Original French Model 1866 Chassepot Needle Fire Rifle Dated 1873 - Matching Serial No Q 3835
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Martini-Henry, and was obsoleted in 1874 with the introduction of the metallic cartridge Gras Rifle that was in turn superseded in 1886 with the Lebel Rifle.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 S.1873, and is marked on the receiver: MANUFACTURE D'ARMES St-Étienne Mle 1866, indicating manufacture at the government arsenal at St. Etienne. The Chassepot was the first rifle to be produced at their "modern" steam-powered factory built there in 1864. The rifle is in fine condition with a polished steel finish, un-blued, as it was originally issued, though it has acquired a gray patina over the decades. The rifle comes complete with cleaning rod and with what appears to be a partially intact needle, though the leather sealing washers are missing, and part of the bolt face is cracked. The rifle is serial numbered Q 3835 on all major parts of the rifle, including all parts of the bolt, receiver, barrel, stock, cleaning rod, and bayonet stand. The buttstock screws, trigger guard screws, and tang screw are marked 13.
The rifle bears French proofs along with French military and acceptance markings! These are present on most of the metal components of the rifle, as well as a stock makers mark below the trigger guard. Also, the original date cartouche on the buttstock is still present and legible, though the center insert has been replaced:
Bore is excellent with a bright finish, and shows clear lands and grooves. The stock does have some dents, scratches, and chips, but this all appears to be honest service wear. Stock has been fully cleaned and has a wonderful chestnut color. This is a wonderful and unique example of a rare ignition system making it a rare and sought antique rifle, and it appears to have not been parts swapped or arsenal reconditioned.
Year of Manufacture: 1873
Caliber: 11 mm (.433 inches)
Ammunition Type: Pin-Fire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 32 Inches
Overall Length: 51.6 Inches
Feed System: Single Shot
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