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    Restoration of an 1886M93 Lebel

    So I FINALLY (after 10 years of looking) picked up a decent 1886 Lebel. It has a few issues, but these are so rare in non-relic condition (see the one at P&S for an example of what I mean) that it's worth fixing the few issues it has. It's all matching apart from the bolt.

    Some of the issues:

    1) Someone at one time covered the entire rifle (even the metal) in thick varnish.
    2) There was some battle damage to the wood and someone filled it with 1950's era wood putty.
    3) The rear trigger guard screw is broken - I'll have to make a new M6x1.0 screw for it.
    4) The fore stock through-pin is missing - need to make a replacement.

    Starting with the buttstock.

    Here is the stock after I started stripping off the old cracked varnish.



    Examples of the horrendously ugly wood filler. Bubba added that before he varnished his wall hanger.




    Here we see the wood filler after being removed from the damaged areas of the stock. Basically you dribble acetone onto it to make it a little bit malleable again and work it out painstakingly with dental picks. The pics make these gouges look deceptively shallow. The one at the through bolt is over 1cm deep and appears to be an old shrapnel gouge.





    I'm repairing the worst areas in the french armorer manner and leaving the minor damage for character. There are other original repairs on the wood so this will not look inappropriate. Anyone who has collected WW1 era Frenchicon arms knows the French armorers were MASTERS of the stock patch and kept gun furniture going forever. I had a Berthier with 32 stock repairs once!








    Re-assembled the cross-bolt, peened it according to the French Armorer's instructions, and one coat of linseed oilicon.




    Glue is 2 part epoxy mixed with walnut sanding dust.

    Still have some coats of BLOicon to go, obviously. It's mechanically good to go now though.




    Had to turn a new mag tube retention pin - I used some drill rod and machined it to 11/64" for a perfect fit, domed the ends. The firing pin was bent as well (must have had a good knock at some point?) - I straightened it. Detail stripped the mechanism and fixed a couple other minor issues, the rifle works great now and feeds beautifully.

    I also had to make a new rear trigger guard screw. The original is a domed screw with a recessed bevel below the head and an oversized 24 tpi thread. It was a fair bit of work to duplicate on my toolroom lathe, but I think I did a passable job. Turned it from an oversized grade 8.8 bolt I had laying about.


    Aged it a bit...

    Ta-da!


    All in all it came out well. Bore is an 8 or 9 out of 10 IMHO. Too bad about the sandblasted and blued non-matching refurb bolt, but it's functional and appropriate for a rifle rebuilt in 1926 like this one. Original pre-1904 Lebels had bolts in the white. After 1904, they just kept recycling the receivers and parts onto new barrels and all new rifle manufacture was of the Berthier variety. Very happy to finally fill this gap.




    Союз нерушимый республик свободных Сплотила навеки Великая Русь. Да здравствует созданный волей народов Единый, могучий Советский Союз!

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    Good work Claven, wood repairs done in the same way the Frenchicon military did it, excellent. And I am surprised that you were able to get the screw out that well, it must have been a bear. Good hand-made replacement BTW.

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    Luckily it wasn't seized in that badly (the screw). Making the replacement was fun... it helps to own your own machine shop when you have to make one-off oddball items like this with counter-bevelled screw necks, specific dome profiles, etc. Plus I like doign stuff liek this - lol.
    Союз нерушимый республик свободных Сплотила навеки Великая Русь. Да здравствует созданный волей народов Единый, могучий Советский Союз!

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    Its been my experience that an old heavy coating of varnish is an excellent protector of both metal and wood. I would say that it has held true in this case. Nice work.

    mdrim13

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    True enough, but it looks much better with a properly oiled stock and a nice light coat of gun oil on the metal
    Союз нерушимый республик свободных Сплотила навеки Великая Русь. Да здравствует созданный волей народов Единый, могучий Советский Союз!

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    Had I found that rifle it likely would have been rendered down to rebuild a M1917 semi-auto in wretched shape. But then again, there's no Lebel in the collection at all, yet. Like you, I've been looking for a while.

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    My opinion only, but I now think it is too nice to "render down"
    Союз нерушимый республик свободных Сплотила навеки Великая Русь. Да здравствует созданный волей народов Единый, могучий Советский Союз!

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    Lebel parts

    Claven,

    I was doing a search for Lebel parts and came across your post. Would you mind giving a little advice? I just inherited a Lebel 1886 M93. I've searched the internet high and low for a detailed parts diagram and a parts source and have had no luck. Bear with me as my description of the missing parts may be inaccurate.

    The rifle is missing the rear receiver pin (that is partially obscured by the lever on the right side and is located just above the front of the trigger guard) and the retention pin in the stock just behind the receiver.

    It appears you either located some parts and/or are talented enough to machine your own replacements.

    I found no shortage of Mauser and Enfield parts when doing some light restoration on other rifles but have had absolutely no luck sourcing Lebel parts. Any assistance on where to look would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks



    Last edited by Beartail Firearms; 08-26-2013 at 03:26 PM. Reason: add photo

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