometer = 19øC.; Hygrometer = 30fb)

No treatise on Boer-Longarms is complete without mention of the scarce and
sought after Plezier or sporting Mauser. These rifles were ordered by both
Governments for sale to the burghers. They were thus never intended for general
issue and were strictly speaking not military rifles. Although they were more
expensive than other Mausers, there was a steady demand for these beautiful rifles.
They also served as presentation pieces by Governments to deserving officers or
officials. Many were also bought privately through arms agencies with the result

that it is impossible today to distinguish between officially and privately bought
specimens. More about this later on; at this stage let us consider their
conformation. These rifles can be regarded as semi-custom-made pieces, and minor
differences do exist. In general they have a semi-pistol grip stock, with a schnabel
fore-end and a cheek-piece. The pistol grip and fore-end are checkered

mauser3.JPG (13404 bytes)

 

Two spoiling Mausers. Note differences e.g. cheek piece and
checkering.

 

 
In length they are somewhat shorter than the long rifle; the octagonal barrel being
34mm shorter (688 mm in length from receiver ring to muzzle) with sporting sights.
Some have a thumb cut-out in the left receiver wall, others not. The bolt handle
is also bent down like that of the carbine and some Free State rifles. The foresight
has protector wings and is windage-adjustable

mauser4.JPG (7642 bytes)
Fore- sight of sporting Mauser.

 

The rear sight, a smaller neater version of the military type, is marked up to 1 100
metres . These rifles often have an oval silver escutcheon inlaid into the
right side of the . Here inscriptions of presentation pieces, owners’ names or
initials etc. were often beautifully engraved . All iii all, a rifle that is a
smart eye-catching sporter, firing the same round as the military rifle and carbine
.

MARKINGS ON BOER MAUSERS

The inscriptions on the left receiver wall differ from batch to batch as purchased
by the Boer Republics and these markings will be dealt with at length later on.

Serial numbers are to be found, stamped in full in the following places:

i.Left side of receiver ring
ii.On the barrel just in front of I.
iii.On top of the shaft of the bolt handle
iv.On the stock just below I.
v.On the front of the trigger guard/floor plate
vi.On the cleaning rod.

The last two digits of the serial number are stamped

i.On the rear sight
ii.Magazine cover
iii.In some models on the safety-catch and bolt sleeve.

Ludwig Loewe factory proof-marks, consist of a ñ 4 mm high crowned Gothic L,
and are stamped on the following places:

i.On bolt stem (on carbines this mark is on the shaft near the bolt knob)
ii.Below the serial number on receiver ring
iii.On top of barrel just ahead of receiver ring. A larger ñ 12 mm high
crowned Gothic T is stamped on the right side of the .

D-W-M- rifles have factory proof-marks with an ornate B inside a ñ 3 mm circle:

i.On the top of the bolt knob
ii.Below serial number on receiver ring
iii.On top of the barrel.

A larger +- 9 mm version of the circled B is stamped on the left side of the .

Apart from these marks, a variety of small inspection marks are found on parts
such as screws, plate and bolt stop. These marks take the form of stars,
Maltese crosses, cross in a circle, four pointed stars, etc.. As yet no definite pattern
has been discerned.

While on the subject of markings, this may be the opportune place to describe
“markings” that are special to Boer War rifles in general, namely the vast array of
calligraphy so often found on the woodwork. These vary through a wide spectrum of markings from initials very crudely scratched out, to exquisitely carved names, crests, etc. The artistry found on some examples is superb and may cover the greater part of the stock. Usually this calligraphy is limited to. initials, names, birthplaces, home towns or Commandos.

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