M1871/88 Dutch Beaumont-Vitali
(Photos courtesy of Michael Kerrigan Collection)
GENERALLY: Already obsolete in the day of "small bore" smokeless powder cartridges, the M1871-88 Beaumont-Vitali is substantially the M1871 Beaumont converted into a repeater via the Italian designed Vitali 4 round box magazine system. The conversions began in 1888, two years after the appearance of the M1886 French Lebel (the first of the smokeless powder infantry rifles) and were applied to all of the Regular Dutch army rifles, though the rifles in service in the dutch East Indies and for Home Guard were not all converted. The Vitali magazine system was first applied to converting the M1870 Italian Vetterli rifle in 1887 creating the M1870/87 Italian Vetterli-Vitali. Holland and Italy, for the Beaumont and Vetterli rifles and carbines respectively, were the only countries to adopt the Vitali magazine conversions. The magazine follower is pushed by a coil spring and, given the substantial bottle shape of both rifle's cartridges, gives the Vitali magazine its unique and distinctive shape.
PHOTO: The rifle shown is a M1871-88 Beaumont-Vitali Infantry rifle.
DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS: The M1871-88 is the M1871 Beaumont rifle fitted with the Vitali magazine. See specifications for the M1871 Beaumont. Additionally, however, the bolt now incorporates an ejector as well as an extractor, and the receiver is fitted with gas escape vents in the event of a split case, much like the M1874 Gras.
MISC NOTES: A unique feature of the Beaumont (Copied by the Japanese Murata Meji 13 and carried forward in the Murata Meji 18) is the striker spring housed in the bolt handle.
see: The Beaumont System Bolt Assembly
INTERESTING BEAUMONT WEBSITE: http://www.eddydebeaumont.nl/
Note the ejector alongside the bolthead and compare with the M1871 Beaumont
Awesome cartouches, the one illustrated above with crowned W (for King
Wilhelm III, 1849-1890) flanked by flowers,DELFT above and date 1875 at sides
This is the view of the left side of the Beaumont's unique rear sight. The range marks on the left side shown above are "right side up" as you would expect. But on the RIGHT side, the range marks are at 1/2 step ranges marked "upside-down" so that if you are right handed you can set the range simply by rolling the rifle over in your hands seeing the range marks clearly!!.
Good view of the action as well as of the 2-piece bolt which contains the firing pin spring, a very simple, but not particularly strong, leaf spring. For a disassembled set of pics see: Beaumont Bolt
This example built at Maastricht. Numbers are production lot numbers, not serial numbers. Note the gas escape holes in the event of a cartridge base or rim failure.
Sight, proof marks, date of manufacture and serial number
Additional Dutch proofs on the right side of the barrel. I do not know their meaning. Anyone out there who can help?
Page first organized April 7, 1998
Revised February 3, 1999
Revised June 6, 1999
Revised September 26, 1999
Updated: Nov 5, 2021