Original French Fusil Modèle 1866 Chassepot Needle Fire Rifle Dated 1873 - Matching Serial P 69598
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Martini-Henry, and was obsoleted in 1874 with the introduction of the metallic cartridge Gras Rifle that was in turn superseded in 1886 with the Lebel Rifle.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: 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, though the needle is broken/missing as are the leather sealing washers. The rifle is serial numbered P 69593 on virtually every part of the rifle, including all parts of the bolt, barrel, stock, cleaning rod, 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. Bore is virtually unissued: bright, with clear lands and grooves. Stock has not been reworked much at all, so all of the original markings are visible and legible. The stock rondel on the right side is completely there, and indicates acceptance in JUIN (June) of 1873. There also is a stockmaker mark by the trigger guard tang.
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
Feed System: Single Shot
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