Home > Antiques No FFL Required >

Italian Vetterli Model 1870/87/15 Caliber 6.5 Carcano w/ 1 Free Clip

Italian Vetterli Model 1870/87/15 Caliber 6.5 Carcano

Alternative Views:

Our Price: $299.99

Quantity in Stock:14
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.
Click here to view our Carcano clip page

The condition is astonishingly good overall condition. These rifles have some handling wear or a small crack, but are generally in great shape for their age. They may come or not come with a cleaning rod. Hand select rifles are generally good to very good overall condition, may still have some of the issues listed above. May have a cleaning rod with H/S option, please note this in the order if you would like one. These rifles have been in storage in Ethiopia for a century.

Please note: the photo shown above is a rifle in very good to excellent condition.

These rifles are considered Antique and therefore do not require an FFL transfer. A government Photo ID like Drivers License or passport will be required to purchase these rifles. Please send your ID to ffl@rtifirearms.com along with your order number. Thank you for your business!


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The clip is pressed into the magazine, until the last round catches under the Cartridge retainer, and then the clip is withdrawn using the "pull string" in the top wooden frame of the clip.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: 4.5 of 5 4.5 of 5 Total Reviews: 26 Write a review »

  2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Amazing condition! April 14, 2023
Reviewer: Robert Brookes from Tumwater, WA United States  
I am very pleased with this rifle.  It is just in amazing condition for being in storage for so long.  The bore was pristine.  I'm wondering if it was ever fired considering the corrosive effect of those old primers.  It had some light surface rust here and there easily removed with steel wool and a surprising amount of intact bluing after cleaning.  Great purchase.  Great company!

Was this review helpful to you?

  2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
4 of 5 Nice Condition considering age... January 23, 2023
Reviewer: Rory Lee from Berkeley, CA  
Hard to believe how good the condition was considering the age of the rifle.  Barrel was basically new, and looks like it was barely shot at all.  Can't use full power loads so be careful of that.  Wood and finish is what you would expect of a rifle of this age.  Weighs more than most boat anchors and is almost as tall as I am, but neat shootable piece of history with the proper downloaded charge.  Modern replica clip does not work well however, and the last round won't load properly, but I am not sure it ever did from the final arsenal rebuild, so I can't blame RTI for that.  I really wish it had come with a cleaning rod, but I know they usually don't.

Was this review helpful to you?

  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
4 of 5 1870/87/15 December 7, 2022
Reviewer: Kenneth from VA  
Was pleased overall,won't be putting any rounds through it. Great addition to the collection cleaned up well. Loose bolt but functions properly fine for display!

Was this review helpful to you?

  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Vetterli 1870/87/16 December 3, 2022
Reviewer: Drew Zelle from Townsend, WI United States  
I received this rifle after paying $236 during the flash sale.  It arrived dirty, grimy, and needs a significant amount of cleaning.  But, it has all components, less cleaning rod, and the stock matches the serial number.  I am more than pleased and find that it is well worth the $236 dollar investment and my time to clean it.  Thanks RTI!  Great gun for a good price.

Was this review helpful to you?

  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
4 of 5 $199 sale price, satisfied December 3, 2022
Reviewer: David from MA United States  
I bought three when on sale at $199. 2 look great, 1 is a little rough, as expected. No cleaning rods. They look like they'll clean up great. Matching numbers on the 2 nicer ones. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied and will buy from RTI again.

Was this review helpful to you?

View All Customer Reviews