Antique status of Lebels

Les Fusils Militaires Français, Chassepot, Gras, Lebel, Berthier et MAS 36
Post Reply
User avatar
nrobertb
Firearm Fanatic
Firearm Fanatic
Posts: 1718
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:02 am
Location: NW Lower MI

Antique status of Lebels

Post by nrobertb »

I don't find the Lebel listed on my ATF curio & relic list. Does this mean they are considered antique regardless of what year they were manufactured?

Has anyone ever seen a complete serial number List? All I could find on the internet was a partial list on Gunboards.

User avatar
RWS
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 289
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:26 am
Age: 67
Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Re: Antique status of Lebels

Post by RWS »

I believe the last Lebels were manufactured around 1916. This would clearly make them eligible for C&R status based on the 50-year rule. Even ATF acknowledges that not every firearm meeting the 50-year rule is on the C&R list, but if it's over 50 years old it is C&R eligible.

Antique status is a bit murkier. If a firearm is pre-1898, and uses black powder or "obsolete" smokeless loads then it probably qualifies as an antique. In the case of the 8mm Lebel rifle, even pre-1898 rifles used smokeless powder loads, and since PRVI at least manufactures "modern" smokeless ammo for it, my opinion is that ATF would not grant Antique status.

I had a similar discussion with ATF many years ago when I tried to buy a C96 Broomhandle Mauser manufactured in 1897 from a dealer without having to go through the yellow form. The dealer said if I could convince ATF that it was an Antique because it was a pre 1898 firearm that he would sell it to me over-the-counter. ATF told me that even though the firearm was pre-1898 that it would not be eligible for Antique status because it fired a modern cartridge.

Good luck in your endeavor.

-Bob

72 usmc
Firearm Fanatic
Firearm Fanatic
Posts: 2489
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:28 pm
Age: 68
Location: Menomonee Falls, Wi

Re: Antique status of Lebels

Post by 72 usmc »

Interesting????? Empire arms sells them as antiques if the date on the rifle is pre 1898.
FRENCH Model 1886 R35 Lebel bolt-action cartridge carbine # K26789 (8x50R) mfg. by St. Etienne in 1888 (with N-marked chamber). Very Good condition, much remaining oil-blacked finish on metal parts. All matching numbers (unusual for these) and functional. Bore is strong but not very bright. Stock is quite dinged up and oil-soaked with a small arsenal-repair to right side of forend. Not import-marked, includes correct leather sling. PHOTOS . . . $625. Antique, no FFL required SOLD
Likewise Libertytreecollectors sells them as antique if the date is pre1898.
Serial number #AC99812 Antique. This offering is for the pictured French Lebel 1886 M93 rifle. In nice looking condition and marked from the Chatellerault Arsenal with a 1890 barrel date. No cracks or gouges to the hardwood stock and the metal surfaces have a blued finish. Matching serial numbers on all marked parts. Chamber has been updated to the with the balle -N- proof marked on the receiver top. Chambered in 8mm Lebel the bore has good rifling with mostly smooth lands and grooves, a little dark. The stacking pin is broken off as is the small bayonet lug guide. Includes the sling. Makes a fine display for the military collector.


Antiqur Firearm Terms Apply
Guess the trick is to find one from a person that would ship it as an antique. It is far easier to buy at a gun show and take it home. Most would consider them antique, but would not ship a N marked rifle. Something you would have to pick up in person. The safe way is use a C& R. The expensive way is do an FFL transfer at a greatly increased addition to its price. Most large shows have one for sale but condition, price ???? Its a waiting game to find just what you want. If you have one to sell do it at a local gun show. I would not risk the shipping hassle for a $500 rifle. And not too much demand for old French rifles at top buck at WI gun shows. Price has to be an almost giveaway to move off a table. Now if it was a K98 :dance: If its dated post 1898 forget it. Treat as a normal rifle.
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

User avatar
RWS
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 289
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:26 am
Age: 67
Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Re: Antique status of Lebels

Post by RWS »

Since I don't dabble with Lebel rifles I am clueless as to what the purchasing drill is, but I'll bet if they can be sold as antiques that ATF has ruled it that way. They have chosen NOT to allow some other pre-1898 firearms to be sold as antiques. My only real experience is with C96 Broomhandles.

The one thing I DO know is that many dealers, out of an abundance of caution, won't sell you a pre-1898 firearm outright unless you have a letter from ATF saying it's OK for them to sell it as an antique.

User avatar
vandle
Bullet Banger
Bullet Banger
Posts: 667
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:08 pm
Age: 52
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: Antique status of Lebels

Post by vandle »

RWS wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:37 am

Antique status is a bit murkier. If a firearm is pre-1898, and uses black powder or "obsolete" smokeless loads then it probably qualifies as an antique. In the case of the 8mm Lebel rifle, even pre-1898 rifles used smokeless powder loads, and since PRVI at least manufactures "modern" smokeless ammo for it, my opinion is that ATF would not grant Antique status.

-Bob
This rule is very similar to what we have in Oz. Its the availability of commercial ammo determines if they are antique or not, not the age of the firearm.
Life is tough, tougher if your stupid

"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." Albert Einstein

User avatar
dynachrome
Member
Member
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:10 pm
Age: 65
Location: Golden Colorado

Re: Antique status of Lebels

Post by dynachrome »

I believe 1898 and before are antiques, smokeless powder or not. I have owned an 1890 GEW (turked) that I bought as an antique, that had been re chambered to 8mm. It shot well with modern privi ammo. And an antiue Mosin or two. They shoot fine with modern 7.62x54r ppu (privi) ammo.
"When an empire dies, you are left with large monuments in front of which illiterate peasants squat to defecate"

User avatar
dynachrome
Member
Member
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:10 pm
Age: 65
Location: Golden Colorado

Re: Antique status of Lebels

Post by dynachrome »

ps. I have 1948 Turkish forestry carbine based on a 1916 St. Etienne lebel. Not an antique.
"When an empire dies, you are left with large monuments in front of which illiterate peasants squat to defecate"

Post Reply

Return to “French Rifles”