Highwood Classic Arms

British & Commonwealth

Classic Military Rifles



Berthier Carbine
Date: 1915
Calibre 8mm Lebel
Serial No: 86963
Price: £385

Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Châtellerault (MAC)

A WWI dated French Berthier carbine in good useable condition, bolt is mis-matched, but quite common.

Sound condition, with a few arsnal repairs to the stock. the cleaning rod channel has been filled, which is a post WWI modification. The markings on this carbine indicate it was still in service in the 1930s.

This little carbine has various markings, which i have deciphered as:

The letter preceding the serial number is a b which is from the block issued to Chatellerault

The large letters above the serial number is the Steel code using in barrel making

JH= Holtser (Jacob) et Cie Unieux ... and used by the Arsenals: MAC, MAS and MAT: JHand the smaller letters in the circle are the factory inspectors stamps.

On the right side of the barrel MAC 1915 is the date the barrel was made.

You will also sometimes see on the left side of the receiver on some Berthier Rifles and Carbines only, right at the end of the model designation the following letters, "MD ...Modifi Desaleux" which means the weapons sights were modified or manufactured for the Balle D cartridge.

Sometimes on the top of the receiver ring and barrel you will see a capital N stamped on the top of them and this signifies that this weapons chamber was modified to fire the later Cartouche Mle.1932 or commonly called Balle N 8mm Lebel cartridge.

The origin of the chamber re-throating was carried out on the various weapons in service that were still in French inventory as of 1934 with most being done during the period 1935 to 1939.

One other interesting fact is the "N" label is a misinterpretation as there is no such item as a "N" cartridge in any of the French texts and if you wish to use the correct name for this cartridge, you would have to call it Cartouche Modèle 1932N.