GENERALLY: The Albani-Braendlin rifle was adopted by Belgium in 1867 but it appears that problems with the Albani itself or dealys with its delivery caused the adoption, as a temporary measure, of the Terssen, designed by Colonel Terssen of the arms factory at Liege, in 1868. The Terssen did not remain in serevice once adequete numbers of Albinis and Comblains were delivered. This rifle was built both as a conversion of the French M1777 flintlock pattern, seen above, and as a conversion of the Belgian M1848, which had already received Belgian back-action locks.
PHOTO: The rifle shown is a M1777/1868 Fusil d'infantrie. The breech block mechanism is a classic lift-block design, surprisingly similar to the US Allin Springfield Trapdoor. A complete set of photos of the M1848/68 Belgian Terssen, a second model of the Terssen, can be seen at the link below.
DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS: The Terssen's breech block is opened and elevated forward by the use of a large counter-rotating knob on the right side of the block which activates a cam that, like a Trapdoor, locks into the back of the receiver. As the Allin and Snider Enfield conversions of the same era, (but unlike the Albani), the firing pin channel passes downward at an angle through the block. Also like the Allin, the opening of the breech actuates a extractor which also pivots on the breech pivot pin. The M1848/68 Terssen looks very similar to the Albini at first glance, having the back-action lock of the Albini and similar furniture. The M1777/68, unlike the Albini, is fitted with a somewhat more conventional forward lock rather than the Albini's back-action lock. On the right side of the stock of the M1777/68 is a steel reinforcing plate to which attach the forward lock screw and a barrel retaining screw. This feature is not seen on the M1848/68, but rather a simple ecutchen for the lock screw. The barrel of both models is mounted with two simple barrel bands and a full nosecap
MISC NOTES: The M1777/68 and M1848/68 Terssens are very similar but the back action lock of the M1848/68 is dispositive. M1848/68's can be easily confused with Albini-Braendlins but the rotating knob is likewise dispositive.
The Terssen was submitted in 1867 for trials to the Italian committee responsible for developing conversions of Italian muzzle-loaders to breech loaders but it doesn't appear that any actually entered service. The Albini-Braendlin, however, was adopted by the Italian navy, other conversions being conducted using the Carcano needle type breech block developed by Salvatore Carcano in 1867, being substantially similar to the earlier French Chasspot and earlier German Dryse.
These images are included to compare with the Albini-Braendlin
with which the Terssen is sometimes confused.
M1777/1868 Belgian Terssen Infantry Rifle Pics
Set of the M1848/68 Belgian Terssen Infantry Rifle
page built June 4, 1997.
revised June 29. 1997
Revised April 15, 1999
Heavily revised February 13, 2000