The Swiss Vetterli

This bolt-action repeater was full of “firsts” in military small arms

If you’ve enjoyed your Swiss M1911 and M1931 Schmidt-Rubin, wait until you handle a Swiss Vetterli in 10.4x38R, otherwise known as the .41 Swiss. Designed by Professor Friedrich Vetterli at the SIG factory in Neuhausen and adopted by the Swiss army in 1869, the Vetterli was the first self-cocking, small-bore, bolt-action repeating rifle ever adopted for general issue by any country. Beautifully machined and finished. The Vetterli incorporated, in concept, the side loading port, tubular magazine and cartridge lifter of the Winchester Model 1866: the turning bolt of the Dreyse needle gun with the locking lugs of the Greene/Chassepot. The Vetterli soldiered on until 1890 when it was officially replaced by the Model 1889 Schmidt-Rubin.

Imported into the United States by the thousands in the early 1900s and sold to the public by mass retailers like Sears-Roebuck and surplus dealers like Francis Bannerman; the Swiss Vetterli was popular enough as a sporting arm that UMC/Remington/Peters loaded the .41 Swiss rimfire cartridge right up until WWII.

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