| || |
French Mle. 1866-74
This is an nearly pristine example of a Mle 1866 Chassepot rifle built by MAS (Manufacture d'Armes de St. Etienne) in 1867 and modified for the Gras cartridge in 1879. The Chassepot rifles were the first bolt action breech loading rifle adopted by the French military. The Chassepot utilized a needle firing system and a black powder paper cartridge that proved very successful during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. In 1874 the French military adopted the 11x59R Gras metallic cartridge and many Chassepots were modified to fire this more modern cartridge.
The rifle in this album is an early Chassepot (second year of production) and has retained its original barrel as indicated by the markings on the right side of the barrel (S.1867 S.79). A chamber insert was press fitted and machined into the original barrel to accommodate the 11x59R Gras cartridge.
The circular reception mark dated Septembre 1879 on the left side of the stock is correct for the Gras-modified Chassepot rifles