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M1878 French Naval Kropatchek


(all photos this page kind courtesy of John Littrell)

GENERALLY:  This rifle, designed by Alfred von Kropatchek, was adopted by the French Navy to replace the Chasspot needle-fire rifle, which was the immediate predecessor to the M1874 Gras, the single shot metallic cartridge rifle which had been adopted by the French Army. The M1878 was the first commercially successful Kropatchek. It incorporated the basic design of the Chasspot/Gras bolt and receiver system mated with a tubular magazine similar to a Winchester configuration, connected by a "spoon" elevator which pivoted at the rear to bring a fresh cartridge into alignment.  This system of cartridge lifter was the key to the Kropatchek design.  The tube of the tubular magazine is made of nickel plated steel, while the tubes of the later Army-adopted M1884 French Kropatchek and M1886 Portuguese Kropatchek are made of brass.

PHOTO: The rifle shown is a M1878 French Naval Kropatchek.

DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS:  Somewhat similar to the French Chasspot and Gras, it is a repeater with a magazine cut-off hidden by the bolt handle when the bolt is closed (c.f. M1884 Kropatchek. It is very similar to the Portugese Kropatchek, but readily distinguished by being in 11mm and by the receiver being Styer marked (see photo below).


Page Revised: June 29, 1997
Revised September 24, 1999
Revised October 1, 1999
Revised August 11, 2003

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

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