The Mauser was a high velocity rifle that fired a 7mm smokeless powder cartridge and was the most modern rifle of the time. The cartridges were supplied in a clip of five that was inserted into the top of the rifle body and pressed down to push all the bullets into the magazine in front of the trigger and each bullet is pushed into the chamber by action of the bolt. The Mauser could be fitted with a bayonet but the Boers did not use one rather relying on their extreme accuracy at around 800 metres.
In May 1896 Piet Joubert bought 25 000 of these guns for three English pounds each and 10 million cartridges at six pounds per thousand. Both the rifle and bullet were very lightweight enabling the soldier to carry 60 bullets in a leather bandolier. At the start of the war the Transvaal Commandos had 37 000 rifles and 20 million cartridges whilst the Freestate 13 000 rifles