The Model 1893/1895 Mauser chambered for the 7×57 cartridge. With this rifle the Boers would show the military authorities of the day the true potential of the new small-bore, smokeless powder rifle.
Mauser’s R&D work resulted in the development of an improved bolt and new-style magazine that held cartridges in a staggered, flush-mounted box. But just as important as the improved rifle would become, the cartridge it was chambered for would become even better known.
The 7×57 cartridge was one of the many smokeless powder rounds developed by the Mauser company during the 1890s. The original load consisted of a rimless, bottlenecked case 57mm in length with a roundnosed, 173-grain FMJ bullet traveling at 2,300 fps. The bullet had a high sectional density that gave it a flat trajectory, long-range accuracy, deep penetration, and light recoil.
The first Mauser chambered for the 7×57 was the Mo. 1892 Spanish rifle. It had a new-style nonrotating extractor that prevented double feeding of cartridges and made bolt manipulation much smoother. Very few were made as it was superseded by an improved rifle within a few months.
The Mod. 1893 was the first Mauser to use a staggered-row magazine, which permitted the magazine to be charged with less effort, fed cartridges more smoothly, and since it was completely enclosed by the stock, was almost impervious to damage.
This first major modification of the Mo. 1893 is referred to as the “Model 1895,” and it differed from the Mo. 1893 in that the boltface was circular because it was discovered that the square face was unnecessary for reliable feeding. In addition, late-production Model 1895s had a shoulder behind the bolt handle to provide additional locking in case of bolt failure, and the rear of the magazine follower was beveled to allow closing the bolt on an empty chamber.