A warm welcome to all having just joined this site. I found it whilst looking for information on the rifle below and hoped you might be able to help.
This is a french model 1886 Lebel rifle, serial AB 58441, passed on from someone who aquired it in France many years ago. Unfortunately the lightly engraved receiver markings havn't survived so I don't the definitive date of manufacture, although there is a faint indistinct "90?" on the barrel where this would also have been stamped. From lists of lebel serial numbers on another forum It would appear this dates to 1890, which would correlate with the faint date impression.
As you can see it was somewhat the worse for wear, although it quickly cleaned up into something more presentable. Original furniture seems to be impossible to find (in comparison to SMLE's and the like), although maybe I can get some made to make it displayable. Any leads (UK) would be welcome!
I've attached a few pictures of cleanup. There is no foresight or bayonet lug and i suspect the barrel has been shortened. It would appear the rear sight was removed and the rifle extensively stripped before it made it into the ground. Due to shortages in WW1 the french actively stripped spares from battle damaged rifles. Given its bent barrel and damaged receiver i suspect this was the case for this rifle. The barrel has not been "N" stamped, indicating it never underwent the postwar modifications for new ammunition. Likewise there is no sign of the "M93" indicating the 1893 revisions. Either it postdates this date and the lightly engraved marking has been lost, or it predates this and was never stamped/converted. I say this as pre-93 modified rifles appear to have quite prominent stampings that I assume would have left some impression, given that the lighter serial stamping is still legible. the barrel also has a single "C" within a rectangle and there is an "R" under the stock tang.
Regards to all,