Original Rare French Sütterlin Lippmann & Cie Swedish Navy Contract m/1884 Revolver by Saint-Étienne - Serial F73
Original Item: Only One Available. Here we have a great example of what is in fact a very RARE revolver, with only 300 produced. This is a Swedish Navy contract m/1884 Revolver, which is essentially identical to the French Modèle 1873 Chamelot-Delvigne service revolver, usually referred to as a MAS 1873. In 1884, the Swedish Navy imported 300 revolvers made at the French Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne through the firm Sütterlin Lippmann & Cie.. The factory was already producing many of the MAS 1873 revolvers, so all that was changed were the markings.
They also had 700 which were purchased by another firm called "Henry" and labeled as such. Any model 1884 revolver is rare, but those with these markings are especially so. The revolver was replaced relatively quickly by the Swedish Nagant m/1887 in 7.5mm, so it had a very short service history. Most that we have seen are in near relic condition, however this example still rates very good, and would make a fantastic addition to any collection!
This is a wonderful condition example of the Swedish Navy m/1884, which is mechanically sound and still in the original bright steel finish. There is a bit of light staining in places, but overall it shows at most moderate wear, with a great look. It is marked M"re de S"t-Étienne on the right side of the frame under the cylinder. There is also a ST ETIENNE Crest on the side of the cylinder. The left side of the frame is marked by the importer Sütterlin Lippmann & C"ie in lovely cursive script, with the right side marked S * L under the loading gate.. The revolver features matching serial number F 73 on the trigger guard, cylinder, trigger, hammer, and cylinder arbor pin. As far as we can tell, the frames and barrels of these revolvers were not serial number marked. Many of the small parts and screws of the revolver are also marked with assembly number A/61, just as they would be on a MAS 1873.
The checkered wooden grips are original and the overall condition of the revolver is very good. Finish is still mostly bright steel, with light staining, and a lovely patina. Barrel is in very good condition, with clear lands and grooves and a bright finish. There is just a bit of fouling in the grooves. The lanyard ring is still present, and is not damaged or dented. The action works well, with good cylinder lockup and indexing, and a crisp dry fire. We did notice however that the firing pin on the hammer as ground off long ago, most likely to "deactivate" it for sale on the collector's market.
A great chance to own a great example of a very rare French made Swedish Contract 19th century Service Revolver, ready to display!
Year of Manufacture: circa 1884
Length: 240 mm (9.5 inches)
Barrel length: 115 mm (4.5 inches)
Finish: Bright Steel
Weight (empty): 1.04 kg
Cylinder: 6 cartridges
Ammunition: 11 mm Mle 1873 (11x17mmR)
Rifling: 4 right-hand grooves
Operation: Double Action / Single Action
History of the MAS 1873
The Franco-Prussian War in 1870 clearly demonstrated the need for up-to-date equipment in war time. A great military tradition and esprit de corps can be defeated by superior training, and in the case of that war, artillery. After the war, both Germany and France continued to improve their military technology. However, neither side was convinced of the importance of pistols for field officers. The sword continued to be the symbol of authority for an officer on the battlefield all the way into World War I. European general staffs at that time were extremely conservative and pistols were sometimes grudgingly adopted as personal defense weapons with no practical offensive use. Even as pistols became more of a symbol of the officer, most preferred to privately purchase a smaller and more comfortable handgun instead of using a large standard issue revolver.
The Chamelot-Delvigne 11mm Modele 1873 was adopted by the French army as a service revolver for non-commissioned officers. The Modele 1874 Revolver d'Officier was the version issued to officers. The differences between the two models included the following: the 1873 was finished in the white, whereas the 1874 had a fluted cylinder and a blued finish. The 1873 and 1874 were the first center-fire cartridge revolvers adopted by the French army. They had solid-frame, side-ejection, double-action mechanisms. The pistols were manufactured by the St. Etienne armoury, which still continues to manufacture fine sporting arms.
The design of the Chamelot-Delvigne revolvers became so popular that versions were adopted by the Belgian in 1871, Dutch, Italian, and 1872 in Switzerland with the Model 1872 Revolver.
The caliber of these French pistols was 11x17.8mmR. The French round was actually 0.47 mm larger than its German counterpart. The German round could be loaded and used in the French pistol, but French rounds would not chamber in the German pistol. The cartridge had a pointed lead bullet weighing 11 grams. The case length was 17.8 mm, which was rather on the short side. Reloading this cartridge could take some patience due to the shortness of the case. Military specifications called for black powder loads, replaced by a mild smokeless powder in the early twentieth century. Standard muzzle velocity was around 550 feet per second.
The cylinder had a side-loading gate which pulled straight to the rear. The sight picture was a ball and v type and is easy to align. It could be difficult to stay on target double-action due to the stiffness of the action. There was certainly no danger of accidentally pulling the trigger double-action. Cleaning and disassembly were easy as the cylinder pin doubled as a screwdriver and all-purpose tool. Internal parts were finely machined and finished. The trigger, hammer, and several of the internal springs were straw-finished, a type of case-hardening hot oil finish.
The French pistols began their service with the French army in the late 19th Century and saw service all over the globe in French colonies. Many saw service in World War I when European armies finally realized how important pistols were in the trenches. The Chamelot-Delvigne finally ended its venerable service as a police sidearm in World War II.
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