1 review    

Original French Tabatière Breech Loading Rifle Converted to Shotgun for African Trade c.1880

Item Description

Original Item: One of a kind. Somewhat romantic, this is a French Tabatière, their equivalent of the Snider Rifle of the 1860s. It was converted after Military use to Single barrel half stocked Shot Guns specifically for the African Trade and selling to the ZULUS.

In very neglected and abused condition, from long time storage, this is now JUST A DECORATOR, but may have an interesting history for YOU to create. Tabatière rifles are rare, much more so than Sniders but this was what many a fine French Military Rifle of the 1860's ended up like. Such a pity.

More on the French Tabatière Rifle:
The U.S. Civil War was a time for invention: hundreds of new better types of firearms were developed. In addition conversions of older weapons to work with new technology resulted in many brilliant ideas. The Americans, the British, and many other countries throughout Europe took full advantage of these changes.

The British, with a large Empire to protect, developed the SNIDER Breech loading Rifle, although Jacob Snider was an American. The French developed the "Tabatière Rifle", called that because the new breech resembled a "Snuff Box" (tabatière literally means "snuff" in French). The Tabatière breech loading system was first designed in 1857. It was adopted in 1864 but conversions were slow to start.

At the same time, the French flirted with the Chassepot Needle Fire Model of 1866. By 1870, the Tabatière was considered inferior to the Chassepot and was abandoned. The French had converted 358,000 Rifled Muskets from Percussion to breech loading, leaving an amazing 1.4 Million in their original percussion state. In the 1880s the French Government disposed of most all of their Tabatière Rifles, mostly to Belgium for conversion into half stocked 12 gauge shotguns for the African Native trade in the Belgian Congo. Original military Tabatière Rifles are very rare and command serious prices.

Most of the Tabatière Rifles were converted from the 1857 French back action Percussion Rifle and were designated the Model of 1857/1869. A much smaller quantity were converted from the original French Modèle 1822 Flintlock smooth bore muskets, which had been converted themselves into percussion in the 1840s, and had been fitted with RIFLED Barrels.


Years of Manufacture: circa 1830 - converted later
Caliber:  about 19mm
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 32 1/2 inches
Overall Length: 50 inches
Action: Side Action
Feed System: Single Shot hinged Breech block.

NOTE: International orders of antique firearms MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services (courier). USPS Priority Mail international will not accept these.

  • This product is not available for shipping in US state(s): New Jerrsey

    This product is available for international shipping.
  • Not eligible for payment with Paypal or Amazon


Cash For Collectibles