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Italian Vetterli Model 1870/87/15 Caliber 6.5 Carcano

Italian Vetterli Model 1870/87/15 Caliber 6.5 Carcano

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Our Price: $399.99

Quantity in Stock:30
Product Code: VETT0001

Hand Select Overall Condition (+$100) [Add $100.00]


We just received a small quantity of original Italian Vetterli Model 1870/87/15. All rifles are converted for the Carcano 6.5 ammunition.

The condition is astonishingly very good overall condition. Hand select rifles are generally very good to excellent overall condition. These rifles have been in storage in Ethiopia for a century.

We offer a hand select option for an additional $100.00.

These rifles are considered Antique and therefore do not require any Licenses. A government Photo ID like Drivers License or passport will be required to purchase these rifles.


Please note: please view our Terms and Conditions Section 9 in regards to the condition of these rifles. Thank you for your business.


The M1870 Vetterli was the Italian service rifle from 1870-1887, when it was gradually replaced with the M1870/87 Italian Vetterli-Vitali variant. The M1870 was a single-shot bolt action rifle chambered for the 10.4mm Vetterli centrefire cartridge, at first loaded with black powder and later with smokeless powder. The M1870 was based upon the M1869 Swiss Vetterli but simplified for economy.


10.4mm Fucile di Fanteria, Modello 1870/87 Vetterli-Vitali

In 1887 (until 1896), the Italian Army began converting the M1870 to a four-shot repeating rifle, based on the system designed by Italian artillery captain, G. Vitali. This conversion added a box magazine fed from a Swiss-style fabricated steel and wood stripper clip holding four cartridges, in the same caliber (10.4x47R mm) as before. The clip is pressed into the magazine, until the last round catches under the Cartridge retainer, and then the clip is withdrawn using the "pull string" in the top wooden frame of the clip. Clips of cartridges were supplied in a soldered sheet steel box, holding six clips.

The conversion to the Vitali magazine was done on the long rifle, the TS (special troops musketoon) and possibly some of the Carabinieri carbines; No Vitali conversions were done to the Moschetto da Cavalleria for metropolitan Italian troops. In 1888, the Fondo Coloniale (Eritrea) requested 500 Vitali-converted Vetterli cavalry carbines for the Eritrean Native Cavalry ("spahi"—Swahili for "horse-soldier"). There are currently five known examples still in existence ( one in Australia, two in the US, two in Italy). Collectors refer to it as the M1870/88 V.V.Eritrean cav carbine. The Regio Esercito (Royal Army) Cavalry units maintained the M1870 single shot Moschetto da cavalleria until replaced by the M1891 Moschetto da cavalleria, in 1893.

The conversion is indicted by a cartouche "Artig. Fab. D'armi Terni 1888" (dates vary), on the butt stock. The center of the cartouche displays a Crest of Savoy and the word, Riparazione (Italian for repair) is directly below the cartouche. Shortages of small arms appeared from the very beginning of Italy’s entrance into World War I on the side of the Allies.

As more of the population mobilized for the first total war in European history, the supply of modern small arms fell short before the end of 1915 and a large number of obsolete Modello 1870/87 Vetterli-Vital were issued to newly formed regiments that were not expected to be in combat, however, troops carried these antiquated rifles into battle on several occasions.

As well, in 1916, Italy sent a large number of Vetterli-Vitali rifles to Russia; ammunition and components were contracted for by Britain to the Remington Armory. These "tsarist" rifles eventually ended up in Republican hands in the Spanish Civil War, as the Soviet Union emptied its depots of all the old black powder and early smokeless rifles it had inherited after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.


During World War I, many M1870/87 rifles were converted to share the same 6.5mm smokeless powder round instead of the inferior black powder rounds as the primary service rifle, the Carcano, by adding a 6.5mm barrel lining and a modified M91 Carcano magazine. The barrel sleeving was called the "Salerno method"; The bolt face was also machined to accept the smaller diameter 6.5 mm cartridge head, and the firing pin shortened. These conversions were used for rear echelon troops (guards, training, etc.) and were rarely, if at all, fired with standard 6.5 mm military ball ammunition. After WWI, many of these rifles were assigned to the colonies of Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica (Libya) and also to Eritrea and Somalia, again, as rarely-fired training rifles. These rifles were used again in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, mostly by native African soldiers.[1] During World War II, they were used only by fascist Blackshirts paramilitaries.[2]

It is considered by knowledgeable collectors[who?] that due to the rifle's age and general condition (manufactured in 1870-1890s) and converted twice (1887-90s and again 1915-16), that the black powder technology of the Vetterli design is not suitable for repeated use (i.e. intense combat use) with normal Italian ball ammunition of 6.5 mm, or its present-day commercial equivalent. Even back in the 1920s, anecdotal accounts of Salerno sleeves loosening under "hot" fire (they were soft-soldered in place) and subsequent "blow-by" experience since the 1950s appearance of these rifles as surplus has led to safety concerns.[3]

Average Rating: Average Rating: 4 of 5 4 of 5 Total Reviews: 9 Write a review »

  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
1 of 5 Rough Condition November 13, 2021
Reviewer: JD from East Coast  
The description didn't match the rifle condition at all.  Calling these very good to excellent  condition isn't accurate, regardless of their age.  Mine would at most be considered fair, the stock is all black with no wood luster to it,  the entire finish is well past gone, rusted and stained so much that the whole rifle will need to be restored.  There was also no cleaning rod, something that should have been specified in the description.  After a few attempts at contacting RTI, they haven't bothered to respond at all. Shame.  They did much better on the Enfield I bought from them before.

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  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
4 of 5 Piece of history October 3, 2021
Reviewer: David from IL  
Customer service great, gun was in fair condition but after a lil ticketing fires like a champ. Thank you RTI.

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  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Functions well. September 16, 2021
Reviewer: Sam from Montana  
I bought mine expecting it to be in awful shape. Mine was missing its clip latch, meaning its a single shot, and its cleaning rod. But mechanically it is super sound and has tight headspace and a near perfect bore. I have fired it with full power norma ammo and it has had no issues. I did not buy hand select so all things considered im very happy with this rifle.

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  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
4 of 5 One of my Dream Guns after I randomly googled RTI March 27, 2021
Reviewer: Kyle from Colorado  
From what I expected to get (A full on resoration/rebuild job) I got a rifle that was better than I expected. It did need the standard cleaning but it is more intact than I thought. I didn't get much surface rust on mine. After a solid cleaning the Barrel was in absolutely immaculate shape. Stock was beat up a little, as is the way with a 120 year old rifle. I feel bad for RTI because they're going to be getting a lot of orders from me after this great experience.

I do plan on test firing 5 rounds via the method RTI put in the description by making lighter loads but after that she's gonna be displayed proudly.

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  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
4 of 5 Better than expected December 15, 2020
Reviewer: Devon from Texas  
I bought one of these a few weeks ago, unfortunately there was a little trouble with sending in a copy of a photo ID but after I called that was settled quickly and the rifle was shipped out immediately after the holiday. Shipping was fast and the rifle was better than I expected it to be and cleaned up nicely, the only major downside was the fact the cleaning rod was gone, but the rifle is 141 years old so its not a surprise. The stock didn't match either but that is another fault that can easily be looked over considering the rifles age. All in all I am happy with my order and plan to purchase more of these Italian Vetterli rifles, I hope that RTI keeps up the quality of their products and I'll be a customer as long as they do.

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