Used in battleships and coast defenses c.1870~1918. 274mm caliber 216kg shells, 434m/s muzzle velocity giving it an estimated 300mm of penetration in wrought iron armor at combat range, breech-loading single shot.
Picture taken c.1885 by Gustave Bourgain onboard a Colbert-class French ironclad, below the center battery.
Note the boarding weapons on racks on the left side of the picture, including cutlasses and Lefaucheux Mle1858 revolvers. The Colbert-class ironclads were also armed with, beside a variety of other naval guns, more than a dozen Hotchkiss 37mm revolving cannons, four 356mm torpedo tubes and a ram.
Made by the Manufacture d’Armes de St-Etienne c.1937-52 - serial number 90889. 7,5x54mm MAS Mle1929 five-round internal magazine, Lebel style all-steel receiver, peep sights, spike-bayonet stored under the barrel. Also known by me as the hunchback Lebel, this gun is up there with the very best bolt action rifles ever made thanks to its toughness.
Don’t be that guy at the range, you know the one, I call him the Encyclopedia of False Shit.
So no shit there I was at the range today, just finger blasting my lady at the 200 yard lane, when this doomsday prepper type guy with full plates, drop leg harnesses (yes - two of them), full battle belt and combat shirt comes up to me. Already I know this guy gargles wieners, I mean come on man this is neither a combat zone nor a dynamic range, I’m just laying here trying to zero.
Anyways, he comes up, grabs my rifle (justified homicide right?) and proceeds to rattle off his opinions why my groups aren’t tight enough. Mind you, I haven’t touched this rifle in over nine months, so of course my zero is screwed. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he then lays down next to me and tries to teach me how to “engage targets” as if I asked him too. Of course he had no idea that I’ve been shooting for the better part of 15 years, and I’m an active competition shooter. But I’m a quiet son of a bitch, so I just sat back and let him blah blah blah for a solid 15 minutes. He brings his POS tacticool SCAR 17S with all the lights and suppressors on the market and offers to let me shoot it. Well, I’m also a cocky son of a gun, so I proceeded to stack five rounds on a dime at 200, and then just looked at him like a moron, with a grin so smug - it’d make Emma Stone melt.
Seeing that I was the alpha, he quietly stood up, walked away, and didn’t bother me again.
Don’t be that guy. You never know who you’re dealing with - remember that gentlemen.
Manufactured in France c.1915 for the French army. 30g PETN explosive charge, aluminium scoopoid arming lever with a cloth streamer - secured by a small cord, lead screw-in percussion plug in the base, internal fragmentation grooves. Surprisingly not the shittiest grenade design from WW1, the Pércutante N°1 of 1915 was one of the few contact grenades - like the British N°1 grenade - that exploded right away upon falling. This of course could be pretty hazardous, and even with a streamer and a heavy butt the explosive would not always be detonated upon landing, nevermind it detonating in the hand of its owner because they sneezed too hard. At least it’s not like the British N°1 where its a stick grenade with a top detonator that’s supposed to be thrown with a wall of mud less than half a meter behind you.
Magazines manufactured by the Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Etienne -MAS- and retooling done by the Manufacture d’Armes de Châttellerault -MAC- while the final product was assembled by the Manufacture d’Armes de Tulle -MAT- all in France. Between 1133 and 1379 of these conversions were made between 1927 and sometime in the early 1930′s for the Mle 1924 and Mle 1929 new French military cartridges, switching out the obsolescent 8mm rimmed Lebel cartridge. This complete overall of the Lebel however is due to the need to decrease its length more than changing its ammunition. Using a tubular 8-rounds magazine, cutting down the front of the rifle -seen with the R35 model- also cut down its rounds capacity down to three shots, which was an unacceptable standard by the Interwar era, hence the need for a box-magazine conversion. This would however be abandoned for the simpler alternatives of building on the Berthier rifle whose original design already incorporated a box magazine, and later adopting an entirely new rifle, the MAS-36.
All of those are absurdly sturdy though. We give our guns weird names, and it makes them grow stronger because of it.
Serial number N 16289 - 11mm Mle 1873 centerfire, six-round cylinder, double action, side loading gate with captive manual ejector rod.
As per the military doctrine of the time, French officers under the Third Republic should always own a fancier sidearm than any rank troufion. It was a status thing, and since said troufions were already equipped with the modern and reliable - if a bit underpowered - Mle 1873 Chamelot Delvigne design, plans were made immediately afterward to produce a more refined version, less geared toward mass production and more toward excellence. Although still a bit toward underpower too.
A total of 37200 revolvers were produced in the Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Etienne - as engraved on the right side of the frame - between 1875 and 1886, with all serial numbers being preceded by the letter N and the year of manufacture stamped on the right side of the barrel preceded by the letter S
as with Mle 1873 pistols. It totally stands for Suck my Nuts.
The main differences with the earlier rank and file variant, as pictured above, are all minor but overall contribute to quite a lighter gun. Each of the barrel, cylinder and frame have been shortened by a few millimeters. The cylinder has been fluted and its back received a wider fuller. Finally, the metal part of the grip has been completely hollowed out around the main spring.
structural differences between the two guns
To further distinguish them, the Mle 1874′s were given a thorough blueing of the frame, barrel, cylinder and trigger guard, with all the remaining moving parts taking on a gilded color. Similarly to the Mle 1873 M. the French Navy ordered their own batch of Mle 1874 ‘de Marine’ revolvers, chambered for the potent 12mm de Marine cartridge. These can be differentiated by the inscription Mle 1874. M for Modifié on the top of the barrel, although since they were directly issued to officers as private weapons they did not receive the anchor stamp that’s found on the Mle 1873 guns of this type.
a Mle 1874. M de Marine
a Mle 1873. M de Marine with the anchor stamp
Finally, Mle 1874 revolvers would be used as prizes by the war ministry for shooting competition winners, often with characteristics desirable to them such as a longer barrel and a rechambering in 6mm Longue or 6mm Nationale, two very popular sport cartridges at the time. This tells a lot about the perceived fanciness of the gun.