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I have an 1874 Gras, Tulle Arsenal, dated 1879 on the receiver. There is a hole drilled in the barrel, near the muzzle, opposite the bayonet lug. Was this a commonplace thing to do when taking a weapon out of service ?
 

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Through both sides of the barrel or only one side? Parallel with the axis of the bore or perpendicular to it?

Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s rifles like the Gras and the Vetterli were regarded as nothing more than “wall hangers.” Many of these guns had holes drilled through them so that they could be screwed over the fireplace or on the wood veneer paneled walls of a basement bar or hobby room.

The WWII era population may have been the greatest generation but tacky was the name of the game when it came to home decor. ;)
 
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Why drill a hole through a bbl when you could hang it on a nail or if you were really concerned about someone messing with your ‘display‘ drill through the stock and screw into the knotty pine boards on the club basement wall?
 

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Why drill a hole through a bbl when you could hang it on a nail or if you were really concerned about someone messing with your ‘display‘ drill through the stock and screw into the knotty pine boards on the club basement wall?
It probably made sense to the crowd that converted similar old rifles into lamps.
 

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Could have been made into a lamp. I've seen a couple foreign rifles made into lamps. Leave the bolt out and run the wires up the barrel attach wires to socket for bulb and drill a hole in one side of the barrel with something that would keep the socket from falling out. Frank
 

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I got the furniture for my Gras cavalry Carbine from a floor lamp. They drilled a hole through the butt for a pipe welded to a plate, strung the cord up through the pipe, gutted bolt and barrel. Threaded the end of the barrel for the light fixture. I've seen bar stools made of four rifle stocks too.
 

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Was given a Gras carbine some years ago. Someone gave it to my brother and when he made it out of Long Island NY he gave it to me. Barrel full of either dog or cat fur. Funny thing the barrel cleaned up great. Missing the bolt head and some members put me on one of the auction sites where I snagged it. All brass hardware. All I need is the bolt stop screw. Frank
 

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Could have been made into a lamp. I've seen a couple foreign rifles made into lamps. Leave the bolt out and run the wires up the barrel attach wires to socket for bulb and drill a hole in one side of the barrel with something that would keep the socket from falling out. Frank
Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.

On eBay UK there is a lively trade in old hammer guns which have een amputated in line with the breech face with a chop saw, ostensibly for lamp-making, but they fetch prices I fine especially high. I suspect that people are welding or brazing them to make unregistered guns, a process I don't consider safe. At present no shotgun parts other than a functional shotgun are legally controlled in any way, not rifle parts which don't bear gas pressure. All it needs is for a gun or two to be found in incriminating circumstances - other kinds of incriminating - and that could change.

I can't imagine the OP'shole being a deactivation method. It iwa done where the pressure is low, and while it might harm accuracy, it wouldn't prevent firing or appreciably affect velocity. Besides, why not do it at the chamber? Using it to secure a plug inside the barrel and leaving the rifle capable of chambering and firing a cartridge, would seem like a cruel trap.

I suppose that in a bar, you might want it to be impossible for someone excessively refreshed to grab the rifle, especially if bayoneted. But if the hole was for hanging the rifle on the wall, you would expect to find another somewhere to the rear.

Gras rifles converted to grenade launchers in WW! were common, but they had shortened barrels and butts. Still, other nations used detachable cups as an accessory to ordinary rifles. This could have been some kind of pilot project, either official by the army or police, or by some civilian owner in search of originality.

It might have been someone experienting with shifting the group, in the days when Gras rifles were cheap. Filinf the muzzles of double rifles slightly on the slant was a well known method of making the barrels shoot closer together or further apart, if the gunmaker got it wrong or if a different bullet weight is to be used. (A changed powder charge or velocity makes very little difference, as when a barrel flips more, the bullet leaves it earlier, and vice versa. I've never heard of drilled holes being used for this purpose, perhals because it can't be undone, but it might be less inclined to make the bullet wobble in flight.
 
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