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French WWI Contract
Mle 1914 Remington Rolling Block
Calibre 8mm Lebel
Serial No 16559
Price: £475

A Rare Rifle

In 1914 the arms production capacity of the Remington company was available to anyone with money.
The Rolling Block was obsolete by this time (Remington had ceased production of all but the rimfire models), but the tooling was still there and the design remained inexpensive, robust, and reliable.
In November 1914 the French government placed an order for 100,000 of the rifles (including some carbines) in 8mm Lebel, with wooden upper handguards and bayonets.

These would prove to be the only single-shot rifles manufactured new for use in the Great War. The first deliveries began in March 1915, and by June of that year Remington was producing 500 per day. The entire contract was delivered on schedule by early 1916. These Remington rifles were marked a bit differently than typical French-production military arms. They were serial numbered on the stock and the barrel only (and this was done upon receipt in France, not by Remington), and some inspections like confirming parts interchangeability with other manufacturers was skipped (since Remington was the only manufacturer). The one identifying mark from Remington (aside from the patents marked on the tang) was “CAL 8MM” stamped on the barrels. These were the only smokeless-powder 8mm Rolling Blocks made, and thus are fairly easy to identify upon inspection.

The bayonets provided had 405mm blades per French requirement, but were otherwise basically identical to the bayonets Remington had manufactured for military Rolling Block contracts in past decades. After the end of WWI, the Rolling Blocks remained in inventory, and some remained there at least into the 1930s, as evidenced by it’s “N” chamber conversion.

 

Just been proofed, we managed to save this rifle which originally came in to be deactivated

A good example with a rather good bore, it has had some localised pitting externally at the muzzle end & on the butt plate

A rare rifle with a good shooting condition bore