Original Belgian M-1870 Comblain Falling Block Carbine with Sawback Sword Bayonet dated 1889 - Serial 24321

Item Description

Original Item: One Only. Invented by Joseph-Hugo Comblain, a Belgian Gun designer from Liege, this is a single short falling block weapon of ingenious design. It was adopted by Belgium, Brazil and Chile, but was up against the British Martini Henry Rifle of even better design that dominated most of the 1870s. It is marked on the side of the receiver with:


It was described by W.W Greener in his 1871 book Modern Breechloaders: Sporting and Military (page 214):

This rifle is called No.2, to distinguish it from the first Comblain, which is a modification of the Snider principle. The Comblain no 2 has the vertical sliding block and guard lever of the Sharp rifle; but the arrangement for exploding the cartridge is different.
The mechanism of the lock is fixed in the breech block, which consists of the ordinary main-spring acting upon a tumbler by a swivel. The tumbler and striker are made in one piece; the sear and trigger are also in one piece . By depressing the lever the breech block is brought down, the cartridge-case extracted and the rifle is cocked. A fresh cartridge being inserted, and the lever returned, the rifle is ready for firing.
The hinge screw can be removed without the aid of a turnscrew, which arrangement allows the breech block and lock to be taken out for the purpose of cleaning.
The breech arrangement is strong and simple. It is used by the Belgian volunteers, and has been severely tested both at Liege and Wimbledon.


This example bears serial number 24321, and is in very good condition. The action is blued steel, and is marked with assembly number 10501, which matches the number bayonet stand and bolt. There are various other proofs and markings on the receiver and barrel, however they are faint due to wear. It looks to have a maker marking on the top of the barrel nocks form:


Overall the metalwork has a worn patina, with some areas of light peppering, now cleaned away. The butt plate, nose cap and barrel bands are brass, while the screws and trigger guard are steel. The two piece wood stock is in good condition, with a nice patina and signs of wear. Comes complete with the original cleaning rod, and both sling swivels are intact and functional. Bore is in very good condition, with clear lands and grooves and a partly bright finish. There is some oxidation in areas, and definitely signs of use. The action cycles well, and we did not notice any issues. The rear sight is intact and fully functional, however the front barleycorn sight had the top ground flat for some reason.

The carbine comes with an excellent condition sawback sword bayonet, with a brass handle and hooked quillon very similar to the French model 1866 chassepot bayonet. The blade on this bayonet is however straight, and has a great saw back, which is still quite sharp. There are proof and maker marks on the bayonet, and it is dated 1889 on the blade. It locks onto the front of the carbine securely, though it can be hard to get off once locked on.

Hard to find and ready to display!

Specifications (Carbine)-

Year of Manufacture: circa 1870. Pre-1898
Caliber: 11×50mm R Comblain
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 23 Inches
Overall Length: 38 1/2 Inches
Action type: Falling Block
Feed System: Single Shot

Specifications (Bayonet):
Blade Length: 18"
Blade Style: Single Edge with Fuller & Sawback
Overall length: 23 1/4“
Crossguard: 4”

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