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Hello all, been a little while. I had a quick question. I have a mle 1916 berthier long rifle that does not have an "n" stamp on the receiver to note the rechambering to allow for the 1932N machine gun cartridge. My question is more of a historical one. I was just wondering where these unconverted rifles would have been during the retooling? I know Poland and Greece got some after ww2 and wouldn't have been converted, but would the Berthier rifles in the French colonies, such as Morocco etc. have missed the conversion? The main reason I ask is that, for collector purposes I would prefer to have a berthier that the French or her colonies would have potentially "used" during ww2 (even though I know the likelihood of actual combat use is unlikely), and as the N stamp is not present, it's fairly safe to say that my rifle was no longer in French mainland at that time. Just curious if colonial troops would have had unconverted rifles. Any insight is helpful. Thanks!
 

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Launched in the mid 1930s (1935?), the "N" modification was at first intended to be carried out only on rifles used by machine gun teams, to allow them to use the MG ammuntion safely if short of rifle ammuntion. The modification was carried out first to the "Mousqueton d'artillerie" attributed to the machine gun teams, to be followed by Berthier long rifles, the Lebel rifles mostly dedicated to sharpshooting or grenade launching being the last to be "N" modified. Not all Lebel and Berthier rifles in French inventory had been modified in 1940 (rifles not attributed to active units and kept in storage).

The situation post WWII was different, since only the 1932N cartridge was kept in production, all the remaining Berthier and Lebel in French inventory were modified, and the MG cartidges were packaged in small parcels for the modified rifles.

The tooling required for the "N" modification was light, it did not require a barrel dis-assembly, only the stock removal and the kit could be carried around by roaming teams of Armorers doing scheduled units inspection.
A regular sets of chamber and bore gauges (rifles with worn out barrel were not modified but were either discarded or had a replacement barrels fitted), a set of chamber reamers (cutting+finishing), gauges and a N stamp was all it took.

In the late 1930's, The new 1932 MG cartridge was mostly used in France mainland, altough some was sent to North Africa in the late June 1940, the Colonies were at the lower end of the priority list in 1939/40, they had their own ammuntion stocks from the huge WWI stockpile and it is doubtful that any 1932 cartridge went overseas before 1945.

* the N stamped on the barrels certifies their chamber throat modification while the N stamped on the receiver indicates the replacement of the firing pin spring by a stronger one (The 1932N cartridge designed for machine guns had a very hard priming system, a protection cup was crimped over the primer to prevent premature ignition).
kelt
 

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I will add this to already existing sticky when I have time to do so.

Patrick
 
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