Uruguay’s Forgotten Mauser: the Dovitiis

Uruguay’s Model 1871/94 Mauser conversions – known usually as either Daudetau or Dovitiis Mausers – are a really interesting story of arms history. It begins with Antonio Dovitiis, and Italian tailor and merchant of military supplies in Montevideo, who wound up with the job of procuring some new arms for the Uruguayan military, which was using single shot 11mm Mauser 1871 rifles – obsolescent by the 1890s.

Dovitiis made a deal with the St Denis arsenal outside Paris to convert 10,000 Mauser 71 rifles and carbines to the hot new French 6.5mm Daudetau #12 cartridge – a high velocity smallbore round. Much better than that old 11mm black powder round! Alas, it seems this isn’t really what Uruguay wanted, and they were quickly scrapped after being received back home – Uruguay would end up buying fancy new 1895 pattern Mauser repeaters instead.

The Dovitiis conversion rifles can be found today every now and then, in both full length rifle and short carbine variants. The have a fantastic split personality going on, with German gothic markings on the receiver and French script on the barrel, along with Berthier-style sights and clearing rods.


      • “Why fix a broken system when a completely affordable alternative is already available?”
        To avoid having 2 different rifle cartridge in supply chain at one time.
        Notice that 7.62x54R has originally round-nose bullet, Spitzer was introduced in 1908, but they are interchangeable.

  1. “Forgotten Uruguay’s Forgotten Mauser…” Ha!

    South American nations in the late 19th century turned to Europe to modernize the armed forces: Peru, Brazil emulated France. Chile, Argentina looked to Prussia/Germany. Colombia got Chileans as ersatz Prussians.

    All of them adopted Mauser repeaters. One camp used 7x57mm, the other 7.65x54mm.

    7x57mm: ROU/Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela.
    7.65mm: Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, etc.

    Uruguay used Remington rolling blocks in .43 Spanish/11.15x58mmR. So too Argentina and various other Latin American nations.

    The 7mm Mausers were used in the last 1904 civil war against Saravia’s followers and the Blanco party’s uprising… And even as late as the “Third World War” which authoritarian president Bordaberry maintained could be discerned in the MLN-Tupamaro vs. the State civil war/urban guerrilla/terrorist conflict in the late 1960s/early 1970s. Of course, U.S. WWII-vintage equipment was more widespread, along with some curiosities and a few U.S. M16s and so on.

    I’d long been curious about the Dovitis/Daudeteau conversions. Thanks for the very informative episode!

  2. I do have the rifle version and ammunition for it. Brass trigger guard, and the original clearing rod. I got in 1988 and gave it to my father not knowing anything about it. Well after he passed it came back to me.

    Went to test it, and without ammunition the action is fine. Trigger doesn’t function with a round in the chamber. Advise would be most appreciated

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