Swiss Schmidt-Rubin Model 1889 Repeating Rifle

Created on August 4th 2017

A fine example of the Model 1889 12 shot repeating rifle


Despite containing an extraordinarily sophisticated technological design within it’s action, this rifle is viewed as an Antique, Obsolete calibre weapon and as such it is possible to hold and keep under Section 58(ii) of the UK firearms act with no license.  It has a center-fire, 12 shot repeating action with flawless reliability chambered in 7.5 x 53.5mm rimless discontinued cartridge with a calibre not unlike the British .303.  It is fully functioning, has not been deactivated and does not need to be.  It is even more strange then if the holder wants to shoot it, he is perfectly within his rights, as long as he possesses a valid Firearms Ticket, to have said firearm entered on his ticket and use it on approved ranges.  Otherwise it can remain as part of a collection displayed even outside a gun room perfectly legally.  Don’t quote me verbatim, but that is the gist of the situation at the time of writing.


The Swiss M1889 is a superbly designed piece of engineering typical of the Swiss.  It was capable of an accurate range of double its predecessor the Vetterli.  It was designed to use a semi-smokeless powder.  It is a physically long looking rifle but was actually only 1/2″ longer than the Mauser 71/84, though much more slender in build.  One of the factors which makes it so long, is the intricate action which has an very long bolt.  The design is termed “Straight Pull” simply by means of its operation.  With the rifle held steady in the left hand, by the fore-end, the bolt arm is literally pulled straight to the rear, so ejecting the expended case backwards over the users head.  When the bolt is then pushed back into battery, the bolt face will pick up the next round and force it forwards into the chamber. The whole process can take approximately one second – and is very unlikely to fail !  If the user is directed only to use single shot, then the magazine is literally dropped out of battery by a lever on the side.  With the magazine still being held securely within the stock, but lower down, the bolt face is unable to pick up the next round and the magazine can be held in reserve whilst rifle is loaded round by round.


During the incredibly simple process of bolt withdrawal the rifle is actually carrying out some intricate work. The locking lugs of the bolt are causing the center of the  bolt to turn and so produce two effects on the used cartridge.  One; it is drawing the case rearward but Two: it is actually causing a twisting motion which aids primary extraction. This force exerted breaks any seal which may have formed between the case and the chamber wall.  This makes it an incredibly advanced concept for such an early rifle. Merge easy and rapid operation with renown accuracy and the troops couldn’t wait to get their hands on their new rifles.


This M1889 is 51.1/4″ long overall.  The round blued barrel is 30.3/4″ long.  The trigger pull measures 12.1/2″ to center.  The serial number on most parts is “47628″ which makes year of production 1892.  Strangely, the only item which seems to have been replaced is the 12 shot box magazine which protrudes out of the bottom of the action; it carries the number “187016″.  The blued receiver has two short grooves in it and one longer groove.  The rifle has a rear sight graduated from 300 meters to 2000.  There are multiple Swiss Cross inspectors’ and ownership marks on different components of the weapon.  It is generally showing high edge wear on the steel parts of the rifle.  The stock and hand-guard are both in very good condition showing a pleasing dark patina with a strong Tiger stripe over the top of the butt-stock.DSC_0603DSC_0612DSC_0624

Equipped with a steel butt-plate with matching serial number.  Two sling swivels with original dark grey leather sling attached.  The sling is marked and can just be read.  The mid-band carries the forward sling swivel.  The front band incorporates both the rifle stacking hook and the bayonet lug.  Simple inverted “V” front sight.  Action is slick and works well.  The bore is excellent with strong three groove RH twist rifling, no pitting or misting.


A fine example of a highly technical early, repeater for collection and appreciation.

£ 595.

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