Highwood Classic Arms

British & Commonwealth

Classic Military Rifles



Schmidt-Rubin 1896/11 Rifle
Model 1911 Rifle
Date: 1903
Calibre 7.5x55mm
Serial No: 292237
Price: £375

Excellent Condition

As early as 1903 there discussion about the adoption of a lighter, easier to handle rifle, with increased velocity cartridges. It had been determined that there were severe ballistic shortcomings to the 89/96 action /GP90 cartridge combination. In late 1907, the Swiss Rifle Commission gave permission to Waffenfabrik Bern to create 200 rifles for testing purposes. The rifle were built with the following configurations:
Fifty rifles with 1889/96 Barrels firing GP90 cartridges
Fifty rifles with 1889/96 Barrels firing GP90 cartridges, and re-milled cartridge chamber
Fifty rifles with 1889/96 Barrels and new cartridges and re-milled cartridge chamber,
fifty rifles with new barrels and new cartridges

Other modifications included the removal of the magazine cut-off, improved sights, and an integral rifle rest. While the integral rifle rest was discarded as superfluous, the testing otherwise proved successful.. This led to the authorization of the creation of 900 Rifles and 100 Carbines, for the purposed of testing the new GP08 (later redesignated GP11) cartridge. The 1908 Rifles and Carbines were fitted with Model 1889/1900 style 6 round magazines, and improved sights. The 1908s also had several unique features, not found in other Schmidt-Rubin models. The locking lug sleeve of the 1908’s bolt had three circular holes, presumably for weight savings purposes. In addition, the relief cuts on the top of 1908s receiver were of different length, with the longer cut set along the center of the receiver, with the shorter cut off to the side. On all other Schmidt-Rubins, the relief cuts were of equal length, and both cuts were equally offset from the centerline of the receiver.
By around 1907, the Swiss knew the old GP90 cartridge was inferior to those being adopted by their neighbors. So they started testing a new round. They built the 1908 series for this purpose. The 1908 has some unique feature, not seen in other Schmidt-Rubins, including three holes in the bolt. Testing showed the VGP08 cartridge produced significantly better results than the GP90 cartridge. Consequently, the VGP08 cartridge was adopted as the GP11 cartridge.

It was determined that the 89/96 could easily be converted (Model 1889s could not) to handle the new cartridge by re-barreling the rifle.
1889/96s were converted to 1896.11s buy replacing or modifying the following:
A new barrel was added.
Already fitted the the barrel were new front and rear sights.
A pistol grip was grafted onto the stock of the rifle.
The new rifles were also fitted with 6rd magazines, similar to the 1889/1900 pattern magazine, minus the reinforcing ridge, although the magazine did include a bolt hold-open feature for when the magazine was empty.
A new trigger-guard was fitted to accommodate the new magazine.
However, it took several years for all the 89/96s to be converted to 96/11 and 1911 Rifle production continued until 1918.

Swiss soldiers are roughly classified into two categories, elite and reserve. Elites are under the age of 30, reserves are over the age of 30. Any trooper reaching reserve status, whom had a 89/96 during the changeover period was issued a Model 1889, and kept it for the remaining term of his service. Raw recruits, were issued Model 1889s as well at this point in time, and were later issued 96/11s or 1911s.

This rifle is one of the original Model 1896 rifles upgraded to the Model 1911 standard, which is easily identified by the grafted pistol grip
& original scallop adjacent to the trigger guard for the magazine cut off.

The Original Soldiers Name tag is still stored under the butt plate

Unusually the Butt has a rack number & military location of St Gallen

St Gallen is situated in the northeastern part of Switzerland in a valley about 700 meters (2,300 ft) above sea level. It is one of the highest cities in Switzerland and thus receives abundant winter snow. The city lies between Lake Constance and the mountains of the Appenzell Alps

This is a 1903 dated example, which is in excellent including the bore.
Matching Serial numbers & comes with an original Leather Sling