Experts and collectors of antique firearms Guy and Leonard Alston-Roberts-West have meticulously studied this history of the French firearm known as the Fusil Modèle 1866 'Chassepot,' which was widely used by French soldiers fighting in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71.
Renowned for its unique breech loading / needle-ignition system, which marked a significant advancement in small arms design and positioned it as a precursor of all contemporary breech loading weapons.
The Chassepot, named after its designer, Antoine Alphonse Chassepot (1833–1905), and formally known as Fusil Modèle 1866, was employed to great effect by French forces in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71, initiating the modern age of bolt-action, breech-loading military rifles.
The Chassepot made its first appearance on the battlefield at Mentana on 3rd November 1867, inflicting significant losses on Garibaldi's forces. It used a similar igniting method to the Prussian Dreyse needle-fire rifle, but with a number of improvements.
Although the majority of these weapons were produced in France at Saint-Étienne, Châtellerault, Tulle, and Mutzig, many more were produced under contract in England, Belgium, and Italy, resulting in over a million of these weapons being available to the French Army by the start of the Franco-Prussian War in July 1870.
With extensive drawings and cutaways depicting the breech and ignition systems, distinctions between guns made by different manufacturers, numerous kinds of ammunition, and much more, this highly technical book will be of great interest to antique weapon collectors and aficionados.
Finally, the writers compare this weapon's performance in live firing trials to that of other historical rifles from the same era.