Original French MLE 1866-74 Gras Converted Rifle with Saber Bayonet and Scabbard - Dated 1868
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 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 left side of the receiver would normally be marked with the Model Number and manufacturer, however during the conversion these were often removed. However, the barrel knoxform is marked S.1868 indicating that it was originally manufactured at St. Etienne (S) as a Chassepot in 1868. It was then later converted to the Gras rifle system. The rifle has mismatched serial numbers, with a faint F 99472 on the barrel, and different ones on the stock, and parts of the bolt.
Condition of the rifle is good, though it definitely does show long service. Wood is in solid condition but has some worming, and has been sanded down, so the original markings and proofs have been removed. Metalwork is in good condition, but the finish is worn on many of the fittings. The bore shows lands and grooves, but also shows wear, and oxidation in the grooves. We would rate this bore fair to good.
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 bright blade with a little corrosion, and all the correct issue markings, though it does appear to have been sharpened. The spine of the bayonet is marked Mre Imp'ale de Chât't Mai 1868, indicating manufacture at the arsenal in Châtellerault, during May 1868. This means that like the rifle, the bayonet was made before the Franco-Prussian war, and may have seen service during that conflict.
A really nice M-1866-74 Chassepot/Gras rifle with bayonet, fully cleaned and ready to display.
Year of Manufacture: 1868
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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