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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently picked up a St. Etienne Berthier Mle 16 with a serial number on both the receiver and barrel. It is a FN prefix. I am not very familiar with these weapons but have never seen a serial number on the receiver before. Also the barrel is marked MF in a circle with no barrel date. I had heard that MF was a civilian proof mark. Does that mean they were made for the civilian market or was it a army contract and it is marked "N" at the twelve o'clock position on the reciever and barrel. It is all matching except the bolt which is marked with a L in a circle and numbered with a N prefix. Will post pics if needed but none on me at the present time. Thanks in advanced for any Info.
 

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Your Berthier Mle M16 is a long rifle, the FN prefix indicates it was built after the end of WWI most likely in 1919 (a full SN is always useful).

The twin "N" markings was added by French military armorers in the 1935/1940 period when its chamber was rethroated to allow the safe use of Mle 1932 machine gun cartridge.

The stamping of the rifle SN on the receiver is usually not of French origin, it may indicates that the rifle was used by another Country than France, pictures of the SN letters would help.

The circled MF indicates an assembly work carried out by ManuFrance, a civilian company based at Saint Etienne next to MAS and filling military contracts in both WWs.

The serial number of the bolt with a N prefix letter will interest Alamas who todate provided us with most of the informations known on French military rifles fabrication.

kelt
 

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The L within a circle on the bolt means that this part was made by ... Société Lorraine des Anciens Établissements de Dietrich & Cie, Lunéville during WWI or just a bit afterwards.

Patrick
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the great Info. I'm knew on here and and its great to have access to so many knowledgeable people. I have some pictures of the rifle and the receiver has a mark next to the SN that appears to be either a P or R in a circle. Also has what appears to be a tight repaired duffle cut behind the rear band. Would these rifles had been used in WW2 for front ine or reserve troops? Thanks again for the great info. View attachment 775113 View attachment 775114 View attachment 775115 View attachment 775116 View attachment 775117 View attachment 775118 View attachment 775119 View attachment 775120 View attachment 775121
 

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If used in WWII, it would have been for rear echelon/second-third tier troops, probably in occupation duties or standing post at an airfield, for example. French arms made up a significant number of those used by Germany to arm her troops. I've attached a pic of a WSS trooper examining what appears to be a captured Berthier Artillery Mosqueton.
Best,
Pat
 

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FN 31213 was most likely made anywhere from very late December of 1918 to early March of 1919

Patrick
 

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From Alamas compilation, FN 368XX is listed as stamped April 1919 (*)

The SN stamped on the receiver of FN 31213 is unusual on French rifles of the WWI era.

* France kept its Army mobilized and its war effort going until the Peace treaty was signed on June 28th, 1919.


kelt
 

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France kept its Army mobilized and its war effort going until the Peace Treaty was signed on June 28th, 1919
This something a lot of people do not realize happened, they tend to believe that after the Armistice was signed on November 11th the combatants walked away and went home, far from the case. Many of them went on Occupation Duty in the Rhineland and other places around the world.

Many French soldiers that were fit and capable still had time to serve in the military as either reserves or territorials were still obligated to finish out those terms before they were completely discharged from the military.

Patrick
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the great info have already learned so much. Still curious about the the SN on receiver and proof mark beside the number. The fonts appear to be the same on the barrel and receiver. Could it be possible as Kelt stated that it was used by another country and they put it on? It's not import marked and with a possible duffle cut didn't know if a soldier brought it back or what. Again thanks for the great replies.
 

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The serial number on the receiver usually indicates it was sent to another country for usage by such countries as Greece, Yugoslavia and Spain as they sometimes were known for doing this.
Stamping of the serial number on the receiver is not known French military practice.

Patrick
 
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