Original French Lebel Modèle 1886 M93-R35 Converted Carbine by St. Etienne - Serial Number R 6352

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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. 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. 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.

Between 1935 and 1940, a carbine-length (17.7 inch barrel) version of the Lebel was issued to mounted colonial troops in North Africa. This short carbine version of the Lebel, called the Mle 1886 M93-R35, was assembled in large numbers (about 50,000) at Manufacture d'Armes de Tulle (MAT), beginning in 1935. It used all of the Lebel's parts except for a newly manufactured shorter barrel of carbine length. Since the new carbine's tube magazine had to be shortened as well, its magazine capacity was only three rounds.

The left side of the receiver marked with the remnants of MANUFACTURE D'ARMES / St. Étienne, and to the right  MLE 1886 M 93 / R 35, indicating manufacture at the government arsenal at St. Etienne. The "M 93" is separate stamping, indicating that the receiver was originally produced between 1886 and 1893, before the bolt modification was standard.

The rifle has arsenal proofs on most parts, and has serial number R 6352 on the barrel, bolt, receiver floor plate, and butt stock, though this number is most likely added during the conversion, as the barrels were completely replaced. 

Condition of the rifle is good, though it definitely has seen long service. The barrel and receiver have been painted black, and the bolt and interior have a phosphate finish, typical of being refurbished and converted in the Pre-WWII years for colonial mounted service in North Africa. The bore is clean, with clear lands and grooves, and just a bit of wear. The rifle cycles nicely, though is stiff due to age and the sturdy construction. The stock is in good condition, but does show minor damage, cracks, and some repairs, as shown in the pictures.

The accompanying bayonet, which is totally correct, with brass grip is the 1886/92/07/35 variation with the blade reduced for Carbine use to just 15 1/2" and comes complete with its original tubular steel scabbard. The original sling is in good shape, though the black finish is flaking in places.

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 R35 Lebel carbine, with bayonet and sling, fully cleaned and ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: c.1886-93 - updated later
Caliber:   8×50mmR Lebel
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 17.7 Inches
Overall Length: 37 Inches
Action type: Bolt-Action
Feed System: 3 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

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