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May be you remembered that I have used this tittle on the old old site. I remembered that I had seen a M16 mousqueton may be made by the MAS in 1976. Somebody suggested that it was may be a 1916 produce uncorrectly stamped.
I have been able to come back to the place where I have seen it to check the datas. Well, that rifle has been sent somewhere else (museum? destruction? private market? third world friendly country?). But there was still tracks of it in the books of the armory and I had the whole story from a gunsmith close to retirement.
First, it was not made at St-Etienne, but at Châtellerault, serial number H89XXX and not made in the 70's but a lot earlier (may be somebody is able to say when with the serial number). But the barrel was made at St-etienne in 1967! (my memory had inverted two digits).
About the story, my source is an old gunsmith who has been in the last units who have used this model and who have repaired a certain number of these M16 :
mid 1960's, the war in Algeria is over, the french army drastically reduce its size. All the weapons in 8 mm Lebel are removed from army service (some gendarmerie and suppletive units where still equiped with such weapons).
The CRS (police units with riot control missions) are equiped with the M16 mousqueton. So a certain number of these old battlehorses of the french army are one more time reconditionned. They had to be able to shoot. If most of them were used as a sticks, some were used to shoot back if there was a shooter in the front of the CRS units (they have been replaced in that role by the ruger AMD 5.56 since the 80's).
If the barrel was good enough, the weapon was simply polished or slightly machined and rebronzed. If the barrel was in poor condition, it was replaced by a new one.
Some of these mousquetons has been sold on the civilian market (especially belgian) in the 80's. Finish may vary, they have often been rebronzed one more time during their time of service with police, and every gunsmith had is own idea about the formula of his bronze bath (a kind of signature). At least one was known to put the metallic parts of the weapon int the bath with bolt in place! The first time you were using the rifle, you could receive salts (remains of the bronze bath) in the eyes!
 
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