Original French MLE 1866-74 Gras Infantry Converted Rifle Made in 1874 - Matching Serial FG 94447
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 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.1874 S.80 indicating that it was originally manufactured as a Chassepot in 1874, which was the last year of production. It was then converted to Gras in 1880, also at the St. Étienne arsenal. The rifle has all matching serial numbers, with FG 94447 on the barrel, bayonet stand, and all parts of the bolt. There is no stock serial number visible, as wear and refinishing has obliterated virtually all stock markings.
Condition of the rifle is good, though it definitely has been refinished several times, so the original markings and proofs have been removed. Still, the stock has a great color and no cracks or repairs that we can see. Metalwork is in good condition, but the finish is worn on many of the fittings. The bore is bright with crisp lands and grooves, and does not appear to have been fired much, if at all.
A really nice M-1866-74 Chassepot/Gras rifle, fully cleaned and ready to display.
Year of Manufacture: 1874
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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