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)