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I believe I have a Chassepot early prototype/experimental rifle. Please, correct me if you know what is this rifle exactly. I made photos comparing it to the "standard" Chassepot:
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v26/manowar/Chassepot/
These are the visible differences from the standard 1866:
- It has no mfg markings, inspection marks, serials whatsoever, except for an M at the right side of the barrel
- The rear sight is a simple ladder with a small slide. (I think it is installed backwards)
- The receiver tang is stepped
- The rear top of the receiver is sharp, not rounded
- The rear part of the bolt is also sharper (not easily visible on the photo)
- The stock behind the grip is sharper
- The butt has a different shape and angle
- The butt/buttplate are narrower and more elongated
- Top of buttplate is different, top screw is at a different location

The last photo is not related, but some of you maybe interested. It shows a Gras Mle.1874/M80 on top and an unaltered Mle.1870 on the bottom. Note the M80 round cutout in the receiver, also there is a longitudinal cutout hidden by the bolt. The M80 cutout was made for gas escape due to case head failure.
 

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The front of the receiver and chamber profile look like an English Kynoch Chassepot or Belgian commerical model.
 

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[...]
- The rear sight is a simple ladder with a small slide. (I think it is installed backwards)
- The receiver tang is stepped
- The rear top of the receiver is sharp, not rounded
- The rear part of the bolt is also sharper (not easily visible on the photo)
[...]
My 1870 Chatellerault Chassepot has the same rear sight and yes, you are right, yours is installed backwards. The ladder needs to be flipped 180°. It also has a very similar looking tang and rear part of the receiver and bolt. However, it's difficult to tell small differences from photographs on a webpage. So I am not sure if these are simply factory or period specific variations of the original plan.

Your stock and buttplate is looking different. Does your barrel has a bayonet lug? Have you checked the underside of the barrel for proofs or numbers? Can you provide higher resolution close ups of the typical areas, where the military Chassepots have their markings, numbers and proofs.

Give this webpage a try, you might actually find the bits an pieces found on your gun: http://armesfrancaises.free.fr/fusil%20d%27infanterie%20Mle%201866.html
 
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