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: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
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
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.
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.
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.