Daudeteau M-71/94 Dovitis Rifle

     Notes: This rifle was actually built for the Uruguayans by Daudeteau in France in the 1890s.  The Uruguayans were trying to upgrade their military, but they did not have the money to afford top-of-the-line infantry rifles from Mauser or Mannlicher, and though the Dovitis Rifle was still only single-shot, it had the virtue of being a bolt-action weapon that could be fired and reloaded from the prone position.  (They also had an unrealized hope that the Dovitis rifle could later be modified to take a magazine.) Their previous standard rifles, primarily US-made rolling-block rifles and Mauser 1871s, fired non-standard cartridges that were hard to procure.

     Unfortunately, Daudeteauís rifle, called the Dovitis in Uruguay, also fired an odd cartridge, made by Daudeteau, and designed to tie the Uruguayans to business with Daudeteau.  That said, the Uruguayans wanted a small-caliber cartridge, and Daudeteau delivered that.  The Dovitis rifle was essentially a Mauser M-1871 that was converted to the new caliber in France, and given a few improvements borrowed from other rifles.  They used Lebel-type bayonets. Uruguayan M-1871s were shipped to France for the conversions, then shipped back.

     The Dovitis rifle turned out to be a miserable failure.  They had weak bolt springs, and the ammunition supplied had hard primers and was rimless; a better design would have fired semi-rimmed ammunition, like most of the rifles in Europe at the time.  This led to feed problems.  The Dovitis rifle was unreliable and the Uruguayans demanded their money back (sources conflict on whether they got it or not).  The Uruguayans managed to scrape up the money to buy proper Mauser M-1895s to replace the Dovitis rifle, and the Dovitis rifle had a very short career with the Uruguayan military. (One rumor says that most were dumped into the Rio de Plata to keep them out of the hands of anti-government forces.  At any rate, some survived, as they are now sought after as rare collectorís weapons.)

     The Dovitis rifle was essentially what we would now call a Frankenweapon.  It started with the Mauser M-1871 base, but took the sights, barrel bands, and bayonets and lugs from the M-1886 Lebel rifle, and it fired that odd ammunition.  Collectors have found that rechambering the rifle and modifying the 6.5mm Daudeteau round into a semi-rimmed round, along with replacing the bolt springs, produces a quite serviceable rifle that is accurate enough for target shooting and hunting.  The barrel was rather long at 33.5 inches.  The furniture is a single piece of shaped hardwood, finished with varnish.

     Daudeteau also, at Uruguayan request, cut down a number of Dovitis rifles to a short rifle configuration, with a 24-inch barrel.

 

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

Dovitis Rifle

6.5mm Daudeteau

4.5 kg

1 Internal

$441

Dovitis Short Rifle

6.5mm Daudeteau

4.23 kg

1 Internal

$345

 

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

Dovitis Rifle

SS

4

2-3-Nil

8

4

Nil

105

Dovitis Short Rifle

SS

4

2-Nil

6

4

Nil

72