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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: $349.99

Quantity in Stock:16
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 to very good overall condition. Regular condition guns might have a minor crack or might have some slight corrosion in some small areas. 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. 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.

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

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 sbarry@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The clip is pressed into the magazine, until the last round catches under the Cartridge retainer, and then the clip is withdrawn using the "pull string" in the top wooden frame of the clip.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: 19 Write a review »

  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
4 of 5 1874 Brescia October 2, 2022
Reviewer: Julian T from NC  
Bought this during the labor day sale. The metal is in good shape though I can't quite see how the bore is since it's very dirty. The wood is decent but needs a good scrub. No cleaning rod but everything else seems present. Overall I am satisfied and would recommend.

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  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Another good rifle. September 23, 2022
Reviewer: Shane from KS  
I ordered one of these during their flash sale. This one showed up in amazing condition. Stock was amazing. All marking were crisp, had most of its finish in tact, and had an amazing bore.

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  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 1880 Brescia August 21, 2022
Reviewer: Paulie from Florida  
My first rifle purchase from RTI was a good one. I wanted a Vetterli for my Italian collection and decided to pull the trigger on one. I received a very nice example with a beautiful stock with no cracks. Bore cleaned up nice. Bluing is probably 60-70%. Didn’t have a cleaning rod but I was able to get one elsewhere. Will buy again.

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  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 My Vetterli is a hoot! July 24, 2022
Reviewer: Jeff Adams from Florida  
I purchased an Italian Vetterli rifle and it’s a hoot!  It looks like something carried by the sand people on Tatooine, or a Victorian explorer at a steampunk convention.  I spent the extra $100 for a hand select model.  Stock is beat-up but solid, no rust, and 70% - 80% of the original blue on the receiver and barrel.  If I ever figure out how to remove the bolt, I’ll scrub out the bore and see its condition.  I have no plans to shoot the rifle, but it will look dandy hanging on the wall and being envied by my friends.

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  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
3 of 5 1881 Vetterli June 25, 2022
Reviewer: Andrew from SC  
For the age, the rifle is in better shape than thought cosmetically however the one I received has absolutely no rifling and is more of a musket than a rifle. The stock looks good however after cleaning the stock does have some pretty bad cracking around the trigger area as well as the sides of the receiver.  I feel the price was more than what the rifle I received is worth.

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