A foreigner! The M1896/11 Schmidt Rubin

Hmm… should I even be posting this. It is certainly not a Dansk Gevær, not even Scandinavian, so why is it here? Well Christel did a deal on this rifle many months ago however for a variety of reasons it never actually got shipped to us until just a few days ago.

Made in Switzerland, this particular M1896/11 was manufactured in 1910 as part of a run of 6,300 rifles of that year and was upgraded to /11 specification sometime between 1913-20 with improvements including a barrel chambered in 7,5×55 to take advantage of the new GP11 ammunition. In total 127,000 M1896/11’s were built.

So what we have here is a service rifle for the Swiss Army which means there is a very good chance it was never used in anger, in fact given Switzerland’s neutrality it should have had an easy life, the thing is had it?



Only one way to find out, pull it apart!

The woodwork was in suspiciously good condition and closer examination showed a number top rear of the butt that did not match up with the iron work, new wood maybe? I dropped the stock bands off, removed the upper hand guard and interestingly the number stamped on the underside matched the receiver, bolt and barrel which was encouraging. The magazine displays the same number as well so all matching metal so far. Removing the trigger guard/bottom metal revealed a trigger and guard that matched and of even more interest the stock also has the same number as the rest of the rifle stamped inside so it is an all matching rifle in that respect. I have no idea what the different number on the upper side of the stock is for.

General condition, well the bore was already shiny however I set to work with a wipe through with a cleaning product I am testing and whilst that was doing it’s work I had a chance to check the rest of the metal work over. Some minor surface rust was visible on the receiver however this wiped off, the bluing has lightened with time but is still quite fine and the inside although oily soon cleaned up.

The bolt on the M1896/11 is an odd affair as the rifle is a straight pull however it strips very easily without tools and again is in good condition. I stripped and assembled the bolt a few times and found myself getting quite slick at the process however I am not really at the blindfolded stage for this. I will time myself on the process some day 🙂 I do find the operation of the bolt quite clunky and this seems to be down to the bolt release catch which acts as a stop as well, it uses quite a powerful spring so the bolt needs a good yank to open, hardly into Swiss wristwatch territory.

The barrel twist is 1:10.63″ so quite capable of coping with a heavy bullet and GP11 uses a 174 grain bullet. It is well documented that the GP11 bullet design was well studied by the US Army Ordinance during the development of the 30-06 round. On the subject of the barrel I had steadily scrubbed the barrel with ‘Product X’ and the amount of blue showing on the last few patches was steadily diminishing so I passed a couple of water damped patches through and had a chance to marvel at the amount of carbon fouling that came out before it eventually patched clean. I finished with an oiled patch and reassembled the rifle. About the only thing left to do now is shoot it and check the bedding screws, the accuracy can be skewed if the tang screw is incorrectly tightened, the best place to check this is on the range which will be some time in the new year.

So is the Viking pleased with it? She tells me she thinks it is a cracking looking rifle, personally it seems to fall into the SOWR category which she has fallen head over heels in love with. I will stick to my Accuracy International..

UPDATE –  A quick post to the Gunboards forum regarding the second number on the stock received this reply:

…that other serial is the cantonal arsenal inventory number dating from the days it was still a 1896

Wikipedia tells me:

The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the member states of the federal state of Switzerland. Each canton was a fully sovereign state with its own border controls, army and currency from the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) until the establishment of the Swiss federal state in 1848. The most recently created canton is the Canton of Jura, which separated from the Canton of Bern in 1979.

The name is derived from the French language word canton meaning corner or district (from which the term Cantonment is also derived).


UPDATE – After some more research (OK I mostly asked questions on the SRDC forum) I can update this post.

This particular M1896/11 was built in 1910 almost certainly at the Canton of Bern Arsenal and updated sometime between 1913 and 1920 with new rear sights and a barrel built by SIG. The rifle remained in service until 1948 when the soldier the rifle had been issued to elected to keep his firearm upon his retirement. In 2006 the rifle was proof tested by the Beschussamt Ulm (Ulm Proof House in Germany) So it is fairly safe to assume it had left Switzerland and was in Germany, sometime later it ended up in the UK and was purchased from the owner in August 2012 and eventually arrived home end of December 2012.

Fascinating stuff!

Now some details.

Sadly the stock has been scrubbed at some point so there is not a lot to be see, however you can still see the original Bern Arsenal inventory number and on the end is what looks like a bear which denotes it was built at Bern


The tang shows AG which is the German year code for 2006 and the antler to the right is from the Ulf Proof House.


The P.48 shows a soldier chose to take this rifle with him when he left the Army in 1948, I am not sure what the N behind the sight means and there is also a heart on it’s side on the barrel I cannot find any reference to.

Receiver upper

Bottom view shows the barrel came from the SIG factory however I am not sure what the B.38 refers to, something SIG again maybe? I assume the serial is that of the barrel prior to fit.

Receiver lower

I find this make of rifle quite fascinating and I am looking forward to finding out a bit more about the marque, I have already suggested Christel could do with another one!


The Krag-Jørgensen in 1957

This young man is Jørgen Christensen, founder of www.Schultz-LarsenRifleClub.dk shooting at Fåvang in Norway in 1957. This particular Krag-Jørgensen was borrowed and is a hunting rifle chambered in 9.3 x62 which is not so far off a 30-06 case wise but with a somewhat heavier bullet.

1957 på skydebanen

Jørgen tells me the majority of hunters used the Krag-Jørgensen rifles, usually in 6,5x55SE converted to single shot. The reason for the single shot modification is they were hunting Reindeer which tend to herd together so the single shot meant reloading took longer and gave the Reindeer a more sporting chance.

All of the people in this picture are Reindeer hunters and they would have to attend a compulsory shooting test once a year to make sure they could use the rifles accurately and safely. The tests took place at 100/200/300m.

Jørgen tells me the same rifles were used for Moose/Elk however they would be hunted with a full magazine.

Emil Frandsen – Gunsmith

Hopefully someone will pick this up and be able to tell me more.

The RPLT42 we now have has been converted to a sporter/hunting type rifle, the work appears to consist of shortening the forend, removing the upper hand guard and fitting pads to accept ‘scope rings. The stock is stamped Emil Frandsen who we assume is the person/company that did the ‘conversion’

So what do we know about Frandsen? Well nothing really, the webynet draws a blank to our searches with the single exception to three or more generations of Gunsmiths in Vejle in Mid Jylland.

  • Gunsmith Søren Frandsen (started 1837 in Follerup, later Vejle)
  • Gunsmith Kresten Sorensen Frandsen (Vejle) took over the company in 1877
  • Gunsmith (Peter) Emil Frandsen (Vejle) took over the company the 1903, Emil died in 1951
  • The company continued for around 10 years, possibly run by his son Hardy K. Krejbjerg Frandsen (Vejle)

If anyone knows more we would be very interested to receive updates on this family of Gunsmiths.


An RPLT42 comes home

Keeping secrets in this house is never easy, for one thing Christel and I are very close, we talk about everything. More to the point Christel is the one who tends to make any purchases, be it something for the business or home so this means if I need something she invariably sorts out the payment, even if it is on-line. So bringing a new rifle into the house without her knowledge was always going to be a covert activity, explaining a large rifle shaped package arriving by courier would be a real give away unless I could pass it off as something else.

So I told her something interesting was arriving for her and it was destined to be her Xmas present and that it was going to be in a huge box so she would never guess what it was. Heh! Well that part worked out OK and end of last week the box arrived and I spirited it off to the SHED for closer inspection. I knew it was a Schultz and Larsen RPLT42 (Model42) Schultz & Larsen, chambered in 8x58RD, other than that I knew very little, it was not going to be all original but given how few and far between these things are I could live with that, I knew the bore was brown and that was about all.

This is what arrived.

42_1Currently there are under 70 known examples in the world which is not really surprising as the factory produced under 1400 of these rifles in the Second World War, hardly a significant wartime production. RPLT stands for Rigspolitiet (State Police) The number 42 is for the year, they were manufactured for an order from the State Police for the Coastguard Police (A division of the State Police) mainly to protect the North Sealand coast (Copenhagen area) from people leaving Denmark for Sweden. They were also used to guard the railway network and were referred to as the ‘Svelletaelleren’ which means sleepers/tracks counter and probably refers to the monotony of walking the tracks with one of these rifles to keep the guard company.

This particular rifle is all matching, that is the barrel, receiver, bolt, magazine, trigger and stock all have the same number. The downside is the stock has been modified to a sporter shape, so the upper woodwork has been removed along with the front band and wood forward of the band, this work appears to have been carried out by a Gunsmith, Emil Frandsen sometime after the rifle was withdrawn from service. His work is OK, he made a fine sporting rifle, probably for deer however it would have been nice to find the rifle in original condition. Someone (Emil maybe) has also added pads for ‘scope rings at some point.Model 42 receiver and bolt

This is the bolt and receiver prior to being cleaned, it is good to see it retains it’s model name and number, such information was sometimes scrubbed. Note the action is a four lug rear locker with a core diameter of 18,86mm or nearly 3/4″ – quite a significant lump of steel. The bolt cocks on close and does take some effort.

42_2Now to the ‘scope pads. As I have already mentioned, it would be nice to own an original RPLT42 however this has the makings of a lovely period hunting rifle, add a leather sling and a set of period rings with a post war 4x Zeiss or similar and maybe a slight tidying of the stock and it will be perfect, it also fills a hole in our rifle collection.

The bore is less than ideal however we have no plans to abuse this old lady so cast bullets around the 180/190 grain mark at 2000fps will be fine and more to the point I think I already have such things on the shelf, and if not I certainly know where to find some, first job is slug the bore and see what it clocks up at. As a last resort the site owner of the excellent Schultz and Larsen site http://www.schultz-larsenrifleclub.dk/ tells me he might know of a man who can supply a barrel to the original profile so that is something to pursue.

You can read more about the RPLT42 history in the Otterup section of this Journal and even more here (In Danish) from the Schultz & Larsen Club, Model 42

…and no doubt more to follow on this rifle.

Danish Snider – A strange plate at the top of the butt

One thing I was unsure of was an odd plate on the rear upper section of the butt. It looked like a base plate for a tangent sight however I could see no reason for the Snider having such a thing plus it was too far back so unless it was shot as a back gun, or perhaps field mortar would be a better description… Anyway the idea of a Snider for target shooting as a back gun seemed totally impractical and I was curious so I took it off today to see what was underneath.

Nothing! Well very little is a better description. The plate holds a small rectangle of brass in place. My initial reaction is the plate was a suitable place to stamp an identification  number/name/unit on the rifle, certainly the military issue M/89 Krag Jørgensen some 30 ish years later was fitted with a small round brass plate for unit identification so this may be for the same purpose however this does seem like a rather elaborate method for such a basic rifle. The only other thing it could be is a location point for something and the brass section is merely there to fill in the hole until the ‘thing’ was fitted but somehow this does not really seem likely in my mind.

Hopefully someone who knows will be along in a bit.


Jørgen Balthasar Dalhoff

Jørgen Balthasar Dalhoff, a Dane died in 1890 at the ripe old age of 89 years old. Over his 89 years he was, according to the book ‘The life of Jørgen Balthasar Dalhoff (1800-1890) As told and shown by his own letters and designs’

An Artist Artisan – Goldsmith – Wandering Journeyman – Designer – Lecturer at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts – Collaborator and Confidant of Thorvaldsen – The King’s Jeweller – Founder of the Industrial Association – Manufacturer, from fine Objects of Art to cheap Kitchen Utensils – Industrial ”Spy” on constant Travels – Instigator of Trade Schools – Contractor, Introducer of Central Heating – Displayer at World Exhibitions – Deviser of a Life Saving Vessel – Inventor, 13 Patents for Processes and Machinery, plus a Rifle Sight – Amateur Horticulturist.

Yes, Jørgen Balthasar Dalhoff is the chap that designed the wonderful curved rear sight for the Danish Snider and for this reason as any he is worthy of mention.


The pre 1900 sections is just that, a section to document and discuss pre 1900 Danish military rifles including the following:

1866 Danish Snider (conversion) 17x28R
1867 Remington Rolling Block M1867 11.7×41.5R
1889 Krag-Jørgensen M1889 8x58RD
1896 Remington Rolling Block M1867/96 11.7×51.6R

Of course the other thing it could be construed as is a tick list, it would be fun to hold and shoot one of each of these models and it is certainly something to aspire to.

The Danish Snider

Well this is one for the ‘Tick list’ A Danish Infantry Snider by the look of it. Time for some research now.


I just took a few minutes out to build a dummy round to confirm operation of the firing pin, this is it with a 5,56×45 NATO case alongside for scale. The case is around 18mmx28mm and the bullet is 17,5mm in diameter. I realised after I had machined this that the drawing I used was wrong however the case part is correct. I have always said beware a rifle that you can stick your finger down the end of, Christel can get her thumb in the end of this one…

Right, this is a bit more as it should be.

This dummy case was built from 6082 T6 however the final version will be brass, I can easily build a split clamp to hold the case in place to allow machining of the primer pocket. The original Danish Snider cartridge was a rim fire and all but impossible to find and certainly far too expensive to consider shooting so I will build new cases with an offset primer hole, because it is a rimfire the ‘primer’ will probably end up being a .22LR blank which is an unknown as they are hot to start off with and I am not sure of the pressure characteristics with black powder.

The rifle itself: