Fusil Gras mle 1874
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|Gras M80 Model 1874 rifle
Fusil Gras M80 Modèle 1874
Fusil Gras M80 1874
|Place of origin||France|
|In service||1874–1886 (France)|
|Used by|| Chile
Kingdom of Greece
|Wars||French colonial expeditions
War of the Pacific
Chilean Civil War of 1891
Thousand Days' War
Greco-Turkish War (1897)
World War I
Greco-Turkish War (1919–22)
Battle of Crete
|Manufacturer||Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne and Steyr|
|Weight||4.15 kg (9.15 lb)|
|Length||1305 mm (51.4 in)|
|Barrel length||820 mm (32.3 in)|
|Caliber||11×59mmR  & 8×50mmR Lebel|
|Feed system||Single shot, 10 round gravity magazine|
The Fusil Gras Modèle 1874 M80 was a French service rifle of the 19th century. The Gras used by the French Army was an adaptation to metallic cartridge of the Chassepot breech-loading rifle by colonel Basile Gras.
This rifle had a caliber of 11mm and used black powder centerfire cartridges that weighed 25 grams. It was a robust and hard-hitting weapon, but had no magazine and so could only fire one shot after loading. It also had a triangular-shaped sword bayonet, known as the Model 1874 "Gras" Sword Bayonet. It was replaced by the Lebel rifle in 1886, the first rifle to use smokeless gunpowder. In the meantime, about 400,000 Gras rifles had been manufactured.
The metallic-cartridge Gras was manufactured in response to the development of the metallic cartridge designed by Colonel Boxer in 1866 (Boxer cartridge), and the British 1870 Martini-Henry rifle. Those were soon emulated by the Germans with the 1871 Mauser.
The Greek Army adopted the Gras in 1877, and it was used in all conflicts up until the Second World War. It became the favourite weapon of guerrilla fighters, from the various revolts against the Ottoman Empire to the resistance against the Germans, acquiring legendary status. The name entered the language, and Grades (γκράδες) was a term colloquially applied to all rifles during the first half of the 20th century. It was manufactured by Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne, one of several government-owned arms factories in France. However most of the Gras rifles (60,000) used by the Greek military were manufactured under licence by Steyr in Austria.
The Gras rifle was partly the inspiration for the development of the Japanese Murata rifle, Japan's first locally-made service rifle.
Due to firearm shortages in World War I, France sent 450,000 Gras rifles to Russia. France also converted 146,000 rifles to fire 8mm Lebel in 1914. The Gras was used by the Greek Army as late as 1941 in the Battle of Crete.
Fusil Gras M80 Mle 1874 metallic cartridge.
Fusil Gras modified in 1883 with 10 cartridges gravity magazine.
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Chassepot Modèle 1866
|French Army rifle
Lebel Modèle 1886