Original Swiss Vetterli Repetiergewehr M1871 Infantry Magazine Rifle Serial No 99906 - 10.35 x 47mm
Original Item: Only One Available. Introduced in 1867, the Vetterli rifle system utilized the "Winchester" tube magazine system for cartridge storage under the barrel. The original 1867 model had an external hammer, like a Winchester, but in 1868 this was changed to an internal cocking bolt spring. The cleaning rod was moved to the side of the rifle, but this proved problematic, so the model of 1869 moved it back to the under barrel position. In 1871, the loading gate cover on the right side of the receiver and the magazine cutoff on the left side were deemed to be redundant, so a new model 1871 was introduced without them. It also featured strengthened barrel rings and a much thicker and sturdier rear sight leaf. Later models after this changed over to the box Magazine found on most rifles of the WWI era.
This rifle is nicely maker marked on the left side of the receiver:
SOC. IND. SUISSE
This maker today is still in existence, as the SIG Neuhausern location of SIG Combibloc Group. Serial number 99906 is found on the receiver above the maker mark, as well as on the chamber and on the bottom of the feed block/ejector. There are additional proof marks on metal components of the rifle, which have a nice lightly worn look to the finish.
The rifle has the correct two gas escape holes in receiver and 1000 Schritt rear sight for pre-1875 manufacture, which were removed in later examples. To accelerate the sluggish production of the Vetterli rifles, the federal authorities built a new arms factory in Berne, the Eidgenössische Waffenfabrik (Federal arms factory or W+F), in 1875. When they started production, of the 1871, they made many simplifications, eventually leading to the model of 1878.
Offered in very good condition, this was a rifle serving at the time of Britain's legendary Martini-Henry Single Shot Rifle, also introduced in 1871 and not replaced with a magazine rifle until 1888. Wood stock is in great condition, with the expected wear and dents of age. It has a beautiful red brown color, with a nice patina, and there are Swiss proof marks stamped in various places. The bore is in excellent condition, with crisp lands and grooves and a bright finish. Action cycles nicely, though it takes a strong bolt pull to present the ejector/feed block, as intended. The U-shaped striker is present and intact, as far as we can tell. The cleaning rod is unfortunately missing.
The Vetterli was an Italian design ahead of its time but was soon outclassed by the German Mauser 1871/84 magazine Rifle.
The Swiss Vetterli rifle is one of the very first bolt-action "repeating" rifles and getting scarce to find today. Examples like this complete with the original sling are very hard to find.
History of the Vetterli rifle: The Vetterli rifles were a series of Swiss army service rifles in use from 1869 to circa 1890, when they were replaced with Schmidt-Rubin rifles. Modified Vetterli rifles were also used by the Italian Army.
The Swiss Vetterli rifles combined the American Winchester Model 1866's tubular magazine with a regular bolt featuring for the first time two opposed rear locking lugs. This novel type of bolt was a major improvement over the simpler Dreyse and Chassepot bolt actions. The Vetterli was also the first repeating bolt action rifle to feature a self-cocking action and a small caliber bore. Due to the Swiss Federal Council's early 1866 decision to equip the army with a breechloading repeating rifle, the Vetterli rifles were, at the time of their introduction, the most advanced military rifles in Europe. The Vetterli was the replacement for Amsler-Milbank rifles, which were a metallic cartridge conversion from previous Swiss muzzle-loading rifles.
Years of Manufacture: 1871-1875
Caliber: 10.4×38mm Swiss
Cartridge Type: Rimfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 32 inches
Overall Length: 51 Inches
Action type: Bolt-Action
Feed System: 11 round internal tubular magazine
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