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(24 customer reviews)

Italian Vetterli Model 1870/87/15 Caliber 6.5 Carcano B-GRADE


3 in stock

3 in stock


B-Grade Vetterli rifles available now! The rifles are in functional condition. They might have some cosmetic blemishes like: Dings, dents, scratches, may have small cracks in the wood such as near the toe or front end. The metal has finish wear, might have some minor corrosion. No cleaning rod included. May have some minor missing rear sight components as spring, etc. They might be missing a front sight. Stocks may have trench art and may be handmade Ethiopian stock replacements in some rare cases.

We just received a small quantity of original Italian
Vetterli Model 1870/87/15. All rifles are converted for the Carcano 6.5
Click here to view our Carcano clip page

Please note: the photo shown above is a rifle in very good to excellent condition.

These rifles are considered Antique and therefore do not
require an FFL transfer. A government Photo ID like Drivers License or passport
will be required to purchase these rifles. Please send your ID to along with your order number. Thank you for your business!


Please note: please view our Terms and Conditions Section 9 in regards to the condition of these rifles. Thank you for your business.


The M1870 Vetterli was the Italian service rifle from
1870-1887, when it was gradually replaced with the M1870/87 Italian
Vetterli-Vitali variant. The M1870 was a single-shot bolt action rifle
chambered for the 10.4mm Vetterli centrefire cartridge, at first loaded with black
powder and later with smokeless powder. The M1870 was based upon the M1869
Swiss Vetterli but simplified for economy.


10.4mm Fucile di Fanteria, Modello 1870/87 Vetterli-Vitali

In 1887 (until 1896), the Italian Army began converting the
M1870 to a four-shot repeating rifle, based on the system designed by Italian
artillery captain, G. Vitali. This conversion added a box magazine fed from a
Swiss-style fabricated steel and wood stripper clip holding four cartridges, in
the same caliber (10.4x47R mm) as before. The clip is pressed into the
magazine, until the last round catches under the Cartridge retainer, and then
the clip is withdrawn using the “pull string” in the top wooden frame
of the clip. Clips of cartridges were supplied in a soldered sheet steel box,
holding six clips.

The conversion to the Vitali magazine was done on the long
rifle, the TS (special troops musketoon) and possibly some of the Carabinieri
carbines; No Vitali conversions were done to the Moschetto da Cavalleria for
metropolitan Italian troops. In 1888, the Fondo Coloniale (Eritrea) requested
500 Vitali-converted Vetterli cavalry carbines for the Eritrean Native Cavalry
(“spahi”—Swahili for “horse-soldier”). There are currently
five known examples still in existence ( one in Australia, two in the US, two
in Italy). Collectors refer to it as the M1870/88 V.V.Eritrean cav carbine. The
Regio Esercito (Royal Army) Cavalry units maintained the M1870 single shot
Moschetto da cavalleria until replaced by the M1891 Moschetto da cavalleria, in

The conversion is indicted by a cartouche “Artig. Fab.
D’armi Terni 1888” (dates vary), on the butt stock. The center of the
cartouche displays a Crest of Savoy and the word, Riparazione (Italian for
repair) is directly below the cartouche. Shortages of small arms appeared from
the very beginning of Italy’s entrance into World War I on the side of the

As more of the population mobilized for the first total war
in European history, the supply of modern small arms fell short before the end
of 1915 and a large number of obsolete Modello 1870/87 Vetterli-Vital were
issued to newly formed regiments that were not expected to be in combat,
however, troops carried these antiquated rifles into battle on several

As well, in 1916, Italy sent a large number of
Vetterli-Vitali rifles to Russia; ammunition and components were contracted for
by Britain to the Remington Armory. These “tsarist” rifles eventually
ended up in Republican hands in the Spanish Civil War, as the Soviet Union emptied
its depots of all the old black powder and early smokeless rifles it had
inherited after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.


During World War I, many M1870/87 rifles were converted to
share the same 6.5mm smokeless powder round instead of the inferior black
powder rounds as the primary service rifle, the Carcano, by adding a 6.5mm
barrel lining and a modified M91 Carcano magazine. The barrel sleeving was
called the “Salerno method”; The bolt face was also machined to
accept the smaller diameter 6.5 mm cartridge head, and the firing pin
shortened. These conversions were used for rear echelon troops (guards,
training, etc.) and were rarely, if at all, fired with standard 6.5 mm military
ball ammunition. After WWI, many of these rifles were assigned to the colonies
of Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica (Libya) and also to Eritrea and Somalia,
again, as rarely-fired training rifles. These rifles were used again in the
Second Italo-Ethiopian War, mostly by native African soldiers.[1] During World
War II, they were used only by fascist Blackshirts paramilitaries.[2]

It is considered by knowledgeable collectors[who?] that due
to the rifle’s age and general condition (manufactured in 1870-1890s) and
converted twice (1887-90s and again 1915-16), that the black powder technology
of the Vetterli design is not suitable for repeated use (i.e. intense combat
use) with normal Italian ball ammunition of 6.5 mm, or its present-day
commercial equivalent. Even back in the 1920s, anecdotal accounts of Salerno sleeves
loosening under “hot” fire (they were soft-soldered in place) and
subsequent “blow-by” experience since the 1950s appearance of these
rifles as surplus has led to safety concerns.[3]

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Item Reviews

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24 reviews for Italian Vetterli Model 1870/87/15 Caliber 6.5 Carcano B-GRADE

  1. Hayden P

    For $200, I received a complete rifle that cocked and decocked well, A smooth bolt and functional safety. And a very good bore. All in all the steel components were great. But it’s the stock that’s the issue, The two wooden shims installed around my magazine were completely broken off, Cracks running up towards the receiver area of the rifle, And one on the toe. Repairable yes but certainly a somewhat major default. I enjoy projects however and will be repairing and refinishing this stock, In conclusion. I believe it’s worth the money, But be prepared to put some work in to get it presentable

  2. Don

    First time buying from RTI and could not be happier. The Rifle came as described only missing cleaning rod with dings dents and trench art. The bore is in great condition and should make a great shooter. Thanks RTI now to load up some rounds.

  3. Mark

    First RTI purchase for me. I was expecting a dirty rifle with a cracked stock and maybe a part or two missing. After tearing it down it appears that it’s just dirty and has some scuffs on the stock, but no cracks. Bluing is mostly still there on the barrel, receiver magazine and trigger guard. Most bluing is gone on the bolt handle and barrel bands. Buttplate is relatively rusty but it should clean up just fine. Lock up looks good and the bore looks great! Locking lugs appear to be in good shape and free of cracks. I purchased it for a wall hanger but now I’m tempted to load for it. No trench art on mine which I was actually kind of looking forward to, but it was a “maybe” in the listing anyway.

  4. Robert

    I am so pleased with this purchase! This grade B rifle will clean up very nicely. Even the bore shows good rifling! All complete except for Ramrod.
    I am so pleased with my purchase’s from Royal tigers. They have always answered my question within a day and shipping has been within a week , week and a half.
    I would encourage anyone who was thinking about ordering , to do so. !! Just keep in mind these guns were used over and over. They show dings and dents. Which is what I like about them.! Just knowing the battle’s they must have been in, is so cool. Remember it’s also about the Historical interest as well as the condition.

  5. Noah

    Given all the things I heard about RTI, I bought this rifle thinking I may get the worst of the worst: a cracked stock, a rusted barrel, missing components, etc. I was pleasantly surprised with the rifle I received. The stock, barrel, frame, and the rest of the components arrived in a very acceptable condition. Of course, the stock was a little banged up with scratches and dents, but those were completely expected and acceptable. The barrel had some rusting and some pitting, but I don’t plan on shooting it, so a quick clean and I was very satisfied. Overall, I am very glad I was able to purchase this piece of history in such good condition.

  6. Lewis

    This gun is horrible,got brown stuff all over my hand,bolt is horribily rust barrel is unbelievable 1/2 the parts are missing,i got the worst of the worst,cust svc stinks i contacted them cause it was being sent to my FFL even tho not required they said they needed driver lience physical addy which i sent TWICE they STILL sent it to FFL which cost me a transfer fee even as a gunsmith i have my work cut out RTI is a horrible company 1st an last time doing businesd

  7. Kasey Turchin

    Honestly very pleased with this purchase, I purchased one when I saw they were restocked and only asked for exterior condition to be their as I only wanted one to fill a gap in the collection. Was very pleased when I opened the box, all parts and hardware were present and no major cracks or problems with the stock. As with all Ethiopian cash rifles it was extremely dirty but to my surprise their was actually a nice patina/finish under the dirt. Bore is basically pristine but the problem is their is what I believe to be a crack behind the locking lugs that wraps about 1/4 of the way around the bolt. No fault on RTI’s side, this problem comes with the history of the rifle and honestly I don’t mind, just another fine addition to the collection.

  8. Bennie Smith

    This rifle cleaned up nicely. I had to fabricate a sight assist nob, but fix a minor issue with the bolt release band and am still happy with it. Can’t wait to take it to a range and put a few rounds down range. Will return for more thanks Guys (Initial success or total failure).

  9. FranklinTompkins

    Received mine today (9/29/2023) and could not be happier. Yes, it’s dirty, but I expected that. The wood is in very good shape for its’ age, the metal finish is very nice. The rear sight seems complete and works and have a front sight. The bore is dark but the rifling seem strong all the way up. It should clean up very nicely! This is my third rifle received (2 Gras already delivered and also very good condiition). I have 2 “project” guns due in tomorrow and a Mannlicher on Monday. Two more in line to be picked and shipped! Don’t want to jinx my luck so far, but so far so good!

  10. RobertAllison (verified owner)

    I relieved my order only a couple of days after I ordered it. It came well packaged and complete except for a broken firing pin. Overall, I am very pleased with it as apart from the firing pin, a few small cracks in the stock and some small patches of light surface rust it’s an excellent example of a WW1 rifle. All the parts appear to be present, the AOI brand is very clear and there is even the remains of the stock cartouche from its final refurbishment in Rome in WW1. I have not yet taken the receiver out of the wood yet but for 150+shipping it’s a great deal.

  11. Robert (verified owner)

    I was quite happy with my purchase even though it had a few minor faults like a broken firing pin, cracks in the stock and the lose filler where the old magazine used to be.

  12. t0r0scorpio (verified owner)

    As described. Might get another one. Stock was the only thing that had real damage, but nothing fatal structurally. All the metal parts, while they needed a very good cleaning, function properly, almost like new. I doubt I’ll ever take it to a range as it is a very nice example of a functional relic of the late 19th century.

  13. jertekrol (verified owner)

    Purchased a B-grade for $150 and actually very happy with this one after cleaning it up. Stock is dinged up but complete and no cracks, some very minor chips at front, no repairs. Gun is fully functional – loads and ejects clips, bore is in great shape with rifling present. Shockingly, the metal retains 75%+ blueing overall, with no wire wheeling! Almost no rust or pitting. Only issue was that the rear sight leaf was broken off and front barrel band was missing. Compared to my B-grade Mannlicher, this gun is in excellent shape.

  14. WilliamOBrien

    The rifle cleaned up nice enough. and has a deceant bore but i wouldn’t trust the action. Good looking wall hanger and didnt expect much else. Could use a cleaning rod other wisw the rifle is complete.

  15. diverdad2 (verified owner)

    She’s going to polish up very nicely!

  16. noah.a.whitley (verified owner)

    Got my B-grade Vetterli during the recent $150 sale. Mostly interested in it as a wallhanger/historical piece along with the rest of my collection. For that purpose it certainly does well. The blueing is still 98%, the parts are all there, and it looks very good! Didn’t even need much cleaning! Mine did not have a cleaning rod but I plan to get that separately.

    As for the action itself, it does not seem to cock properly most of the time but that could probably be fixed. The bore seems alright.

    5/5 as a wallhanger/collector’s piece!

  17. diverdad2 (verified owner)

    These are great artifacts from history that are made available. Enjoy!

  18. Alan Widener (verified owner)

    Mine came complete, except for cleaning rod it says won’t be included. Barrel bands (really hard to loosen but just go slow after soaking the threads in oil) and sling swivels are intact. Definitely the dirtiest gun I’ve ever acquired. Was able to disassemble the rifle and clean all of it. The shims for the mag did fall out and I was able to glue them in. Had a few areas of rust between the barrel and stock. Only had about 30% of blueing left and after sanding all of the rough areas of metal down with steel wool, there was very little bluing left, so I did a rough blueing/rust removal and then a rough blueing of all the metal parts. Barrel has no maker or date mark that I can recognize. Lots of other small marks and numbers, but don’t know what they are, except for sn.

    The stock was almost all black. I lightly sanded it until I could see the wood color. AOI cartouche with sn that matches sn on the barrel. Can see faint shadow of original cartouche.

    Now I’ve got a decent looking rifle. Bore is not too dirty and has decent rifling. I will load up some reduced loads and see how she shoots. Everything seems pretty solid.

  19. James Yarborough (verified owner)

    I gotta admit I got a way better rifle than expected. I left a note on my order kindly asking for a good shootable condition rifle and that’s pretty much what I got. Bore was actually pretty good just a little worn and the stock had some easy to fix cracks in it but the only thing I don’t like was how much it was wire wheeled otherwise I’m fairly happy with my rifle

  20. Konstantin Vlahos (verified owner)

    Very happy with the rifle I received. The bore is in good condition, the metal retained some blueing and cleaned up nicely. The wood was in very solid condition as well. The only issues my rifle had was that the metal nose cap was missing, and that someone had filed down the engagement surface on the firing pin where it is held against the sear so that the firing pin would drop whenever the bolt was closed. This was easily fixed with a little judicious filing and now the rifle functions fine. For a B grade I was expecting it to be in worse condition, overall I am very happy and would recommend.

  21. JohnLaBree (verified owner)

    I received my B Grade Vetterli 1870/87/15 on February 23rd. It far exceeded my expectations. There were no missing parts or cracks in the stock. The bore cleaned up to near mint. About 80% of the bluing was still present. I know it’s luck of the draw but I made out on this one. Thanks RTI.

  22. ForrestWade (verified owner)

    Ordered mine on Feb. 17 and it arrived today (March 7th). The site says to expect 2-4 weeks for shipping so right on the money. It was well packaged and arrived undamaged. The gun is in very nice condition overall, only missing the cleaning rod which I expected, and seems to function properly. It needs a wipe down but other than that it initially looks great. Haven’t checked the bore yet but I imagine it will be fine based on the rest of the rifle’s condition. Even if it’s bad, it’ll make for a good wall hanger. Very happy with this purchase.

  23. Charles Kirkland (verified owner)

    I just received my rifle and I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. It took a little less than month to arrive , though the website does state that there may be a 2-4 week wait. Which was expected. My packaged was well packed and not just thrown into a box. My particular rifle had no missing parts and a fantastic bore. The wood grain is beautiful holds an A.O.I marking. Will definitely be purchasing other products in the near future.

  24. matthewjdickens98 (verified owner)

    I just received mine from FedEx today June of 2024.
    Pulled it out of the box and was pleasantly surprised…. Pulled out a 70/87/15 with no broken or missing parts
    No seriously mangled screws.
    Cleaning rod was present on this example
    As well as an AOI stamp
    I received an 1886 dated Terni not sure if vitali production began before 1887 as production usually starts either the year before or after the designation date for most firearms But this rifle may have started out as a straight up 1870

    Anyway I’m very happy with it. I received a 100% complete rifle with an excellent bore and about 60% of the original finish….
    Surprisingly there are no Ethiopian markings to be found.
    No Amharic characters no symbol for menelik II
    my ONLY complaint was a bent rear sight leaf…. But I ordered a B grade. So it could have been worse
    Also the mild rust on the sight leaf was uniform and shows no white metal or signs of fresh damage… so that sight leaf was bent probably 100 years ago or whenever Ethiopia finally threw these into a pile…..rifle cleaned up nice after a quick boil and carding.

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