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Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

Les Fusils Militaires Français, Chassepot, Gras, Lebel, Berthier et MAS 36
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Ken W
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Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#1 Post by Ken W » Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:21 pm

I have an 1886/93 Lebel that the passing years haven't been the kindest to. In fact one of it's previous owners appears to have taken a hammer to it at some point. I'm guessing that the bolt was locked into position due to rust and that person was determined to force it open with no concern to any detrimental effects. The bolt head connector has been bent considerably and the screw that fits it and bolt head were not present when I bought it. The pin that connects the bolt with the bolt head connector has been damaged and from the looks of it will not come out with further flattening and deformation. There is a long bolt missing that fits into the lower right corner of the receiver (when looking at the left side). I can find no reference to this bolt anywhere. I don't even know what it is called. It appears to fit through and partially secure the trigger group. I have acquired a bolt head but can't find the connector, connector screw or this unnamed receiver bolt and I have contacted a multitude of sources to no avail. Numrich has the connector and screw listed but has been out of stock for ages. Does anyone have any idea what the nomenclature is for that receiver bolt or happen to have any of these parts they'd be willing to part with?
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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#2 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:50 pm

Ebay and Gunbroker are your best bets for finding parts if Numrich doesn't have them. I don't know if Numrich has a schematic of a stripped bolt.

Best Regards,

Mark

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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#3 Post by Ken W » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:35 pm

SWIHARTMARK wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:50 pm
Ebay and Gunbroker are your best bets for finding parts if Numrich doesn't have them. I don't know if Numrich has a schematic of a stripped bolt.

Best Regards,

Mark
I have search alerts for both of those on both sites. So far no luck. Unfortunately doesn't have a schematic of the Lebel at all. The only one I can find anywhere is, what appears to be, the original French one from over 100 years ago which is not very detailed.

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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#4 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:18 pm

Maybe this weekend I can take mine apart and take a picture of it for you. Ummh, now to remember how to take it out and then apart. French armorers did not want the grunts to take their rifles apart easily. Perhaps they had me in mind?

Best Regards,

Mark

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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#5 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:44 pm

Numrich does have a schematic of a Berthier rifle bolt, 1890 and 1916. Perhaps they are the same, or at least you could use those to show me what you got, or are missing.

Best Regards,

Mark

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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#6 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:05 am

The best take down with excellent pictures and the names of most parts as you take them down is found in A Collectors Guide to Military rifle Disassembly and Reassembly by Stuart C. Mowbray & Joe Puleo, 2007, Mowbray Publishing, 304 pages. Look up pages 202-206. LEBEL. Bolt parts are shown in the bolt disassembly page, page 206. However, the authors just refers to the many different screws as "screws" not ones with specific names for ordering parts. There are clear photos of the parts and screws. He shows the magazine cut off assembly, but indicates it is designed not to be readily disassembled. So no take down this assembly is provided. The Bolt schematic just shows a screw, bolt head, cocking piece, nut, bolt body, firing pin, and mainspring striker. So I am not sure how useful it might be. Lots of close up photos show the take down and parts removed. But there is no general parts schematic for ordering parts with specific names. On this old stuff it is best to buy parts rifles just for parts, I do not own any Lebels, but mess with Berthiers. The Lebel trigger and magazine cutoff assembly is best purchased as an assembly . Many of the French older rifles require hand fitting of parts. I got one or two 1970 Gun parts catalogs, I will check if they had a printed schematic back in the day and post it here if I find one for you.

I see you posted on Gunboards so the big time French collectors may be able to help. Maybe they can tell you what screws from a Berthier may also fit the Lebel. It almost sound you got a nice parts rifle, depending on the stock condition. If the stock is excellent, then maybe it's worth restoration. Parts can be had in France, but cost is very high and shipping is high. Sometimes on French toy soldiers, the shipping & customs fee is 3x the cost of a particular item. Maybe consider it parts on a stick and now you purchase a shootable, collectors complete Lebel rifle??? Gun boards does have some links to French eBay & sellers of rare parts.


Berthier screw for bolt. https://www.libertytreecollectors.com/p ... oduct=4571

vonmazur also see this he was a member here.
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/curioan ... t4445.html
Last edited by 72 usmc on Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#7 Post by Ken W » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:53 am

SWIHARTMARK wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:18 pm
Maybe this weekend I can take mine apart and take a picture of it for you. Ummh, now to remember how to take it out and then apart. French armorers did not want the grunts to take their rifles apart easily. Perhaps they had me in mind?

Best Regards,

Mark
That would be great. I haven't fully disassembled the bolt on mine as of yet. The part that I really need to get removed is the bent bolt head connector. I'm afraid to further deform and wedge the pin holding it there.

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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#8 Post by Ken W » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:05 pm

72 usmc wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:05 am
The best take down with excellent pictures and the names of most parts as you take them down is found in A Collectors Guide to Military rifle Disassembly and Reassembly by Stuart C. Mowbray & Joe Puleo, 2007, Mowbray Publishing, 304 pages. Look up pages 202-206. LEBEL. Bolt parts are shown in the bolt disassembly page, page 206. However, the authors just refers to the many different screws as "screws" not ones with specific names for ordering parts. There are clear photos of the parts and screws. He shows the magazine cut off assembly, but indicates it is designed not to be readily disassembled. So no take down this assembly is provided. The Bolt schematic just shows a screw, bolt head, cocking piece, nut, bolt body, firing pin, and mainspring striker. So I am not sure how useful it might be. Lots of close up photos show the take down and parts removed. But there is no general parts schematic for ordering parts with specific names. On this old stuff it is best to buy parts rifles just for parts, I do not own any Lebels, but mess with Berthiers. The Lebel trigger and magazine cutoff assembly is best purchased as an assembly . Many of the French older rifles require hand fitting of parts. I got one or two 1970 Gun parts catalogs, I will check if they had a printed schematic back in the day and post it here if I find one for you.

I see you posted on Gunboards so the big time French collectors may be able to help. Maybe they can tell you what screws from a Berthier may also fit the Lebel. It almost sound you got a nice parts rifle, depending on the stock condition. If the stock is excellent, then maybe it's worth restoration. Parts can be had in France, but cost is very high and shipping is high. Sometimes on French toy soldiers, the shipping & customs fee is 3x the cost of a particular item. Maybe consider it parts on a stick and now you purchase a shootable, collectors complete Lebel rifle??? Gun boards does have some links to French eBay & sellers of rare parts.


Berthier screw for bolt. https://www.libertytreecollectors.com/p ... oduct=4571

vonmazur also see this he was a member here.
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/curioan ... t4445.html
Thanks for the info. The book looks like it would be an interesting read. As far as the magazine cut off assembly, 'd rather not take it apart if it can be avoided anyway. I do have to get the rust off of it though. The bolt in the receiver though that connects with it is the item I can't find any information on though.


I did see that Liberty Tree does offer a bolt head connecting screw for a Berthier and the page states that it will fit a Lebel as well. What concerns me is that their repro looks different than an original that Numrich has a picture of. Perhaps though this change is what makes it compatible with a Lebel? Numrich lists the applicable screw for both rifles as different items with separate part numbers. Unfortunately they don't provide a picture for the Lebel specific screw.

Original Berthier screw from Numrich (out of stock of course):

Image

Repro at Liberty Tree:

Image

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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#9 Post by Ken W » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:12 pm

I think I might have made the rifle out to be worse than it actually is. It's on the "well used" side to be certain but it's not a lost cause, as far as I can tell. It looked a lot worse when I got it and after a bit of removing a lot of surface rust with very fine steel wool it's not all that bad. The stock is in good condition and the receiver and bolt possess matching numbers. It's was manufactures in 1892. Here are a few more pictures:

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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#10 Post by Ken W » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:13 pm

....and a few more:
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100_8453.JPG

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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#11 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:58 pm

Maybe Patrick on the gunboards forum post will help you find parts in France or come up with a schematic in french and he can put English names to the parts. My old GunParts catalogs have no French parts listed. I do not own a Lebel so I can not make actual part comparisons to my Berthiers. I got some great parts for my Berthiers from vonmazur on this forum. I will try to look in the book and get some pictures as photo shots for you.
some pictures of the screw here:
http://www.cruffler.com/Features/NOV-01 ... ber01.html

some pictures of the screw liberty tree collectors show and is in my berthiers:
pictures of lebel photos and the screw
IMG_2156.jpg
IMG_2157.jpg
IMG_2158.jpg
IMG_2159.jpg
This last photo shows your type of screw maybe?? There may be 2 variations of screws / bolt heads on a Lebel?????? I am way out of my knowledge base on these Lebels- never owned or fired one.
IMG_2160.jpg
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#12 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:53 pm

picture of 1886 lebel bolt from SARCO.
source http://www.e-sarcoinc.com/french-1886-l ... embly.aspx

Sarco 1886 Lebel bolt- notice how the screw sticks up?
Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 2.50.31 PM.png
also this video also shows your odd screw, different from a Berthier screw on the bolt head:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgxrnAnybMI

Here is a reference photo from Libertytreecollectors of a lebel 86/93 bolt-notice the screw does not stick up-- maybe there are 2 variations of bolts?
Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 2.58.02 PM.png
Last edited by 72 usmc on Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#13 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:18 pm

Here is my original screw off one of my spare bolts for Berthiers

This is a Berthier screw, not from a lebel bolt.
IMG_2162.jpg
IMG_2163.jpg
IMG_2164.jpg
Those libertytree reproduction screws look a little rough, worse than Chinese made garbage :snooty: :snooty:
We need a French expert to make this post a real learning experience.
And next here is a stupid suggestion, maybe just buy a bolt body// but is it correct, will it headspace, do you have the correct screw, and will the existing bolt head fit the bolt body??? :doh: :doh: :doh: :doh: :doh: :doh: :doh:
https://www.gunpartscorp.com/products/739360

It costs to learn... but at least a bolt body is available and cheep at $35. Hold on, sometimes I get it's in stock, other searches its out of stock :oops:
739360.jpg
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#14 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:50 pm

Well at least it will be an interesting project? I am waiting to see what the experts say... Maybe, Mark can show his Lebel bolt body, bolt head, and the bolt head screw. He always helps out. Who has a Lebel? We need some photos :pray: :pray: :pray: :pray: :pray:
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

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Re: Help needed in saving an 1886/93 Lebel

#15 Post by Rapidrob » Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:27 pm

Please contact Patrick "Lebel" at ordnancesgt@yahoo.com He is in my club and has helped to write books on the French rifles.
He knows his stuff if it is French. I'm sure he will help you out.
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