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  #1  
Old 06-26-2009, 2:32 PM
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Default French 8mm Berthier

Hey there everyone,

Everyone talks about mosins and enfields and mausers (oh my!), but there seems to be a marked less interest in french arms.

anyone got a Berthier? There are some nice ones on GB at the moment and based on their sales history, they dont seem to be too much. I'm considering one, it'd be fun to have a rifle from each of the great powers...

i see on AIM their ammo's avail, but ain't cheap (expected that...)

are they fun to shoot? anything remarkable about them?
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  #2  
Old 06-26-2009, 3:00 PM
Peter in CA Peter in CA is offline
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Default Re: Berthier

glennsche,
I have two Berthier's, and both of them shot quite well. My good friend Big Joe got me interested in French rifles. You may need to get used to the French sight picture, which is a little different then most others.

I reload, so the ammunition is not a big problem. I quite like the 8mm Lebel round. Short, fat and powerful. I only have rifles, so I cannot speak for the carbines, but a nice condition Berthier would be a worthy addition to any Military surplus rifle collection.

Peter in CA
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  #3  
Old 06-26-2009, 3:04 PM
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I have Berthier long rifle as well. Tallest rifle in the safe. Mine was produced in 1917 in France. It is actually pretty fun to shoot and very unusual. Always gets interest down at the range.

The bore is not in good shape except the rifling is still strong. It is obvious that it shot a lot of corrosive ammo in the past without good cleaning. It was refinished sometime in the past.

I bought brass for it from Grafs and load up cast bullets for it. My barrel slugged in at .329. Be sure to slug the barrel when you get one..they were rechambered for .323 in the 20s to match 8mm Lebel machine gun ammo and you will find either version out there (I think the .323 is more common).

I was able to purchase a large amount of gas-checked cast bullets from a caster at surplusrifleforum.com and I shoot those. 16 gr of Alliant 2400 is real easy shooting. The rifle I bought came with two enbloc clips..if you buy a Berthier then you will need those clips to shoot it (same way a Garand requires an enbloc).

And remember this: To remove the bolt you need to unscrew the bolt head.

-Jason
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  #4  
Old 06-26-2009, 4:32 PM
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I have never shot one, but it does look like an interesting rifle. But you're right, there doesn't seem to be much interest in French rifles, although I'll admit, the MAS 36 has always been one of my favorite rifles.
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Old 06-26-2009, 4:43 PM
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I only have one Berthier - one of the Remington unnumbered ones I think, its way back in one of my safes.

Unnumbered I was told means it never got to France for WWI.

I really want a Lebel - rifle not like the old, beat to hell Turkish used carbine I have. Those French Foreign legion movies have had me wanting one for decades.

Tons of info at: http://forums.gunboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=11
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File Type: jpg Crop21907.jpg (58.7 KB, 76 views)
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  #6  
Old 06-26-2009, 10:50 PM
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Berthier rifles and carbines were rebarreled and reworked in the 30s to chamber the 7.5 MAS round - just a bit of trivia.
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  #7  
Old 06-26-2009, 11:13 PM
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I have a Turkish Foresters Carbine that looks neat. I recently sold a 1916 Berthier carbine that had much better fit and finish than the Turk, but not the panache of the full stock on the Foresters carbine. Not sure I would trust the Turk with full power ammo, but ok for cast bullet reloads.

BTW: I have surplus 8mm Lebel ammo for sale in the ammo sales forum.
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  #8  
Old 06-26-2009, 11:19 PM
Francis Marion Francis Marion is offline
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Berthiers are very similar in bolt lockup design to the M1886 Lebel, although Berthiers use either 3-shot or else 5-shot Mannlicher clips; the five shot clips are very rare and the three shot clips at least equal the population of Bigfoot. (i.e., luck into them at a gun show for $20 each now and then.)
The Berthiers and Lebels have strong, dual front locking lug designs.
Berthier design was the French attempt to keep up with changing European small arms designs which favored Mauser and Mannlicher magazine systems; their M1886 Lebel was an 8-shot tube loader.
The round is such an unusual shape because it's derived from (necked down from) the 11mm Gras round, their last metallic cartridge black powder repeater.

The 200 grain ball round is still supersonic at 1000m, and gives a vigorous recoil punch when fired out of a rifle length barrel.
Carbines have heavy, unpleasant recoil; I'd go with a rifle. I honestly pity any French soldier whose life depended on a Berthier carbine. Tailor reloads to the carbine, though, and tame the recoil.
From what I've read, we made Berthier rifles for the French Army, but acceptance disputes kept many of them here. You can even find Remington single shot rifles in 8x50 Lebel.
IIRC, 8x50 projectiles mic well above the German nominal JS 8mm of 0.323.
If you find a good shooter, get it.
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  #9  
Old 06-27-2009, 1:22 AM
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viva La France? getting the urge for Mas 36 wtf
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  #10  
Old 06-27-2009, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smle-man View Post
Berthier rifles and carbines were rebarreled and reworked in the 30s to chamber the 7.5 MAS round - just a bit of trivia.
Very few of them were converted, and those that were are extremely hard to find.

I have berthier 2 carbines, one sporterized remington rifle and one remington Rolling Block in 8mm Lebel. I Like them all except for one of the carbines, as it has a hair trigger. And in a safety-less gun like that, it is not a good thing. The Remington made Berthier has some headspacing issues, but that isn't surprising considering that many of them were made out of spec due to a clerical error at the factory. Ammo used to be hard to find, but since Grafs has started making brass, it is much easier. Of all of them, I like the Rolling Block the most. It is just so danged fun to shoot.

-Mb
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  #11  
Old 09-08-2009, 5:38 AM
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Default 8mm Lebel Berthier

Got one and tried it out for the first time. Kicks like a horse, as much as a 12 gauge slug.
Reloaded with 46 gr. of IMR3031, Hornady .323 Spire Point 195 gr. in Graff cases.
Anybody got any light plinking load for cast bullets ?
Danyboy
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  #12  
Old 09-08-2009, 11:03 AM
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here's a cool pic of the berthier carbines in action! (or, allegedly in action)

seems staged to me but what do i know.

http://www.life.com/image/2669378/in...odiest-battles
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  #13  
Old 09-08-2009, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danyboy View Post
Got one and tried it out for the first time. Kicks like a horse, as much as a 12 gauge slug.
Reloaded with 46 gr. of IMR3031, Hornady .323 Spire Point 195 gr. in Graff cases.
Anybody got any light plinking load for cast bullets ?
Danyboy
Use 16 grains of Alliant 2400 with any non-magnum large rifle primer (I use CCI's). 2400 is position insensitive, so no need to use a filler or even to tip the barrel up. By the way this is a nice accurate load for just about *any* rifle in the .30 cal range. Just be aware that it is real easy to double-charge such a light load.

-Jason
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  #14  
Old 09-12-2009, 4:28 PM
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Few of my Berthiers




Regards
RRO

Last edited by vivelacolo; 09-12-2009 at 4:32 PM..
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  #15  
Old 09-12-2009, 10:21 PM
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Bravo!
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  #16  
Old 09-13-2009, 12:36 AM
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Nice! Any in 7.5mm?
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Old 09-13-2009, 2:47 AM
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How long did it take you to set up for that photo?
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  #18  
Old 09-13-2009, 10:51 AM
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holy crap! wanna sell a couple? recently got a MAS 36/51 and just took it out last weekend. what a blast! i love ALL old bolt guns.
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glennsche View Post
here's a cool pic of the berthier carbines in action! (or, allegedly in action)

seems staged to me but what do i know.

http://www.life.com/image/2669378/in...odiest-battles
Yes, that one was staged. They still have their dark blue/red uniforms that went out of style within a couple of weeks of the outbreak of WWI. The "dead" body's perfect hair is also a clue...

-Mb

p.s. that is one of the best collections of berthiers I have ever seen. You wouldn't happen to have any carbine front barrel bands for sale, would you?
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Old 09-16-2009, 4:42 PM
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No I do not want to sell any, and I do not have parts for sale, the upper barrel band is one of the most precious parts.
I had to empty a room to redo the floor and I lined up all the Berthiers coming out on the nearest wall, and suddendly realised that I had a photo op.
None of those are in 7.5 m/m, what you are seeing is an assortment of 1890 cavalerie, 1890 gendarmerie, 1892 artillerie and Mle M16.
The Berthier in 7,5 is the M34 a totally different animal, a rifle rebarrelled in 7.5m/m with a lot of modifications. The M16 R34 are extremely rare.
Few of mine




Best regards
Robert Olivier
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  #21  
Old 09-16-2009, 10:15 PM
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wow, you're magnificent bastard! how long have you been collecting these things? i mean, there's certain guns i like, but seriously, you've got a crapload of these things. my safe is full already and i don't have half of what i want, without many doubles. i imagine your situation is probably a lot different than mine however, and i most certainly understand obsession. nice collection, i hope you shoot them and not just look at them. not shooting a gun is like driving a v6 Mustang; looks neat, but not much good for anything.
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  #22  
Old 09-16-2009, 10:23 PM
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so what makes the berths so interesting that makes you want to get 50 of them?

amazing collection.
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Old 09-23-2009, 4:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glennsche View Post
Hey there everyone,

Everyone talks about mosins and enfields and mausers (oh my!), but there seems to be a marked less interest in french arms.

anyone got a Berthier? There are some nice ones on GB at the moment and based on their sales history, they dont seem to be too much. I'm considering one, it'd be fun to have a rifle from each of the great powers...

i see on AIM their ammo's avail, but ain't cheap (expected that...)

are they fun to shoot? anything remarkable about them?
Yeah i have one here in NZ, a 1892 varient completely unchanged, problem is
i can't find any ammo for it. can you help?. and En bloc Clips thanks
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Old 09-23-2009, 4:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter in CA View Post
glennsche,
I have two Berthier's, and both of them shot quite well. My good friend Big Joe got me interested in French rifles. You may need to get used to the French sight picture, which is a little different then most others.

I reload, so the ammunition is not a big problem. I quite like the 8mm Lebel round. Short, fat and powerful. I only have rifles, so I cannot speak for the carbines, but a nice condition Berthier would be a worthy addition to any Military surplus rifle collection.

Peter in CA
I can't find any ammo, you know where i could get some?
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Old 09-23-2009, 4:57 PM
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I can't find any ammo for my Berthier Carbine, you know where i could get some?
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Old 09-23-2009, 5:01 PM
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not mine, Don't know how, but it survived being converted, and was in French service in ww1. its still got its brass cleaning rod
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Old 09-23-2009, 5:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherman75mm View Post
Yeah i have one here in NZ, a 1892 varient completely unchanged, problem is
i can't find any ammo for it. can you help?. and En bloc Clips thanks
Midway has 20 Round boxes available. It's not the cheapest ammo I've ever seen but for $23.49, it's not bad compared to some other cartridges (plus, it's available)...

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=711135

By NZ, do you mean New Zealand? I was just looking at Midway's international policy and they apparently don't have an agreement with any dealers in New Zealand. However, there are instructions on how to get your local dealer approved here:

http://www.midwayusa.com/static.exe/...nformation.htm

Your local dealer might have access to other wholesalers that can order Prvi Partizan ammo. It's pretty good stuff for the price. All brass cases, boxer primed and non magnetic. I've shot Prvi .303 Brit, 8mm Mauser, 7.62x54R and 7.65 Argentine. All had positive results and decent accuracy...

As for clips, check eBay. A quick search found an auction for two here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/French-Berthier-...d=p3286.c0.m14
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  #28  
Old 09-23-2009, 5:11 PM
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Do you have an En Bloc clip I could buy? I have an 1892 model, but can't find any 3 shot berthier En Bloc clips, if you can't sell one do you know where i could buy one?
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  #29  
Old 09-24-2009, 9:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherman75mm View Post
I can't find any ammo for my Berthier Carbine, you know where i could get some?
http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/8x50R_Lebel.html
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  #30  
Old 11-13-2009, 6:32 AM
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I bought some 3 round clips off of this guy.

http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=67861

He actually sent them and then had me pay. Sending cash in the mail was the only way he wanted to do business, but everything worked out fine for me.
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  #31  
Old 11-13-2009, 10:14 AM
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Awesome collection - Actively looking for some to go with my MAS -
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  #32  
Old 11-13-2009, 1:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogerbutthead View Post
I bought some 3 round clips off of this guy.

http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=67861

He actually sent them and then had me pay. Sending cash in the mail was the only way he wanted to do business, but everything worked out fine for me.
I got a handful of 5-round clips from the same guy. Smooth transaction..wonder if he is collecting American bills?

-Jason
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  #33  
Old 11-13-2009, 3:02 PM
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Well I tried to upload a photo, not working so well, anyways I have a 3 shot Berthier available, carbine, send a PM we can talk shop if anyone is interested.

Frank
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  #34  
Old 11-13-2009, 3:35 PM
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french guns are always in pretty good shape, don't look like they got much use
http://i865.photobucket.com/albums/a...army_knife.jpg
maybe their pocket knives did the job
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