GENERALLY: The Milbank-Amslers were swinging-block conversions of several different Swiss percussion muzzle loaders to the Amsler lifting bolt design developed by the American Isaac Milbank and refined and perfected by the Swiss Rudolf Amsler as discussed in the reference to the similar M1842/59/67 Swiss Milbank-Amsler. The conversion was originally approved for Swiss army issue in May 1867. All of the Amsler conversions were later designated "abgeandert 1867" (modification of 1867), thus as adapted to the Jager M1856, this became the M1856/67 Jagergewehr, the M1863 Infantry rifle bacame the M1863/67 Infanteriegewehr and the 1851 and 1864 Stutzers became M1851/67 and M1864/67 Stutzers respectively. No fewer than Twenty seperate gunmakers took part in the Swiss army conversion program.
These Milbank-Amslers were the first Swiss rifles chambered in the then new .41 Swiss rimfire cartridge, which became the Swiss standard until about 1890, being used in the Swiss M1867 Peabody and in all of the Swiss Vetterlis subsequently adopted.
PHOTO: The representative Milbank-Amsler rifle shown above is a M1863/67 Infanteriegewehr (Infantry rifle)
DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS: Calibre is .41 Rimfire, the breech block is a two part hindged affair lifted by a round, flat, "beaver tail" paddle. Identifying a Milbank-Amsler is relatively easy, the flat, square, blocky two part breech-block is readily identifiable and seldom mistaken for anything else. Telling the Swiss rifles apart from one another is quite another matter. Swiss rifles were not manufactured with much great distinction between civilian and military arms and there appear to be a large variety of arms in this period which are all very similar. In any event, as best I know at this point, the military Milbank-Amsler rifles consisted of:
1) M1842/59/67 Infanteriegewhr (Infantry rifle). Easy. 18mm cartridge, VERY long, a giant of a rifle.
2) M1851/67 Stutzer (Sharpshooter rifle). .41 Swiss. Double set triggers. A deeply curved buttplate with upper and lower spurs. A conversion of the percussion stutzer . Should carry dates and marking from its pre-conversion lineage.
3) M1856/67 Jeagergewehr (Hunter rifle). Single trigger, as distinguished from the two Stutzers. The stock forms a rather sharp angle. The rifle. being a jager, is designed for shooting from a standing position rather than prone. It is shorter than the M1863/67 infantry rifle and the lower sling swivel is mounted on the lower tang as opposed to the front of the trigger guard. A rather flat buttplate.
4) M1863/67 Infanteriegewehr (Infantry rifle). 926mm long, lower sling swivel mounted on the front of the trigger guard, the comb of the stock is not as high and the stock angle is not as sharp as that of the M1856/67 Jeagergewehr, which it otherwise resembles very closely. Also a rather flat buttplate which does distinguish it even without another model to compare it to.
5) M1864/67 Stutzer. (I
need some photos!!) Double set triggers, nearly identical
to the M1856/67 but very few percussion rifles were made and converted,
most of these being scratch built as a Milbank-Amsler. Again, like
the M1851/67, with a deeply curved, large spured buttplate.
Page Revised: April 10, 1998
Revised September 27, 1999
Revised May 8, 2000