Original French MLE 1866-74 Gras Converted Rifle by Tulle with Saber Bayonet by Mutzig - Dated 1870

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The Fusil Gras Modèle 1874 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 example was originally a needle fire Chassepot, the French ignition system introduced in 1866. It was a single shot bolt-action rifle and was among the best of its kind at the type, being superior to the German Dreyse Needle fire system. It was quickly surpassed however,  principally by the British Martini-Henry system. In 1874 the self contained cartridge Gras bolt-action system was introduced, and the Chassepots in service were converted to this system, and had additional markings added indicating this.

The receiver on this nice example is marked MANUFACTURE / Tulle and to the right of this is MLE 1866-74. The rifle has an original issue date stamped into the barrel of T.1870, indicating that it was originally manufactured at Tulle Arsenal as a Chassepot in 1870. It was then later converted to the Gras rifle system in 1880 at St. Étienne arsenal, indicated by the marking S 80. The rifle is marked with serial number S 50746 on virtually every part of the rifle, even the cleaning rod. This is definitely a FULLY MATCHED example.

The rifle has an excellent bright bore with clear lands and grooves, and little sign of any real use. Overall condition is also very nice, though the stock has been sanded down a bit. so the right side stock rondel is faint. However the left side rondel is clearly marked MARS / 1880, indicating it was serviced in March 1880. Metal finish is very nice, with a nice blued finish on the barrel and receiver, and a worn bright finish on the bolt.

Included with this rifle a correct issue Yataghan-Bladed Model M1866 Chassepot sword bayonet with steel scabbard. This bayonet is in good condition, with a nice blade with a little corrosion, and all the correct issue markings, and little sharpening. The handle, crossguard, and bottom 2 inches of the blade were nickel-plated at some time, though most has worn off the brass grip. The spine of the bayonet is marked Mre Imp'ale de Mutzig 10'bre 1868, indicating manufacture at the arsenal in Mutzig, during October 1868. This manufacturer stopped producing in 1869, so all bayonets by this maker are extremely rare. The scabbard is completely straight, with no bends or major dents, though it does have rust damage on one side.

A very nice M-1866-74 Chassepot/Gras rifle with bayonet, fully cleaned and ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1870 - converted 1880
Caliber:  11×59mmR Gras
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 32 Inches
Overall Length: 51.4 Inches
Action type: Bolt-Action
Feed System: Single Shot

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