Original French Gras Modèle 1874 M80 Cavalry Carbine by St. Etiénne with N.O.S. Sling - Dated 1881

Item Description

Original item: Only One Available. The Fusil Gras Modèle 1874 M80 was a French service rifle of the 19th century. The Gras used by the French Army was an adaptation to metallic cartridge of the Chassepot breech-loading rifle by Colonel Basile Gras.

This is a fine example of the shorter Gras Carbine, fitted with all IRON mounts, which the French generally indicated for Army use. The barrel is about 18" in length. The Serial numbers are mixed but it has the correct down turned bolt numbered 44376. The weapon bears a manufacturing date of 1881 on the right hand side of the barrel beneath the sight. These compact bolt action Short Rifles which were single shot were ideal for use by the Cavalry.

This is a fine example with an very good bore, with clear lands and grooves, with a mostly bright finish. The received is marked MANUFACTURE D'ARMES / St. Etiénne / M80, with MLE 1874 to the right. The rifle has an issue date stamped into the barrel of S.1881. It comes with all original steel mounts and cleaning rod. Most fittings bear the correct government proof marks, though some are worn. It also has the correct "turned-down" cavalry bolt handle, which had much less of a chance of betting stuck in the horses tack. The stock has traces of the usual round cartouche, however it is very faint, so only the M is legible. 

Offered in good overall condition the rifle has unmatched serial numbers, indicating a long service life. The serial number on the receiver, and bayonet stand is F G 72540, with all the bolt serial numbers being different. The stock is in good condition, though it does appear to have been sanded and refinished. Great color and an excellent finish.

The Carbine includes a genuine new old stock leather sling of the type it would have had in the 19th Century, probably a WWI era reissue, complete with ink stamp markings

This rifle has a caliber of 11mm and used black powder centerfire cartridges that weighed 25 grams. It was a robust and hard-hitting weapon, but it had no magazine and so could only fire one shot after loading. It also had a triangular-shaped sword bayonet, known as the Model 1874 "Gras" sword bayonet. It was replaced by the Lebel rifle in 1886, the first rifle to use smokeless gunpowder. In the meantime, about 400,000 Gras rifles had been manufactured.

The metallic-cartridge Gras was manufactured in response to the development of the metallic cartridge designed by Colonel Boxer in 1866 (Boxer cartridge), and the British 1870 Martini-Henry rifle. Those were soon emulated by the Germans with the 1871 Mauser.

The Hellenic Army adopted the Gras in 1877, and it was used in all conflicts up until the Second World War. It became the favourite weapon of Greek guerrilla fighters, from the various revolts against the Ottoman Empire to the resistance against the Axis, acquiring legendary status. The name entered the Greek language, and grades (γκράδες) was a term colloquially applied to all rifles during the first half of the 20th century. It was manufactured by various arms factories in France, though most of the rifles sent to Greece were made by the ŒWG Austrian Arms Factory at Steyr.


Year of Manufacture: 1881
Caliber:  11×59mmR Gras
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 18 Inches
Overall Length: 37.5 Inches
Action type: Bolt-Action
Feed System: Single Shot

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