Original Swiss Vetterli Repetiergewehr M1878 Cut-Down Magazine Rifle Serial No 196303
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.
To accelerate the sluggish production of the Vetterli rifles, the federal authorities built a new arms factory in Berne, the Eidgenössische Waffenfabrik (W+F), in 1875. This factory started production with the 1878 variant of the Vetterli rifle. Its some 25 improvements included a new bayonet and lug, improved sights and a finger hook on the trigger cover.
This rifle is nicely maker marked on the left side of the receiver:
Serial number 196303 is found on the receiver below the maker mark, as well as on the chamber end of the barrel and 303 on the bottom of the feed block/ejector, sight base, and on the butt plate (faint). There are additional proof marks on metal components of the rifle, as well as some on the stock.
Unfortunately, this rifle at some time in its life suffered catastrophic damage to the forestock. The front fittings were removed, as well as the magazine tube, and the forestock was cut off just forward of the magazine tube housing. We are not sure why this was done. Possibly it is a "sporterizing" project gone wrong. Whatever the reason, the rifle definitely was done quite a disservice.
However, the barrel is still intact, and does show rifling, though it is work. The action cycles and dry fires correctly, an the "U"-shaped striker is still present. This would be perfect as a "parts gun", or as a base for a replacement stock. Ready to display!
The Vetterli was an Italian design ahead of its time but was soon outclassed by the German Mauser 1871/84 magazine Rifle. It is one of the very first bolt-action "repeating" rifles and getting scarce to find today.
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: 1878-1881
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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