I just bought my first Berthier. It's an 07/15 made at Chatellerault in 1916. It is a rust master special but is cleaning up nicely. The only problem that I have found so far is a slightly bent firing pin. I have a new pin and spring coming from Numrich.
Congratulations on your first Berthier. My very first French rifle was also an 07/15 which I bought for $25.00 at Buckhorn Trading Post in Dallas Texas. It too needed some TLC but cleaned up well. I still have the rifle in my collection.
Berthier rifles and carbines of all configurations and models are fun to collect, although they are getting quite expensive as compared to what they were a few years ago. Still, you can still find bargains. Some consider the Berthier to be an "ugly" weapon. I guess to me it is so ugly it is attractive, if that makes any sense.
I paid $40.00 for it. The only thing that I have found wrong with it is the firing pin and a new pin and spring should be here in the next couple of days. I have the loading dies and all the components. I'll make a dummy round to test the action then load a batch.
I don't see why they are considered ugly, I find the length and flowing stock lines very pleasing to the eye, with the trigger and guard neatly tucked away behind the stock swelling, more elegant in fact than any Mausers or Lee-Enfields of the period in my opinion.
I think it's because most people who collect milsurps come across several Mausers before they find a Berthier. It is not based on the Mauser in any way and thus looks and works differently. I suspect someone "squeezed" this rifle in something because there is a slight bend in the trigger guard directly below where the firing pin is bent. The trigger guard damage is so slight that I'm not going to worry about it but I do have to replace the firing pin. Other than that, I think it's just incredably dirty.
I like going to the range with a rifle that attracts the comment " What the hxxl is that?". The icing on the cake is when you get someone who looks down there nose at your old " piece of garbage" and you then outshoot their brand new Remchesterby with it.