Original French Model 1866 Chassepot Needle Fire Rifle Dated 1873 - Serial No 76278
Original Item: Only One Available. Despite the fact that the French needle fire Chassepot rifle was far superior to the needle fire Prussian Dreyse rifle, the French took a swift and decisive beating in the war of 1870-71.
In fairness to the French, the defeat was due to Napoleon III's foolhardiness in allowing himself to get captured at the Battle of Sedan and the show was then over.
The Chassepot rifle of 1866 was a single shot bolt-action rifle and was among the best of it's kind in 1866. It was quickly surpassed, principally by the British Martini-Henry, and was obsoleted in 1874 with the introduction of the metallic cartridge Gras Rifle that was in turn superseded in 1886 with the Lebel Rifle.
Our example here is dated 1873, and is marked on the receiver: St. Etienne Mle 1866, indicating manufacture at the government arsenal Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne. The Chassepot was the first rifle to be produced at their "modern" steam-powered factory built in 1864. The rifle is in fine condition with a polished steel finish, un-blued, as it was originally issued. The rifle comes complete with cleaning rod and with at least 1/2 inch of the original "needle" firing pin in the bolt head, though the leather sealing washers are missing. The rifle is serial numbered 76278 on most parts of the rifle, including all parts of the bolt, receiver, barrel, cleaning rod, and others. Only the stock is numbered differently with 81640 stamped on the buttstock.
The rifle bears French proofs along with French military and acceptance markings! Bore shows clear lands and grooves, with some darkening in the grooves. This is a wonderful and unique example of a rare ignition system making it a rare and sought antique rifle.
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