Original French Chassepot Modèle 1866/73 Rifle Centerfire Converted by Kynoch named to Indiana Civil War Soldier

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The French government converted their Chassepot Needle Guns to accommodate more modern ammunition after the original configuration proved itself to be unreliable in battle. For political and economic reasons, France did not select the patented Mauser conversion instead, this work was carried out by the Kynoch Gun Factory of Aston, England.

In 1873, France contracted with the Kynoch Gun Factory of Aston, England to modify the existing Chassepot bolt for use with center-fire metallic cartridges. These modified rifles were designated the Chassepot Model 1873 rifle and can be identified by the stamped markings added to the barrel nocks form flats:


MUSKET - 43 - 77 - 380

The rifle is also marked with KYNOCH'S - PATENT on the left side of the receiver, and the barrel is marked on the left side with serial number U 32440. This matches the serial numbers on the bolt components. Condition is quite good, with a lot of the original blue still present on the barrel, and a nice worn stock with a great patina. The rifle cocks and dry fires correctly, and has an intact firing pin and extractor. The bore is in excellent condition, with crisp lands and grooves and a bright finish. Like most of these rifles, they did not see much, if any, use in service. Most of these rifles ended up either being put into colonial service, or exported.

The stock is in good condition, with a nice color and grain. It has been reconditioned, most likely at Kynoch, which did make the original stock proofs faint. It also has a repaired crack on the right side by the receiver and receiver tang.

We are not sure exactly where this rifle was first sent, but we do know where it ended up: the state of Indiana in the U.S.A., as indicated by the information stamped into the right side of the butt stock:

NO. 53

We were not sure about the name due to the stamping being somewhat irregular, however there was indeed a man named Mahlon Irey Paxson, born in Pennville Twp., Jay County, Indiana during the early 1840s. He "Enlisted in Company F, Indiana 75th Infantry Regiment on 31 Jul 1862", per information on this website: Mahlon Irey Paxson (1842 - 1920) Find A Grave Memorial.

We would assume this rifle was presented to Paxson, or maybe purchased as a collector's item, as by 1915 these were long obsolete. There was apparently a book written about Paxson, so there is definitely some good research potential in this item.

A very interesting and collectible rifle, in very nice condition, with a very interesting history! Ready to to research and display!

After France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, the French government blamed their loss on the Chassepot rifle's poor reliability on the battlefield. French officials were convinced of the need to adopt a metallic cartridge centerfire system, but for political reasons, they could not opt for the existing Mauser-Norris System due to the necessity of paying royalties to and having their existing Model 1866 Chassepots converted in Germany. In addition, conversion to the Mauser design required the use of an entirely new bolt.

IN 1874, the French-designed Gras bolt-action system was adopted by the French as the basis of their new Model 1874 Gras rifle. Many of the earlier unmodified Chassepot rifles were converted to the Gras bolt-action system and designated the Model 1866-74 rifle. As late as the First World War, the Chassepot remained in service, having been modified yet again to fire the smokeless 8mm Lebel cartridge, or for use as signal guns.


Years of Manufacture: 1866-1873
Caliber: 11X60R .43 Mauser M1871 Cartridge
Ammunition Type: Pin-Fire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 32 Inches
Overall Length: 51 1/4 Inches
Action: Bolt-Action
Feed System: Single Shot

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