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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)
 

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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.
 

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I recently purchased one dated 1898 in very nice condition. I also purchased 150 rounds of the fiocchi 8mm lebel ammo for the brass and to shoot some before my dies were delivered for me to reload for it. However, me and 3 others went to the range yesterday and I shot the first 6 rounds. No issues, next person same thing, third person, shoots and it seems like there is no recoil at all. I figured it was cause it’s such a light round and he’s a massive dude and me and the other person aren’t anywhere close to his size. After he shoots his 6 shots I take the revolver back to unload and notice the end of the barrel that meets the cylinder doesn’t have the same light shining in it like it did before. So I suspect something is wrong as I noticed his recoil was much less and low and behold, there is at least 4 squibs in the barrel. I am still trying to get them out (they won’t seem to budge). We feel extremely lucky that it didn’t blow up. But unfortunately I think it might have bulged the barrel as it increases from chamber to about an inch out by about .02” and then tapers back off towards the muzzle. I don’t know if it fully is a bulge but I guess I will take it to a gunsmith. I would love to be able to shoot it again as I’m terribly disappointed that I only got to shoot 6 rounds out of it. I also plan to reach out to fiocchi as well. If the barrel is bulged does anyone know if there is any way to fix it or if it could still be safe to shoot?
So that makes THREE confirmed cases of fiocchi causing squibs to the point of bulging the barrel on these 1892's.

It's especially tough since the recoil is already quite light on these guns, the bullet has the same power as a 32 SW long, while the gun weighs 2 lbs, which makes detecting a squib harder for inexperienced shooters.

Honestly the mods should sticky this thread as a warning for people considering buying fiocchi 8mm lebel. Seems like the best use for that ammo at this point is to pull the bullets for the brass.
 

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I would definitely slug your barrel and pull one of the bullets and compare as well. And shoot it at steel or close paper to make sure they come out.
In my experience the fiocchi bullets actually run undersize. It's just their powder charges are so light (fast powder, low case fill) that ignition can be pretty inconsistent, leading to at best poor accuracy, and at worst an undetected squib

Update with fiocchis response: they gave me the option to refund or replace the ammo and covering the cost of clearing the squibs. Again very prompt responses from fiocchi and very professional. This ammo incident put a bad taste in my mouth with fiocchi but their customer service has more than redeemed them in my eyes.
Are they going to cover barrel replacement costs if it's bulged/ringed? I know that dramatically reduces the value of most guns since many consider a bulged barrel to be unsafe to shoot.
 

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Update: fiocchi said they would refund and reimburse me for everything all at once so I’m still just waiting for the gunsmith to be done.
How are you going fix the bulged barrel? It's not like replacement barrels are in stock anywhere for these lebel revolvers. Not to mention a replacement would probably be mismatched from the date/inspector stamps
 
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