M1868 Italian Naval Albani
(Photos this page through the kind courtesy of Stephan Juan)
GENERALLY: This early Italian breach loader was converted from the British-made Italian Enfield M1858 navy rifle, modified by means of the installation of a forward lifting bolt system designed by Italian Naval Captain Augusto Albani. The Albani system is similar to the Berdan systems used in the Spanish Berdan, Russian Berdan I and American Allin-Springfield rifles, the principal differences being that the longitudinal firing pin located in the bolt is actuated by a longitudinal striker pin affixed to the hammer which moves through the rear of the receiver, into the back of the bolt, locking the bolt in place as it actuates the firing pin itself. The Italian Albani Naval rifle is furnished with brass fittings, but I am uncertain regarding the barrel bands. The Albani system was also directly adopted by Belgium for conversion of several models of their muzzleloaders in becomming the Belguim Albani Braendlin and by Russia as the Albini Baranov. Paganni writes that the Italian rifles were converted in both the Braendlin Armory in Birmingham, England and Glisenti in Breccia, Italy, and that the rifles were converted from earlier British-made Italian Enfield M1858 navy rifles. However, the Albini was in service with the Italian Navy from about 1868 to 1882 and if rifles were suplied after 1868 they surely would have been newly manufactured.
PHOTO: I BELIEVE, but am not positive, that the above rifle is a M1868 Italian Albini-Briendlin adopted for use by the Italian Navy and in service between about 1868 and 1882. This rifle is not Australian marked as would be the South Australian M1868 Albini-Braendlin rifles, but is obviously British made for export by virtue of the export crown on the lockplate. However, unlike the Japanese Albini-Braedlin converted rifles, this one mounts a brass buttplate, brass trigger guard and brass nosecap. Barrel bands, however are iron or steel. This rifle is correctly chambered in .577 Snider (14.7 x 51mm), the same caliber as the British Snider, it too having been converted or derived from the earlier Enfield.
Misc: The Terssen was submitted in 1867 for trials to the Italian committee responsible for developing conversions of Italian muzzle-loaders to breech loaders but it doesn't appear that any actually entered service. The Albini-Braendlin, however, was adopted by the Italian navy, other Italian conversions being conducted using the Carcano needle type breech block developed by Salvatore Carcano in 1867, being substantially similar to the earlier French Chasspot and earlier German Dryse needle-fire rifles.
Page first built: September 16, 1999
Revised May 7, 2000
Revised text & photos added February 15, 2004
Updated: Nov 3, 2021