Original French M1866 Chassepot Saber Bayonet by St. Étienne with Scabbard - dated 1867

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of the long "yataghan" saber bladed bayonet for the French Fusil Modèle 1874 "Gras" Rifle, Fusil modèle 1866 "Chassepot" Needle Fire rifle. These were very often cut down or altered later on in their service life, but this example still has the original full length 22 3/4 inch long blade, with an overall length of 27 1/2 inches.

The spine of the bayonet is marked St. Étienne 1867, indicating original manufacture at the arsenal in St. Étienne, in 1867. It is in very good condition, with a mostly bright blade, with some areas of light staining. The brass handle has a lovely aged mustard patina.

The Cross guard of the bayonet is marked with serial number F 33905, which does not match the serial number on the scabbard. The scabbard itself is in good condition, though it is missing a belf/frog attachment.

A very nice example, ready to add to your French edged weapon collection or fit to a rifle!

Blade Length: 22 3/4"
Single Edge "Yataghan" w/ Fuller
Overall length: 27 1/2“
Crossguard: 4”
Scabbard Length: 23"

The Chassepot bayonet was the first of the French saber bayonets to have a hooked quillion. This design feature was quite popular in the late 19th Century, when the bayonet was considered a form of fencing. When parrying the enemy’s thrust, the soldier was to use his own bayonet to deflect the enemy blade and the quillion - like the quillion on a sword - was intended to keep the enemy's blade from continuing downward; in this case sliding down the length of the rifle to strike the soldier’s left arm and hand holding the forestock of his rifle.

The Chassepot, officially known as Fusil modèle 1866, was a bolt-action military breechloading rifle. It is famous for having been the arm of the French forces in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871. It replaced an assortment of Minié muzzleloading rifles, many of which were converted in 1864 to breech loading (the Tabatière rifles). An improvement to existing military rifles in 1866, the Chassepot marked the commencement of the era of modern bolt action, breech-loading military rifles. The Gras rifle was an adaption of the Chassepot designed to fire metallic cartridges introduced in 1874.

It was manufactured by Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne (MAS), Manufacture d'Armes de Châtellerault (MAC), Manufacture d'Armes de Tulle (MAT) and, until 1870, in the Manufacture d'Armes de Mutzig in the former Château des Rohan. Many were also manufactured under contract in England (the "Potts et Hunts" Chassepots delivered to the French Navy), in Belgium (Liege), and in Italy at Brescia (by Glisenti). The approximate number of Chassepot rifles available to the French Army in July 1870 was 1,037,555 units. Additionally, state manufacturies could deliver 30,000 new rifles monthly. Gun manufacturers in England and Austria also produced Chassepot rifles to support the French war effort. The Steyr armory in Austria delivered 12,000 Chassepot carbines and 100,000 parts to France in 1871. Manufacturing of the Chassepot rifle ended in February 1875, four years after the end of the Franco-Prussian War, with approximately 700,000 more Chassepot rifles made between September 1871 and July 1874.

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