All About Guns

The Chassepot or How for once the French Soldier got a good rifle!

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Image result for chassepot  franco Prussian war
Now over the years. I am sure that we all have heard the joke about the Sign at a Gun shop or Gun Show. “French Army Rifles for sale, Only fired and dropped once!”Image result for French rifles for sale memes
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Sadly for the French Army recent in the recent past 80 years or so. This has a grain of truth to it. Add to this fact also. That the French who generally give their Snuffies. Some really behind the times guns.Related image
But when it comes to this gun. The Nation had a winner!Image result for chassepot cartridge franco Prussian war
In that it was better than their Main Enemies Rifle the German Needle Gun.
Image result for German Needle Gun.
As that it had a better bolt action, more powder behind the smaller bullet, had a flatter trajectory with a longer range.
It is just a pity and the French Generals were not as good. As that the Franco Prussian War was to show. Because the Germans just kicked some serious butt. But that is another story for another day.
Here is some more information about this little know Rifle! Thanks for everything !                                                             Grumpy


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chassepot rifle with bayonet
Type Needle gun
Place of origin France
Service history
In service 1867–1874
Used by France
Qajar Dynasty
Tokugawa shogunate
Wars French colonial conflicts,
Franco-Prussian War,
other conflicts
Production history
Designer Antoine Alphonse Chassepot
Designed 1866
No. built ~2,000,000
Weight 4.635 kilograms (10 lb 3.5 oz)
Length 1.31 m (without bayonet)
1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) (with bayonet)
Barrel length 795 mm

Cartridge Lead bullet 25 g (386 grains) in paper cartridge
charge 5.6g (86.4 grains) black powder
Caliber 11 mm (.433 inches)
Action Bolt action
Rate of fire 8-15 rounds per minute
Muzzle velocity 410 m/s (1345 ft/s)[1]
Effective firing range 1,200 m (1,300 yd)
Feed system Single-shot
Sights Ladder

The Chassepot, officially known as Fusil modèle 1866, was a bolt action military breechloading rifle, famous as the arm of the French forces in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/1871. It replaced an assortment of Minié muzzleloading rifles many of which were converted in 1867 to breech loading (the Tabatière rifles). A great improvement to existing military rifles in 1866, the Chassepot marked the commencement of the era of modern bolt action, breech-loading, military rifles. Beginning in 1874, the rifle was easily converted to fire metallic cartridges (under the name of Gras rifle), a step which would have been impossible to achieve with the Dreyse needle rifle.[2]
It was manufactured by MAS (Manufacture d’armes de Saint-Étienne), Manufacture d’Armes de Châtellerault (MAC), Manufacture d’Armes de Tulle (MAT) and, until 1870, in the Manufacture d’Armes de Mutzig in the former Château des Rohan. Many were also manufactured under contract in England (the “Potts et Hunts” Chassepots delivered to the French Navy), in Belgium (Liege), and in Italy at Brescia (by “Glisenti”). The approximate number of Chassepot rifles available to the French Army in July 1870 was 1,037,555 units.[3] Additionally, State manufactories could deliver 30.000 new rifles monthly. Gun manufacturers in England and Austria also produced Chassepot-rifles to support the French war effort. The Steyr armory in Austria delivered 12.000 Chassepot carbines and 100.000 parts to France in 1871.[4] Manufacturing of the Chassepot rifle ended in February 1875, four years after the end of the Franco-Prussian War, with approximately 700.000 more Chassepot rifles made between September 1871 and July 1874.[5]


The Chassepot was named after its inventor, Antoine Alphonse Chassepot (1833–1905), who, from the mid-1850’s onwards, had constructed various experimental forms of breechloaders.[6][7] The first two models of the Chassepot still used percussion cap ignition. The third model, using a similar system as the prussian Dreyse needle gun, became the French service weapon in 1866. In the following year it made its first appearance on the battlefield at Mentana on 3 November 1867, where it inflicted severe losses upon Giuseppe Garibaldi‘s troops. It was reported at the French Parliament that “Les Chassepots ont fait merveille!“, or loosely translated: “The Chassepots have done wonderfully!” The heavy cylindrical lead bullets fired at high velocity by the Chassepot rifle inflicted wounds that were even worse than those of the earlier Minié rifle.
In the Franco-Prussian War (1870/1871), the Chassepot met its Prussian counterpart, the Dreyse needle-fire rifle. The Chassepot had several advantages over the Dreyse. It featured a rubber obturator on its bolt head to provide a more efficient gas-seal. Although it fired a smaller caliber (11 mm vs. 15.4 for the Dreyse), the Chassepot ammunition had more gunpowder (5,68 grams vs 4,85 grams), resulting in higher muzzle velocity (436 meters per second, 33% over the Dreyse), a flatter trajectory and a longer range. Thus the sights on the Chassepot could be elevated up to 1600 meters, while the maximum sight setting of the Dreyse was only 600 meters.[8] The Chassepots were responsible for most of the Prussian and other German casualties during the conflict. After the war, 20,000 captured Chassepot rifles were sold to the Shah of the Qajar Dynasty.


Bolt mechanism[edit]

Chassepot bolt mechanism

The breech was closed by a bolt similar to those of more modern rifles to follow. Amongst the technical features of interest introduced in 1866 on the Chassepot rifle was the method of obturation of the bolt by a segmented rubber ring which expanded under gas pressure and thus sealed the breech when the shot was fired. This simple yet effective technology was successfully adapted to artillery in 1877 by Colonel de Bange, who invented grease-impregnated asbestos pads to seal the breech of his new cannons (the De Bange system).


The Chassepot used a paper cartridge, that many refer to as being ‘combustible’, whereas in reality it was quite the opposite. It held an 11mm (.43 inch) round-headed cylindro-conoidal lead bullet that was wax paper patched. An inverted standard percussion cap was at the rear of the paper cartridge and hidden inside. It was fired by the Chassepot’s needle (a sharply pointed firing pin) upon pressing the trigger.
While the Chassepot’s ballistic performance and firing rates were excellent for the time, burnt paper residues as well as black powder fouling accumulated in the chamber and bolt mechanism after continuous firing. Also, the bolt’s rubber obturator eroded in action, although it was easily replaced in the field by infantrymen. The older Dreyse needle gun and its cartridge had been deliberately constructed in a way to minimize those problems but to the detriment of its ballistic properties.
In order to correct this problem the Chassepot was replaced in 1874 by the Gras rifle which used a centerfire drawn brass metallic cartridge. Otherwise, the Gras rifle was basically identical in outward appearance to the Chassepot rifle. Nearly all rifles of the older Chassepot model (Mle 1866) remaining in store were eventually converted to take the 11mm Gras metallic cartridge ammunition (fusil Modèle 1866/74). About 665.327[9][10] Chassepot rifles had been captured by the German coalition that defeated France in 1871. Large numbers of these captured Chassepot rifles were converted to 11 mm Mauser metallic cartridge and shortened to carbine size in order to serve with German cavalry and artillery until the early 1880s. Others were disposed of “as is” with British surplus dealers. In most but not all cases, the French receiver markings on these German-captured Chassepot rifles had been erased.


See also[edit]



External links[edit]

Preceded by
Tabatière rifle
French Army rifle
Succeeded by
Fusil Gras Modèle 1874

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