Italian Vetterli M1870/87/15 Rifle, Dated 1881, Converted to 6.5mm Carcano

Italian Vetterli M1870/87/15 Rifle, Dated 1881, Converted to 6.5mm Carcano

The conversion of the M1870 Italian Vetterli into a repeating rifle was achieved by integrating a four-round Vitali box magazine, an invention of Italian Artillery Captain Giuseppe Vitali. Like many other nations with substantial reserves of single-shot rifles, this transition was the result of meticulous experiments and tests. The M1870 Vetterli underwent several experimental modifications using various magazine systems available at the time. The Vitali system emerged as the most practical and economically viable solution for converting the bolt-action firearm. The Netherlands subsequently adopted this system to modify their M1871 Beaumont rifles to the M1871/88 Dutch Beaumont-Vitali, following Italy’s lead.

The Italian military adopted the Vitali system in 1887. Subsequently, existing M1870 Vetterli rifles and several of the Vetterli variants were upgraded to M1870/87 Vetterli-Vitali box magazine versions. Concurrently, production of new Vetterlis persisted, and these new rifles adhered to the M1870/87 design until manufacturing was ultimately halted in 1892. Between 1887 and 1892, almost all of the 1.3 million Vetterli rifles manufactured were modified to become M1870/87 Vetterli-Vitali rifles.

Fast forward to the early days of World War I, approximately two decades later, about 700,000 M1870/87 Vetterli infantry rifles underwent another round of modifications. This time, the rifles were adapted to use the 6.5mm Carcano cartridge and incorporated the Mannlicher magazine system from the M1891 Carcano. This transformation led to the creation of the Vetterli mod. 1870/87/15.


This example was originally produced in 1881 at the Torino Arsenal and converted in 1917 in Rome, Italy, as evidenced by the cartouche on the buttstock “1917 ROMA – Officina di Costruzione d’Artiglieria”. Its condition is considered Fair; it shows extensive wear throughout but appears to contain most, if not all, of its parts. It comes with the cleaning rod, butt plate, barrel bands, sling attachments, front and rear sights, magazine, and complete action. The wood stock has several markings and multiple serial numbers, which is typical of this type of rifle — the stock shows dings, gouges, and dents consistent with a rifle of its age. The metalwork shows several markings; its finish shows extensive wear, pitting, and oxidation. The barrel measures 33.75 inches in length. The bore is very dark, with rust and pitting. Some interesting features this rifle has are a side-mounted bayonet lug, an ornate trigger guard, a turned-down bolt handle, and an extended bolt support rail that helped prevent binding.


Out of stock

SKU: OA-S4-1881V Categories: ,
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