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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well here we go again, I just bought another French rifle and it's on the way. This time it's a Remington made Berthier. I hope there are no bad surprises when I get it but the photos look good and the description was it was in like new condition. Will update when it arrives.
I had sold off some duplicate rifles lately and had a little money in my pocket so again I went outside my conservative, (cheap), norm, and bought another little more expensive French rifle like the MAS 44 and the M90 Cavalry carbine I posted about earlier.
But alas, I couldn't pass this one up either. The only other Remington Berthier in the same condition I ever saw was at a show a year ago and it was ridiculously priced at $1600. I would have liked to get it as one of my other interests is collecting US manufactured rifles made for foreign governments, but not for that price. This Berthier will make three of the US made ones and it will keep company with the Remington Russian M91 Mosin Nagant and the New England Westinghouse M91 manufactured ones I already have.
Both the US made Moslin Nagants were used for training US troops during WWI and I read some of the undelivered Berthiers were also. The Westinghouse rifle is a scarce one having an extra stock bolt added to strengthen it for grenade firing. Ray


Remington Berthier-2.jpg Remington Berthier-3.jpg Remington Berthier-4.jpg Remington Berthier-5.jpg Remington Berthier-6.jpg Remington Berthier-7.jpg Remington Berthier-8.jpg Remington Berthier-9.jpg Remington Berthier-10.jpg
 

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RayG:

That Berthier should fit in very well, as the ones that have passed through us have been pristine. Two of them actually had what must be factory grease, turned to a smooth, amber varnish, most strikingly on the barrel below the wood line. I have told the story before, that my grandfather had one at the ranch in the 1950s/early 60s, it coupled with his youngest son's souvenir sterile, Mystery MAS 1936 led us to believe that the French did not serialize their rifles. I shot that Berthier, but was not impressed, for I only had eyes for my 03 Springfield, beat as it was. My father and grandfather who had been around French weapons in 1918 and 1942/43 respectively, took the contrary position; but we had the evidence before us! Off topic, as is my failing, but that is the only time in which I took the side of that junior maternal uncle, of course to be proven wrong.

Back in 2005/6 we had one that was slightly used, and we shot it against two other French Mle 1907-15s, using some of the last of our aging Remington KleanBore. It shot quite well, but the point of aim was remarkably off, something seldom encountered with a French example. That fact, perhaps more than the rifle itself, led to the least likely groups of the day, independent to the shooter. However, there was no problems of any kind with its function or the fired brass, as one might have suspected from reading the grim speculations of why the rifles were qualified in France.

Again, congratulations, for there cannot be that many around after so many years. As always, the quality of your inventory is most striking.

I found these 'listing snaps' of a rifle that sold in 2008 for around $900. It was a 'white elephant' to us Philistines, who would have shoot it, had it stayed much longer in our inventory. That American walnut still had fire, and very little patina considering the years.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That sure is a pretty looking rifle. It sold for more then what I paid for mine now. Prices must have come down, Ray
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Well the rifle arrived and no bad surprises in fact it is in increditable condt being about 99-9/10 % mint condition. The oringinal oiled finish walnut stock practally has no blemishes. The bore shines where it practially blinds you when you shine a light down it. I can't believe the condition it's in for a rifle five years short of 100 years old. Here's some more photos of it, and the photos don't really do justice to the condition. Not the quality of photos of Toms, (orcmastiffs), Ray

Remington Berthier-11.JPG Remington Berthier-19.JPG Remington Berthier-18.JPG Remington Berthier-17.JPG Remington Berthier-16.JPG Remington Berthier-15.JPG Remington Berthier-14.JPG Remington Berthier-13.JPG Remington Berthier-12.JPG Remington Berthier-20.JPG
 

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RayG:

Well that cannot be improved upon. The straight grained walnut and that commercial quality blue, coupled with their age, make an unbelievable first impression. WOW!
 

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Ray:

Very nice. Congrats! :thumbsup:
 

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Very nice rifle... Congratulations.
Those Berthier are like if they had been preserved in a time capsule. That is the way they looked when they came out of the factory.
Some of the Remingtons from my collection






Best regards
Robert Olivier
 

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The French refused the lot due to lack of parts interchangeability. They are either new or chopped into a derr gun.
 

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Vivelacolo:

When you post, words are not needed, but I shall ask: Have you noted any deviations, other than the depth of the roller-stampings upon these fine examples? Every one of them, that I have seen, appear to be identical other than the shade of the walnut. Forgive my greed, but do you have a French Mle 1907-15 in such pristine condition, which might be posted for comparison?

All the best,
Giles /Orc Mastiffs
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
RayG:for there cannot be that many around after so many years.
Wow! well now we know why there's not many of them around any more, vivelacolo has cornered the market on them and all beauties too.

Just some thoughts about the French rejections and I don't know if this even has anything to do with it as I don't have a mint French made rifle to compare it to. But I heard one of the reasons mentioned was the poor quality workmanship of the Remingtons, Of course that could mean a lot of different things like fitness, dimensions, metal finishing etc. but I do notice on my rifle that the final finishing quality of some of the parts does not seem to be keeping with the other Remington made rifles like the 1903, 1903A4, and M/N Remington rifles I have.
I can't speak for the dimensions but the external appearence of the my rifle, and it could be just my rifle, seems like some parts, like both sights and bayonet lugs have extremly sharp edges like the final finishing/stoning of the edges was not done. I can see where these sharp edges could inflict cuts to a user, as the edges are very sharp. Again, I don't know if this was also common with French produced rifles but this is just my observation of the rifle I have. Any way, just some thoughts. Maybe Vivelacolo could comment on the quality of his rifles finishes if it's like mine is, Ray.
 

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Thomas,
Thank you for your kind words.
I do not have in my collection any 07/15 in comparable condition, very good to excellent, but not almost mint.
I believe that, by the time the production of the 07/15 ceased at Remington, most of the problems had been corrected.
The Remingtons I measured were within the norm and that is why, for a long time, I falsely believed that the issue could have been heat treatment.
RayG,
The metal finish seems to be very similar to the French version, however, small tell tales marks of repairs appear notably around the front sights.


Here two 07/15 St-Etienne , April 1917 surrounding a Remington









The contract between Remington and the French government was for 200,000 to 250,000 rifles (different sources give different quantities). The contract was rife with escape clauses. The French government was expecting an average production of 200 rifles per day with a first delivery of 1,000 units on 06/12/ 1916. If that delivery was not fulfilled by that date the contract could be cancelled. The other landmark date was 08/01/1916 when 40,700 had to be delivered. If half of that quantity was not available to the French commission, the contract could be cancelled.
The first rifles that were submitted to the French commission were inspected by one of the French official and his report indicated that several of the rifles had oversized bores. After some refitting, it appeared that the front sights had been improperly fitted due to the fact that Remington’s employees were incapable of understanding French engineering drawings. It was an unending litany of excuses.
Since some of the operation required a minimum of hand fitting, the daily production never reached the rhythm required by the contract. Bayonet production was way behind and it became patently clear that the minimum delivery of 20,350 rifles on August 1st could not be accomplished.
The French military was accustomed to the quality, punctuality and overall reliability of the French “manufactures.” Since the French military had other, more important tasks to fulfill notably running a war, the choice of cancelling the contract was an easy one.
I do not believe that the development of the Mle 16 was such an important factor in August 1916. The first prototypes dating of September 1916 and the decree of production dating of 11/28/1916.
The French government was very satisfied with the 150,000 Rolling blocks and would have loved to contract an additional 250,000 Berthiers but apparently Remington was trying to do too much, Mosin contract, p 14 contract.
Best regards
Robert Olivier
 

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vivelacolo:

Beautiful rifles, professionally photograghed, and a testament to the yeoman service rendered by even the most well preserved. Thank you for both the pictures and the narrative. They should be incorporated into one of the Berthier 'stickies'. I now see that the point-of-aim problem which we encountered with a very pristine Remington, may have been endemic.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
vivelacolo; RayG said:
http://i1105.photobucket.com/albums/h346/wapiti27/remington%20berthier/DSC_0989.jpg[/IMG]
My rifle also has that roughness by the front sight on both sides. Not sure if is a repair or just poor finishing, Ray

MVC-040F.JPG MVC-041F.JPG
 

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poor finishing, my Remington has the same marks on it

Patrick
 

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Thomas,
Thank you for your kind words.
I do not have in my collection any 07/15 in comparable condition, very good to excellent, but not almost mint.
I believe that, by the time the production of the 07/15 ceased at Remington, most of the problems had been corrected.
The Remingtons I measured were within the norm and that is why, for a long time, I falsely believed that the issue could have been heat treatment.
RayG,
The metal finish seems to be very similar to the French version, however, small tell tales marks of repairs appear notably around the front sights.


Here two 07/15 St-Etienne , April 1917 surrounding a Remington









The contract between Remington and the French government was for 200,000 to 250,000 rifles (different sources give different quantities). The contract was rife with escape clauses. The French government was expecting an average production of 200 rifles per day with a first delivery of 1,000 units on 06/12/ 1916. If that delivery was not fulfilled by that date the contract could be cancelled. The other landmark date was 08/01/1916 when 40,700 had to be delivered. If half of that quantity was not available to the French commission, the contract could be cancelled.
The first rifles that were submitted to the French commission were inspected by one of the French official and his report indicated that several of the rifles had oversized bores. After some refitting, it appeared that the front sights had been improperly fitted due to the fact that Remington’s employees were incapable of understanding French engineering drawings. It was an unending litany of excuses.
Since some of the operation required a minimum of hand fitting, the daily production never reached the rhythm required by the contract. Bayonet production was way behind and it became patently clear that the minimum delivery of 20,350 rifles on August 1st could not be accomplished.
The French military was accustomed to the quality, punctuality and overall reliability of the French “manufactures.” Since the French military had other, more important tasks to fulfill notably running a war, the choice of cancelling the contract was an easy one.
I do not believe that the development of the Mle 16 was such an important factor in August 1916. The first prototypes dating of September 1916 and the decree of production dating of 11/28/1916.
The French government was very satisfied with the 150,000 Rolling blocks and would have loved to contract an additional 250,000 Berthiers but apparently Remington was trying to do too much, Mosin contract, p 14 contract.
Best regards
Robert Olivier
Ignore my post, print this one.
 

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Great thread. I just acquired a really nice Remington 1907-15, an upgrade to my existing example. I ended up selling my existing one in order to fund the new acquisition. What beautiful rifles when in mint, unissued condition.
 

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These are all very sharp rifles, congrats on your find!! I would love to find one in that nice of shape, now that I've "gone French" and starting finding and studying French small arms and ammo. I feel I must go up to SARCO and buy a Berthier now... or a Chassepot... or an 1886... or a MAS 36... so many to choose from
 
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