Gunboards Forums banner
1 - 20 of 44 Posts

·
Platinum Bullet member
Joined
·
558 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Evening,

I recently picked up a Model 1892 French Ordinance revolver, did a thorough cleaning and disassembly, and procured a few hundred rounds of factory new Fiocchi "8mm Lebel" revolver ammo intended for it.

The saga ends with this revolver with FIVE stuck bullets in the barrel. I am working with Fiocchi USA and have since shipped the ammo back for analysis by their ballisticians. They've asked me to take the revolver, which, count my lucky stars, did not explode on me, to a gunsmith for analysis. What happened is that I had one of those "self healing" rubber targets, fired a shot fairly close, saw it move, backed up to about 50 feet, and fired slowly, seeming to miss the remaining shots. I DID have smoke and recoil, the cases I removed looked fairly OK with a little unburnt powder. Upon loading the next 6 shots, I had an obvious squib, stopped, and saw a bullet near the muzzle. Upon getting it home, locked up with 5 live rounds in the cylinder, I removed the first bullet only to find ANOTHER behind it, repeating this process until I had extracted FIVE bullets from the barrel.

Fiocchi is asking if the revolver is proofed for black powder or smokeless and I cannot for the life of me find anything definitive on the proof marks, so I've taken a photo and I'm hoping to present them with some info. I also can't find a definitive manufacture date as it's not on the barrel. Based on the serial number "I 1581", I think it's post 1915 and pre 1920/21, but I would like to know more if anyone can help me out.

The revolver entirely locked up and I removed the bullets carefully out the muzzle. I took a copper tube to act as a protective shield, put this around the longest small drill bit I had, and center-drilled each bullet enough to sink the longest screw I had in them, then carefully removed out the muzzle. As you see, the last bullet which had the cylinder locked up shed the jacket and I removed it.

I see some internal damage, principally scoring in the rifling "against the grain" where each bullet stopped, thankfully none of them actually slammed into each other. The bore seems to have no tight/loose spots, but I plan to take it to a gunsmith for a safety/damage assessment.

3807732
3807733


REPLY



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,111 Posts
I'm basically speechless, but while I'm composing myself trying to grasp that you managed not to blow up the gun or yourself, the date of manufacture should be engraved on the righthand side of the barrel flat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
705 Posts
Sorry to hear this happened, this is a known issue with Fiocchi's modern loading of 8mm Lebel Revolver. It is just way under-loaded, inconsistent, the bullet has a heavy FMJ and its diameter is just a tad too large, all of this is a recipe for disaster. I am surprised Fiocchi USA even blessed you with a response!

These revolvers would have been proofed with the original French 8mm Ordnance cartridge which was smokeless but I don't know what the proofing standards were beyond that.

I have had numerous squibs with this ammo but always listened closely for them, a squib is not bad if you only shoot one!
 

·
Platinum Bullet member
Joined
·
558 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Unfortunately this revolver doesn't seem to have any barrel date on it. I was hoping someone might have something definitive for St Etienne proof marks, the NRA has a listing of French proofs but none seem to quite align.

The events of the day seemed to conspire against me, I had on "fancy" eletronic earmuffs and a rubber "self healing" target, which sometime barely moves when you hit it. It's not definitive like shooting paper or steel, and this was really just a function test.

My theory is that the muffs engaged and silenced the "loud" shots, but might not hav even triggered on the others. Therefore the loud shots and extremely weak shots sounded... similar. I noticed that every shot had quite light recoil, but every shot but the last clearly HAD recoil. I stopped when I heard a true squib where the primer popped but no powder seemed to ignite. When I ever found out how bad the situation was I was pretty upset with me, basically asking what signs I missed. I expected light recoil, as it's a light bullet, the internet says the cartridge isn't very powerful, and the revolver has some heft to it.
 

·
Platinum Bullet member
Joined
·
558 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here's the best info I have found on serial numbers for these pistols. Based on the chart, I'd say yours falls into the "non-date" range between 1915 and 1921.

Thanks, that's the same article I found and I don't think I'll know the date exactly.

What do the proof marks look like on these? Someone above mentioned they were proofed with smokeless powder although from what I have read the cartridge originally started as black powder. This NRA proof mark guide is likely incomplete, but I don't see any St Etienne ones on the revolver that match.

By the way, I did an impromptu slugging of the bore with a .323 projectile and the lands are about .315, the grooves didn't even dig into the .323 bullet, so I assume it's more in the .327-329 range and will need to find a lead ball around here to slug it properly at some point.

The pulled Fiocchi bullet (pulled from unfired cartridge) is nominally .329, and I measure it at .329-.331 depending how I measure. Not sure if it's a little out of round or something.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
697 Posts
This is a very well known problem. Every 1892 revolver shooter who do not reload has to live with it. We recently had a discussion about it on a French website :
I do not hunderstand Fiocchi question about the barrel proof. Do they blame the barrel (e.g. unproper bore diameter?)
You will not find the classical French proofhouses markings on this revolver : civilian proof is lacking on such a military arsenal made revolvers. If the barrel has director / inspector stamps (letter in circle), it means it has successfully passed the military proof.
If not the barrel was destroyed or very rarely kept for instruction and stamped with a large letter R (not in circle) for refused.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
705 Posts
The fact that the barrel did not rupture is a good testament to the quality of the revolver!

As Alamas said the proofing is different for martial guns...rest assured the revolver was originally proofed to whatever the French military standards were at the time and undoubtedly, a smokeless cartridge.

Also I believe the "Crown over E" is technically a proof mark as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,158 Posts
Tulle used a three pointed crown over E as proof mark at the time of the Mle 1892 manufacture;
The military arsenals were allowed to sell on the civilian market the guns in excess of their military contracts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
697 Posts
You mean Saint-Etienne, not Tulle (E alone for Tulle? Cannot remember).
I think this marking was used on blackpowder firearms, not on smokeless firearms. Even if 1892 revolver was originally using blackpowder cartridges, I think this marking was not stamped on this revolver and for sure not during WW I. May be it has nothing to do with the end of blackpowder, but more with the end of "Enterprise system".
Before the end of 19th Century, state arsenals were runed by private managers, who had the right, as Kelt said, to sell firearms on private market (or outbroad market) at their own price when they have finished the state contract at the price hardly negotiated with government.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
697 Posts
To complete this document, only about the military proof stamp used until probably 1886/1892, I have some differences in an old document I have at home (do not ask where it comes from exactly, a compilation of documents and observations made on dated firearms) :
Tulle : three pointed crown over E
Saint-Etienne : also a crown over E, but the points are replaced by three crosses
Châtellerault : E alone
Mutzig : Imperial crown over E before 1867 (when exactly?), and star over E from 1867 to March 1870 (can be found on Chassepots)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
552 Posts
OP, please keep us posted as to what Fiocchi does with the situation and how your fine revolver turns out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
I'm basically speechless, but while I'm composing myself trying to grasp that you managed not to blow up the gun or yourself, the date of manufacture should be engraved on the righthand side of the barrel flat.
As I understand there were some private purchase or police models produced, and those generally don't have a dated barrel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Good Evening,

I recently picked up a Model 1892 French Ordinance revolver, did a thorough cleaning and disassembly, and procured a few hundred rounds of factory new Fiocchi "8mm Lebel" revolver ammo intended for it.

The saga ends with this revolver with FIVE stuck bullets in the barrel. I am working with Fiocchi USA and have since shipped the ammo back for analysis by their ballisticians. They've asked me to take the revolver, which, count my lucky stars, did not explode on me, to a gunsmith for analysis. What happened is that I had one of those "self healing" rubber targets, fired a shot fairly close, saw it move, backed up to about 50 feet, and fired slowly, seeming to miss the remaining shots. I DID have smoke and recoil, the cases I removed looked fairly OK with a little unburnt powder. Upon loading the next 6 shots, I had an obvious squib, stopped, and saw a bullet near the muzzle. Upon getting it home, locked up with 5 live rounds in the cylinder, I removed the first bullet only to find ANOTHER behind it, repeating this process until I had extracted FIVE bullets from the barrel.

Fiocchi is asking if the revolver is proofed for black powder or smokeless and I cannot for the life of me find anything definitive on the proof marks, so I've taken a photo and I'm hoping to present them with some info. I also can't find a definitive manufacture date as it's not on the barrel. Based on the serial number "I 1581", I think it's post 1915 and pre 1920/21, but I would like to know more if anyone can help me out.

The revolver entirely locked up and I removed the bullets carefully out the muzzle. I took a copper tube to act as a protective shield, put this around the longest small drill bit I had, and center-drilled each bullet enough to sink the longest screw I had in them, then carefully removed out the muzzle. As you see, the last bullet which had the cylinder locked up shed the jacket and I removed it.

I see some internal damage, principally scoring in the rifling "against the grain" where each bullet stopped, thankfully none of them actually slammed into each other. The bore seems to have no tight/loose spots, but I plan to take it to a gunsmith for a safety/damage assessment.

Roamergrg, did fiocchi ever fix this for you? this isn't the first time I've heard of Fiocchi's "obsolete caliber" line being loaded wildly underpowered to the point of being dangerous. (and yet on other loadings like the .450 corto they are wildly overpowered)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
390 Posts
Roamergrg,

I just (today) read your account from 9 months back and it is, for all intents and purposes, identical to an event I personally witnessed during a recent pistol match in October.

Shooter with a nice 1892 and Fiocchi factory ammunition getting four, possibly five bullets, stacked in the barrel. Fortunately, the shooter was not harmed, but the barrel of the 1892 did exhibit some slight bulging just behind the front sight. After both reading your account and having witnessed a separate identical incident, it would seem the ammunition is at fault.

Can you relay if there was any resolution? I would like to direct the shooter to pursue a similar course of action with Fiocchi if it has been addressed.

Thanks,
Type 96 LMG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Roamergrg,

I just (today) read your account from 9 months back and it is, for all intents and purposes, identical to an event I personally witnessed during a recent pistol match in October.

Shooter with a nice 1892 and Fiocchi factory ammunition getting four, possibly five bullets, stacked in the barrel. Fortunately, the shooter was not harmed, but the barrel of the 1892 did exhibit some slight bulging just behind the front sight. After both reading your account and having witnessed a separate identical incident, it would seem the ammunition is at fault.

Can you relay if there was any resolution? I would like to direct the shooter to pursue a similar course of action with Fiocchi if it has been addressed.

Thanks,
Type 96 LMG
Seems like that's a recurring pattern with the Fiocchi ammo.

This fellow made a warning about squib load risk with the Fiocchi 8mm Lebel ammo back in 2013


Seems like if you have one of these 1892's it's tempting to jump on the only commercial ammo out there, but because of the poor quality control it's really a hand-loading proposition.
 
1 - 20 of 44 Posts
Top