Original Dutch Beaumont-Vitali M1871/88 Bolt Action Magazine Conversion Rifle with Bayonet - Dated 1873
Original Item: Only One Available. Straight out of the attic with loads of Patina, this Dutch Infantry Rifle was made by Stevens in Maastricht in the Netherlands, and is actually dated 1873. The model M-71 was originally a single shot 11mm rifle that was converted to a bolt-action magazine rifle with a capacity of four rounds in 1891.
This example has serial number 999 on the left side of the barrel knoxform and butt plate. The rifle is also marked with Z / 186 above the chamber on the receiver, as well as on all components of the bolt. The magazine floor plate has a different number. This is normal for the converted rifles, as the action had to be rebuilt, and often parts were mixed. The barrel is dated 1873, and the receiver is faintly marked P. STEVENS / MAASTRICHT, the makers name and location. There is also still a clear stock rondel on the right side, reading MAASTRICHT / CROWN W / 1874. There is also a date of 1891 on the butt plate, the year it was converted to a magazine system.
The rifle is in very good overall condition, however the cleaning rod and front sight blade are missing. The metal finish is worn to a lovely patina patina, though there are areas of light pitting. All components are solid and the bolt moves though could use some cleaning, and the magazine cutoff is functional. The bore is very good, with clear lands and grooves with a bright finish, and a few areas of corrosion. The wood stock is in great original condition, not showing any repairs or refinishing. It has a great color, without any major dents or other issues. We did not restore this rifle, as we felt it was just great as is. We only gave it a light cleaning.
The included cruciform-blade socket bayonet is something we rarely see, as they were usually discarded. It is in good condition, though it is quite tight on the barrel, and required some light taps with a rubber mallet to mount completely.
Still in use by the time WW1 came in 1914 but was much outclassed by the Mauser and Enfield rifle systems introduced in the late 1890s.
An unusual system, the bolts spring is in fact housed inside the bolt handle, from an era of great firearms development worldwide, the dawn of the breach-loading period this is unusual and not easy to find. Ready to display!
History of the Beaumont: Created in 1871 by a Dutch engineer named Messerecht, the Dutch Beaumont rifle was one of the first metallic cartridge bolt-action rifle to be adopted by any military. Firing an 11.3x50mm cartridge it was single shot only, meaning the user had to insert a new cartridge after every shot. Unlike other rifles, the mainspring of the Beaumont was located within the bolt handle, an exact copy of the Mauser Norris rifle, which would also be copied by the Japanese with the Murate rifle. This same feature, however, made it impossible to turn down the bolt on cavalry and carbine models.
While the Beaumont was state of the art for its day, by the late 1880's it was obsolete as repeating rifles became all the rage in Europe. To make up for the Beaumont's deficiency, the Dutch added a magazine to the rifle, the same type of magazine used by the Italians when they converted their single shot Vetterli rifles into repeaters. Since the Beaumont was outfitted with the Italian Vitali magazine in 1888, it was redubbed the Beaumont-Vitali Model 1871/88. The Vitali magazine held four rounds and was reloaded with an en bloc clip made of cardboard. When the clip was empty, an attached string was pulled to remove it from the magazine, no kidding.
Despite the upgrade the Beaumont-Vitali, much like the Italian Vetterli Vitali, was obsolete by the time it was introduced. By 1890 nations began to adopt smokeless powder designs which used smaller caliber high velocity cartridges firing conical shaped spitzer bullets. Eventually the Dutch phased out the Beaumont-Vitali and replaced it with the M95 Steyr-Hembrug.
Year of Manufacture: 1873 - converted 1891
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 32 Inches
Overall Length: 52 Inches
Action type: Bolt-Action
Feed System: 4 Round Magazine
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