Original French MLE 1866-74 Gras Infantry Converted Rifle Made in 1868 - Matching Serial G 5779
Original Item: Only One Available. The Fusil Gras Modèle 1874 was a French service rifle of the 19th century. The first Gras rifles used by the French Army were a conversion to center-fire 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 marked with the remnants of MANUFACTURE D'ARMES / St. Étienne MLE 1866 - 74, indicating manufacture at the government arsenal at St. Etienne. The rifle has arsenal proofs on most parts, and also is marked S.1868 C.79 indicating that it was originally manufactured as a Chassepot in 1868, which was the last year of production. It was then converted to Gras in 1879, also at the government arsenal at Châtellerault. The rifle has all matching serial numbers, with G 5779 on the barrel, bayonet stand, cleaning rod, stock, and all parts of the bolt.
Condition of the rifle is good, though it definitely has definitely had the stock refurbished, which has made the original markings faint, though still visible. Stock has a nice color and no cracks or repairs that we can see, with the expected dings and scratches from service. Metalwork is in good condition, but does show signs of past pitting throughout. The bore is mostly bright, with clear lands and grooves, which do show wear. There are also areas of fouling in the grooves.
A really nice M-1866-74 Chassepot/Gras rifle, fully cleaned and ready to display.
Year of Manufacture: 1868 - converted 1879
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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