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" Cleaned Up" Berthiers

Les Fusils Militaires Français, Chassepot, Gras, Lebel, Berthier et MAS 36
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72 usmc
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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#16 Post by 72 usmc » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:40 pm

recently received my first Berthier Mle 16 carbine and believe it is one of these cleaned up ones. I only paid $300 (not counting shipping, etc.) for it though. The wood looks to have been refinished as it has a nice sheen on it. The finish on the metal is a very clean dark paint. I'm just starting to do research on it and read that locomotive paint was used on later guns as a finish, so that may be original.

PLEASE, I would love to see some of the details and some close up views of the metal and wood.
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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#17 Post by vandle » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:56 pm

72 usmc wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:42 pm
Here are some close up views of what is an arsenal rebuilt, common Chatellerault (MAC), 5 shot, Berthier 1907/15 that is in a thin black paint, all matching, with an arsenal repaired stock with the nice small wood patches found on French rifles. This was a find at a local show and I paid too much $300, but that was due to its mint bore, nice stock, perfect metal finish, and with an original sling. NO stinking IMPORT mark. It is not N marked on the receiver. I just had to have it. It is not an example of a "messed with" rifle. I would like to see pictures of such an example.

This is a like new, arsenal repaired Berthier lacking import marks. Serial numbers are matching and found at these locations on a long rifle. The bolt and bolt head, the left side of the barrel under the hand guard wood, or as on this example it can be viewed through a small window cut into the hand guard, on left side of stock's butt, and the bottom of the trigger guard strap. Most of the small parts are marked with a stamped "P" as seen on the bands, receiver, and the trigger guard rear tang -near the screw. The butt plate is stamped "UN". The upper sight is marked with what looks like a tiny "X", not a "P". The stock is an arsenal replacement with a wood patch showing the matching serial number. The old number must have been removed during its rebuild. Note the scratches on the butt stock's surface do not continue over the wood patched area. The stock looks a we bit duller than the pictures show. Metal color is right on. The barrel is almost new, yet matches. Here are close up views of what I believe is an almost new arsenal repaired Berthier:

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Very nice find. It looks to be in good condition.
My example the bore is not as good as yours.
Will need to throw some pic s up.

Mine the receiver and stock matches but bolt does not.
Mine looks a little used lol
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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#18 Post by 72 usmc » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:16 pm

Here is one I forgot I had, a parts dog or odd ball that I got years ago at 80 bucks. It is a non N marked, civilian contractor Continsouza, Berthier , 5 shot marked Mle-M-18. No parts match and the stock has two serial numbers stamped on it with a good number of small wood patch repairs. It headspaces and shoots great even though the bore is only fair. I think this was the first long rifle I picked up; definately not my best purchase, but back then I wanted a shooter. This one is in rusted blue and the wood a dull original used finish. After looking at it 20 years later, a perfect example of what not to buy. :lol: :lol: :lol:

This must be one of the put together parts rifles sold in the 1980s, but still no IMPORT mark???? I think this one was from Hunters Lodge, it has been so long ago I can not remember... :snooty: :think:

So this would be a nice buy for parts at $100 at todays crazy prices. Maybe for a WW I French reenactor, you certainly can fire blanks and beat this one around without any worry.What do they say, PATINA sells? Kind of reminds me of how dumb I was at picking up rifles 30 years ago, hence the need for buyers to do some reading & research prior to a purchase :whistle: :whistle: :whistle:
Now that I re-found it out in the shed, I am going to fire it after the thin blanket of snow melts.
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Last edited by 72 usmc on Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#19 Post by 72 usmc » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:19 pm

More of the mixed breed dog: some nice wood stock patch repairs
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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#20 Post by 72 usmc » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:25 pm

More of the metal blue finish and rust:
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Not what I would call any attempt at restoration, "cleaned up" or with stock sanding/refinish nor touched up bluing to increased price. Just a run of the mill rifle you would find at the Woolworth's barrel of surplus junk back in the 1960s. I got it in the early 80s. It certainly is a rifle that's considered less collectable. Parts curated on a wood stick. But long rifle, Berthier stocks with any kind of original finish that are not cracked are a good find. So I guess I can get my 80 bucks back in parts and then some :shifty: :shifty: :roll: :oops: :oops: :lol:

It's almost Christmas, maybe a deal on frosty bores :occasion-partyblower: :occasion-santa:
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#21 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:00 pm

Here is a another matching, Berthier, WW I, Chatellerault 1907/15 with a surface rust from attic storage. An example of an intact as is, stored under poor conditions in the attic. It also has an odd wood grain. I am not sure what type of wood this is. This rifle, and the next example-- a St Etienne have similar wood stocks. On this example the black paint is worn down from use and the bore is worn & dark. Still a great shooter, but its surface rust does not lend itself to a collector rifle. Another $150 Berthier from about 15 years ago. The guys grandpa had it in the attic.
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Last edited by 72 usmc on Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#22 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:03 pm

More of the attic find showing the surface rust on the metal surfaces.
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To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#23 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:05 pm

The dark bore on the attic find Chatellerault.
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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#24 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:16 pm

A CLEANED UP SPECIMEN

A messed with, redone Berthier fixed by someone to sell. Prior to its redo, it most likely looked like the attic find. Here is a St. Etienne Mle M16 that has a very worn stock, non matching, finger grooves almost worn smooth, with a reblued barrel and portions of the receiver also touched up for sale. This is a great example of a messed with $85 rifle I got about 15 years ago. It has a great bore and like all of these examples they headspace fine on a field gauge. I took some views the reblued metal parts. This is a parts rifle that is a good shooter or WW I reenactor's specimen. No black paint on this redone rifle Just two different tones /colors of blue. The barrel is different than the receiver and butt plate. Most blue appears to be a cold blue rubbed over the rust pits- a sure sign of being messed with is blue or paint over a rust pitted surface.
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Last edited by 72 usmc on Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#25 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:20 pm

More pictures of the messed with metal - not original condition. All pictures show re blued sections- blue over & into pits.

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Last edited by 72 usmc on Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:11 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#26 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:22 pm

More picture of the messed with metal parts.
Blue over rust pits
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Some of the original blue
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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#27 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:28 pm

Some views of the odd wood and its finish is not refinished by someone trying to redo the rifle I believe this to be an arsenal refinish after the stock patch repairs. Only two original arsenal stock repairs.
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Hand grips almost worn smooth on both sides of this stock.
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note the hand guard is a different wood. Later addition.
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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#28 Post by 72 usmc » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:46 pm

So of all these Berthiers, the first one I showed is the one you want if you are going to dish out $300-400. I hope some of the condition photos help sort out a dog from a shooter, or a true a collector's specimen. Most of the shooters were between $85-$150. One matching attic find at 150. Most at $85-$100. Most are from the mid 1990s

Here is a link to clean up a dog, if you think you can go that far on a junker. Some do, and these are the "Cleaned up specials" too avoid at top buck if you are buying a rifle as a collector. Some go this far for a shooter or WW I reenactor 's rifle. A very interesting video. Perfect to try on a total parts junk rifle :think: :think:

One concern. There is a high initial cost factor for the set up. Too much for just one rifle in my mind. One needs to buy the Rust Blue. Best to have an assortment of solutions to keep postage down lets say $150. Plastic pipe parts $40, heater and vaporizer, used, say another $40, used car oil from a new car cheep,why from a new car-- so its clean, but still broken down. Wire soft wheel $25. A used grinder motor, say another $25. Steel wool and a gallon tin of acetone for a wash $20. Then 2 or 3 gallons of Kerosene say $15. Then find an old, free, refrigerator box or buy a $10 shipping box. So to get set up lets figure around $325 give or take depending on what you got around the house and do not have to buy. And you can cut the cost if you buy one bottle of solution instead of a variety at just $44. :doh: SO THIS IS INTERESTING :arrow: A how to do a clean up on the metal. And if you repair the stock figure another $150 in wood working goodies....
http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/viewto ... 057#p18057
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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#29 Post by 72 usmc » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:27 am

Finally, this reminds me of a book that Stuart C. Mowbray published 2006. It is 331+ Essential Tips and Tricks, A How-To Guide for the Gun Collector

It has a fantastic chapters on: warnings & suggestions, examining a gun, rust & other evils, and a neat write up of "what is under the blue"... it can be found used at gun shows because it has been in print since 2006. I paid $3.88 for mine. New it is $36.
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It is at most book places or can be ordered from Mowbray https://gunandswordcollector.com/produc ... collector/

All of their books are know for their fantastic photography- lots of example photos on high quality paper with crisp, clear, close up photos showing the details. Their books are well worth the price. This book has lots of information on identifying cleaned up specimens or restored guns. At a gun show-- Bring a strong light and magnifier. Also a jewelers loop. Written by a old guys voice of experience with buying tips, examination tips, and how to detect a professional faker's work. A lifetime of hard earned experience in one book. Worth a read if you find the book priced at $10-18 used. It does have great information on what to look for on expensive firearms that are faked or doctored-up.
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

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Re: " Cleaned Up" Berthiers

#30 Post by 72 usmc » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:07 pm

On some 1907/15-M16 5 shots, the door spring is broken or the tiny follower arm platform spring at the bottom is missing. Both are hard to find.

Here is the little follower arm platform spring that can be missing on the 5 shot Berthiers. This is really hard to find. Generally you are better off buying a complete lower 5 shot magazine with intact door and the spring just to replace either part. The door spring is a real pain in the ... to try to replace. If the lower door just hangs there or does not snap shut or is taped shut its broken and will have to be fixed. About 50-75 bucks to repair either situation. Be sure it's on the rifle if you pay big bucks for a French Berthier :lol: :lol: :dance: :dance: :doh:
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To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

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