Italian M1870-87 Infantry Rifle, One Only
Original Item: The Swiss Vetterli bolt action was the basis of the Italian Vetterli rifles, which underwent a wide range of modifications over their service life. The Vetterli bolt was strong and advanced for its day, and was adopted by the Italian Army as the basis for their new rifle. The Swiss Vetterli models all had underbarrel tube magazines, which were expensive to manufacture and somewhat fragile. For reasons of economy, the Italians adopted a rifle with the sound Vetterli bolt action but made in a single-shot configuration. This was the model 1870, which was the original configuration of this sample. The M1870 was in service until 1887, when an unusual box magazine was added to the rifle to create the M1870-87 Vetterli-Vitali. Very few M1870s escaped the modification; this sample was converted at the Terni arsenal in 1888.
The Vitali magazine held four rounds and extended below the stock. It has a unique profile, due to the coil spring driving the follower and the bottleneck shape of the cartridge. In addition to the magazine, the M1870-87 also had a new and very impressive rear sight designed by Vecchi.
The M1870s were originally left ?in the white,? but the M1870-87 was blued. Since this sample was originally an M1870, the receiver is still in the white, while the barrel and other newly added components are blued.
Condition: Wood, Excellent, except for a repairable crack above the magazine; Metal, excellent.
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