The M1870 Vetterli was the Italian service rifle from 1870-1878, when it was replaced with the M1870/87 Italian Vetterli-Vitali variant. The M1870 was a single-shot bolt action rifle chambered for the 10.4mm Vetterli centrefire cartridge, at first with black powder and later with smokeless powder. The M1870 was based upon the M1869 Swiss Vetterli but simplified for economy.
In 1887, the Italian Army converted the M1870 to a four-shot repeating rifle, based on the system designed by Italian Artillery Captain G. Vitali. This conversion added a box magazine fed from Mannlicher-style en-bloc clips.
During World War I, many M1870/87 rifles were converted to share the same 6.5mm smokeless powder round as the primary service rifle, the Carcano, by adding a 6.5mm barrel lining and a Carcano-style magazine. These conversions are not considered safe to fire with standard 6.5x52mm loads.