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Run With The Fox, Stanton Hillis
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Original Post (Thread Starter)
#622557 11/24/2022 8:01 PM
by AGS
I just bought a Manufrance Simplex on GB (only bidder). The details were a little sketchy but I took a chance for the price. I like British/European singles in the better grades.

I was wondering if anyone has a source for Manufrance catalogs. I found a few for sale on the net, eBay etc, but they are all French and for sale there. It doesn't appear that these have been reproduced like other catalogs, and the available ones are scarce and really pricey.
I found a copy of a 1919 catalog on eBay France that pictures what looks to be exactly the gun I bought, but the photo of the catalog page is not very sharp. Any one who knows of a source for a prewar catalog at a reasonable price, I would appreciate the info.

The gun I bought is in decent condition, with pretty extensive engraving, really good quality wood, and in 16 gauge. It has no safety, which I believe means 130 or earlier construction.Some of the other catalogs I saw for sale showed these guns available as single shot rifles, some in some really healthy calibers. That would explain the robustness of the action and the heavy monobloc construction. I did notice in the 1919 catalog that some guns were made with exposed hammers, and the action design had a removeable top plate that allowed a hammer spur to protrude. The later guns (50's and later) in the pictures I have found appear to have a sort of plate extractor at the breech which extends past the action side for manual extraction. Kind of ungainly looking and not of the same quality finish as the old guns.

When I get it, I will post some pitures for comments.
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#622595 Nov 25th a 03:11 PM
by AGS
Originally Posted by Argo44
A few quick comments. More details will have to await pictures; FAB500 will likely comment too.

Manufrance early records were lost in a flood in the 1930's? However, there has been a lot of research on early models:

Jean-Claude Mournetas wrote very well known books on Manufrance including the "Ideal" and the "Robust." These volumes included charts to date the guns by model number:

The charts are posted on this line p.10 & p.11:

He also wrote on "The Simplex" here which I'll try to take a look at: (Canvasback on this site might have the book; he had both the Ideal and Robust books; Gil - GLS - certainly had both) - Note "roi des fusils à un coup" - King of the single shot:

This advice from another site: "If you remove the butt stock recoil pad or plate the date of manufacture will be stamped on the end of the wood stock..."

I would be willing to translate selected articles from the catalogs if you can identify them. On the other hand once photos are posted, FAB500 might point us more to the correct year.

Incidentally, this also from another site - cannot vouch for it but it sounds right:

"Simplex shotguns are made by MANUFRANCE since 1908. They are still made. These guns were widely used when using conditions were bad or very bad:sea side,equatorial Africa,south america(Guyana...) because they were sturdy and inexpensive.

Let me tell you one use :the gun was loaded with a cartridge cut just over the wad ,then a wood arrow of the bore diameter with iron point was introduced by the barrel muzzle and the gun was fired in order to kill ....elephants!! Of course the shooter had to fire point-blank and run or climb a tree very quickly!! Just to say the guns were sturdy ones. Another type of users were people without a lot of money and youngs.

First this shotgun was only produced in 12 and 16 gauges but a few years later in 20 and 24 gauges for youngs. In the other side,10 gauge (for waterfowl),and rifled barrels in 375HH ,305 WCF...,the action was strong enough to accept these cartridges. After 1920,the barrel had a tight full choke,before the barrel was less choked. In 12 and 16 gauges the chamber length was 65mm during the 50 first years of production,then it was 70 or 76mm.
The early models had either an outside hammer or were hammerless.The first type was stopped in 1930.The safety appeared only during this year.

The butt pad was iron made during the first years,then horn . Bakelite appeared around 1950. The gun is still made:
12 gauge, 3" chamber, 80cm barrel length
20 gauge, 3" chamber, 76 cm barrels. Both have a beech stock and forearm."

French gun term added to the French-English dictionary:
Monocoup - single shot

Thanks for the info. I will check it to see what is there. I had found a copy of the Ideal book available on eBay and it is in the mail.
I should have the gun in a week or so and will post some pictures. As I said, the extensive nice quality engraving and the high quality of the wood suggested that this was a relatively high grade gun. Also interesting was the fact that of the pictures of catalog pages I could find seemed to be geared toward showing the rifle version instead of the shotgun. The one I did find that had some information on the model was 1919 and showed that they used the same frame for both hammer and hammerless, but a blanking filler was installed on the hammerless model. The internals drawing looked like the same hammer was used for both except that the spur was not on the hammerless model.
1 member likes this
#622994 Dec 3rd a 03:11 AM
by Argo44
Two Piper and his machine shop expertise is missed. Just a comment remembering him at Christmas because you all know you stuff too.
1 member likes this

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