The curiosity that is the French MAS-36 military rifle (VIDEO)

Chambered in 7.5x54mm, France built over a million of these semi-successful bolt-action “second line” rifles and they saw lots of service.

Designed before WWII, the MAS Modele 36 was supposed to replace The Republic’s Great War-era stockpiles of Berthier and even older 8mm Lebel bolt guns. They went into full production in 1937.

While some 250,000 had been produced prior to the start of the next war with Germany, occupation meant that the bulk of the MAS-36 rifles made were produced post-war, and they went on to serve the French in their ill-fated struggle to retain colonial possessions in Indochina and North Africa before they were ultimately replaced by the downright funky semi-auto MAS-49 in the 1950s. Ironically, the MAS-36 was only supposed to equip rear echelon troops while the front line guys got sweeter autoloaders, though in practice that didn’t happen.

In the above review by Bloke on the Range, they have a post-war ’36 that was refurbished in arsenal in 1962 — right after the French withdrew from Algeria. As such, the rifle has all the oddball features that make it special to include the nearly hidden cruciform bayonet and the tamper-proof fittings that prevent full disassembly in the field.

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