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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Today I did receive the M91 Châtellerault bayonet with metal scabbard which I recently won on ebay.



A first examination revealed some facts, but left some questions left also.

First - the bayonet itself to me seems to be a legit one - albeit with some massiv refurb. The original serial number has obviously been ground off (must have been somewhere in the 400000 series since a faint "4" as the first character of the original serial no. is still recognizable in the original place - this 400000 serial also corresponds with the fact that the bayonet has a 30°-lock, a 105000 range no. would still fall in the time of the 90°-locks) and a new number 105030 has been stamped on the opposite side. Below this new number is the usual "П in a circle" proof mark.



On the opposite side there is the "C in a circle" Châtellerault mark, superimposed by a tiny "crown over П" mark. After studying all the markings in KH Wrobel's books, this could be a Serbian mark, but I'm not sure.

Another tiny, strange mark is on the back of the bayonet body - it resembles a little bit this Châtellerault C with the scalloped surroundings, but is not exactly the same:



A last marking is on the face of the bayonet's ring - a number "44" (no picture).

The scabbard is a problem - too many questions left to be sure whether it is legit or not.

First - the sheet metal inside its mouth


here to be seen on a shot of another M91 Châtellerault bayonet scabbard found here in the forum

is lacking:



The face of the opening to me seems to have been heavily machined/ground. And the distance between the end of the scabbard and the frog stud looks shorter to me than on all other photos of such scabbards - maybe there has been a sort of massive refurb which also "eliminated" the sheet metal insert...



Next is that the seam along the whole length of this scabbard is not very well finished - workmanship here looks crude, massive traces of rough grinding and the scabbard body is a little bit flattened in this area.



So from my examination I think that the bayonet is a legit one, albeit with a history of refurbs. But what's with the scabbard - fake or no fake, that's here the question. I'm really puzzled...
 

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Hello Gents,

An interesting bayonet 7x57. Here are photos of two German issue captured M1891 Three-Line Bayonets with German zinc ersatz scabbards, frogs and troddels.





I'll have to dig in one of my old files to find the photos I have of the Austro-Hungarian M91 ersatz straight-slot bayonet with Austro-Hungarian manufactured scabbard. I'll add the additional photos as soon as I can find them. Okay, I found the old photos shot years ago with film prior to the purchase of my digital camera.



The photo on the left shows the Austro-Hungarian ersatz bayonet scabbard with a captured M91 bayonet, next to two German issue captured M91s in German ersatz zinc scabbards. The photo on the right is a closer shot of the same ersatz steel scabbard with an Austro-Hungarian M91 straight-slot ersatz bayonet.

I've never seen a Chatellerault scabbard "in the flesh" so can't comment on your scabbard? It's an interesting piece. I would suggest that you post your photos on the Bayonet & Edged Weapons Forum. We have a large number of extremely knowledgeable collectors on that Forum.

Hope this info helps.

Warmest regards,

JPS
 

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a chatelerault bayonet from a rifle with s/n in the 400,000 range would surelly be a 30° rotation lock bayonet, and a 105,000 could well be too.
Remember that the change from the 90° rotation lock to the 30° rotation lock happened in 1893, and the 105,000 s/n can be dated to 1893.

I only have a very early 90° Chatellerault bayonet and personally never saw another one, but it looks legit to me.

As I already told you the scabbard is intresting.

If it's one of the 200 trial scabbard realized in France.... well... you hit the jackpot..
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Okay, in my first post I did write that this metal insert in the scabbard is lacking. A closer inspection now revealed the fact that this part is there - but it is laying much closer to the inner walls of the scabbard than in the picture of the reference piece. So I simply overlooked it at first.

And this small "crown over П" stamp is in fact a "crown over Г".
 

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The "C" in a ring doesn't convince me nearly as much as the stamp in pic 5(the rear of the bayonet body). It's one of the typical Chatellerault stamps. Another one is a "C" in a diamond with serrated edges.

Typical places too look for these stamps is the rim of the rear reinforcement ring and the rear face of the socket. The stamps are pretty small as you have noticed.

In this case, it seems that the rear face has been scratched off(i.e. most of the markings have been filed off).

By the look of it, the original serial number has been scratched out and the bayonet renumbered. Most probably a Balkan arsenal job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, gents. Every tiny piece of input on this difficult topic is much appreciated. I bought this item from a Romanian seller, so the likelihood that this bayonet had some service life in the Balkans is rather high. How does such a "history" affect the worth of the bayonet?
 

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Thomas,
Châtellerault byo is really hard to confuse with any other. On the picture Russian is on the left, French is on the right

There are nice pictures in this topic. http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?186204-M-91-Chatellerault-Bayonets-and-Scabbards



Regarding the Châtellerault scabbard… I don’t believe they exist. There is no any reliable proof that Châtellerault made scabbards – no documents, no photos - just statements from some books or collectors. I saw very few ww1 photos of Russian infantry soldiers with mosin scabbards, but you can find many Austrians or Germans with captured mosin’s and metal scabbards on the belt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Thanks, Se12, for your posting. Since my bayonet has this tapered rear end and appropriate markings, I'm sure it is legit - albeit with a re-stamped serial number and obviously some refurbishing/rebluing, too.

As far as the Châtellerault scabbard is concerned, in Vol. I of KH Wrobel's books there is a footnote with a reference to an original document (a letter from Russian officials to the Châtellerault company, but regrettably it is unclear what this document covers exactly - only the written order or some technical description also) about this bayonet scabbard. So I think that Mr. Wrobel had access to some first-hand evidence for the existence, maybe also the specifications, of this scabbard during the compilation of his books.

Another trace of a document mentioning the Châtellerault-made M.91 bayonet and the scabbard I found here http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?343003-Mosin-nagant-bayonet-scabbards (see post #13):

I know Joe L borrowed my book 'La Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Châtellerault' by Claude Lombard taking high resolution photos of the chapter of the French made 1891's and mentioned within the text is the bayonet and scabbard they made for the Russians, it had the whole contract, in French, of what was expected, plans, drawings of each item.


On the other side, except from that rather basic sketch in KH Wrobel's book of a quite similar Finnish scabbard I was unable to find more pictorial evidence of that Finnish scabbard until now (and I did quite a lot of searching all around the internet...). The only pictures of Finnish metal scabbards I was able to find show scabbards of German or Austrian origin or at least design which look clearly different from the "Châtellerault" type, especially with the frog stud and the mouth, sometimes also at the tip.
 

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Hello Gents,

Perhaps Karl-Heinz will chime in here on this thread, however in his absence, I know for a fact that he had access to lots of original documents from Chatellerault during his research for both volumes of his excellent work. Having worked together side-by-side performing research in a number of different museums in Europe, I can assure you that his information is not based on gun-show lore or someone else's obscure book. Karl-Heinz has been kind enough over the years to share enough original documents with me to fill three 3-ring binders.

Warmest regards,

JPS
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thanks for your contribution, JPS.

I did find some more pictorial evidence for a Châtellerault-made bayonet together with scabbard plus another scabbard of the same type, but with an Austrian ersatz bayonet. These items were part of the huge bayonet collection of a Mr. Hugo Schürer here in Germany. This collection went into an auction last year and the pictures are from the original records of this collector.

Here the Châtellerault bayonet and its scabbard:



And here the Austrian ersatz bayonet with scabbard:



As can be clearly seen on that pictures, both scabbards are of the same layout and have been painted grey-green over an original bluing. On my scabbard there are also still visible some traces of a medium grey paint which had been applied over the original bluing. Are these scabbards possibly that Finnish scabbards described in KH Wrobel's book? Or is it possible that some of the Châtellerault-made scabbards were obtained by the Finns and repainted there? I don't know...

In the collector's records the scabbards are described as "German production for captured bayonets 91" and "round, slightly conical steel scabbard with German frog stud" respectively.

There are no dimensions given for the scabbards, only for the bayonets. Measuring of the photos based on the bayonets' dimensions gave the following figures for the scabards:

Length: 438-444 mm
Width at the throat: 21-21.5 mm
Distance from the forward rim of the frog stud mounting plate to the throat: 5.5-7.5 mm
Length of the frog hook piece parallel to the scabbard: ~ 31 mm

All these data correspond pretty well with those of my scabbard.
 

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It's really hard to imagine that Russian military department ordered such absolutely useless things as a mosin’s bayonet scabbards. Russian infantry soldiers had mosin bayonets permanently attached to the rifle, dragoons attached to scabbard of the sword, Cossacks didn’t have bayonets at all. I can’t imagine Russian soldiers running towards the enemy trenches or marching to the front line with those empty metal pipes on the belt...
 

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Hello Se12,

While that may have been the case with the M1891 Three-Line Rifle and it's predecessor, the Berdan II, there are lots of photos of Russian troops using scabbards for the M1895 Winchester, the Japanese Type 30 and Type 38 Arisakas, the Mle 1907-15 Berthier, the Mle 1874 Gras and numerous other foreign supplied rifles and bayonets, which were issued with scabbards when acquired by the Russian Army. That the Russian ordnance department decided to forgo the use of scabbards for their standard issue weapons does not in any way suggest that the Russian soldier did not utilize bayonet scabbards when they were available.

Warmest regards,

JPS
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
And not to forget - those 200 or so scabbards ordered from Châtellerault were only intended as a trials batch - so no contradiction to the "official" philosophy. Doubtless there was no real serial production of (metal) scabbards for Mosin-Nagant bayonets in Russia or the USSR - with the possible exception of some leather or canvas ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
A lot of valuable contributions here - thanks, gents. But there are still some (for me at least) crucial questions left. So I kept on searching the internet for further information about that "Châtellerault" scabbard. And indeed I did find some more pictorial evidence. But this only led me to the next questions: Are they all the same scabbard and if yes - is this a true Châtellerault scabbard or not.

To find an answer to the first question ("Are they all the same scabbard?") I meticuously measured out the pictorial evidence I found for each of these scabbards and re-calculated the true dimensions of three prominent parts of the scabbard (overall length, outer throat diameter and the length of that piece of the frog hook which is parallel to the scabbard). As a basis to get the necessary scaling factors for this re-calculations I used well documented dimensions of the bayonets which were pictured together with the scabbards.

In the case of my own scabbard of course I did not calculate the dimensions - here they are measured ones.

As a safeguard against calculating errors I also estimated two ratio values for each scabbard:
- the overall length/outer throat diameter ratio and
- the overall length/frog hook length ratio

Altogether I did this for nine scabbards - eight of them represented by true photographs and one which I only have a sketch of (this Finnish scabbard No. 4 from KH Wrobel's books). Shown below are exactly those photos I used for calculating:


Scabbard No. 1 (my own one)


Scabbard No. 2 (from former Hugo Schürer collection)
http://schuerer-pku.de/HS/PDF/309_502mm_28.pdf


Scabbard No. 3 (from former Hugo Schürer collection)
http://schuerer-pku.de/HS/PDF/538_492mm_15.pdf


Scabbard No. 4 (from Karl-Heinz Wrobel)
http://forums.gunboards.com/showthr...nd-Scabbards&highlight=chatellerault+scabbard


Scabbard No. 5 (from "Se12")
http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?209984-Chatellerault-Bayonet-with-Scabbard


Scabbard No. 6 (from "Marut")
http://forums.gunboards.com/showthr...and-scabbard&highlight=chatellerault+scabbard


Scabbards No. 7 (above) and No. 8 (below) (from "Trajan")
http://forums.gunboards.com/showthr...an-scabbard&highlight=trajan+bayonet+scabbard



Scabbard No. 9 (sketch from KH Wrobel's books)

And here the calculated dimensions and ratios in table form:

(Data in brackets with scabbard No. 9 are data given in KH Wrobel's book)

My conclusions from those pictures and data are:
- All scabbards shown on the photos are of identical design, shape and (as documented by the data in the table) overall dimensions
- Surface finish varies according to the photos, Nos. 2 & 3 are obviously painted grey-green, No. 1 is blued (albeit with some traces of a medium grey paint applied over the bluing left), No. 4 is also blued, while Nos. 5, 6, 7 & 8 are too dirty/corroded on the surface for an assessment
- The dimensions given for scabbard No. 9 do not correspond with the dimensions of scabbards Nos. 1-8

So I think it's very likely that all scabbards I found photos of are of the same origin (the "Finnish scabbard No. 4" from the sketch in KH Wrobel's book does not fit here - either because it is yet another type or due to some inaccuracies of the data and sketch). But the second question still remains unanswered: "Are these real Châtellerault scabbards or not?"

For me it is also a little bit astonishing that the French company Châtellerault should have choosen the typical German hook-type layout of the frog stud for a scabbard designed for the Russians - especially if one considers the rivalry between France/Russia and Germany in those days. A more natural choice IMHO would have been based on the Lebel 1886 bayonet scabbard or something like this. So I still have doubts that this scabbard layout is really from Châtellerault and not another German ersatz one.

I'm afraid this can only be solved with access to original documents...

Edit:
Just found KH Wrobel's posting here (http://forums.gunboards.com/showthr...ult-Bayonets&highlight=chatellerault+scabbard - see posting #13), where he says that he got his scabbard directly from Châtellerault. So IMHO it is very, very unlikely that this one is not a legit one. Taken into account the really close similarity of all the scabbards shown above, I think the probability that they are also true Châtellerault scabbards is rather high. But for a final decision on this case one should be able to make a close examination of them side by side or at least with the aid of a set of high-resolution detail photos.

Since with the only exception of the scabbards from Hugo Schürer's collection all other scabbards (including this eminently important piece of evidence of KH Wrobel) are in the hands of members here in the forum, the method via photographs should not be that impossible and could solve an interesting question. What do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)

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Hello Gents,

Of interest is a recent listing on eBay that originates from Romania. It included the following photos.



The listing suggested that 10 scabbards were available and that 46 examples had already been sold. There is a second vendor according to one of my sources, who is selling similar or identical scabbards. Note the last bayonet circled in yellow. Does it look familiar?



Hope this info helps. Sad to say with the tremendous advantages brought to all of us by the internet, it has just as much potential for repros and/or fakes. In recent years, Eastern Europe, where manufacturing is recently more price competitive than China, has blossomed with all sorts of items like this. I don't fault this particular seller since his asking price of $28 US is based on obvious repros. The problem in this case starts with the examples that are then resold!

Warmest regards,

JPS
 

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Thanks for the info JPS, did you look at the one I got? You are the expert, but I would have a hard time believing the one I got is newly fabricated, OLD cosmolene stuck in it and the patina would be hard to fake. I don't think it is a Chatellarault simply because of the astronomical odds of them staying in the same place after being captured and then recaptured but I think there has to be another story at least for the one I and the OP have. http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?364448-m91-bayos-and-scabbards-remington-sestroryetsk

Hello Gents,

Of interest is a recent listing on eBay that originates from Romania. It included the following photos.

View attachment 803342 View attachment 803343

The listing suggested that 10 scabbards were available and that 46 examples had already been sold. There is a second vendor according to one of my sources, who is selling similar or identical scabbards. Note the last bayonet circled in yellow. Does it look familiar?

View attachment 803341

Hope this info helps. Sad to say with the tremendous advantages brought to all of us by the internet, it has just as much potential for repros and/or fakes. In recent years, Eastern Europe, where manufacturing is recently more price competitive than China, has blossomed with all sorts of items like this. I don't fault this particular seller since his asking price of $28 US is based on obvious repros. The problem in this case starts with the examples that are then resold!

Warmest regards,

JPS
 
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