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Original French Lebel Fusil Modèle 1886 M93 Infantry Rifle by St. Étienne - 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 the remnants of MANUFACTURE D'ARMES / St. Étienne, and to the right  MLE 1886 M93, indicating manufacture at the government arsenal at St. Etienne. The rifle has arsenal proofs on most parts, and also is marked MA S 1890 indicating that it was produced in 1890, and later updated with the bolt modification after 1893. The rifle has serial number L 59920 on the barrel, bolt, and receiver floor plate, though some are overstamped, probably added during the later bolt conversion. The butt stock is marked with a different serial number

Condition of the rifle is good, though it definitely has definitely had the stock refurbished, which has made the original markings faint, though still visible. Stock has a nice color and no cracks or repairs that we can see, with the expected dings and scratches from service. Metalwork is in good condition, but does show signs of wear and past pitting. The bore shows lands and grooves, but there is much fouling and oxidation, so the finish is mostly dark.

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, fully cleaned and ready to display!


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

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.
  • Not eligible for payment with Paypal or Amazon


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