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Military Rifles in the Age of Transition
(Non-U.S.) Black Powder, Metallic Cartidge, Military Rifles
1865 to 1890
(A Research, Photo-Identification and Information Website since 1997)
M1871 Dutch Beaumont (Types 1 & 2)
GENERALLY: The Beaumont is a turning bolt action rifle who's major distinctive feature is the arrangement of the mainspring which is housed inside the large, hollow, bulbous two-piece bolt handle. The rifle was designed by a Dutch engineer from Maastricht, from whom it gets is name. Apparently inspired by the French Chasspot, forerunner to the M1874 French Gras, the action is a typical split-bridge with the bolt handle locking forward of the receiver and constituting its sole locking lug. The rear of the striker is smooth and rounded thus the rifle may only be cocked by the bolt, and cocks on opening. The bolt is sleve is two piece with a very simple non-rotating bolt head retained by a screw fitted from the top of the bolt body. Like its early single shot bolt rifle contemporaries, (e.g., the German M1871 Mauser), the bolt head is fitted with an extractor located in a channel on the left side of the receiver, but not with an ejector. It appears from the literature that the striker spring was delicate and more prone to breaking than the more common coil spring powered strikers, although this author has examined perhaps 20 Beaumonts and has never seen one with a broken striker spring. Despite what appears to have been the disadvantages of the striker spring arrangement, this design was copied in the Murata Type 13 and Murata Type 18 adopted by Japan in 1880 and 1885 respectfively. Perhaps more disadvantageous was that the striker spring in the bolt assembly prevented the development of carbine versions with turned down bolt handles. Holland adopted a Remington Rolling Block carbine chambered in the Beaumont cartridge (now a rather rare variant) to fill it's carbine and short rifle needs. The M1871 Beaumont was one of the first major Europeon metallic cartridge rifles and also one of the last, remaining in service, after modification to a repeater as the M1871/88 Beaumont-Vitali, to the turn of the century.
PHOTO: M1871 Dutch Beaumont, Type 2. (This rifle was made in 1885, lacking the early version safety lever of the Type 1, pictured below. It does not have the small hole detent on the right side of the bolt forward of the bolt guide that most Beaumonts have, left over from the safety device).
DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS: The arrangement of the mainspring, which is housed inside the large, hollow, bulbous two-piece bolt handle is particularly distinctive but not apparent at a casual glance. If you look at the photos you can see the split bolt handle in the photo above, as well as the edge of the retaining screw in the front of the bolt handle. More apparent from a distance is the rear sight which, unlike the later and more common M1871/88 Beaumont-Vitali, is a small tangent type lever more akin to the Swiss Peabody, than later Beaumonts. Additionally, the trigger guard has a distinctively Dutch concave rear face, which also appears on the Dutch Snider conversions.
The receivers are most commonly marked with the name P. STEVENS over MAASTRICHT or the word "BAR" over the armory at DELFT, or the receivers are unmarked.
Interesting Beaumont Website: http://www.eddydebeaumont.nl/
MISC NOTES: Early Beaumonts had a safety which locked the bolt in a half rotated position. It consisted of a trigger shaped lever that was mounted at 90 degrees on the right side of the receiver just behind where the bolt is located in the closed position. The spring loaded lever has a pin which fits into the detent or small hole in the bolt, just behind the bolt ridge and just ahead of the striker guide rib. When the bolt was half turned, the lever pin locked into this small detent preventing the bolt from being closed completely or turned in any way until the lever was pulled back removing the pin from the detent. This was abandoned in 1876 and, but for the remaining hole, is missing in the photos above, as that rifle was made in 1885. An example of the early Beaumont safety system is shown below.
Subj: Dutch snider and Beaumont rifles
Date: 01-02-21 03:21:06 EST
Dear Mr. Doyon,
I have taken a quick look at the Dutch rifles on your site. A few comments that might help with the Dutch part:
The Beaumont rifle: In Holland it isn't uncommon to find Beaumont rifles with cleaning rods. Perhaps it might be nice to include the model 1871/79 (smaller model ramp-and-leaf sight; introduced after the introduction of "ball no.2"). The letters BAR stand for the last name of J.F.J. Bar, manufacturer in the city of Delft. In the Dutch army the rifle was known as "Geweer Klein Kaliber" (Small caliber rifle).
At this moment I am writing an article for the Gazette Des Armes about the different kinds of Beaumont-versions. Perhaps you can use the photographs that I include in my article (colonial-navy-pupils and other versions, baionets, portrait of the inventor Edouard De Beaumont etc.). The idea of the mainspring in the bolt might have been stolen from the Mauser Norris, so it probably wasn't a Dutch invention?!
If you need info about Dutch rifles, don't hesitate to ask me.
Assistant-Curator Modern Armament
Royal Dutch Army Museum.
For reasons that I don't know, cleaning rods on Dutch Beaumonts & Beaumont-Vitalis
found in the US are extremely rare. This rod is serially numbered to the production
numbers on the rifle's receiver and bolt parts so it is certainly original to the rifle.
Does anyone know why no Beaumont-Vitalis are ever seen with cleaning rods?
View of the back side of the M1871 Beaumont Cleaning rod showing Crown proof mark.
Receiver area of the single shot Type 2 M1871 Dutch Beaumont.
Subj: Your homepage Rifles of the "Age of Transition"
Date: 99-10-21 13:45:34 EDT
From: Wellershausen@t-online.de (Wellershausen)
I was very delighted as I found your impressive homepage.
I noticed that you mentioned that early Beaumonts had a safety which locked the bolt in a half
rotated position. But there is no picture of the safety on your homepage. I enclose one picture of my Beaumont fitted with a safety and hope this will be useful.
By the way: This Beaumont is numbered 89 (on the barrel, with the number 205 on the action) and dated 1873 (again on the barrel). It bears the regimental markings 47. L.W. 222. on the buttplate.
(Special thanks to Herr Wellershausen for the above photo and information)
The unique safety lever of the early (pre1876) Type 1 Beaumont.
The safety locks into the small detent hole seen above on the bolt just
behind the bolt handle and ahead of the bolt guide lug.
M1871 & M1871/88 Dutch Beaumont Bolt Assembly
The striker is driven by a striker spring housed inside the bolt. The same system was utilized in the Japanese Murata Meiji 13 and Meiji 18 rifles. Whereas most cavalry carbine versions of military bolt action rifles featured a turned down bolt handle (e.g., the carbine version of the German Mauser I.G. Mod 1871 Infantrie Gewere) the bolt system of the Beaumont prevented the adoption of a turned down bolt. Accordingly the carbine versions had straight bolts and I am told that Holland also adopted Rolling Block carbines for its cavelry.
Early French Built Dutch Beaumont
Subj: RE: Beaumont en France
Date: 00-02-08 09:05:40 EST
From: Christian.email@example.com (Christian Mery)
Je pense qu'il fait partie des essais de 1873 quand 300 fusils et carabines ont été testés pour une éventuelle adoption. Il a été commandé 150 fusils Beaumont et 150 fusils Chassepots modifiés pour tirer la cartouche métallique.
Amitiés de France
Page first built: February 3, 1999
Revised June 6, 1999
Revised September 26, 1999
Revised October 24, 1999
Revised December 8, 1999
Updated: Nov 5, 2021