M1851/67; M1856/67; M1863/67; M1864/67 Swiss Milbank-Amsler

(The .41 Swiss Milbank-Amslers, aka Amsler-Milbank):

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GENERALLY:   The Milbank-Amslers were swinging-block conversions of several different Swiss percussion muzzle loaders to the Amsler lifting bolt design developed by the American Isaac Milbank and refined and perfected by the Swiss Rudolf Amsler as discussed in the reference to the similar M1842/59/67 Swiss Mibank Amsler. The conversion was originally approved for Swiss army issue in May 1867.  All of the Amsler conversions were later designated "abgeandert 1867"  (modification of 1867), thus as adapted to the Jager M1856, this became the M1856/67 Jagergewehr,  the M1863 Infantry rifle bacame the M1863/67 Infanteriegewehr and the 1851 and 1864 Stutzers became M1851/67 and M1864/67 Stutzers respectively.  No fewer than Twenty seperate gunmakers took part in the Swiss army conversion program.

These Milbank-Amslers were the first Swiss rifles chambered in the then new .41 Swiss rimfire cartridge, which became the Swiss standard until about 1890, being used in the Swiss M1867 Peabody and in all of the Swiss Vetterlis subsequently adopted.

PHOTO:  The representative Milbank-Amsler rifle shown above is a M1863/67 Infanteriegewehr (Infantry rifle)

DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS:  Calibre is .41 Rimfire, the breech block is a two part hindged affair lifted by a round, flat, "beaver tail" paddle.  Identifying a Milbank-Amsler is relatively easy, the flat, square, blocky two part breech-block is readily identifiable and seldom mistaken for anything else.  Telling the Swiss rifles apart from one another is quite another matter.   Swiss rifles were not manufactured with much great distinction between civilian and military arms and there appear to be a large variety of arms in this period which are all very similar.  In any event, as best I know at this point, the military Milbank-Amsler rifles consisted of:

1) M1842/59/67 Infanteriegewhr (Infantry rifle).  Easy.  18mm cartridge, VERY long, a giant of a rifle

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2) M1851/67 Stutzer (Sharpshooter rifle).  .41 Swiss.  Double set triggers.  A deeply curved buttplate with upper and lower spurs.  A conversion of the percussion stutzer .  Should carry dates and marking from its pre-conversion lineage.

3) M1856/67 Jeagergewehr (Hunter rifle).  Single trigger, as distinguished from the two Stutzers.  The stock forms a rather sharp angle.  The rifle. being a jager, is designed for shooting from a standing position rather than prone.  It is shorter than the M1863/67 infantry rifle and the lower sling swivel is mounted on the lower tang as opposed to the front of the trigger guard.  A rather flat buttplate.

4) M1863/67 Infanteriegewehr (Infantry rifle).  926mm long, lower sling swivel mounted on the front of the trigger guard, the comb of the stock is not as high and the stock angle is not as sharp as that of the M1856/67 Jeagergewehr, which it otherwise resembles very closely.  Also a rather flat buttplate which does distinguish it even without another model to compare it to.

5) M1864/67 Stutzer.  (I need some photos!!)  Double set triggers, nearly identical to the M1856/67 but very few percussion rifles were made and converted, most of these being scratch built as a Milbank-Amsler.  Again, like the M1851/67, with a deeply curved, large spured buttplate.

M1851/67 Stutzer (Sharpshooter rifle)
 
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GENERALLY:   M1851/67 Stutzer (Sharpshooter rifle).  .41 Swiss.  Double set triggers.  Swiss breech loading short rifle converted from percussion Stutzer.  This  particular gun was converted by S.I.G, Neuhausen as stated by markings on the  receiver.

PHOTO: The rifle shown is a M1851/67 Swiss Milbank-Amsler Stutzer Short Rifle.

DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS:  The M1851/67 Stutzer Short Rifle carries a very distinctive highly curved buttplate with upper and lower spurs and double set triggers.

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M1856/67 Jeagergewehr (Hunter rifle)
 
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GENERALLY:   The M1856/67 Swiss Milbank-Amsler Jagergewehr Rifle

PHOTO: The rifle shown is a M1856/67 Swiss Milbank-Amsler Jagergewehr Rifle.

DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS:  The M1856/67 Swiss Milbank-Amsler Jagergewehr Rifle

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(note:  the extractor is missing on this example)

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 Cam is lifted just enough to clear the locking effect of the back of the receiver, allowing the entire breech block now to be lifted.

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Identical sight to that mounted on the M1867/77 Swiss Peabody.

M1863/67 Infanteriegewehr (Infantry rifle)
 
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Photos this page courtesy of Kristopher Gassior (www.collectiblefirearms.com)

GENERALLY:   The M1863/67 Swiss Milbank-Amsler Infantry Rifle

PHOTO: The rifle shown is a M1863/67 Swiss Milbank-Amsler Infantry Rifle.  This particular rifle was converted by Bellefontain, Cordier, as stated by markings on the back of the barrel.

DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS:  The M1863/67 Swiss Milbank-Amsler Infantry Rifle

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Page Revised: April 10, 1998
Revised September 27, 1999
Revised May 8, 2000

Updated: Nov 11, 2021