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Hi. I am new to this forum. I just picked up my first French rifle. It appears to be a Gras, made in Tulle with a date on the barrel of 1885? Seems pretty late to building single shot black powder rifles, but I know very little about them. The rifle is in beautiful shape. No pitting, excellent rifling, excellent finish and nice stock. Now as the story goes, this rifle spent most of it's life as a lamp! Someone removed the cocking piece and firing pin to run a cord through the bolt. It also may be drilled out as the hole looks too big for any firing pin I've seen. I just couldn't pass it up for $80.00. I guess I need some info on where to get bolt parts and maybe a cleaning rod. I intend to fire this piece eventually (none of my guns are closet queens!) and will need load info. Any ideas? Thanks.
 

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Gras carbine

Hello and welcome to the Forum, Barnrat.

Your Gras rifle is a "carabine de gendarmerie à pied".

The barrel dated 1885 means that it is either a late fabrication, or that it had its barrel replaced in 1885, a picture or a description of the markings on the left side of the receiver may help to pinpoint its date of fabrication.
There may be some markings still readable on the right side of the stock above the rear sling attachment, around the wood peg, it's the reception stamp location, indicating origin of manufacture and month/year of acceptance.

The French Army was still mainly equiped with rifles of the Gras design until the early 1890's when the Lebel rifle was built in sufficient quantities for the Infantry units, while the Cavalry and Mounted artillery units received the short Berthier Carbines and Musketoons.

Your Carbine has suffered a slight modification beside being a lamp post, its wood forend is shortened by about 2", the bolt assembly and the two sling attachments should be in the white.

here is a picture of the various models of the 11mm Gras system:
- carabine de cavalerie ou gendarmerie à cheval
- carabine de Gendarmerie à pied
- mousqueton d'artillerie
- fusil d'infanterie
 

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Greetings,

Sounds like they may have taken off the bolt head when they wired the old girl. The Gras rifles had a seperate bolt head (much likt the LEbel and Berthier rifles) and it may be that that part is missing on your weapon. Unfortunately, that is not an easy piece to find now day. You might try calling Springfield Sporters.
 
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