Named for its inventor, Emile Berthier, a French civilian engineer in the Algerian railways, the Berthier's three-shot vertical-feed Mannlicher-type en bloc magazine could be loaded by stripper clip, greatly increasing reloading speed, a particular convenience for cavalry and other mounted troops. A spring-loaded arm fed cartridges to the breech, and when all cartridges had been loaded, the empty stripper clip fell out by gravity through an opening in the bottom of the magazine. The small 3-shot magazine capacity was adopted after field testing, where the cavalry expressed a preference for a non-protruding magazine that did not interfere with the balance or handling of the rifle. The Berthier Carbine was adopted by the French Army on March 14, 1890, and a short rifle version of the Berthier rifle was adopted in 1907. French records indicate that in excess of two million Berthier rifles and carbines were manufactured by the French State manufactures supplemented by civilian industries. Like the Mdle 1886 lebel, the Berthier lacked a mechanical safety; French training protocols called for soldiers to carry their rifle with loaded magazine but without a round in the chamber until ordered to load rifles by an NCO or officer in charge. France employed large numbers of colonial troops with limited technological experience, and since colonial combat conditions in North Africa and Indochina were extremely hard on service weapons, carrying with an empty chamber was considered superior to reliance on a mechanical safety, since a rifle with no round in the chamber could never go off, unlike a rifle whose safety was not properly engaged or had malfunctioned due to grit or wear.

    At the outbreak of World War I, the Model 1907 Berthier rifle was modified for mass manufacturing, resulting in the Mdle 07/15. The sights, barrel band, and stacking hook were simplified to increase the rate of production. While the original 1907 rifle incorporated a cruciform bayonet, the 07/15 was modified to take the same bayonet as the Lebel, simplifying supply. The turned-down bolt handle was changed to a simpler straight bolt.

    During World War I, it was quickly recognized that the Berthier's three-shot magazine was simply too small in comparison to foreign weapons, requiring too-frequent reloading. Additionally, it was found that trench mud and grit could enter the weapon through the opening in the bottom of the magazine. To correct these issues, the Model 1916 Berthier rifle was introduced with a five-round en-bloc clip. The clip discharge opening at the bottom of the protruding magazine was replaced by a spring loaded trapdoor to keep out dirt and debris. This improved 5-shot design was then fitted to existing rifle and carbine-length Berthier models (Mle 1907/15, Mle 1890M16, 1892M16 and Mle 1916 "mousquetons" ). In response to changing combat situations at the front, which had evolved from a war of maneuever into static trench warfare and frequent night raids, many Berthier rifles were also fitted with sights designed specifically for close range or night combat, using radium paint to improve visibility in poor light or darkness. Many Model 1916 rifles and carbines were produced too late to see service in World War I, but were used after the war, particularly in colonial service. 

    Item Description

    This rifle is fully de-activated with a working mechanism and trigger. Dated to the side 1892. Good woodwork. Interstate buyers please check with your state authority before considering to buy, WA buyers are ok. No international sales on this item.