Original French Mannlicher Berthier Mle 1892 Saddle-Ring Carbine by Châtellerault - dated 1892

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The Mannlicher-Berthier rifles and carbines were a family of bolt-action small arms in 8mm Lebel, used in the French Army from the 1890s to the beginning of World War II (1940).

The Berthier design began as the "Mousquetons Berthier" - a series of bolt-action cavalry and artillery carbines with distinctly different actions from the Mle 1886/M93 8mm Lebel rifle. For instance, the Berthier carbine's bolt lugs lock vertically into the receiver instead of horizontally as in the Lebel rifle. Berthier carbines were first issued in 1890 and 1892, and had been designed by Emile Berthier, an engineer at the French Algerian Railways,to be used with standard 8mm Lebel ammunition.

The Berthier design was introduced as a replacement for the various aging Mle 1874 Gras single-shot carbines - still standard for French cavalry, artillery, and gendarme forces even after the introduction of the Mle 1886/M93 Lebel. Prior experiments with several carbine versions of the Lebel action proved unacceptably heavy and slow to load while on horseback. While retaining most of the action's strong points, the Berthier carbine improved on the earlier Mle 1886 rifle by using a one-piece stock and a Mannlicher-style, charger-loaded en bloc 3 shot clip. These Berthier carbines were progressively allocated to all cavalry, artillery and gendarmerie troops during the 1890s.

The first Berthier carbine came into production as the "Carabine de Cavalerie Modèle 1890", which was officially adopted for service on March 14, 1890. The main production facilities were the Manufacture d'Armes de St Etienne or MAS and the Manufacture d'Armes de Chatellerault or MAC. The search for a suitable small arm for mounted troops was given greater urgency by the Germans' development of the Karabiner Modell 1888, a carbine variant of the Gewehr 1888. It was issued to essentially all French artillery and cavalry troops. As the high Command appreciated the performance of the Mle 1890 Berthier carbine, a second version was specifically produced for artillery service, the "Mousqueton Mle 1892" which could mount a short blade bayonet and thus had a re-designed forend stock. However it continued to feature the 3-round En-bloc clip of the Model 1890 carbine. During the First World War it became obvious that the 3-round clip was a handicap compared to German short weapons such as the German Kar98AZ which had a 5-round clip.

The left side of the receiver on this fine example is clearly marked with Châtellerault, and to the right MLE 1892, indicating manufacture at the government arsenal at Châtellerault. The rifle has arsenal proofs on most parts, and also is marked MA C 1892, the abbreviation for Manufacture d'Armes Châtellerault,  indicating that it was produced in 1890, and later updated with the bolt modification after 1893. The rifle has serial number A 32801 on the barrel, bolt, cleaning rod and receiver floor plate/trigger guard. It also was marked on the left side of the butt stock, but this is faded due to refinishing.  The carbine is fitted with a large Saddle Ring on the left side of the 17" barrel. It still retains its original brass tipped cleaning rod.

This Berthier Saddle Ring carbine is in excellent condition, and does not really look like it saw any active service. The bore is mirror bright, with crisp lands and grooves, and there is no evidence of primer burn on the bolt face. The blued finish on the barrel and receiver is excellent and the bright finished bolt just has some light stains from age. The stock is great, though as mentioned it has been sanded down a bit, so the serial number is faint.

A great example of a hard to find carbine, ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1892
Caliber:   8×50mmR Lebel
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 17 Inches
Overall Length: 37 Inches
Action type: Bolt-Action
Feed System: 3-round Mannlicher-style en-bloc clip

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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