M1869 & M1869 "Aptiertes" Bavarian Werder
Above, M1867 Werder in Original condition. Notice the sight. (Photo courtesy D. Goss)
Below, M1867 Werder "Aptiertes" version
GENERALLY: Bavaria was a seperate autonomous state until "union" with Prussia in 1866 (a military pact which formed the Northern German Federation). Bavaria was in the middle of the central Europeon conflicts of the second half of the 19th century, opposing Purssia in the Danish-Prussian war of 1864, siding with Austria in that war with Prussia in 1866 (c.f. Wanzl) and joining with Prussia in war against France in 1870-71. In 1869, Bavaria adopted the rifle (also built as a pistol) designed by Johann L. Werder to replace the Linder, a paper cartridge breech loader. The Werder is based on the Peabody rear-hinged dropping block action and remained the primary Bavarian arm until replaced by the M1871 Mauser.
As the Werder cartridge did not have sufficient power for the day, the original chambering of the Werder was supplanted initially by the M1869 "Aptiertes", a Werder re-chambered to adapt it to the Mauser ScharfePatronene M71 cartridge (that itself was based on a lengthened Werder case). This simple re-chambering did not prove successful as the rifle/action/stock combination was not strong enough to handle the extra power of the M71 cartridge resulting in numberous cracked stocks. The M1869 was then re-barreled to the Mauser M1871 barrel becomming the M1869 n.M. Werder. The Werder itself was later replaced entirely, first with the M1871 Mauser and then the M71/84 Mauser. The M1869 n.M. rifle is a wholly new model of the M1869 Werder built to "German" standards by re-barreling with the chamber, barrel, sights and nosecap to conform with the M1871 Mauser. The Werder n.M. remained in service as the primary Bavarian arm until replaced by the M71 beginning in 1877.
PHOTO: The rifle shown in the top photo is an original, unconverted Werder. Notice the sight. The lower photo above is a M1869 "Aptiertes" Bavarian Werder which retains the original barrel but which clearly shows its evolution toward the Mauser standard with its M1871 Mauser sights, nosecap and cleaning rod.
DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS: The "opposing triggers" on this rifle are an immediate giveaway and the rifle can hardly be confused for anything else. The action is a derivative of the Peabody action in which the block is closed and the action is cocked both by drawing back on the lever located at the back and on the right side of the action just ahead of the wrist. The block is kept closed by pressure from an arm attached to the rear-facing "trigger" and opened by forward pressure on that trigger. Because of it's very fast operation, it was called "Lightning Rifle" (Bayerisch Blitz) at that time. The M1869 n.M. is a new model from its earlier form by having a Mauser barrel (distinguishable in that it's knoxform is much longer than the M1869 Werder extending, like the M71 Mauser, all the way to the rear sight) Mauser rear sight, nosecap, rod and strengthened extractor.
There are additional photos of an original M1869 Werder and fascinating information here, DEFINITELY worth the read!:
Short knoxform distinguishes this rifle from the M1869 n.M. Werder
(note short knoxform and distance to sight in the opening photo at the top of this page.
To identify the M1869 n.M., compare knoxform/sight configuration to M1871 Mauser)
Fired condition, breech block closed. (above & below)
Breech block opened, spent cartridge has been ejected, ready for loading.
(above and below)
Locked & Cocked ... ready for firing. (above & below)
M1869 & M1869 "Aptiertes" Bavarian Werder Action details:
Page built: June 1, 1997
Revised March 31, 1998
Revised February 11, March 17, April 16, May 27, 1999
Revised May 7, 2000
Revised January 16, 2003
Updated: Oct 28, 2021