My First Lebel 1886: my effort to revive to serviceability again.
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Thread: My First Lebel 1886: my effort to revive to serviceability again.

  1. #1
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    Default My First Lebel 1886: my effort to revive to serviceability again.

    Here is the ugly duckling I got at auction. Paid way too much for this hunk of junk Iím sure. Maybe itís light will shine again. Maybe not. Time will tell.

    As of today I still havenít received the gun. I do have screen shots of the auction pictures. These give a good overview of the general condition. Covered in cosmoline, missing back half of bolt (and insides I assume,) missing front sight and a completely wrong front half of the forend stock. Looks like it has two forends spliced together at the rear barrel band. I just ordered a cocking piece and firing pin rear cap from Numrich so that is done. Please let me know if anyone sees any other stand out issues to be addressed. Thanks for any help as this project unfolds.

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  2. #2
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    I like it, will be great when you get it up and running.

    How much did you end up paying in total?

    Jim

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim_Ish View Post
    I like it, will be great when you get it up and running.

    How much did you end up paying in total?

    Jim
    I’ll tell you what I paid, but first I’d like to hear what you guys would agree a fair value for it, as is, would be? I’m very curious.

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  5. #4
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    Okay. I’ve been told several times now that liberty tree has the correct complete bolt and even parts that I need for my Lebel. So what exactly is compatible between the two rifles. So far as I can tell from the auction pictures I need the following:

    cocking piece
    firing pin end cap
    firing pin
    firing pin spring (main spring)
    front sight
    both barrel band springs
    rear sling swivel
    and... apparently....complete foreword hand guard. Fox has them, but OUCH!!

    so please educate me what rifle parts are the same or compatible with the Lebel. Thanks.

  6. #5
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    Not much beyond the bolt parts mentioned in your thread from yesterday. I think the front sight may interchange with the Berthier rifle, but not exactly the same. Stock forend will be difficult to find. Don't recall comparing the lower swivel with the Berthier. Numrich does have some odds and ends in stock... https://www.gunpartscorp.com/gun-man...l/188693-rifle

  7. #6
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    Isn’t the Gras rifle bolt and parts practically identical to the Lebel?

  8. #7
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    Dec 1969
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    So what exactly is compatible between the two rifles

    cocking piece ... Yes
    firing pin end cap ... Yes
    firing pin ... Yes
    firing pin spring (main spring) ... Yes
    both barrel band springs .. No
    rear sling swivel .. No
    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 1860Ė2014


  9. #8
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    Thank you sir for clearing that up. Now I have something to work with. The question is if there is anything worth salvaging under all that grease. Hmmmm.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim_Ish View Post
    I like it, will be great when you get it up and running.

    How much did you end up paying in total?

    Jim
    well since no one is willing to tell me what my hunk of junk is really worth I guess I’ll go ahead and embarrass myself and tell ya what I paid.

    my winning bid was $450. But of course shipping and auction fee pushed it just over $600. ��
    I know. Sad, right?
    Anyway, I doubt I’d make my money back if I sold it once I got it all cleaned up.

  11. #10
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    Like restoring old cars. You seldom get yor money back. You do it cause you enjoy it

  12. #11
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    I am not a Lebel expert so don't know the values but it sure would be fun putting it back in working order.
    (I bought mine a couple years back at auction, think I have about $600 or $700 in it. Fires great but it is mismatched numbers and somebody sanded the stock, just a shooter)

    Jim

  13. #12

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    Seems a bit steep for a gun that needs that much work, but once you get it fixed up unless you plan on turning it soon you'll get your money back later. I bought a trashed GEW88 for $32, spent $120 on replacement parts and the gun was worth maybe $100 at the time. Now I could probably get $250 for it.
    Turning relics into near-relics since 2005.

  14. #13
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    Getting closer. Lebel cocking piece and cap, bertheir firing pin ordered from numrich. All I need now is mainspring and front sight.

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by KneverKnew View Post
    Getting closer. Lebel cocking piece and cap, bertheir firing pin ordered from numrich. All I need now is mainspring and front sight.
    If you’re having trouble sourcing parts you might try Naturabuy.fr. It’s basically the French equivalent to Gunbroker. As the unit armorer in a reenacting unit that uses Berthiers, it has saved my butt numerous times. It should have most of the Lebel/Berthier parts you need and shipping to the US is no problem for small, unregulated parts and accessories. The front sight in particular is hard to come by in the US and I had no problems getting several on that site.

  16. #15
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    Well thanks Mountaineer! I’ll check that site out.

  17. #16
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    I tried that French web site. Didnít get very far. There was a failure to communicate. LOL.

  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by KneverKnew View Post
    I tried that French web site. Didn’t get very far. There was a failure to communicate. LOL.
    I should have mentioned this in my last post. Try opening it up using Google Chrome. It has a feature that will translate the page for you well enough that you can get around it. Also, it helps to know some very basic French especially the word for the part you’re looking for. I believe a front sight is called a “guidon pour Lebel/Berthier.” At least that’s what it popped up as when I bought sights there.
    Last edited by mountaineer273; 06-17-2020 at 08:52 AM.

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by KneverKnew View Post
    Thank you sir for clearing that up. Now I have something to work with. The question is if there is anything worth salvaging under all that grease. Hmmmm.
    Good luck. I bought a Carcano from this auction similarly greased up. Be nice if they shipped it.

  20. #19
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    Main spring isn’t available it seems for both Lebel and Bertheir. Any one have an idea of any other “mainspring” of a different rifle that is the same size?

  21. #20
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    Lebel scheduled to arrive today. Auction was at end of May. ��

  22. #21
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    Well the lebel just arrived. Haven't worked up the courage to open the box yet.

  23. #22
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    Sounds like fun, enjoy!

    Jim

  24. #23
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    Bubble wrap was all that held it together. It fell apart in my hands. Back half of handguard is only original part. Front half from some other rifle. Just loosely held on with bands which slid off easily. No magazine spring or follower.
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    caked in cosmoline. Barrel full of it. But after rudimentary wipe down with acetone there seems to be decent bluing left and a nice looking bore. The bolt is not matching, of course, and still incomplete. Still need to source a mainspring.
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    And does this look like the correct rear band for a lebel?
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    it’s a 1921 Tulle.
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    Magazine cutoff won’t disengage.
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    buttstock is original but cracked at wrist with old repairs and a piece missing.
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  25. #24
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    more pics of buttstock.
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    so it looks like I got my work cut out for me if I want to refurbish...or just part it out and take the loss. ��‍♂️

  26. #25
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    Well if you want to part it out...I'll take the magazine follower tube! Haha Been looking for one for many years. Good luck to yah!

  27. #26
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    After cleaning out the cosmoline it is evident that the working action of this rifle and its bore are still in very good condition despite the few missing parts I’m trying to obtain. The bore is actually pristine looking to me. The buttstock on the other hand is in very rough shape with numerous cracks and even pieces missing from the wood. I’ve seen some lebel carbine buttstocks available. Does anyone know if these would fit the lebel rifle action correctly? Are they interchangeable? The only other option is to order the complete wood set from wolf.

  28. #27
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    Hmmm, regardless of the fate of the guns, I'd degrease, boil, and card all the steel parts. Before removing anything as active rust that can be converted back to its original bluing.

    Missing arsenal repair on stock, and separating one on top of butt; in the same places mine has arsenal repairs. Huh.

  29. #28

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    I'd restore that stock. My most patched stock is from a 1916 Berthier Carbine. You can't do any worse to it than the French Government
    Turning relics into near-relics since 2005.

  30. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Murvihill View Post
    I'd restore that stock. My most patched stock is from a 1916 Berthier Carbine. You can't do any worse to it than the French Government
    As I can’t replace the stock without great expense I am going to restore best I can. Debating trying to fill in that missing piece to the right side of the wrist at the tange. It looks like an armored already cut it ready to be fitted with a patch of wood. The rear piece at top of buttplate I will glue, as well as the several cracks in the wrist. This will take time. I don’t want to wet the stock with water to prevent having to sand and loose any markings which are light already. Mainly cleaning with m8 real spirits and a little raw linseed oil.

    any suggestions what kind of glue to use in cracks and under patches? Again I’m trying to prevent damaging the finish u dear the gunk but at this point I don’t know if that is feasible. The front handguard, or the portion that remains at least, needs an end plug of wood, a shortened mag tube spring and follower.

  31. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by CavScout8 View Post
    Hmmm, regardless of the fate of the guns, I'd degrease, boil, and card all the steel parts. Before removing anything as active rust that can be converted back to its original bluing.

    Missing arsenal repair on stock, and separating one on top of butt; in the same places mine has arsenal repairs. Huh.
    all metal parts degreased and cleaned. Except for the few missing parts it all looks pretty good.

  32. #31
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    You need to degrease the wood to get the glue to stick. I have had success with paint thinner and flour mixed. Just paint it on the stock and leave it in the sun. The grease oozes into the flour and just brush it off. Repeat till the flour is white.

    For small pieces of wood to do repairs and even make hand guards, I go to the thrift store and buy tables or chairs and cut them up for the wood I need. I found a broken chair that was walnut in the trash behind the store. I told them I would give them $5. The mahogany rocking chair on the side of the road, has yielded four Japanese hand guards and part of a butt stock.

  33. #32
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    Ya know, once something is tossed into the trash it’s free pickings. I think. I actually have some brownells whiting powder I can use. I’m not sure how to make a long forward handguard like a Lebel has, especially for the magazine tube part.

  34. #33

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    I'm fond of the two-part mixed glue. If you do it right that stuff will never fail. My lebel has a chunk missing too that was obviously cut for repair. I suspect the repair fell out. It's not structural so I'm not in a hurry to replace it.
    Turning relics into near-relics since 2005.

  35. #34
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    You can use a main spring from a Remington 700, cut in half. Not as heavy as the originals, but it doesn't need to be. The Fox stocks are nice, but as you said, expensive. And the Lebel forends they sell are not drilled for the magazine tube. Maybe you could use a cut down magazine spring from a Marlin 1985 Lever action, if you're going to make a shortened tube just in the remaining section you have.

  36. #35
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    An old tip from Vonmazur:

    A long tube Marlin 45/70 magazine spring and follower will work.....

    Dale in Ala[/QUOTE]

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