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#597374 05/27/21 10:35 PM
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Argo44 Offline OP
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Curious. Does anyone believe this Manufrance 12 ga. actually has 30" barrels? If so it's very unusual. (they look to be standard French 27 1/2" - 65 cm - to me).

https://www.gunsinternational.com/g...ide-by-side-shotgun.cfm?gun_id=101618078

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

"Canon Frette" (classic MF "sleeved" barrel). Proofed in-house. Charge Normal = 2 1/2" chambers. Crappy engraving with pitting...no hint of what model. SN not mentioned.
[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

I must say these late 1920's-1930's MF marks are not so familiar - FAB500 has helped:
https://www.doublegunshop.com/forum...;Main=39635&Number=595336#Post595336
From 1926 MF no longer used the Saint-Etienne proof house; They proofed their arms internally. The "Crowned PT" stamp, as well as the "foudre" stamp replaced them (Saint-Étienne proof house stamps) (see photo).

À partir de 1926, la MF ne passe plus par le banc d'épreuve de Saint-Etienne et éprouve ses armes en interne. Le poinçon PT couronné, ainsi que le poinçon foudre sont remplacés (voir photo).

Last edited by Argo44; 05/27/21 11:09 PM.

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Makes one wonder how they were able to circumvent the proofhouse. Maybe based on the volume of guns they made??

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I don’t believe proof was actually compulsory in France. However, and this is important, IT MAY AS WELL HAVE BEEN.

Every catalog makes mention of proof, and gunmakers paid for varying levels of proof on their wares. There was a major overhaul of the rules of proof in 1923. To a very large degree, most of the gunmakers in France were mom and pop shops, and proofing themselves would not have been an option. Manufrance could sell you a gun, a case, a bicycle or a car to carry it in, a tent to use at your hunting camp, hunting clothes, and a sewing machine to repair them. And lots of other household items.

They were huge.

Best,
Ted

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Argo44 Offline OP
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Let's repost what FAB500 had to say about Manufrance proofing their own guns.....the proof stamps are in this line:
https://www.doublegunshop.com/forum...;Main=39635&Number=595336#Post595336

Last edited by Argo44; 05/28/21 11:13 PM.

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I can't recall ever having seen the last group of proofmarks (with the arrows) in FAB500's post. And I've owned several Manufrance guns. Could be that none of mine (or others I looked at) fell within that time period.

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The barrels in the picture are over 2x the length of pull. They look longish to me.

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Salut Argo,
Ce Robust est un modèle n°5 fabriqué de 1913 à 1924. Il a été éprouvé avec l'ancienne épreuve de St Étienne antérieure à 1924.
En France, l'épreuve des armes a été obligatoire à partir de 1960.

Last edited by fab500; 05/29/21 07:20 AM.
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Merci comme d'habitude Fab:

Translation: "This Robust is a model 5 made from 1913 to 1924. It was proofed with the old St. Étienne proof stamp used prior to 1924. In France, proofing of arms was obligatory from 1960 (probably 1860?)."

So I am wrong about it having been proofed in-house. In my defense, the proof marks were not in the ad; only the Manufrance trademark was visible.

Last edited by Argo44; 05/29/21 10:50 AM.

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I am pretty sure he is right on with the 1960 date for obligatory proof.

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Argo44 Offline OP
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You guys know well. I was just remembering Didier-Devet's report on the 1878 Paris Universelle where he complained about Paris using unproved Belgian barrels which St. Etienne had to proof theirs. The law is published in the article reposted per below: For history here is a letter written by Didier Drevet to the local Saint-Etienne Newspaper on Nov 28, 1878
http://www.memoireetactualite.org/presse/42LEREPUBLIC/PDF/1878/42LEREPUBLIC-18781128-P-0002.pdf

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]
[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Here is a rough translation of this article. - M. DD essentially advocates upgrading the tool and dies of Saint-Etienne and complain rightly about the Paris gun makers who are not abiding by the proof-laws while be favored by the Exposition:

Here is the report of M. Didier-Drevet, master barrel maker, sent by his colleagues to the universal Exposition:

Monsieur the Editor: As barrel-maker I was a part of the delegation of gun-maker workers who were sent to Paris last October.

That delegation, you will recall, was designated by the gun makers following a meeting organized by the workers themselves at the invitation of the representative for the Loire.

It is under these circumstances that I went to the 1978 Exposition and I consider that it is my obligation to communicate to my constituents some observations that I can recall about the part of arms making with which I'm most familiar, the barrels.

I regret that the passage of time and the difficulty of visiting all the displays does not allow me to analyze in detail all the products of each exposition, but I have seen enough for me to form an informed opinion of the current state of the fabrication of barrels in each country represented at the exposition.

I cannot speak for all the barrel makers of St-Etienne to the Stephanois, each of whom whom knows what it takes to make something work.

It is sufficient for me to state that we were represented by three companies who have an old and excellent reputation and which this exposition was one of the most important and one which is a judgment of the value of their arms from the the point of view of the barrel. However, if they are behind in hunting products, they seem in contrast to be very advanced in combat barrel making.

Their displays confirm that their carbine barrels are made in an irreproachable manner.

Besides the specimens which accompanied the barrels for showing the diverse phases of barrel making, the American barrel makers did not show a method of drilling useful for our manufacturers. It would be too long and too arduous.

The barrel is made in the middle of a steel sleeve 25-30 centimeters long. This sleeve is founded in a hollow manner to avoid losing material, it is then forged on a single spindle chuck machine in order to rationalize and equalize the surfaces and then stretched on the interior and exterior on a rolling machine in different passes in a way to obtain the desired length and at the same time in a conical form which is right for forming a barrel.

This has shown to have, according to me, two marked advantages: it involves a great economy of material and of machining; and stamping metal by the double action of the rolling machine and of the single spindle chuck mandrel machine gives it a toughness and a resistance to all tests.

It is possible that the mandrel rolling presents some practical difficulties, but it doesn't seem to me probable that these difficulties could outweigh the advantages that one finds by the process, such as the economy of material used, of hand work and of tooling, and of the quality of the metal.

It would be desirable if our large factories in the basin of the Loire, which have such powerful means, might try this process of fabrication; They are able certainly with little study and of perseverance to produce at a very good price barrels for war and barrels for hunting. They are enriching therefore the local industry by a new branch of production and they give to the Stephanoise gun-making industry the means to reconquer the export market which they lost because of not being able to produce marketable barrels.

English exports: I have noted with surprise that the English barrel makers do not have special expositions such as other factories of Europe. I cannot explain their abstention; in any case I can judge their knowledge and inspect the barrels exhibited in the display windows of the manufacturers.

Their barrels are not distinguished by a variety of types. Their barrels are in general of damascus of a large design of which the appearance is not at all seductive. They are besides strong and well made, well turned and certainly well polished; but there are some qualities of care owing to which one obtains them everywhere and puts up the price.

One sees in their display cases some rifles costing 770 Fr of which the barrels are ordinary damascus and seem according to all reports to resemble those being used on St-Etienne rifles costing 300 fr.

Whatever the demand that one professes in certain circles for English long-guns. I do not see that that preference is justified by the value of the barrels and I maintain that our stephanois barrel makers are capable of producing a better set of barrels as perfect in the execution and more appealing.

Those who have a predilection for English manufacture do not realize the weight of the gun, and, how that question of weight has great importance for the barrel maker. A variance of several fractions of grammes changes all the conditions for execution. In order to make a barrel at the same time light, solid and well, one must use a fine art, taking care and precautions which repeat themselves on each operation, and, more, running the risk of the tasks which are larger the lighter the piece.

Currently all the barrels that are being ordered from Saint Etienne in caliber 12 are measured in a weight of 15 or 16 grams while in England they tolerate up to two kilos.

It is the style in France in certain circles to see with rose colors glasses everything which comes from England. It is a very bad habit which will pass like many others.

Exposition Belgian: I have not analyzed the exposition of M. Leopold Bernard. This house is known throughout the world and It's necessary to agree that it is successfully supporting its old reputation. However, when one compares this work with that of St-Etienne, one quickly recognizes that the gap is of little importance; that in reality the contrast which exists between the two expositions is more about the abundance of products and the richness of the display than in the superiority of execution. The only thing missing from our body of barrel work, which would equal that of Paris, is some additional installations; of better rolling mills, better made and more appropriate to the work of the barrel making, ovens to braze and polishers. Our methods of production are far too primative and our products suffer from the lack of means; but it is not a question of organization which might be solve this, and allow us to be able to deliver our production across the board.

For everything which touches the area of the barrel making, our infrastructure possesses all the elements; our forges, our dressers without boasting one can say have little comparison in the whole world.

Without wanting to diminish the merits of the house of Leopold Bernard, one must recognize that he is operating at an advantage because of his location.

For a long time his manufactures were encourgesd and supported by the Parisian gunmakers, who needed to have a prestigious barrel from Paris in order to have the rest of the gun which was made abroad accepted.

It's true that the beautiful spirt of self-pride was close to being extinguished (was quickly fading away) because most of the long guns which I was given to look at in the display cases of the Parisian exposition were mounted with Belgian barrels and even barrels that were decidedly mediocre.

I visited in detail two of the display cases. I will abstain from citing the name of the two exhibiters, but I picked up ours and the brand names of the barrels and I could, if necessary, justify what i'm going to say in advance.

In spite of the long guns which were in the two display cases, I only found one barrel legally proof-marked and it was from Liege.

All the others were without a brand name, and of such of those I figure that six of the barrels were Belgian made.

It's true to say that there is not a proof house in Paris. The government has not judged it necessary to establish one because there is not a single maker of barrels in Paris. It is this state of affairs which facilitates fraud and which I brought to the attention of the Paris Exposition. One can bring in barrels from Liege which have not been proofed; One can decorate them with a proper mark/name and one can then babtise them as Paris barrels. I know very well that M. Leopold Bernard, who is careful about his reputation and who, decidedly sells very expensive products, but without submitting his barrels to a serious proof test.

But as for the gun makers who buy these barrels without a proof mark abroad why would they do it differently?

In any case it's not legal neither for one method or another. There cannot be two laws in France, one for Paris, the other for St-Etienne.

Here is the decree of 22 April 1868 applied to us.

The decree says:


"The barrel makers, merchants and workers cannot sell any barrel without it having been proofed and stamped by the accepted proof mark, a fine of 330 fr for the first time and a penalty of double that for each case after and the confiscation of the barrels which are put on sale."

The terms of the law are clear. How then can one allow to be spread out in the middle of the Exposition products which would be seized if they were in our city, at the frontier as always, by agents richly rewarded to make the law respected?

The jury of the Exposition could recompense, with their eyes closed, the gun-makers of Paris and shower gold medals on these barrels breaking the proof house decree. But the government cannot have two weights and two measures.

It is not admissible that the Stephanoise barrel makers are stringent in their proofing when their competition can spare the allowance and the risks that they bring.

It is sufficient to signal this state of affairs to the Government so that the law will apply everywhere. And in closing I recall, in conclusion, that the Americans and the English do not have special expositions for barrel makers, that the Belgians don't produce anything but mediocre products and that Paris and Saint-Etienne alone are left standing

.....Our production of die cast tooling involves every facet of barrel production and in the near future, will surely be top ranked.

.....I have the honor, sir editor, to be your devoted constituent.

Didier Drevet
Master barrel maker, member of the com-
mission for oversight of the proof-
house of Saint-Etienne.

Last edited by Argo44; 05/29/21 02:51 PM.

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