Shooting the M1851 Feld Stutzer rifle


The Swiss Feld Stutzer, or M1851 rifle, is a military rifle which should be able to compete with the best rifles made during that time. Unfortunately the caliber of the rifle was too much ahead of its time. The rules of the M.L.A.I.C. dictate that “The bore diameter must be in excess of 13.5 mm (0.5315")”. Therefore the M1851 has can not compete as a Service Rifle and has to shoot against the Free Rifles.

When these rules were made Switzerland was not involved and the English and American rifles of that time all had a bore size of more than 13.5 mm.

Considering that the 10.4 mm calibre of the M1851 is original for this Swiss military rifle, perhaps the “rule makers”  could reconsider their judgement.


There are several types of bullets which can be used shooting this rifle.


* The original bullet designed for the M1851 was the “Ordonnanz 1851”. A picture of this cartridge has can be seen below.






* For casting this type of bullet several moulds have been developed. A basic version of the mould would like this:



* A more sophisticated mould for the M1851 bullet is depicted below:





Recently I have cast some bullets with this over 150 year old mould and it is amazing how good it works compared with modern day bullet moulds.


Of course the most interesting part of casting bullets is trying them out at the range.

From what you can see in the pictures above is that the bullet had a cotton patch when it was used in the 1850’s. I have used a patch from OX-YOKE (.010 th) lubricated with WD40.

This will provide a better fit and will also clean the barrel after each reload.


On 4 April 2004 I shot my first card with the original cast bullets and using 30 grains of Swiss 2 powder. Some of the shots started to tilt, which was caused by fouling, I assume.

Overall the result was not too bad with 89 points, 50 meters free hand.




It shows that the persons who designed these rifles and their load must have known what they were talking about.

The sharp shooters were using their rifles to kill the officers and artillery soldiers at long ranges of over 150 meters, or in the old times paces.   


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