Lebel Mle 1886 M93 Chatellerault Production Year
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Thread: Lebel Mle 1886 M93 Chatellerault Production Year

  1. #1
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    Default Lebel Mle 1886 M93 Chatellerault Production Year

    Hello everyone -

    I'm looking at buying a Lebel Mle 1886 M93 manufactured by Chatellerault. The guy has sent me photos including those of serial numbers. The serial numbers on the bolt, receiver, stock and etc. are all the same. I've looked at the serial number topic to try and figure out the production year but the prefix letters either don't match or I'm not reading them right. They are in a cursive script and I'm not sure if the first letter is an "L", "F", "J" or something else and the second could be a "G" or really fancy "C". The numbers themselves are 379XX.

    Does anyone have any idea what the two cursive letters are?

    BTW - it does have the "N" stamp on it.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Here you go ... MA C only used the letters A,B,C,D,E, then AB, AC, AD, AE then BC
    The right side of the barrel will tell you who made the barrel ... it should be marked MA C along with a date on it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails pagesfromlebel1905texte.jpg  
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 1860–2014

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1886lebel View Post
    Here you go ... MA C only used the letters A,B,C,D,E, then AB, AC, AD, AE then BC
    The right side of the barrel will tell you who made the barrel ... it should be marked MA C along with a date on it.
    Thank you so much!!

    I'm beginning to wonder if this one has been cobbled together. I know very little about Lebels so it's frustrating.

    The rifle is clearly marked "Chatellerault" yet the cursive script indicates Saint-Etienne. There also appears to be a "MA P". I need to get him to send better pics and it doesn't look like he sent one showing the stamp on the barrel.

    I've attached some pics that might help.

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  5. #4
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    ST 379xx : built by Tulle in 1895.
    Since it has an MAP barrel (Manufacture d'Armes de Paris), rebuilt later. MAP was created during WWI by two belgian refugees*, future directors of the belgian FN Herstal, in St Denis, suburb of Paris. They provided hundred thousands of barrels during the war. The repair explains the Châtellerault receiver. It comes from another damaged rifle (Châtellerault was not doing Lebel receivers anymore when MAP barrels began to be produced). The original serial number has been errased and the new one re-stamped.
    The proportion of original parts, new parts or parts coming from other damaged rifles is impossible to know.

    * Alexandre Galopin and Gustave Joassard
    They recruited highly skilled belgian refugees. They received an order for 300 000 barrels in 1916. They had the reputation to make deliveries of good quality, in time, and not to promise more than what they could do. The adress of the factory was 271, avenue Ornano in Saint-Denis, not very far from 134, rue de Paris (now avenue du president Wilson), place of the former SFAP (builder of Daudeteau rifles and carbines).
    They reconverted in typewriters, milliing machines, motorcycles... after WWI and became a part of FN Herstal in 1921.
    MAP also produced 5 000 R35 barrels in 1936.
    The MAP was very upset to see their pistol prototype refused by french authorities (Browning model 1936, a melt of Radom Vis 35 and of FN Browning HP 35) for purely french models of inferior design in their opinion (1935 A made by SACM and 1935 S made by MAS). They even accused the french to have copied their prototype (I think that, in that case, was untrue).
    So, after the delivery of their 5 000 (6 000?) R35 barrels in 1937, FN Herstal sold MAP to Hotchkiss. Several barrels for Pistols 1935 S were still produced by MAP after WWII, but it was its last known production for firearms.
    The brand was still existing, but in relationship with engines.
    Last edited by Alamas; 03-18-2017 at 08:07 AM.

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    Thank you!

    Overall the rifle looks to be in really good shape and the bore is nice. It's the markings that were throwing me and it doesn't help when one isn't too knowledgeable about them.

    All of that being said, what would you consider a decent price to be for it? The guy is wanting $650, is that about right for one that is so missmatched? Prices seem to be all over the board when it comes to these rifles.

    I've attached a couple pics of it to give a general, overall idea of the condition.

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  7. #6
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    That is about average price for a mismatched / re-built one nowadays, add a few hundred for a totally matched one.
    The 100th Anniversary of 'The Great War' has driven the prices up on these and many other firearms / equipment / uniforms, etc. in the last few years as demand for them has increased. Wait for the 100th of WWII ... prices will drive right up on that stuff as well, those cheap M-N's will be $ 500 +

    Patrick
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 1860–2014

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    Thanks Patrick.

    For me the main deciding factor will be the barrel year. The way my luck runs it will probably be one from the 1920s! The mismatch doesn't bother me but a non-WWI date does.

    Thanks again to all of you for the help!

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    As a guess, your rifle was most likely rebuilt in 1917, after being damaged in the early years of the war.

    A rifle with the same SN on the barrel, stock, bolt body (bolt head should have the last two digits of the SN) is not a mismatch even if a receiver from another Arsenal was used during the assembly.

    Check on the underside of the forend, there may be a SN stamped there.

    kelt

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    Okay...got more info.

    The barrel is stamped "MAP 1917". I've attached a pic.

    The bolt head does have the last two digits of the SN. The underside of the forend does have a SN on it and it matches. However, the SN on the underside of the wooden handgaurd, close to the other underside SN, doesn't match.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Early today SWMBO and I found out there was a gun show in the city - so off we went.

    I wasn't expecting to find a Lebel there - which I didn't. In fact, I can't ever remember seeing a Lebel at any of the gun shows I've been to. The main reason I went was in order to see if I could find a book on French military rifles, like those American Rifleman reprints...nothing.

    However...it wasn't all for naught, I did come home with a new toy. A Saint Etienne Mousqueton d'Artillerie Modčle 1892. The barrel date is 1899.

    All SNs match; the barrel is bright and shiny; the bolt and carrier operate as smooth as butter and it came with an original sling. There are only two issues with it - there is a slight crack in the neck of the butt stock and the cleaning rod is missing. The guy even threw in two clips and one of those contained three rounds dated 1918.

    The price the guy offered it to me for was so good SWMBO was wondering WHY I was hesitating. He actually dropped the price after we talked for awhile, he said he thought I would give it a good home. I figured that was just a sales pitch. However, another dealer, who was friends with the guy, noticed me carrying it and asked me if it was the one from his friend. I told the guy what happened and he said that that guy does indeed drop prices if he likes you and thinks you will give the firearm a good home. The guy I got it from sales modern firearms as well, but most of the older ones are from his personal collection and he is selling off duplicates. It doesn't hurt that he also assists with maintenance and care of the firearms at the WWI museum in KCMO.

    One thing I don't really care for is the "whiting" of the stamps. I understand the "why" of doing it, but is there a away to get rid of it without doing any damage?

    One other thing that stymies me is the lack of a safety!

    Anyway....attached are some pics.

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  12. #11
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    Nice Mousqueton! I would see if maybe a toothpick will get rid of the white crap in the stock serial number. I hate when people do that...
    Btw, it didn't have a clearing rod as the stock isn't cut for it. It's a later replacement stock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by diss0lutus View Post
    Btw, it didn't have a clearing rod as the stock isn't cut for it. It's a later replacement stock.
    Thanks diss0lutus, I like it and SWMBO thinks it's "cute".

    Okay...you've now got me curious about the stock. All the dealer told me was that the cleaning rod was missing. I just figured it was a very thin one that road along the side of the fūl. Then, after starting to read what I could find online - and my French is rusty - I learn there should be a shallow trough on the side for the cleaning rod to slide in. Then I saw that at some point the troughs were actually filled in with a piece of wood leaving a faint scare. I'm assuming the troughsame were filled in because the rods were dropped and replaced with a different cleaning method - I haven't gotten that far in my reading yet though.

    However - and this is the mystery part (at least for me) - the SN on the stock (H 566XX) matches all the others. There is no evidence of restamping the SNs on the metal parts or the stock. On the barrel it's stamped "MA S1899" - doesn't this mean that the barrel, and all the matching parts and stock would have been made, or assembled, about the same time and would be original to each other?

    So - is it possible they replaced the original stock with a new one and just stamped it with the original SN?

    I've also come across something else that makes you go "hmmm...", but I'll leave it for now. I'm going to create a new topic thread on this rifle and include additional pics.

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    Actually, they are kind of cute.
    The replacement stock would have been numbered to match the rest of the piece.
    The missing rod was a "clearing" rod, to get stuck cases out of the chamber, not a cleaning rod.
    The lack of a safety reflects the fact the French didn't regard them as useful, and preferred to make up for whatever utility they might offer by way of careful training and discipline in the loading and clearing of weapons.

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    Thanks for posting about your Lebel search Correus, and the bit about the Mosqueton d artillerie. I have yet to aquire a Lebel, but will, when I find the right one. However the search can be half the fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jungles View Post
    The replacement stock would have been numbered to match the rest of the piece.
    The missing rod was a "clearing" rod, to get stuck cases out of the chamber, not a cleaning rod.
    The lack of a safety reflects the fact the French didn't regard them as useful, and preferred to make up for whatever utility they might offer by way of careful training and discipline in the loading and clearing of weapons.
    Okay - this all makes more sense to me, especially in regard to the stock.

    I mentioned to SWMBO about the "clearing" rod versus "cleaning" rod. She said that that's what the guy said - "clearing". She remembers it because she hadn't heard of one before. I, on the other hand, have no excuse other than my hearing isn't the best anymore and the noise at a gun show can be difficult. Besides, when you are so use to hearing "cleaning rod" your mind tends to fill in the blanks.

    So, does the lack of a clearing rod detract from it's value? Also, did the need go away for them since the replacement stock didn't have a groove for one? Seems to me that if they were still needed the replacement stock would of had the groove. If this is the case, when would that of become common?

    Thanks again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtleguy9 View Post
    Thanks for posting about your Lebel search Correus, and the bit about the Mosqueton d artillerie. I have yet to aquire a Lebel, but will, when I find the right one. However the search can be half the fun.
    Heya Turtleguy9 - I enjoy researching stuff like and sharing information. The more I research the more I realize just how little I know!

    And yes - The hunt can be just as fun. She knew I was hesitating on this rifle because I was wanting the Lebel and then she reminded me just how much I enjoy the hunt as well as happenstance finds!

    Good luck in your hunt and may we both NOT set our sights on the same one!

  18. #17
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    Here is a long story shortened on why the clearing rod was removed and when it was done as well to the stocks ....

    In 1925 it was noticed by some various weapons inspectors at various armament facilities of damage due to maintenance to the clearing rod used in both the Mle.1892 and Mle.M1916's and many of these were in need of repair or replacement. To remedy this problem the Minister of War (Ministre de la Guerre) proposed to not repair or replace and considered to not have any of these incorporated into any new fabrications of these firearms. He then asked the three national armories, MA C, MA S and MA T to look into a study for a way to seal up the rod channel, changes in the front barrel band and in the front left recoil lug support which had the threads for the clearing rod to screw into.
    In a letter dated the 27th of May 1925 from Colonel Henri Gressier who was the Director of Manufacturer (Directeur de Manufacture) of Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Saint Étienne (MA S) to the Permanent Inspector of Manufacturing Arms (Inspecteur Permanent des Fabrications d’Armement), IFPA, made his proposal.
    He recalled that in a statement dated the 10 of November 1924 on weapons and shooting equipment, that the clearing rod was not used for maintenance of the firearm and only was used to expel a stuck cartridge in the chamber and therefore only served a limited purpose. He continued in his letter to say that if the rod was not essential to maintenance the only advantage in this was to no longer carry out the repair and replacement of these rods in store and this item be removed in any further future manufacturing of the firearms.
    He proposed the following for firearms in service:
    A. Replacement: any existing clearing rods remain in service until they became damaged. Use existing clearing rods in inventory for replacement till they ran out of them.
    B. Stock: To have the chief armorer plug up the clearing rod channel with a channel of wood which would be made of a certain specification according to the clearing rod channel dimensions.
    C. The front barrel band would not be changed on current firearms unless it was necessary to do so and would be with the new model type (with stacking rod) that did not feature the channel for the clearing rod.
    D. The clearing rod support in the recoil lug support would not need to be changed unless as need to either a replacement of the same type or of the type as used in the rear recoil lug without the block.
    On June 28, 1916 General Challéat of the Technical Section of the Artillery (Section Technique de l’Artillerie), STA, asked Colonel Henri Gressier to send him four mousqueton stocks of which two would be transformed from his proposal and the other two just with the necessary pieces of wood for filling up the clearing rod channel.
    All three armories, MAC, MAS and MAT, were to submit their proposals where upon both the IFPA and STA would make the determination of the results as to the best results. No documentation has surfaced from MAC or MAT proposals.
    On June 29, 1916 MAS sent in the four stocks to the STA but noted that modifications had been made to the original plans on the strips of wood to fill in the channel sent back in May of 1926. These were extended towards the rear by a cylinder penetrating of 7 to 8 mm in the strip channel, which prevents any lifting in case of insufficient bonding.
    After much debate and other deciding factors the proposals regarding filling in the channels of the stocks and removal of recoil lug support were take effect as of March 16, 1927 and an order was directed to do this. If the stock could not be filled with a piece of wood, a new stock without the channel was to be used in its place as these were now made without that channel on them. They would have taken the time to put the serial letter prefix and number to the new stock.

    As the lack of safety ... http://forums.gunboards.com/showthre...hy-no-safeties

    Patrick
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 1860–2014

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    The clearing rod was eliminated and the barrel channel filled in starting in 1927. My guess is that it wasn't being used for the intended purpose often enough to be worth the expense of providing it. Once the rod was gone, the stock channel for it was no longer needed.
    I wouldn't say that the lack of a rod necessarily detracts from the value of a piece, as it would still be a correct later version, unless you're specifically looking for an early example with the rod and stock channel in place.

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    WOW!!! Lots of great info here!

    Patrick - is okay with you if I move this info over to the thread I started for the rifle?

    The one I have still has the bent section in the front ring and the recoil lug still has the threads. So would this stock of been redone in the '20s?

  21. #20
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    It was re-done in the 1920's, that is when the stocks without the channel were made.
    What I am referring to in the above post is the recoil lug has a place where the clearing rod screws into, it is the recoil lug and goes into the left side of the stock.
    I thought I had a picture of the part on this computer, it is on a hard drive my brother is recovering for me, sorry, maybe someone else has a picture or drawing of it, all my good pictures are on that drive.

    The upper barrel bands were just kept, they did not change them out with the notch for the rod in them, very few of these were made, they just added the stacking rod to those already in inventory and on these that went through the re-works.

    Patrick
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 1860–2014

  22. #21
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    The clearing rod is secured to the rifle stock by its threaded end being screwed into the central part of the front cross bolt.

    The quality of fabrication of the 8mm cartridge greatly improved from 1886 to the end of WWI, thicker case head wall, improvement in the brass alloy cured the case sticking/splitting occurences reducing the usefulness of the clearing rod, a short piece (1/3) of Lebel cleaning rod was provided to the soldiers as replacement.

    Attached picture of the reinforcement cross bolt with the threaded hole for the clearing rod
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails renfort avant de crosse.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1886lebel View Post
    It was re-done in the 1920's, that is when the stocks without the channel were made.
    What I am referring to in the above post is the recoil lug has a place where the clearing rod screws into, it is the recoil lug and goes into the left side of the stock.
    I thought I had a picture of the part on this computer, it is on a hard drive my brother is recovering for me, sorry, maybe someone else has a picture or drawing of it, all my good pictures are on that drive.

    The upper barrel bands were just kept, they did not change them out with the notch for the rod in them, very few of these were made, they just added the stacking rod to those already in inventory and on these that went through the re-works.

    Patrick
    Are you talking about the lug circled in the following picture?

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  24. #23
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    kelt posted a good image of it ... do not take the lug out of the stock to see if it there ... hands off removing it.

    Patrick
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 1860–2014

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    Quote Originally Posted by kelt View Post
    The clearing rod is secured to the rifle stock by its threaded end being screwed into the central part of the front cross bolt.

    The quality of fabrication of the 8mm cartridge greatly improved from 1886 to the end of WWI, thicker case head wall, improvement in the brass alloy cured the case sticking/splitting occurences reducing the usefulness of the clearing rod, a short piece (1/3) of Lebel cleaning rod was provided to the soldiers as replacement.

    Attached picture of the reinforcement cross bolt with the threaded hole for the clearing rod
    Cool. Mine still has the lug, just removed it and took a pic!!! It's in backwards though!!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1886lebel View Post
    kelt posted a good image of it ... do not take the lug out of the stock to see if it there ... hands off removing it.

    Patrick
    Dang...your post didn't get to me fast enough. The lug unscrewed and came out easily and went back in and back together just as easily. Nothing moved - as in when pressure released from removing it - and nothing shifted. The opening was clean and you could easily see through it.

  27. #26
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    Now you are going to really re-tighten the screw back on it so it sits flush against the wood. The end might now stick out a bit more than it originally did when you purchased it ... what you might have to do is file it down till it is flush with the screw itself, then peen it so it does not move again.

    Patrick
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 1860–2014

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1886lebel View Post
    Now you are going to really re-tighten the screw back on it so it sits flush against the wood. The end might now stick out a bit more than it originally did when you purchased it ... what you might have to do is file it down till it is flush with the screw itself, then peen it so it does not move again.

    Patrick
    Will do. With what tightening I did it is sticking out a bit? Is there something along the lines of a torque setting? I can crank it down but I don't want to chance cracking the stock.

  29. #28
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    No need to torque it in, just make sure it is well against the wood and tight

    Patrick
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 1860–2014

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1886lebel View Post
    No need to torque it in, just make sure it is well against the wood and tight

    Patrick
    Done. Thanks!

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