The Mas 36 Rifle

Les Fusils Militaires Français, Chassepot, Gras, Lebel, Berthier et MAS 36
72 usmc
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

Post by 72 usmc »

At Wisconsin gun shows, any French rifle on a table would be a somewhat rare find. If you come across a Mas 36, I would say that 90% of the them will be a post-war, arsenal refurbished specimen. None of these are actually “unissued.” They can range from a Century Arms good to excellent condition to almost like new rifles still in the arsenal wrap. Here are photos of my Century Arms rifle and a like-new rifle just out of the paper wrap.
Century Arms Inc.
Screen Shot 2020-10-17 at 11.46.02 AM.png
P 51 Century receiver & metal .jpg

Out of a Wrap like new
P 52 Mas 36  Beech fresh out of the wrap .png
P 53 Mas 36 in Beech like new rebuild.png
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

Post by 72 usmc »

They were arsenal refinished before being stored as reserve arms, then sold off as surplus to the US market. Some are still found in the brown arsenal wrap. I have one of these mummies.
My Mummy Wrap. Never opened or unwrapped.
P 54 arsenal wrap .jpg
P 55 arsenal wrap #2.jpg
P 56 arsenal wrap #3.jpg
P 57 Arsenal tag on mummy.jpg
:arrow: And a mummy released from its wrap.... :royalty-pharaoh:
https://www.gunboards.com/threads/updat ... dy.270036/
Last edited by 72 usmc on Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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72 usmc
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

Post by 72 usmc »

Conclusion

Black paint, pre-war or WWII Mas 36 rifles are uncommon. If you find one, you are a lucky dog! It is easy to tell the early from the late Mas 36. The most obvious differences between pre-war and post-war or WW II specimens are the metal finish, the nose cap and front sight, the sling attachment, and the rear sight. As mentioned in the above attribute lists, the finish on a pre-war or WW II rifle is black paint over a light parkerization, on the post-war rifle, the finish is a heavy grayish parkerization. The front sight is hooded on the post-war one, the pre-war and WWII ones have protective “ears" on each side of the post. The sling attachment on a pre-war or WW II Mas 36 consists of two bars on the middle band, whereas on the post-war one it consists of a ring attached to the band. The front sight on a post-war rifle has adjustment notches along its side, while a pre-war or WW II Mas 36 has adjustment steps on the top leaf. In order to identify the other attributes, the firearm needs a closer inspection rather than a casual glance at a rifle laying on a table.

All of the early and later attributes discussed are updates or modifications that can be interchangeable on rifles. There are varied types due to modifications/attributes that occurred over time. Therefore, on some parts rifles or rifles that underwent infield repairs, many rifles experienced part changes. As a result, a Mas 36 is occasionally found that should not have specific attributes on them. They do not fit the stereotype Mas 36 rifle. I have seen a few early rifles in a later beech stock. I assume the damaged pre-war, dark oak stock was replaced. Beech furniture is commonly mated to older actions. This is what clean beech wood looks like.
P 58 close up of Beech stock color & grain .png
An oak stock on an early Mas 36 that still has its matching serial number and stock cartouche is a nice find. An all-matching, correct, early war or WW II Mas 36 with the original finish to the metal and wood with readable cartouches is a rare find. This is an example of the cartouche on my bring back, all matching, black finish, 1938 Mas 36 with an oak stock.
P 30 stock cartouch & oak.jpg

At a gun show, it is more than likely that the Mas 36 you will find will be a later, refurbished specimen. All are great shooters. It is a simple, yet accurate rifle with 65 parts and a bolt that is easy to take down with only four parts, excluding the extractor. It is rugged and dependable, with a five round internal magazine. This is one of my favorite firearms.
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

Post by 72 usmc »

The location of the Import Mark. ( CAI ) The abbreviations stand for Century Arms International company that was located in St. Albans, Vermont.
On Mas 36 rifles it is found on the left side rail above receiver markings. These photos enlarge too see details. There are two versions,
the first one is: "CAI ST ALB VT ----- 7.5 FRENCH FRANCE"
Screen Shot 2020-10-17 at 3.06.54 PM.png



The second version is "7.5 FRANCE ----- CAI ST ALB VT "
Screen Shot 2020-10-17 at 2.58.54 PM.png
It is best to avoid these conversions. see http://www.alpharubicon.com/leo/mas36winchester.html
Screen Shot 2020-10-18 at 7.06.03 PM.png
When Century rechambered these they had to remove the barrel and set it back a thread. In the process they had to remove a small tab the connects the forearm to the reciever. The only thing holding the forearm on the barrel on the 308s is a friction fit. When you shoot the 308s the forearm gradually works itself forward.

Do not buy the 308 version. 7.5 French ammo is not that hard to find, and not dramatically more expensive. Also the 7.5 French round is ever so slightly smaller than the 308. The bore will be slightly undersized for 308 bullets. It's safe enough, but accuracy will suffer.

I have one of the 7.5 versions. Decent enough rifle. Trigger is pretty stiff but otherwise it works about like any other milsurp bolt gun. A slip on recoil pad is a useful investment. Recoil isn't all that stout, but the length of pull on the buttstock is shorter than most other rifles.
source https://www.ar15.com/forums/armory/Cent ... 14-312064/

As noted, the lower stock as well as the hand guard were modified on the CAI .308 conversions. The hand guard is shortened so be careful what you buy as replacement stocks for an original and a CAI converted .308 marked Mas 36. Those two Stock components are not all the same.
Last edited by 72 usmc on Tue Feb 02, 2021 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

Post by 72 usmc »

Opps, I forgot I had another box full of four that are the rebuilt Mas 36s that a goofy guy took out of the wrap. :violin: He had these marked $200, but since I took a mummy and 4 of the cheeper arsenal unwrapped NOS ones, I got them at $160 after giving him the "do not unwrap lecture." He was actually taking them out of the wrap at the table. I told him to stop, I got one, and a guy that came up grabbed the other at $300 within the first 10 min. of the small show. I actually offered the $300. He looked amazed and realized his error. Both sold at $300. :lol: :lol: Then, no interest for the $200 unwrapped ones for the first hour, so I said in conversation I wish you had not unwrapped them and got him down; I grabbed four at $160 each. This was back about ten years ago. Back then the dogs that showed use were $85-100, the like new ones out of the wrap at $200. Now, ten years later, Peterson in the 2020 price guide lists these post-war rebuilds at $500.

These came with a sling, French manual, and rubber boot. They have marked slings, a slight counter bore for the grenade launcher attachment, they are matching only with the receiver and bolt and have evidence of scrubbed numbers observed on the cleaning rod end, trigger guard, and floor plate. Stocks are not serialized and appear as brand new beech. As not to over load this with photos, here is one as an example of a Mas 36 rifle that was removed from an arsenal wrap. Bore is like new and all the bolt parts and the inside of the receiver was subjected to the parkerization.
The sling markings, anyone know the maker or history of this marked sling?? All had brand new never issued slings.
IMG_3129.jpg
IMG_3132.jpg
IMG_3108.jpg
Last edited by 72 usmc on Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:12 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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72 usmc
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

Post by 72 usmc »

The Receiver and Import Mark. A Century Import mark commonly found on these rebuilt Mas 36s. They imported most of the post war hoard. On the mummy wrap, Century Arms slit the oil cloth near the top of the receiver in order to stamp this Import stamp. Nothing else was opened. The fancy 2 is actually a French Q prefix SN: see http://www.surplusrifleforum.org/viewto ... f=12&t=203
IMG_3101.jpg
IMG_3110.jpg
IMG_3127.jpg
IMG_3131.jpg
Last edited by 72 usmc on Wed Nov 18, 2020 12:16 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

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The beech stock and its color
IMG_3134.jpg
IMG_3102.jpg
IMG_3103.jpg
IMG_3111.jpg
Last edited by 72 usmc on Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

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Some of the missing SNs and other markings. The floor plate is scrubbed with evidence of the former serial number showing through the parkerized refinish. The end of the bayonet was also slightly rounded in its SN removal. The trigger is marked "P I T ".
IMG_3116.jpg
IMG_3117.jpg
IMG_3115.jpg
IMG_3104.jpg
Last edited by 72 usmc on Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:47 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

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Some more marks and the parkerization on parts such as the bolt & follower and inside of receiver.
IMG_3116.jpg
IMG_3107.jpg
IMG_3114.jpg
IMG_3124.jpg
Last edited by 72 usmc on Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

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Rubber boot and barrel
The beech is different pieces and from a different tree. The front wood is slightly darker golden tone with a different finer grain and the rear butt stock is a slightly lighter in color with a conspicuous flecking pattern. These rifles were cleaned but never shot. As found wear, as it came out of the package. I shoot my Century good specimen :shhh: :shifty:
IMG_3113.jpg
IMG_3135.jpg
IMG_3119.jpg
IMG_3122.jpg
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

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Common questions regarding MAS 36's - Milsurp After Hours

https://milsurpafterhours.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=5835

This is most likely the primary reference for the above: https://www.gunboards.com/threads/commo ... 6s.162212/
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

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Anyone got a matching pre WW II specimen to show?
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

Post by Zeliard »

Great info! I like the "quirkiness" of the MAS 36, not in operation (it works just fine) but in design.
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72 usmc
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Re: The Mas 36 Rifle

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Here is an excellent summary of the Mystery Mas 36 like I have shown on page 1, and another is shown in the link:
Source of Patrick's quote, He is an expert on French rifles. A provider of excellent information worth sharing.
https://www.gunboards.com/threads/mas-m ... r.1179230/

1886lebel states:
THE MYSTERY RIFLES: They look like the MAS Mle 1936. Every indication speaks to their assemblage having occurred during the Second World War, in 1940 or later. They are not import marked, and are in unissued condition. What could be wrong with that?

The "Mystery" rifles are eccentric to serial-production. Their assemblers, dates and purpose remain unknown. They may be divided only upon the basis of whether they have been stamped with an un-prefixed number, or are sterile/devoid of any serialization. Both "Numbered" and "Sterile" units are possessed of the following anomalies:

1] they are unissued; perhaps unfired.
2] They are a collection of rear-Armistice parts, many being 'pickled'/acid-etched and not 'stoved'/blackened.
3] Often defective/rejected or repair small-parts appear to have been used in their final assembly.
4] the top-flat of the rear sight has not had the 'stoving' removed.
5] Many of the spanner-type screws have been slotted, appearantly before installation.
6] The quality of assemblage is not as consistent, or to the standard of serial-production examples.
7] The bayonets are from earlier rifles, or replacements from a latter day.
8] None are import marked
9] Some have incorrect sight-leafs, and will not shoot to point of aim.
10] They all have the Type 2 factory machine notched receivers.
11] Some have a 'sticky'/tight bolt-cap which requires the use of gripping tools for removal, after it is detented.
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