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GUNS Magazine February 2010 - Page 34
• Jeff John • My dad was fortunate enough to return from the European theater after WWII with some nice souvenirs. I now have his Mauser, a K43 semi-auto rifle, a CZ Model 27 semi-auto handgun and one very old big-bore rifle I can’t identify. I hope you can help. Robert L. Pearce Penn Yan, NY Your dad had a discriminating eye. Your big-bore carbine is a French Mle 1866 Chassepot Needle-fire captured during the Franco-Prussian War. Not my area of expertise, so I had to call in the big guns. John Sheehan responds: The photos are indeed of a Prussian carbine conversion of a French Chassepot captured during the Franco-Prussian War. The neat conversions were officially issued as the “Aptierter ChassepotKarabiner M1871.” It’s estimated somewhere in the neighborhood of 275,000 were converted to this Q: Converted Chassepot A: Inthecenterandattherightofthereceiverare theoriginalFrenchmarkingswhileattheleft arethenewGermanmarkingsofKaiserWilhelm (crownoverFW). configuration beginning in 1875. They were in service from 1875 until 1884 by which time they had gradually been replaced with the Mauser M1871 Karabiner. These carbines were issued to mounted units, including the Cavalry, Uhlans and Kurassiers, as well as the train, siege artillery and the pioneers. The conversions were chambered for the German 11x60mmR cartridge developed by Mauser for the Model 1871 Infantry rifle. The original French needle fire chambers were reamed out and sleeved to the new metallic cartridge dimensions. The bolt heads were replaced, the needles removed and replaced with The loser in a a striker and a gas conflictoften vent was cut from leavesbehindmuch the chamber to equipment.The the receiver ring. Germanscaptured A very interesting manythousandsof and unusual sliding FrenchMle1866 extractor was fit in Chassepotneedlethe floor of the bolt- fireriflesduringthe way. Franco-Prussian Much of the Warin1870.largely original stock obsoleteeven furniture was retained then,theGermans along with most of convertedthemto the French markings. centerfirein11mm A new carbine-style Mauser. nosecap was added along with a clearing rod carried in the stock under the barrel. German Imperial markings were added and are easily distinguished from the remaining French markings. Standard German inspection marks will be found on the barrel flats along with the traditional cipher of Kaiser Wilhelm. These rugged, serviceable conversions filled the needs of the German mounted arm until such time as they could be replaced by the newer Mauser carbine. Questions and Answers Due to the volume of mail received, GUNS cannot offer a personal reply. Please e-mail your question to firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail to: GUNS Q&A, 12345 World Trade Drive, San Diego, CA 92128 34 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • FEBRUARY 2010