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Vetterli
Italian Vetterli Model 1870/87/15
Date:
1876
Calibre 6.5
Serial No I 3147
Price: £400

Model 1870

The M1870 Vetterli was the Italian service rifle from 1870-1887

The M1870 was a single-shot bolt action rifle chambered for the 10.4mm Vetterli centrefire cartridge

Model 1870/87

In 1887 (until 1896), the Italian Army began converting the M1870 to a four-shot repeating rifle, based on the system designed by
Italian artillery captain, G. Vitali. This conversion added a box magazine fed from a Swiss-style fabricated steel and wood stripper clip holding four cartridges, in the same caliber (10.4x47R mm) as before.

As more of the population mobilized for the first total war in European history, the supply of modern small arms fell short before the end of 1915 and a large number of obsolete Modello 1870/87 Vetterli-Vital were issued to newly formed regiments that were not expected to be in combat, however, troops carried these antiquated rifles into battle on several occasions.


As well, in 1916, Italy sent a large number of Vetterli-Vitali rifles to Russia. These "tsarist" rifles eventually ended up in Republican hands in the Spanish Civil War, as the Soviet Union emptied its depots of all the old black powder and early smokeless rifles it had inherited after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

M1870/87/15

During World War I, many M1870/87 rifles were converted to share the same 6.5mm smokeless powder round instead of the inferior black powder rounds as the primary service rifle, the Carcano, by adding a 6.5mm barrel lining and a modified M91 Carcano magazine. The barrel sleeving was called the "Salerno method". The bolt face was also machined to accept the smaller diameter 6.5 mm cartridge head, and the firing pin shortened.