Vetterli ammunition

General Info needed!!!
The Swiss Vetterli rifles in its original configuration were issued in 10,4+47mm with 2 firing pins and were
strictly rimfire at what point in time were these guns converted to centerfire??and in what quantity?
There never was to much of a problem to obtain a few rim fire rounds for these guns on this side of the
border but the center fire variety was a different thing,if I am wrong I like to be corrected I myself only
posses one round in center fire and it comes from the Williamsburgh show several years ago I have
never seen a box for these does anybody know out there how much center fire ammo for these guns
was produced before these guns went into total obsolescence?In my humble opinion it could not
have been much since the conversion of these guns to center fire must have been shall we use
the word DEAR at the time that was done.

I do believe the Swiss never converted these to centerfire, those conversions were done by individuals after theey were surplused.

So for the centerfire ammunition, those were also made by owners. I believe cases made from 8mm Lebel or another unpopular older rimmed Winchester commercial caliber that escapes me at the moment.

Basically, these were never standardized conversions so there isn’t standardized production ammunition for them.

Also, the feed sytem of these rifles require the round to be a certain length for proper feeding.

Hope that helps.


I can’t speak to the questions about the rifles but the ammunition was factory made. Here is a still sealed packet, and 5 individual rounds.
makers are: two on the left by H. Utendoerffer, middle Eley London and two on the right S.F.M.

That the packet does not picture a Vetterli action-ed rifle I have no explanation but think that these were offered to the commercial / sporting market and so were not used by the Swiss military.

Lets get it clear:
The Swiss Vetterli is 10,4x38R and (10,4x42R for the civilian centerfire version) and the Italian Vetterli Vitali is 10,4x47R. The Italians started with the Swiss rifle in 1870 as single shot but altered rifles in 1887 to 4+1 box magazine.

10.4 x 42mm Swiss Vetterli centerfire by Maurice Mégret and Fabrique federale de munitions Altdorf:


Thank you for the nice images that you send I had always trouble keeping these Swiss and Italian
Vetterli apart in particular regarding the ammo chickenthief + bdgreen cleared it up for me the round
in my possession is a 10.4 + 42 and not 47 as had thought before and the round bears the stamp M+F A CU
10,4+42 wich means Altdorf( I was in the Hospital and everything was locked up I could not look thinks up)This
round comes from the late John Scott.On this site of the line there is always people getting a hold of some of
these guns and then they think they can find boxes of ammo for these things to shoot it is often very difficult
to explain the reality of things to them.This is what set of this post in particular regarding the center fire versions it still leaves me with one open question who coverted these guns to center fire the Swiss State
or the civilian market.?? thanks to all of you who wrote Sherryl

Would this cartridges be also for the revolver or witch one would be for the revolver center fire… My friend tells me he has a 10.4 Italian revolver . Could he use the 10.4x47 R cartridge.???

In the context of the 21st century the question of center fire versions of the Swiss .41 rimfire has two separate answers, the first, covered well it seems above, being Swiss and other European center fire conversions for non military sporting use produced late in the 19th century for the most part.

There is a much later family of conversions accomplished largely in North America by people who own Swiss Vetterli rifles which they wish to shoot; this aspect was discussed by CBA in his response. As I understand it, the mechanical conversion of the rifle isn’t terribly complex and workable centerfire cartridges can be made from existing large rimmed cartridge cases. Jack

10.4x38 rimfire was the original Swiss ordnance round, the only official military round, and the 10.4x42 rimfire was a civilian variant of that cartridge.
There were civilian conversions to the centerfire cartridge, but the military never adopted a centerfire 10.4mm cartridge.

Interstingly, the Vetterly used a lifter mechanism copied directly from the Henry lever action rifle, and very early prototypes had an external hammer! Wincheter tried desperately to get them to adopt their lever action rifle instead of the bolt action design.

They went to the 7.5x53.5 mm in about 1891 in the Schmidt-Reuben.

There were a very few Vetterli rifles chambered in an experimental Swiss 8mm and the 7.5mmx53.5, but they were only trial/experimental rifles.
The Italian Vetterli was chambered in 6.5 Italian.
Then you had the Vetterli-Beaumint, the Vetterli-Vitali, and several others. Often the rimfire-centerfire were confused due to the MANY centerfire cartridges of other countries.

.348 Winchester or 8mm Lebel can be used to make the centerfire, but you need custom dies to do so.
Buffalo Arms makes brass and loaded ammo, and they sell CH loading dies:

I also have a guy in N.C. who loads black powder and smoklessfor that, and several other cartridges, but I cannot find his info right now…

Gunsdora - The 10.4 Italian Ordnance Revolver cartridge is a whole different matter. The case length is 22 mm (21.7 to 22.75 mm) for the lead-bullet version, and 19.50 to 19.80 mm for the full-metal jacketed bullet version. Way shorter than any of the case types mentioned here for various rifles. There were several revolvers for this ranging in Model Date from 1874 thru 1899.

Reference: Handbuch der Pistolen- und Revolver-Patronen, Volume I, by Erlmeier & Brandt, Page 192, Item number 150.

There is also the 10.4 Swiss Ordnance Revolver, which has a case length of 19.90 to 20.00 mm. This is for the Revolver Models 1872/78.

Reference: The same as for the 10.4 Italian cartridge, but Page 193, Item number 151.

John Moss

Badger Jack
Thank you for your info,however I am not really interested to load or make ammo for that caliber
When this post was started I believed for a while that a certain amount of these military rifles was
converted to center fire by the military wich was not the case and I tried to find a specimen in center
fire issued by the military,but only the private conversions in that form exist so the issue has become
mut but as you know this forum is all about learning from each other thank you.