Monday, February 20, 2012

Gun Related Stuff - Tulle Model 1886 93 Lebel Bolt Action Rifle

The National Firearms Museum: Tulle Model 1886 93 Lebel Bolt Action Rifle

Click on the above NRA Museum link. I recently purchased one of these 1886 Label's at a local auction (cheap again!) but in the short carbine version such as pictured below and with the later "N" chamber modification. Click on the pic to enlarge.

ACTION TYPE: Bolt action, CALIBER: 8x50R Lebel, CAPACITY: 3, BARREL LENGTH: 17.7", OVERALL LENGTH: 37.5", WEIGHT: 7..84 pounds, FINISH: Blue, SIGHTS: 200- to 1,000-metor tangent rear, blade front, STOCK: Walnut, PRICE: $353, average condition (I paid a lot less for same condition, complete and all matching serial #'s).

So what is the Steunenberg connection? None, except this Lebel is period dated 1886 and was used in WWI and to a limited extent in WWII by the allies fighting alongside some of our kinfolk. Sometimes there is a direct connection to the events presented on this blog and at other times maybe not so much. Good or bad, guns always play a role in our history. Since my very modest collecting falls under the ATF FFL 03 license class referred to as curios and relics, I might as well post a few old armaments here along with the rest of the historical stuff. Go to the bottom of this post for gun topics more closely related to "Big Trouble" events.

"FRENCH CARBINE MODEL 1866/M93 R35 - Fusil Mle 1886 R.35. A decision was taken in 1935 to shorten many of the M1886 M.93 rifles held in reserve, providing a handy weapon for cavalryman and motorized units while tooling for the MAS 36 was undertaken. The barrel, forend and magazine tube were greatly shortened, though little else was necessary. The new barrel band had a fixed sling ring on the left side, a bar being added to the left side of the butt; the rear swivel on the butt-edge was retained.

altered in Charellerault prior to 1939, the shortened Lebels were 37.7 in. long, with 17.7 in. barrels, and weighed 8.3 lbs The magazine held 3 rounds, though, in common with most other tube-magazine designs, the cartridge capacity could be improved by placing a fourth round on the elevator and a fifth in the chamber. The ramp-and-leaf rear sight was graduated to 2000m, and the M1935 epee bayonet could be attached. However, the program of alterations had not been completed when World War II began in 1939. A few M1886/35 rifles were issued to men on home service when fighting started, but most had already been sent to Africa. A decision was taken in 1945 to modify M1886/35 rifles (and a few surviving M1886/93 guns) for the Balle 1932 N before passing them to the reserve. This involved re-cutting the chamber to accept a longer bullet, and the opportunity was taken to strengthen the striker spring. Modified guns were marked 'N' on the barrel near the breech (as is mine) and stored for the reserve". — Walter, John. RIFLES OF THE WORLD. 3rd Ed. Krause Publications. Iola, Wi. 2006.

The following is a composite of additional information taken directly from Wikipedia, Buymilsur and other bits and pieces from online. Don't credit me for any of it as I only know enough to get in trouble. Feel free to email if you have more information.

The Lebel rifle was manufactured by three government arsenals: Ch√Ętellerault, St-Etienne and Tulle, and featured a two-piece stock and a massive receiver to withstand the higher pressures developed by the new smokeless powder-based cartridges. Tulle arsenal continued to produce Lebel rifles during World War I and closed the last assembly line in May 1920, although it continued to carry out re-barrelings and other repairs on the Lebel until the late 1930s.

In 1924 the French developed the rimless 7.5x54mm cartridge which offered better ballistics than the Balle D and was much more suited for use in automatic weapons. Tests were carried out with Lebels converted to the new cartridge, and the converted rifles were known as the M1886/93/27. In the 1930's, the 8x50mmR was updated once more. The new variant, christened the "Balle N" fired a 232 grain jacketed spitzer bullet at a velocity of almost 2,500 feet per second (that's about 3,220 foot pounds of muzzle energy, folks!). Most Lebels modified for the Balle N had new sights installed, consisting of a stand
ard blade front and a rear sight with a narrow notch. All modified rifles had an N stamped on the receiver and the barrel (mine is a Balle N in the carbine version described in the next paragraph).

The final act in the Lebel's service career came with the issuance of the M1886/93/35 in 1935. This was a Lebel rifle with the barrel shortened to eighteen inches, and a commensurately shortened magazine tube that only held three rounds. These carbines had an extremely heavy recoil, and were generally disliked by the troops to whom they were issued.

The Lebel rifle occupies a salient place in firearms history. Not only was it the first magazine repeating rifle chambered for a small bore, smokeless powder cartridge with a jacketed
bullet, but it can be argued that the advent of the Lebel was responsible for the surge in rifle development between 1888 and 1900 that yielded the Model 98 Mauser, the Short Magazine Lee Enfield, and a spate of other designs.

France's Wonderful Rifle
The New York Times, October 15, 1889

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Gun Hunt I

Gun Hunt II

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Harry Orchard's Colt? I know who has it but looking for more information on provenance. Take a look and email me if you have any clues.

Governor Steunenberg's Model 1895 .303 Savage Rifle

Bob Meldrum's Colt up for Auction

Bob Meldrum's Colt Sold at Auction

"Hair Trigger" Bob Meldrum & Charles Siringo

New arrival: just got an MI Garand from CMP...more later.

Had a fu
n time a couple weeks back at the San Luis Obispo Sportsman's Association SLOSA EXPO. This was a free ammo and guns provided event. That's right, no guns/ammo allowed in with the attendees but free ammo and use of a wide variety of guns at the event. I sure enjoyed the black power and sampling of muzzle loaders. A lot of work goes into taking one shot. Gives you quite an appreciation for what soldiers when through before cartridges and repeating rifles. The expo took place at a nearby public range facility offering a wide variety of shooting opportunities.

P.S. I made a couple of corrections above. Feel free to straighten me out on anything else
I am just beginning to get back into guns, ammo, militaria, etc. and corrections, feedback and interesting tidbits of information are welcomed. Thanks, John

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