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Thread: WAFFENFABRIK BERN M.81 (Vetterli ??) What is it??

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    WAFFENFABRIK BERN M.81 (Vetterli ??) What is it??

    My son found this rifle and asked me about it. I've never seen one of these and didn't see, or just couldn't find any information here on the Fourm.. Anyone have anything they can share on this rifle. Its quite interesting...

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    Legacy Member Eaglelord17's Avatar
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    They are pretty cool rifles, basically the first repeating rifle to be standard issue. By 1871 the Vetterlis were the main issued rifle of the Swissicon military. Which to put in perspective how much more advanced they were than their contemporaries, the US was using the Trapdoor Springfield, UKicon the Martini Henry, Germanyicon the 1871 Mauser, Franceicon the Chassepot, etc.

    One of the issues with shooting these today is they are a rimfire cartridge, which makes them very difficult to actually shoot. There is two main options used, one being a centerfire conversion (involves drilling a hole in the center of the bolt and making a firing pin extension, fairly basic machining) and using 8mm Lebel brass trimmed and fireformed. The second option being there is cartridges with offset primers specifically for shooting these rifles as unmodified guns. The problem with those is you must manually line up the firing pin with the primer (i.e. no quick shooting), and you have to find them for sale, which I don't know how available they are.

    Personally I have a 1871 Cadet Vetterli and a M81. Never shot the M81, still have to decide if I want to convert it (in Canadaicon it has a legal effect turning it from a antique to a non-restricted firearm), but I have shot the Cadet rifle which is a antique even though it has had the modification done as it has no magazine. Neat enough gun to shoot, but it was a lot of effort to get going and my interest waned in using it when I realized it was more effort to use than my musket for a very similar practical effect.

    They are cool rifles to collect though, tons of variants, tons of history, tend not to be too expensive due to the lack of practicality in using them. Very finely made though.

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    Contributing Member usabaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eaglelord17 View Post
    They are cool rifles to collect though, tons of variants, tons of history, tend not to be too expensive due to the lack of practicality in using them. Very finely made though.
    Thanks for the information. He's interested in it just because of its design I'm sure it's the $795.00 price that's making him hesitate and him wanting to know more about the rifle of course.
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    Legacy Member Eaglelord17's Avatar
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    I am not sure about prices in the USAicon but usually in Canadaicon you can find them in the 300-800$ CAD range generally. Doing a quick search I found one 69/71 variant for about 670$ shipped with taxes in. I personally paid about 600$ for my cadet rifle a few years ago, but it was already modified to centerfire.

    It depends on what he wants to do with it. There is plenty of nice examples of them out there without many people actually being dedicated collectors of them (unlike say Mausers, or Lee Enfields, etc.). Since the Swissicon never took them to war and cared for their rifles, coupled with lack of available ammo, they tend to be in great shape and available. Personally 795$ US would be out of my range, but to each their own. I also don't know what the current market over there is like, maybe it is a fair price as it is harder and harder for me to tell anymore.

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    Legacy Member twh's Avatar
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    In the US $400 maybe $450 as they are essentially wall hangers due to the ammunition issues. I bought one last year at an auction for $350 just because I thought it was neat. It is now in my sons room as he thought it was neat as well.

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    Legacy Member KneverKnew's Avatar
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    I have three. An original that I converted to center fire. I reload using level brass. Shoots great except for hitting two feet high at 100.
    I also have one that is a Bubba conversion to a carbine that I converted to centerfire. It’s actually in very good condition and very handy in the woods. My reloads with a 44 cal 310 grain gas check lead bullet prints small at 100. Still hits high though. Need to fashion a taller front post to resolve that issue. So it basically has ballistics of a 44 magnum.
    The third is another bubba carbine cut down I keep for spare parts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eaglelord17 View Post
    Personally 795$ US would be out of my range, but to each their own. I also don't know what the current market over there is like, maybe it is a fair price as it is harder and harder for me to tell anymore.
    I told him if it was me I would make an offer of $450.00 it’s been in there shop for over two years.

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