Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian McCollum, and today we are going to take a look at the French Model of 1866 Chassepot needle rifle. I am publishing this in conjunction with the pre-sale of my book on French military rifles, “Chassepot to FAMAS”, so we’ll talk about that at the end. But if you are interested in French rifles that is the excellent book to get. So, back to this particular example The Chassepot was one of only a couple of needle fire rifles that were actually put into major mainstream use by continental European militaries. … The other main one being the Dreyse system. The Dreyse system was developed and used by Prussia and it originated in the 1840s, so pre-dates this by … actually 25 years, so quite substantially. The Dreyse was the first of its type,
and it was really a rifle ahead of its time. Now by the time the 1860s roll around breech-
loading firearms … are clearly the wave of the future. And a lot of different countries are
looking at adopting breech-loaders, or converting muzzle-loaders onto breech-loaders. It is so much faster and more efficient to load
the cartridge, or load your projectile and powder from the back rather than have to try
and pour powder down the barrel, set a projectile in the barrel, ram it all the way down. That system is slow and … well, pretty much slow.
And gives you a real tendency to fumble and mess it up. And so any opportunity to have a breech-
loading firearm is going to be much better. This really comes into public recognition, or military recognition after the Austrians and the Prussians go to war in the 1860s, and the Austrians have muzzle-loading rifles and the
Prussians have their Dreyse needle fire breech-loading rifles, and in particular every time infantry
units come face to face in that war, the Prussians just kicked
the pants out of the Austrians. And it is one of only really a very limited number
of situations where infantry rifle technology has a really dramatic impact on
the outcome of an overall war. Those Dreyse needle fire rifles were massively
superior to the Austrian muzzle loaders. And so everyone sat up and took notice, and
the French among them. Now the French military had been investigating breech-
loading arms since, like, the 1850s. In particular for cavalry use. Cavalry have always
had this problem of you are riding on a horse, it’s a little finicky to try and muzzle load a rifle
on the ground, imagine you are trying to do it being jostled around on horseback,
holding the reins with one hand and trying to fumble around with
powder and ball and a ram rod. For this reason, cavalry in many places were actually
still armed with, like, a brace of pre-loaded pistols and a sword or a lance, because it was really
quite difficult for them to load a rifle on horseback. And so that’s the first area where the French were
intending to … come up with a breech-loading rifle. But they never ended up doing it, they investigated a
lot, they made small batch production of a few things, but they were kind of indecisive about this. And it
wasn’t until this defeat of Austria by Prussia that they realised, “Wow, we really need to just get
moving and pick something and adopt it, and we need to do it for our entire military, not just the cavalry.”
And so that’s what led to the adoption of the Chassepot. This was designed by a gentleman by the
name of Antoine Chassepot, predictably. And this is actually, like, the fourth
version of the rifle that he put together. His initial versions, the two prior
to this one were 1858 and 1862, those were actually in some ways more
advanced rifles, although in some ways not. They actually had dual rear locking lugs on
the bolt, but they were still percussion fired, so they used a paper cartridge
with a separate percussion cap. And … early in the 1860s, kind of late
in the development process of this guy, Napoleon III actually specified
that the new rifle had to be needle fire. So, why not a metallic cartridge? Well
metallic cartridges were clearly better, but they were a lot harder to manufacture.
The technology for making a reliable and relatively inexpensive brass
cartridge hadn’t been developed yet. And so there was concern that if
we adopt a brass case firing rifle, well, we are going to have serious logistical
problems supplying the ammunition. Whereas, a paper cartridge is very easy to produce.
Troops can produce that in the field if they need to, you know, it’s easy to supply powder and ball, we’re
used to that, we can make paper cartridges, no big deal. And so, Chassepot redesigns his
rifle to use the needle fire system. Because it now wouldn’t be percussion cap fired,
the rear end of the bolt had to be redesigned and he ended up getting rid of the two
opposed locking lugs and replacing them with kind of a more archaic system of just using the
stem of the bolt handle as a single large locking lug. That was perfectly acceptable for the
black-powder pressures that this rifle generates, and so that’s what they ended up going with. Production began in 1867, and it would
ultimately run until 1875, although there would be a big interruption in the middle in 1870 when
France went to war with Prussia themselves. So, before we talk about the outcome of that war,
let’s go ahead and take a little bit of a closer look at this, both how it works, and the differences between
early and late versions of the Chassepot. First off, I’ll show you some of the external features.
There are basically two patterns of Chassepot, the early and late production ones, and they have
a number of small changes, small differences, but we’ll go through them. That’ll allow you to
identify what is right and wrong on a Chassepot. Alright, so first off we have some receiver
markings. We have Model 1866 here on the back, and then we’ll have the marking of
the factory that produced the gun. So, Chassepots were made by all four major French
arsenals, as well as some private contractors. And what we have here is indicative of an early production
gun. So you can see it says “Manufacture Imperiale”, this is manufactured under the French Second
Empire, which ended with the defeat of the French armies in the Franco-Prussian war.
So these are going to be guns 1870 and earlier. This particular one was made at Mutzig,
which is interesting in that it is an arsenal that was actually in land that was taken
by Germany after the Franco-Prussian war. So Mutzig only produced rifles up
to the Chassepot and after 1871 well, after 1870, you do not find any
French production from that arsenal. So, kind of cool to have an example here of Mutzig. After the end of the war this would change,
and it would become “Manufacture des Armes” They got rid of the Imperial label, and this is
manufactured under the French 3rd Republic, which was the government that came
next. Now this particular one is made by Saint-Étienne, there would also be ones
made by Tulle and made by Châtellerault. Note that this still is a Model 1866, there are a
few intermediate varieties, kind of rare variations, that we’ll take a look at more in my book, I
don’t have examples of them here to show you. However, I can show you this guy. This is marked
“Cahen-Lyon et Cie”, so Cahen-Lyon and company, and this is a French company that was
sub-contracted to manufacture Chassepots as well. There was a need to re-equip the entire French
military with these when they were adopted. By the time the Franco-Prussian war started,
they had made about 1,200,000 of them, and they did several 100,000 more after
the war before … these were replaced. What’s interesting about Cahen-Lyon is that they didn’t
actually make any guns, they sub-contracted this out to a whole bunch of other companies, and they
were international companies. So this particular one was manufactured by a company in Belgium,
Liège there. But Cahen-Lyon Chassepots were made in Belgium, in England, in Spain,
in Italy, literally all over Europe. Serial numbers on Chassepots will have … a letter
prefix and then a 5 digit, or up to 5 digit, serial number. The letters were allocated out to the different
manufacturing concerns, so Cahen-Lyon, as a private sub-contractor, was given the U and V prefixes. Châtellerault got A, B and C. Mutzig here got D and E, (and by the way, for later guns D and E would be given
to Châtellerault after the Mutzig factory shut down), And then Saint-Étienne got most of the rest,
they got F, G, H, they skipped I, they got J, K, L, M, N, they skipped O, and then they gave P
and Q to Saint-Étienne. So this is a Q. R, S and T were allocated to the Tulles arsenal. On the other side of the barrel you’ll have a letter
indicating the arsenal that created the barrel, which is generally going to be the same as the receiver, and the date of production, so this
is an 1873 late production gun. Where the Mutzig here, with the “M”, is an 1868 production. And lastly, you’ll find a really cool stamp on
the stock – usually. If the stock’s been replaced this will be gone, and often these are worn or sanded down
and hard to read. So it’s cool to have an intact one like this. This will have the month and the year
of military acceptance of the rifle, so we can identify that this was accepted
right down to September, specifically, of 1873. There is this centre plug, marked “MA”, that’s Manufacture
des Armes, same thing that’s marked on the receiver. For the early Imperial guns that will be
marked “MI” for Manufacture Imperiale And then there are some indicators on here
of the guys who were in control of the factory and the inspection process when this rifle, or when any
of these rifles, were specifically inspected and approved. By the way, that centre plug is a
either box wood or dog wood plug, and it is there to indicate military ownership of
the rifle, because there’s really no way to get rid of it. … You can’t sand it over, you can’t just get rid of it
because it would be obvious that you patched that hole. And if you want to steal this rifle from military
stores and have it or sell it on the private market, you’re going to have to completely replace
the stock. And the idea was to make that … expensive enough to be a hindrance … you
know, a way to help prevent theft of military arms. Despite being a needle fire rifle, the Chassepot really kind
of feels like one of the more modern bolt action rifles. In comparison to the Dreyse, the Dreyse
kind of feels, handles, like a muzzle-loader. It certainly doesn’t shoot like one, but just
the manual of arms and the style of things like the trigger guard and the stock on the Dreyse
feel a bit older, they feel previous generation. Where the Chassepot really does have the
handling characteristics of a modern rifle, certainly for the 1860s. You know, it’s got a
what we would recognise today as a very traditional standard bolt action system, but in
the 1860s that wasn’t exactly common, this was on the cutting edge of
breech-loading rifles at the time, so. We’ve got that, but with one major exception,
and that is we have a cocking piece here but once you fire (the cocking piece drops of
course), what we normally expect is that you lift the bolt handle and that re-cocks the action. On the Chassepot it does not, on the Chassepot
you actually have to manually re-cock the thing before you can open the bolt. Now there was good reason
for that. The way this works is, well, needle fire. So, let me pull the bolt out and show you. In order to do this we need to [loosen] this
screw … because it holds the bolt in place. So, now that we have the bolt out… Alright, so the way that this all works is you have
a paper cartridge, bullet in front, powder behind it, all wrapped up in paper, and then there’s
a primer, basically a percussion cap, that is on the inside of the paper cartridge, right at the base. And in order to fire, the … needle of the gun,
(which when I drop the bolt like it was fired, you can see that needle protruding
through), this actually has to penetrate into the paper cartridge and hit that primer that’s inside. Now on the Dreyse that primer was located
in the base of the bullet, which means the Dreyse needle had to go quite a
substantial distance into the cartridge. On the Chassepot they moved that primer to the
base of the whole cartridge, at the very bottom, so the needle didn’t have to go very far in. However it did have to puncture into the cartridge, and
the reason that you have to manually re-cock the gun is, if you had a failure to fire, there was a chance that
when you pulled the needle out of the cartridge the friction of it rubbing against the percussion
cap, the primer in there, would actually set it off. And so what they wanted to prevent was any chance
of the cartridge being set off when the bolt was open and the gun was unlocked, because
that would be … substantially bad, that’s an out of battery detonation and you want to avoid it. So, the way to avoid that is force you to re-cock
the action first, while the bolt is still locked. Then if the cartridge does go off, well, hopefully
you are pointing the gun in a safe direction but at least it’s not going to blow out the back of
the action. So that’s why they made that change. Alright, I’m going to switch over to our older style
bolt here, because it still has this rubber obturator. So, the way this works is you have this long
stalk that actually pushes the paper cartridge in, and you’ve got an air space back
here, behind the cartridge. Now, today you will see people very concerned about
making sure that there is not air space in reloaded cartridges. However, we have a bit of a different situation here, because the powder in a Chassepot cartridge is all contained in that paper cartridge. And so it’s not loose, you don’t have air space within the powder, instead
you have air space around here, behind the cartridge. And that was an important, and very deliberate
technological element of the design from Antoine Chassepot. The reason is this
creates a combustion chamber behind the cartridge which will function to blow that paper
cartridge out the muzzle behind the bullet, so that you don’t have left over bits of paper
cartridge stuck in the chamber that are going to prevent you from loading the next
cartridge in behind it. So that was deliberate and it was effective and it was actually really
quite an intelligent addition to the design. Now the way this actually works, when you
fire you are going to create of course, a lot of pressure in the chamber, and that is
going to push backwards on this metal plate. As you can see on this one, that
metal plate can move forward and back. In between, what stops it from moving
back, is this black rubber obturator. And when the disk presses back this (now
this one’s old and hardened, because it’s, like, 150 years old now), this will expand
concentrically out here and it will cause the back end of the chamber to actually seal against gas. And that’s called obturation, and
that’s how this system actually worked. I can take that off by removing this screw, I don’t actually have to remove it, I just have to loosen it. And then we can pull out the front section here, the obturator, (there we go), so there is your rubber obturator disk. It’s kind of cool, you can actually get reproductions of these, as well as modern reproduction needles. So these are completely fireable today, if you want
to put in the effort to make your own cartridges. So, beyond that we have a spring
here on the inside and the needle. With the Chassepot cleaning kit came a little wrench with two flats that allowed you to unscrew this, this one’s all really tight down and I don’t have the wrench at hand. So this allowed you to remove the front end of the bolt
and replace the needle if you needed to. My understanding is needles last
about 200 rounds, give or take. Soldiers were actually issued with replacement spare needles, that was a consumable part. Both the needle and the obturator, they
were both exposed to high pressure, very hot combustion gas, and they do wear out over time. So I mentioned there were a few differences
between early and late examples of the Chassepot. Let’s take a quick look at those. This is our early Imperial
production one, and it has a rather narrow rear tang. They widened that on later production guns to reduce
the chance of cracking of the stock behind the tang. They also changed the style of the
cocking piece, you can see a little bit of it here, it’s more evident at the back however,
you can see the different design style here. This … doesn’t seem to have done much
mechanically. It was just kind of a design change and probably simplified the manufacturing process. These rifles proved to be effective enough at long range
that they would actually, in later production, lengthen the sights. So the original sight here goes out to 1,200 metres,
you do that of course by standing the sight up and running this slider all the way up
to the top, that goes to 12 [1,200 metres]. On the later version they would take this and
add a second slider that takes it out to 1,700 metres. So substantially longer than that guy. I should also point out that this is the full
length infantry rifle version of the Chassepot. The French did manufacture three different
types of carbines, or rather two carbines and a musketoon. A very short artillery musketoon
and then two carbines of equal barrel length, one for cavalry and mounted Gendarmerie,
and one for Gendarmerie on foot. So those are quite scarce, we’ll cover
those in a separate video, and we’ll also talk about those when we talk
about the replacement for the Chassepot, because a lot of the Chassepot carbines,
in fact the majority of the Chassepot carbines, were converted into Gras carbines later on. One last thing I want to point out: of
course we have a bayonet lug on the front (we’ll get into bayonets separately, this
video’s gone on long enough as it is). Cleaning rods on the Chassepot are
actually numbered to match the gun, and you’ll notice that there’s no
slot on here for a cleaning patch. Now, of course, for cleaning you would wrap
cloth around there or use a pull through, but one of the important purposes of
this rod was not just cleaning the gun, but pushing out a cartridge that failed to fire. Because these were firing paper cartridges, there
is no rim, there is no extractor mechanism in the bolt. And if you’ve chambered one of those things, and for
whatever reason you had a bad primer and it failed to fire, you had to have a way to get it out of the
gun, and that had to be done from the front, and that’s why there is a clearing rod that has
a nice big flat front on it to push on the bullet to make sure that you don’t just, like, jam the bullet
down through the cartridge and really get yourself in a sticky spot, but rather to allow you to cleanly push
out the whole cartridge out the back if it fails to fire. So if you know only a little bit about the
Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and 1871, what you know is probably that the French lost it pretty badly. What’s interesting though however is
that this was a loss of tactics and artillery and the Chassepot actually really proved its
worth on the modern battlefield in this war. This far outranged the Dreyse needle fire rifles
(obviously it was far superior to muzzle-loaders), but when infantry units of the Prussians and the
French came head to head, just as the Prussians had defeated the Austrians pretty soundly,
French infantry soundly defeated Prussian infantry using the Chassepot rifle. This had an effective
range of legitimately 1,200 … metres … which was far in excess of what the Dreyse could do. The Chassepot has a smaller
diameter bullet, it’s much higher velocity, it is a bullet that engages directly into
the rifling, unlike the Dreyse which had a paper sabot around the bullet,
and a much lower muzzle velocity. This was a very effective infantry rifle. Problem was for the French their overall tactics
and their artillery were a serious let down, that led to their defeat. Interestingly, it also led
to the Prussian capture of massive numbers of Chassepot rifles. You know, they surrounded
whole French armies and captured them, and they got their guns at the same time. Interestingly, the German cavalry didn’t have
any really good cavalry carbines at this point, and this is right about when they
are going to adopt the Mauser 1871, but it would take several years before the carbine
version of the 1871 was actually available for use. And so, for a substantial period of time after
1871 pretty much all the German states would use captured Chassepot rifles and carbines
for their own cavalry. … They were cut down to various different lengths, some of them were
left in the original paper cartridge of the Chassepot, some of them were converted to a
metallic cartridge, the 11mm Mauser, The different German states each kind of had
their own thing that they were doing with those, but it’s a really interesting, like, after-note to
the Chassepot that these ended up being a standard German cavalry rifle as well. Which does
help to highlight how good of a gun they really were. Now, the Chassepot would actually stay in
production until 1875, the French military wanted, of course, to re-equip itself after the
disaster of the Franco-Prussian war. Ultimately what they would do is redesign
the Chassepot to use a metallic cartridge, and that would be in 1874, and it
would be designated the Gras rifle. So, we’ll cover the Gras in a later video, but I’ve done a video on the Chassepot before, but I think
I had the opportunity to do a far better one today. So show you a lot more information. And if you would like more information
than what we’ve gone through in this video, in addition to some really cool pictures, tables, tabular
data and all sorts of cool stuff on the Chassepot and every major French rifle that followed it
up to 2016, what you should do is pre-order a copy of my book (it’s over there), “Chassepot
to FAMAS, French Military Rifles, 1866 -2016”. We are running the Kickstarter pre-order for the book
all through this month, and there are some really cool Kickstarter only options that are available
just for people who are pre-ordering the book. I’m really excited about it, I think
it turned out really, really well, and I think you’ll really enjoy it too if you have
any interest in the subject of French military rifles. So, check it out, there’s a link to the
Kickstarter in the description text below. And if you are not interested in French rifles, not
a problem, not a big problem, just a little problem. But stick around and we’ll have something
cool and different for you tomorrow. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Chassepot: Best of the Needle Rifles”

  1. If you're not interested in French military rifles why the hell did you just watch a 20 minute video on one?

  2. Ian, i love your work but slow down, this is the area you know best but we do not. Speak slower – plase.

  3. MAS-49 video incoming maybe? There is a really old video on the range in a 2-gun match, but an in-depth video like this one is still missing.
    Modern french rifle development series must be completed! XD

  4. This gun predates vulcanization, I bet the rubber was originally white, and due to sulfur in the gun powder, over the years have become vulcanized.

  5. Gun Jesus is the best, most fitting name. Couldn't count sleepless nights I spent on watching his videos. Soothing, tender voice and legit knowledge. Thanks, Ian.

  6. Listening to you talk about something that you're so passionate about is fascinating and very watchable.

  7. I wonder why old rifles had adjustable sights up to very long distances. Were troops able to get hits up to 1000 to 1500 meters just using iron sights?

  8. Curious why with the US Civil War so recent and the resultant battle tested rifles such as paper cartridged M1856 Sharp, the Spencer, even the relatively fragile Henry, as well as all the other lesser known non-muzzle loaders, and also the 1866 Allin cartridge conversion, why France went with an essentially upgraded form of 1840's technology. Conversely, while paper cartridge an already antiquated technology, the basic bolt action concept dominated at least into the middle part of the next century. A trivia: Turkey was quick to seize on the cartridge repeater concept, ordering significant quantities of M1866 Winchesters, made to their unique specifications, quite early.

  9. Ian that is great advice, never use 150 year old rubbers!:) Wish you all the best on the book, can't wait to see it in it's 8th reprint!! ☮🙃🐱

  10. The I and O were probably skipped as serial number prefixes due to their resemblance to 1 and 0 (zero). I have seen them skipped on machines we import.

  11. The first combat use of the Chassepot was in 1867 at Mentana, where their exceptional rate of fire and range annihilated Giuseppe Garibaldi's "elan" favorite tactic.

  12. They seriously expected someone to ever hit a target at a mile with black powder pressure by using the sights? I guess if you say a prayer before you take a shot at an elephant while you are chilling on a mountain.

  13. I'm a big fan of Emile Zola's Rougon Marquart novels set during the Second Empire and this reminds me of The Debacle, his novel on the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune.

  14. "Wow , we really need to get moving and just pick something and adopt it" seems to be the history of much French Defence procurement!

  15. The "Chassepot" will always be married to the destruction of the Prussian Guards at the Battle of Gravelotte/St. Privat on August 18, 1870.

  16. So wish I could get a Collector's Edition on that book. Have to settle for the outstanding writing and construction of the standard version… Oh well, never stop Ian.

  17. You had a goal of $25k. You are now just under $250k. I think that counts as a sign that there IS interest in the subject, haha. Looks like a great book. I do need to pick up a copy. The French have some really interesting small arms and have for a long time.

  18. I just walked out of a Japanese museum showing the "new empire" had breach loading, rifled barrel rifles with metallic cartridges in 1863. Was this museum wrong?

  19. Hello Ian, can we expect a French translation of your book for us, the frog eaters? 🙂

  20. the dresye rifle leaked enough at the breech that soldiers would fire it from the hip rather than the shoulder. at the breech chassepot rifle had a better seal

  21. Question: if a machine gun is blackpowder and the design is old enough (double barrel that shoots both at once) could that be produced and sold?

  22. Crunching some numbers I found on Wikipedia about this rifle, with the listed bullet weight and muzzle velocity this rifle has about the same muzzle energy ft/lbs as an AK47 cartridge but in 11mm instead of 7.62mm!

  23. The little problem is that Ian won't be your friend. I'm only kidding, of course.

    Thanks Ian, for showing and breaking down such a fine piece of history. It's interesting to see how one innovation can change the world.

  24. Is he saying "the Preußen"? can't really make out who hes saying the austrians are fighting against.

  25. Great video! Could you make a video about the bavarian Werder-Rifle from 1870 and how good it was in comparison to the Dreyse or the Chassepot?

  26. Anyone know if a soldier could actually hit something at 1700 metres with one of these? It seems a bit hopeful

  27. The Dreyse rifle was not the sole reason Austria lost the battle of Königgrätz. The rifle (and ammo) had lots of drawbacks that were slightly outweighed by its benefits . The terrain and the lack of organisation in the enemy army was it that really decided that battle.

  28. Just curious, what camera do you use to record these videos? It looks so smooth without being 60fps

  29. Is it just me, or do the two models of Chassepot have slightly different breech lengths? I'm trying to tell if they do, or if it's just an optical illusion…

  30. Just a question though: While the Prussians and the French were fighting with these guns, they were still using paper cartridges, did they ever thought of buying or copying some of the american lever action rifles like the Henry repeating rifle. I mean this was already 1871 and those american lever actions were made made in the early and mid 1860's. Just imagining a whole division armed with those rifles would definitely have made quite an impact

  31. I was watching this literally while trying to help my dad figure out where this old bayonet came from that he's had like half his life.
    It was really hard to read the really flowy script engraved on the blade until I happened to hear Ian say "Manufacture Imperiale", and realized that what was enscribed on the blade was "Mfr Imperiale de Mutzig Janvier 1869"…
    And apparently the Mutzig factory was taken over by Germany after 1870 so it could have been one of the last things produced there.
    So thanks, Ian. Been watching Forgotten Weapons for years but this is the first time that one of your videos playing in the background was conveniently contextually relevant.

  32. I love Ian’s videos, which are usually exhaustive, but don’t believe this little factoid was included about the Chassepot. The fact seems to be that the Chassepot was, at least in later Victorian times, very widely known even in non-military circles as the epitome of military rifles. Best example is that in the original text of the song “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance" (1879), the hapless General Stanley extols his ignorance of things military by singing that he can’t tell “a Chassepot rifle from a javelin.” This is now usually changed to “Mauser rifle” for more modern audiences.

  33. Until I hear otherwise, I have no doubt in my mind that he owns both of these rifles and will own more before he dies.

  34. 2:15 You say it's one of the few instances where infantry rifle technology can really impact the outcome of a war. Would you say that the Americans having a semi-automatic main infantry rifle (the M1 Garand) against bolt-action rifles (98k's, Type 99's, Carcano M91's) made a difference in the outcome of World War II?

  35. To the neverending "Chassepot vs Dreyse"-discussion, some statistics from the franco-prussian war.
    Before the war the prussian estimated that 3 Chassepot were as effective as 5 Dreyse-rifles. And the Chassepot did prove to be superior, BUT –

    According to the book "Die deutsche Gewehrfrage mit Berücksichtigung der neusten europäischen Ordonnanzmodelle…" ("the german rifle question in relationship to the newest ordnance modells") by Major Ritter Wilhelm von Plönnies, published 1872, 96% of all german casualties in the war of 1870/71 were caused by "Infantry projectiles", while only 70% of all french battlefield casualties were caused by infantry projectiles. Of the 96% caused by the chassepot cartridge, von Plönnies estimates that 5% were caused by the Mitrailleuse (300 used) and 90% by the Chassepot. On both sides, 2-3% were caused by edged weapons and the rest by artillery (25% german and only 2-3% french).

    90% vs 70% sounds very lopsided.
    But french battlefield fatalities (killed in action & died of wounds) were about 77.000, while the entire german armies only suffered 28.306 battlefield fatalities. So…
    77.000 x 70% = 53.900 killed by Dreyse's (or Werder's)
    28.306 x 90% = 25.475 killed by Chassepot's.
    28.306 x 5% = 1.415 dead caused by 300 Mitrailleuse's – so this was a very effective weapons.

    Overall the author does not use this data to defend the Dreyse, quite the contrary. He writes that the overwhelming victory was mainly due to tactics and organisation, and that the Dreyse's shortcommings were ignored for much too long.
    Yet it was not like the prussian infantrists were completely helpless.

    Here are some interesting casualty statistics from the other prussian wars:

    Danish-german war 1864
    danish casualties: 84% by Dreyse's, 4% by edged wepons, 10% by artillery, 2% unknown.
    prussian casualties: 74% by infantry rifles, 20% by artillery, 6% by other weapons.

    austro-prussian war of 1866
    austrian casualties: 90% Dreyse, 4% by edged weapons, 3% unknown, 3% artillery
    prussian casualties: 79% by rifles, 16% by artillery, 5,4% by edged weapons

    some other interesting battle statistics

    In the war of 1866 2 Million Dreyse cartridges were shot for 30.000 hits. (66,6 shots per hit).
    During the battle of Lundby in 1864 64 prussians killed 88 danes with 750 shots.

  36. Hi guys, I own a Chassepot bayonet, the thing is that it has the prefix S, which should be reserved for the Tulle factory, it still says made in St.Etienne and I'm pretty sure it's not a fake…anyone have any thoughts on this?

  37. I would like to see a "modern incarnation" of this style. Maybe not particularly a needle fire version, but an externally similar design firing something like a .45 Long Colt with a dual locking lug bolt face.

  38. I went to a gun show where I live yesterday and came across one these 1866 Chassepot rifles. Don't remember what the seller wanted for it though.

  39. I have seen two versions of Chassepot rear sights. one of them is like the version Ian shows and the others I have found for sale online and appear to have the rear sight turned 180 degrees in the opposite direction of the models seen in Ian's video. I will post a link to one of those with the sight turned 180 degrees opposite of what is in Ian's video (its already sold so just curious about sights), the one I am linking was converted to a gras but the other one I have seen was a German capture. I am curious if there is a specific model with these sights or why they are this way. Any help is much appreciated! 😀
    Link: https://www.ima-usa.com/products/original-french-model-1866-chassepot-camel-carbine-converted-to-gras-in-1877?variant=38445661381

  40. one of the last real guns wich you're allowed to posess without any license in germany. and lots of muzzle loaders or black powder guns

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