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M1871/88 Dutch Beaumont-Vitali

M1871-88 Beaumont-Vitali Infantry rifle.

Caliber: 11.3x50R mm
System of operation: Bolt action
Length overall: 51.95 inches
Barrel length: 32.7 inches
Feed device: Vitali Box Magazine
Sight:Front: Blade
Sight:Rear: Quadrant sight graduated to 1100 paces (about 825 yards
Weight: 9.66 lb
Muzzle velocity: 1330 f.p.s

Beaumont Rifles by Willemsen

GENERALLY: Already obsolete in the day of "small bore" smokeless powder cartridges, the M1871-88 Beaumont-Vitali is substantially the M1871 Beaumont converted into a repeater via the Italian designed Vitali 4 round box magazine system. The conversions began in 1888, two years after the appearance of the M1886 French Lebel (the first of the smokeless powder infantry rifles) and were applied to all of the Regular Dutch army rifles, though the rifles in service in the dutch East Indies and for Home Guard were not all converted. The Vitali magazine system was first applied to converting the M1870 Italian Vetterli rifle in 1887 creating the M1870/87 Italian Vetterli-Vitali Holland and Italy, for the Beaumont and Vetterli rifles and carbines respectively, were the only conutries to adopt the Vitali magazine conversions. The magazine follower is pushed by a coil spring and, given the substantial bottle shape of both rifle's cartridges, gives the Vitali magazine its unique and distinctive shape.

DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS: The M1871-88 is the M1871 Beaumont rifle fitted with the Vitali magazine. See specifications for the M1871 Beaumont. Additionally, however, the bolt now incorporates an ejector as well as an extractor, and the receiver is fitted with gas escape vents in the event of a split case, much like the M1874 Gras

MISC NOTES: A unique feature of the Beaumont (Copied by the Japanese Murata Meiji 13 and carried forward in the Murata Meiji 18) is the striker spring housed in the bolt handle. 

see: The Beaumont System Bolt Assembly

Note the ejector alongside the bolthead and compare with the M1871 Beaumont

Awesome cartouches, the one illustrated above with crowned W (for King
Wilhelm III, 1849-1890) flanked by flowers,DELFT above and date 1875 at sides

This is the view of the left side of theBeaumont's unique rear sight.
The range marks on the left side shown above are "right side up" as you would expect.
But on the RIGHT side, the range marks are at 1/2 step ranges marked "upside-down"
so that if you are right handed you can set the range simply by rolling the rifle
over in your hands seeing the range marks clearly!!.

Good view of the action as well as of the 2-piece bolt which contains the
firing pin spring, a very simple, but not particularly strong, leaf spring.
For a disassembled set of pics see: Beaumont Bolt

This example built at Maastricht. Numbers are production lot numbers,
not serial numbers. Note the gas escape holes in the event of a cartridge
base or rim failure.

Sight, proof marks, date of manufacture and serial number

Additional Dutch proofs on the right side of the barrel.
I do not know their meaning. Anyone out there who can help?

M1871 & M1871/88 Dutch Beaumont Bolt Assembly

The bolt assembly pictured below is from a M1871/88 Dutch Beaumont orriginally built in 1874 with side mounted safety lever which would have been removed circa 1876. The safety detent can still be seen just behind the bolt. The rifle was converted to four round Vitali box magazine sometime after 1888 (already made obsolete in 1886 but the smokeless powder French Lebel and later German Commission Rifle of 1888), but no modifications were made to the bolt assembly by that conversion.

The striker is driven by a striker spring housed inside the bolt. The same system was
utilized in the Japanese Murata Meiji 13 and Meiji 18rifles. Whereas most cavelry
carbine versions of military bolt action rifles featured a turned down bolt handle
(e.g., the carbine version of the German Mauser I.G. Mod 1871 Infantrie Gewere)
the bolt system of the Beaumont prevented the adoption of a turned down bolt.
Accordingly the carbine versions had straight bolts and I am told that Holland also
adopted Rolling Block carbines for its cavelry.

Originally a single-shot invented by the Dutch engineer Beaumont in 1870, this rifle was modified in 1888-89 to accommodate the Italian Vitali box magazine.

Action open showing the over-size bolt handle. Close examination will reveal a "seam" in the handle, which is actually hollow and in two parts. Inside is the stout "V" shaped mainspring, which propelled the striker forward.

Beaumont bolt, assembled and disassembled. The unusual v-shaped striker spring is visible. It engages the groove at the midway point of the firing pin.

Left side view showing the magazine cut-off.

Top View. Two gas escape holes in the receiver are visible.

Vitali system box magazine held four 11mm black powder cartridges. The design used a coil spring, instead of the usual leaf spring to lift the magazine follower. A high quality, careful inletting of the stock wood is evident.