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Original French Fusil Modèle 1866 Chassepot Needle Fire Rifle by St-Étienne dated 1873 - Serial Q 4716

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Despite the fact that the French needle fire Chassepot rifle was far superior to the needle fire Prussian Dreyse rifle, the French took a swift and decisive beating in the war of 1870-71. In fairness to the French, the defeat was due to Napoleon III's foolhardiness in allowing himself to get captured at the Battle of Sedan and the show was then over.

The Chassepot rifle of 1866 was a single shot bolt-action rifle and was among the best of it's kind in 1866. It was quickly surpassed, principally by the British Martini-Henry, and was obsoleted in 1874 with the introduction of the metallic cartridge Gras Rifle that was in turn superseded in 1886 with the Lebel Rifle.

Our example here is dated S.1873, and is marked on the receiver: MANUFACTURE D'ARMES  / St-Étienne MLE 1866, indicating manufacture at the government arsenal at St. Etienne. The Chassepot was the first rifle to be produced at their "modern" steam-powered factory built there in 1864. The rifle is in fine condition with a polished steel finish, un-blued, as it was originally issued, though it has acquired a gray patina over the decades. The rifle comes complete with cleaning rod and with what appears to be a fully intact needle, though the leather sealing washers are missing. The rifle is serial numbered Q 4716 on all major parts of the rifle, including all parts of the bolt, barrel, stock, and bayonet stand.

The rifle bears French proofs along with French military and acceptance markings. These are present on most of the metal components of the rifle. The excellent bore is bright, with clear lands and grooves, with no signs of wear. Stock has been fully cleaned and has a wonderful chestnut color, with a bit of flame figuring in places. It has not been sanded version much, so the original stock cartouches are legible, indicating inspection in SEPTEMBRE 1873. THere are the usual dents and other wear from service, but this really is a lovely stock

Included with the rifle is a very nice correct French issue leather sling, which even has a nice ink stamp on the inner side. The leather shows age, but is still soft and supple.

This is a wonderful and unique example of a rare ignition system making it a rare and sought antique rifle. Ready to display.


Year of Manufacture: 1873
Caliber: 11 mm (.433 inches)
Ammunition Type: Pin-Fire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 32 Inches

Overall Length: 51.6 Inches
Action: Bolt-Action
Feed System: Single Shot

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