The Modèle 1866 ‘Chassepot’ needle-ignition rifle

Antique Weapons
ISBN 978-1-84683-187-4
    Delivery time:5-7 Days
Add to cart
  • Description
  • Specifications

Written & illustrated by Guy & Leonard A-R-West FHBSA
An illustrated history of one of the first breech-loading firearms and its innovative needle-ignition mechanism, used in the Franco-Prussian War 1870/71

THE FIRST IN a series by authors Guy & Leonard Alston-Roberts-West and the accumulation of several decades of collecting, researching and shooting antique firearms, this book features the French Modèle 1866 Chassepot.

It is the first book solely about this weapon to be published in English and is a valuable resource for collectors, dealers and antique firearm enthusiasts.

It is packed with detailed information describing the history and inner workings of the weapon plus details about the maker's marks, etc which can be used to identify the manufacturers of the different versions of the rifle made in various countries.

Antique firearm experts and collectors Guy & Leonard Alston-Roberts-West have produced this meticulously researched history of the French firearm known as the Fusil Modèle 1866 ‘Chassepot’ used extensively by the French forces fighting in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 and renowned for its innovative breech loading / needle-ignition mechanism, which represented a major leap forward in small arms design and established it as a forerunner of all modern breech loading firearms.

Named after its inventor, Antoine Alphonse Chassepot (1833–1905) and officially known as Fusil Modèle 1866, the Chassepot was used to great effect by French forces in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71, marking a move away from muzzle-loading weapons and heralding the modern era of bolt-action, breech-loading, military rifles.

Using a similar ignition system to the Prussian Dreyse needle-fire rifle, but with a number of refinements, the Chassepot made its first appearance on the battlefield at Mentana on 3rd November 1867, where it inflicted severe losses on Garibaldi’s troops.

Manufactured in France at Saint-Étienne, Châtellerault, Tulle and Mutzig, many more were manufactured under contract in England, Belgium and Italy with the result that by the start of the Franco-Prussian War in July 1870, over a million of these weapons were available to the French Army.

This highly technical book contains a wealth of in-depth information that will be of particular interest to collectors and enthusiasts with detailed drawings and cutaways illustrating the breech and ignition mechanisms, distinctions between weapons made by different manufacturers, various kinds of ammunition, and much more.

The authors conclude by providing their evaluation of firing this weapon in comparison to other vintage firearms of the same era.

Many illustrations.

Detailed diagrams and cutaways.

Close-ups of markings, etc.


A video from Guy and Leonard's YouTube channel showing the live firing of the Chassepot…

A video review of the book ont the YouTube channel Forgotten Weapons in the USA...

A video from YouTube channel Forgotten Weapons in the USA about the Chassepot…

format softback | 146 pages | text plus many photos & illustrations
genre military history | arms & armaments
themes The Franco-Prussian War 1870-71 | the evolution of breech-loading firearms
readership military historians | vintage weapon enthusiasts | gun collectors | antique dealers | educational establishments
Related Products