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Cei-Rigotti - 6.jpg
Type Selective-fire rifle
Place of origin Kingdom of Italy
Production history
Designer Amerigo Cei-Rigotti
Designed c. 1900
Weight 4.3 kg (9.5 lb)
Length 1,000 mm (39.4 in)

Cartridge 6.5×52mm Mannlicher–Carcano
7.65x53mm Mauser
Action Gas piston, self-loading
Rate of fire Up to 900rpm
Muzzle velocity 730 m/s (2,400 ft/s)
Feed system 10-, 20- and 50-round fixed box magazine
Sights 1,400 meters (1,531 yards)

The Cei-Rigotti (also known as the Cei gas rifle[1]) is an early automatic rifle created in the final years of the 19th century by Amerigo Cei-Rigotti, an officer in the Royal Italian Army.


This circa 1900 photo shows an Italian soldier demonstrating charging and firing a standard and high capacity version of the Cei-Rigotti rifle.
The Cei-Rigotti rifle field stripped.

The rifle was gas operated and had selective fire capabilities (single shots or fully automatic). Available information on this gun is sparse and contradictory.

According to several publications, the prototype rifle was chambered for the 6.5×52mm Mannlicher–Carcano.[2] The gun was supposedly presented by Cei-Rigotti to his superiors in a private demonstration in 1895. An Italian newspaper reported on this event in 1900.[3] According to another source, a demonstration was actually held publicly in Rome on June 13, 1900, when 300 rounds were fired on full automatic before the gun got so hot it seized up.[4] Yet another source mentions a demonstration in the same year the Brescia Arsenal.[5]

The British also ordered and tested the gun after this event, but they found it unsuitable.[3] The exemplar found at the UK National Firearms Centre in Leeds is chambered in 7.65x53mm Mauser, as is another exemplar found in a U.S. private collection.[6]

The rifle fed from a fixed box magazine, loaded through stripper clips.[6] Reportedly, prototypes with magazines up to a capacity of 50 rounds existed.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Daniel D. Musgrave; Thomas B. Nelson (1967). The World's Assault Rifles and Automatic Carbines. T. B. N. Enterprises. p. 225. 
  2. ^ a b David Westwood (2005). Rifles: An Illustrated History Of Their Impact. ABC-CLIO. p. 364. ISBN 978-1-85109-401-1. 
  3. ^ a b David Miller (2003). The illustrated directory of twentieth century guns. Zenith Imprint. pp. 224–225. ISBN 978-0-7603-1560-6. 
  4. ^ W. H. B, Smith and Joseph E. Smith, The Book of Rifles, 1948, National Rifle Association, p. 68
  5. ^ Ian V. Hogg (1978). The complete illustrated encyclopedia of the world's firearms. A & W Publishers. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-89479-031-7. 
  6. ^ a b McCollum, Ian (October 24, 2012). "Cei-Rigotti". ForgottenWeapons.com. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 

External links[edit]