Military Rolling Block Rifles
Standard m/1867, 12,7x44R rimfire
Some Swedish army rolling block variations
m/1860-67, 12,7x44R rimfire.
|Many m/1860 muzzle loaders
were converted this way. The rolling block action was mated to the older
rifles stock and hardware. The buttplate and the front sight bead was usually
made of brass.
The cleaning rod was the old ramrod slightly modified. That item is missing in the above picture.
Regarding unit markings on
the Swedish rolling blocks;
m/1860-64-68, 12,7x44R rimfire.
Similar to the above rifle,
but these were made up of m/1860's that had first been converted to m/1864
chamber loading rifles (system Hagström). They were mainly meant for
use in schools and universities (times has changed a bit since then huh?),
but as some encountered rifles have been fitted with unit discs one can
only assume that a few found their way into the hands of the military.
The rifle pictured was converted at Kristianstads Tygstation (Ch
marking on the barrel).
The business end.
All the m/67 rifles and their variations shared the same sight. A ladder type that was adopted in 1868. At first it was graduated in feet (800 to 1400 ft), but in 1879 it was replaced with one graduated in meters (120 to 300 m, 350 to 900 m with ladder raised). I.e. some rifles received completely new sights while others simply had the feet markings crossed out and new markings stamped into the sights.
Both of the rifles built on
the m/1860 takes the bayonet for the same. There was also a rifle built
on the "straight" (or non-converted) m/1864, the m/1864-68. This rifle
accepts the m/1864 bayonet.
This picture shows a couple of variations
in manufacturer markings.
An interesting quote for you; C. Lemchen on m/1867's for competition. Mr. Lemchen was, among other things (as I'm sure at least some of you know), a Swedish Army weapons officer, expert marksman, early pro-gun agitator and an author. His book "Firearms and the art of shooting" from 1889 still, 120 years on, makes good reading. These days he is probably mostly remembered as the key figure during the rifle trials which ultimately led to Sweden's adoption of the Mauser rifle. OK, here goes;
"To obtain the best possible rifle for the national competitions one should take a Remington made m/1867 rifle, throw away the barrel and fit a new one from an m/1867-74 rifle. The barrel change is inexpensive and easily done, and the marksman will now have a rifle consisting of the very best available parts."
The m/1860, major organ donor for the m/67 rolling block conversion rifles.
Husqvarna was one of the manufacturers of this rifle, designed by Fabian Wrede, hence the common referral to it as "Wredesgevär" (Wrede's rifle).
m/1870 cavalry carbine, 12,7x44R rimfire.
This carbine was adopted in 1870, the original
intention was that it would be a replacement/addition to the cavalry soldier's
armament, who were at the time only armed with sabers and revolvers.
Four variations of this carbine can be found, most only differs through variations in front band shape;
The first has the original type barrel band.
On this the sight protection ears are pointed and very similar in shape
and size to the front sight itself.
Approximately 7000 carbines were built between
1871 and 1878. Known manufacturers are Husqvarna (crown/H), Carl Gustaf
(crown/C) and Stockholms Gevärsverkstad, later known as Stockholms
The carbines are, when you add their sleek
looks to the relative few made and still remaining, the most desirable
among the Swede Army rolling blocks. The most difficult one to find would
of course be one with the first type of sight and/or the barrel band still
intact. Most carbines were brought in for upgrading at Carl Gustaf about
1880 -82. Speaking of scarcity, this might be a good time to present some
Some more numbers while we're at it;
Close-up of the carbine's action.
The sight folded back into its 150 m. "battle
The nose cap of the m/1870. Note the similar appearance to the m/1894 carbine. This is the common "second variation" nose band, as mentioned in the text above.
m/1864-68-85 artillery carbine,
The carbine sight.
Starting perhaps in the mid 1870's, the competitors in the voluntary shooting organizations began using commercially made German centerfire ammunition. This way they achieved better performance from the rifles, and they could also reload the expensive cases. However, when competing in service type matches, or in matches with prizes set up by the Army or the crown, they had to use standard issue (rimfire) ammo. So the serious marksman kept two interchangeable breech blocks for his rifle, one rimfire and one centerfire.
No centrefire 12,7 mm cartridge
was ever adopted by the Swedish Army. The only centrefire rolling block
to see service was the m/1867-89
(and it's variations) in 8x58RD. Picture courtesy of Dutchman's House
of Karlina. The m/1867-89 rifle was built on the older
gun, with new barrel, stock, sights and extractor. The hammer and breech
blocks were replaced too, with surface hardened items of better steel to
better resist the increased pressures.
One interesting feature about the sights that were fitted to the `89... There were two front sights, one in the usual position (Duh!) and also one fitted to the right side, on the lower barrel band. For the latter, there was a matching notch in the rear sight. These sights could be used with the ladder in the upright position. Standard adjustment ranges went from 200- to 600 meters with the ladder down, and from 700- to 1600 meters with the ladder upright, using the center sights. In those days the idea of ranged mass fire (platoon or company sized) were still very popular with the generals, that's why the side mounted "extreme range" sight was added. Instead of mounting a tremendously long sight ladder, a lower front sight (as already mentioned above, just repeating myself a bit here...) was added to the lower band, together with the right hand rear notch. On top of the sight ladder (or on the front side as viewed when in upright position...) was an additional range scale for these sights, with indication marks going from 1700- to 2400 meters. Hopefully, with some 100 soldiers blasting away, they would be able to take out that artillery crew barely visible in the commanders binoculars, some one and a half mile away in the distance...
As Husqvarna wasn't much involved in making the m/1867-89 rifles I was kind of hoping to keep a rather low profile on the subject... Still I couldn't resist bringing you the following interesting(?) m/1867-89 variations...
m/1867-89 & skolskjutningsgevär (school rifle) m/1867-89
The rare m/1867-89 school rifle was basically identical to the standard m/1867-89, except for a shorter barrel, shorter reach stock and the lack of a bayonet lug. The chambering was also the same, 8x58RD. It was, as the name indicates, used for the then mandatory marksmanship training in various schools and institutions.
The lower muzzle belongs to the school rifle. Note the lack of a bayonet lug.
A typical sporterized m/67-89 in 8x58RD
It was fitted with a half length
forend (often achieved by simply cutting down the original),
These rifles are still quite common, and most also seem to be in good condition. Once Sweden's primary moose hunting rifle, it would serve as a very nice rifle/cartridge combo today as well. The action is strong, the barrel is accurate (the m/67-89 was quite successful, even if not very popular, as a competition rifle) and the cartridge is capable of taking any game encountered on the northern hemisphere. Just cut the unnecessarily long barrel with about 4-6 ", fit a decent (peep?) sight, load up some ammo and you will be all set to go!
Husqvarna was of course the main supplier of true civilian rolling blocks. CG tried for a while to venture into the civilian market but only a few hundred hunting rifles were ever made by them. Some were also made from leftovers by CG employees, in their free time. These are often marked with the smith's name. In the 1900´s several gun wholesalers/suppliers offered various sporterized military rifles, like the one pictured here. The most notorious of them, Vapendepoten, had several version in their catalogue until the late 1950's. Click here to see what they had to offer in 1954.
Below are some evidence of the above pictured rifles military heritage;
Screw hole for the original military sight filled in and a new sight fitted. There are also inspectors markings on the barrel next to the action. Barely visible in this photo, sorry. But they are there!
Hole for unit disc blanked out with a circular piece of wood. Rifles with the disc still in place have also been encountered, as have rifles with new stocks all together. The replacement rear sling swivel is also visible.
Inspector markings on the receiver. This, in addition to the manufacturer's markings usually (but not always!) present on the right side of the receiver, is something that all the military rifles have in common. the true civilian guns, as made by Husqvarna, normally has only the factory logo on the barrels. Also note the hole in the forward end of the trigger guard. That's where the original sling swivel used to go.
Action and business end of an m/1867-68, made by Husqvarna in 1872.