Dutch 1867 Snider Rifle

  • Country: Netherlands
  • Ignition System: Centrefire
  • Calibre: 17,5 x 30R Dutch Snider

Like most other nations at that time, The Netherlands was also desperate to adopt a breechloading rifle and was equally faced with dealing with arsenals full of muzzleloaders. The Dutch launched a selection program which would eventually see the adoption of the Beaumont system but as a stopgap they decided to make use of the Snider system to convert all those muzzleloaders. Unlike the British, the Dutch really did only use the Snider for a very short time, only 4 to 5 years at most before the Beaumont was available.

The Dutch snider is very similar to the Danish snider in that the barrel is kept intact and no new receiver shoe is added. For this conversion a slot is cut in the breech end of the barrel just in front of the breech plug to create a receiver portion and a chamber is cut into the intact part of the barrel. The breech block is a classic snider block which is hinged on the right side of the barrel in the standard fashion. The block is held shut by a ball détente which is mounted in the barrel wall on the left of the receiver section. The extractor is a much bigger than the standard snider extractor and extends almost over the entire arc of the breech section such that it engages about one third of the cartridge rim. At the time of conversion, a new front and rear sight was installed. The rear sight elevator is set from 300m to 1000m, which is probably hopelessly optimistic. The front sight is in theory adjustable for windage. Conversions were performed by the Delft armoury and the prolific gunsmith P.Stevens in Maastricht, and some were even outsourced to BSA in the United Kingdom. This one is clearly a product of the Delft arsenal.

Some of these rifles have a very rich history since some parts such as the stock, barrel and lockplate could be from the original flintlock musket built 80 odd years before. Judging from the markings on the lock plate, the original rifle was a newly made percussion rifle shortly before being converted.

Very typical of the Dutch arms is the shape of the trigger, as seen in the 1854 carbine and the Beaumont-Vitali. The other tell tale feature is the shape of the trigger guard, the concave rear portion is also a classic Dutch feature.

It is interesting to note that the 1854 carbine was also converted to the snider principle but only so that a chamber insert could be chambered to fire the tiny 6mm Flobert cartridge for training purposes. Why they went to such lengths when perfectly good and cheap Florbert rifles and carbines were available is a mystery.

The cartridge 17,5x30R is very similar to the Danish snider cartridge but is 2mm longer and is centerfire.