The Lebel Model 1886 rifle (French: Fusil Modèle 1886 dit "Fusil Lebel") is also known as the "Fusil Mle

488px-Model 1886 Lebel rifle

Lebel M1886

1886 M93", after a bolt modification was added in 1893. It is an 8 mm bolt action infantry rifle that entered service in the French Army in April 1887. It is a repeating rifle that can hold eight rounds in its forestock tube magazine, one round in the transporter plus one round in the chamber. The Lebel rifle had the distinction of being the first military firearm to use smokeless powderammunition. The new gunpowder, "Poudre B", was nitrocellulose-based and had been invented in 1884 by French chemist Paul Vieille. Lt. Colonel Nicolas Lebel contributed a flat nosed 8 mm full metal jacket bullet ("Balle M", or "Balle Lebel") inspired from the first full metal jacket rifle bullets that had just been invented in 1882 by a Lt. Colonel (then Captain) Eduard Rubin (Swiss Army). Twelve years later, in 1898, a solid brass pointed (spitzer) and boat-tail bullet called "Balle D" was retained for all 8mm Lebel ammunition. Each case was protected against accidental percussion inside the tube magazine by a primer cover and by a circular groove around the primer cup which caught the tip of the following pointed bullet. Featuring an oversized bolt with front locking lugs and a massive receiver, the Lebel rifle was a durable design capable of long range performance. In spite of early obsolete features, such as its tube magazine and the shape of 8mm Lebelrimmed ammunition, the Lebel rifle remained the basic weapon of French line infantry during World War I (1914–1918). Altogether, thee million four hundred and fifty thousand (3,450,000) Lebel rifles were produced by the three French State factories between April 1887 and May 1920.

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