Original French Lebel Fusil Mle 1886 M93 Lead Plugged Rifle by Tulle with Bayonet and Sling - dated 1890

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The Lebel Model 1886 rifle (French: Fusil Modèle 1886 dit "Fusil Lebel") is also known as the "Fusil Mle 1886 M93", after a bolt modification was added in 1893. It is an 8 mm bolt action infantry rifle that entered service in the French Army in 1887. It is a repeating rifle that can hold eight rounds in its forestock tube magazine, one round in the transporter plus one round in the chamber. The Lebel rifle has the distinction of being the first military firearm to use smokeless powder ammunition. The new propellant powder, "Poudre B," was nitrocellulose-based and had been invented in 1884 by French chemist Paul Vieille. Lieutenant Colonel Nicolas Lebel contributed a flat nosed 8 mm full metal jacket bullet ("Balle M," or "Balle Lebel"). Twelve years later, in 1898, a solid brass pointed (spitzer) and boat-tail bullet called "Balle D" was retained for all 8mm Lebel ammunition. Each case was protected against accidental percussion inside the tube magazine by a primer cover and by a circular groove around the primer cup which caught the tip of the following pointed bullet. Featuring an oversized bolt with front locking lugs and a massive receiver, the Lebel rifle was a durable design capable of long range performance. In spite of early obsolete features, such as its tube magazine and the shape of 8mm Lebel rimmed ammunition, the Lebel rifle remained the basic weapon of French line infantry during World War I (1914–1918). Altogether, 3.45 million Lebel rifles were produced by the three French state factories between 1887 and 1916.

The left side of the receiver marked with MANUFACTURE D'ARMES / Tulle, and to the right MLE 1886 M93, indicating manufacture at the government arsenal at Tulle. The rifle has arsenal proofs on most parts, and also is marked MA T 1890 indicating that it was produced in 1890 at Tulle, and later updated with the bolt modification after 1893. The rifle has serial number RI 22470 on the barrel, bolt, and left side of the butt stock, while the magazine floor plate has a different number. The fore stock has an illegible number, however the condition of the rifle definitely suggests that it was refurbished at arsenal at least once, when parts were swapped out.

At some point after that, to "deactivate" the rifle, the firing pin was removed, and the entire bore of the barrel was filled with liquid lead, which then solidified inside the bore. This could relatively easily be removed with heat, however we have left it intact, as it is part of the history of the rifle, and a common way for obsolete rifles to be safely disposed of.

Condition of the rifle is good, though it definitely has seen long service, which has made the original markings faint, though still visible. The stock is well broken in, and has a few small repairs. The metalwork is in good condition, but does show signs of wear and past pitting. Parts of the rifle also look to have been painted at some point. The rifle cycles correctly and dry fires, and the magazine cutoff functions correctly.

The accompanying bayonet, which is totally correct, with brass alloy grip is the original M1886/93 version, and still is in the original configuration with a 20 1/2 inch cruciform blade. This is a WWI era example, which has the later brass alloy grip secured by a wide spanner lock nut. It still has the full length blade, and is marked with a T for Tulle arsenal. This version of the bayonet never had a hooked quillion, instead having a square minimal crossguard, and it has a knurled press stud. The scabbard is in great shape, with no dents and just a bit of a bend, with a great finish. Both bear matching serial number K 25794. The original sling is in good shape, with only light wear to the leather and finish. A very nice example of this type of sling.

Made famous by the GARY COOPER Movie of BEAU GESTE, all about the French Foreign Legion, this was the rifle of the time in the later 1880's. A nice Mle 1886 M93 Lebel rifle, completely with bayonet and sling, ready to display!

Specifications (rifle):-

Year of Manufacture: 1890 - updated later
Caliber:   8×50mmR Lebel
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 31.5 Inches
Overall Length: 51.2 Inches
Action type: Bolt-Action
Feed System: 8 round tube magazine

Specifications (bayonet):-
Blade length: 20 1/2”
Blade style: Cruciform "Épée"
Overall length: 25 1/4”
Crossguard: 3 1/8 “
Scabbard length: 21”

Note: This gun is NOT considered obsolete calibre, so we are no able to ship to the United Kingdom. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services.

  • This product is not available for shipping in US state(s): New Jersey

    This product is available for international shipping.
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