Vetterli-Ferracciu for the Italian Navy

The Italian military adopted the single-shot Vetterli rifle in 1870, and by 1882 the Italian Navy was looking for something with a bit more firepower. The proceeded to adopt the Vetterli-Bertoldo in 1882, a version of the Vetterli with a 9-round tubular magazine in the stock, under the barrel. In 1887 the Italian Army would adopt the Vetterli-Vitali, with a 4-round box magazine. Finally, in 1890, the Navy converted many of its Bertoldo tube-magazine guns to yet another pattern, the Vetterli-Ferrucciu. These also had a 4-round box magazine, but a different type than the Vitali system used.

This rifle is part of Lot 4134 at Rock Island on Saturday, October 10th.


  1. How many versions are there of the Vetterli. The Vetterli system is often derided but it must have had plenty of merit to be adopted by several countries with a variety of ammunition systems.

    • Considering the original design was Swiss, one has to ask about licensing fees just for manufacturing the receiver (magazine or not, you must pay inventor for the design use until his patent expires). The system was a bit outdated by the turn of the century but it was not downright out-fought, unlike the trapdoor action rifles. I could be wrong.

    • Tube magazines fell out of favor because of handling issues and slow reload time. Under barrel tube magazines changed the point of balance as the rounds were fired off and typically had to be single loaded. Box magazines kept the same point of balance and from the Vetterli-Vitali onwards could be quickly reloaded with a charger, en bloc clip and ultimately stripper clips.

  2. Thanks very, very much for this episode! I saw one of these in a museum case in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, and I had no earthly idea what I was looking at… Now I know!

  3. I was wondering if these weird navy versions of the Vetterli saw service in any war, like the Italo-Ethiopian or the Italo-Turkish one ?

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