Original Swiss Vetterli Model 1869/1871 Rifle

An original Swiss Vetterli Repetiergewehr Model 1869/1871 Bolt Action Military Rifle, made in Switzerland. Chambered in 10.4x38mm Swiss Rimfire. The receiver is stamped with serial # 1980X, “B.G.”, and “Ostschweiz”. (Ostschweiz is the common name of the region situated to the east of Glarus Alps, with the cantons of Schaffhausen, Thurgau, St. Gallen, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, and Glarus. There was a Swiss arsenal of the same name, where this rifle was assembled.) The barrel is also stamped “B.G.” This rifle has a well-worn finish — mostly gray patina on the receiver, although there is some bluing remaining on the barrel.. The only noticeable flaws are some gouges on the left side of the rear receiver ring and some buttplate pitting. The wood is remarkably nice shape. (See photos.) The Vetterli rifles were a series of Swiss army service rifles in use from 1869 to 1889, succeeded by the Schmidt-Rubin rifles. The Vetterli rifles combined the American Winchester Model 1866’s tubular magazine and cartridge lifter with a regular bolt featuring for the first time two opposed rear locking lugs. This 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 relatively 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. (For comparison, in 1871, the British adopted the single-shot Martini-Henry as their service rifle.) Swiss inventor and gunmaker Johann-Friedrich Vetterli designed this rifle in the late 1860s. For a short time, the Vetterli could claim the title of the world’s most advanced military rifle. Modified Vetterlis were also used by the Italian Army. The magazine of this Swiss military rifle holds 12 rounds of 10.4 mm (“.41 Swiss”) cartridges, giving it tremendous firepower, for its day. Sadly, the majority of these imported into the U.S. were converted into sporter rifles, in the 1920s and 1930s, but this one is still in original condition. The condition of this rifle is antique “very good”.  The bore is shootable. This example has matching numbers on receiver, bolt, trigger guard, and stock. Comes with a period leather sling.  Barrel is 32-1/2 inches. Please see the photos.  The stock has just modest handling wear — particularly nice wood for a 154-year-old rifle.  A wonderful piece of Swiss history!  (BKU-882)





Production Date

Ca. 1877


In stock