Original French Lebel Fusil Modèle 1886 M93 Infantry Rifle by St. Étienne Serial FH72564 with Bayonet - dated 1891

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 on this fine example is marked with MANUFACTURE D'ARMES / St.-Étienne, and to the right  MLE 1886 M93, indicating manufacture at the government arsenal at Saint-Étienne. The rifle has arsenal proofs on most parts, and also is marked MA S 1891 indicating that it was produced in 1891, and later updated with the bolt modification after 1893. The rifle has matching serial number FH 72564 on the barrel, fore stock, butt stock, bolt and receiver floor plate. This is a rare "All Matching" example, which does not look to have had any parts swapped out.

Condition of the rifle is good, though it definitely has seen long service, indicated by the numerous dents, dings, scratches, and other wear on the stock. Still it has no major repairs or damage, and has a lovely dark red brown color. The metalwork is in very good condition, with much of the original finish still present, and no major rust issues. The bore is in excellent condition, with crisp lands and grooves and a bright finish. The rifle cycles correctly and dry fires, and the magazine cutoff functions correctly.

The accompanying bayonet is a totally correct WWI M.1886/93/16 version, with a nickel alloy grip, and still is in the original configuration with a 20 1/2 inch cruciform blade. It lacks the hooked quillon and raised press button of the earlier versions, which were deemed unnecessary. The scabbard is in great shape, with no dents and just a bit of a bend, with a great black painted finish.

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, fully cleaned and ready to display!

Specifications (rifle):-

Year of Manufacture: 1891 - 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: 2 “
Scabbard length: 21”

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