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Old December 11, 2012, 02:36 PM   #1
albean
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Belgium rifle

Hi you all

Long ago I've inherited a rifle from my grand-mother who got it by her grand also and, to my estimation,it dates from the mid 1800's.

It's 37 inches long overall, has a hexagon barrel. Under the barrel is punched 2526 Belgium. Near the hammer are some marks and characters. They begin with what seems to be a crown, then a "R" then 2 other marks and "FL 22 L" and it ends with a crowned balloon in which there's "E" and 'LG" under the "E". I dismanteled it and found a "MG" mark under the barrel.

It shoots 22 Long ammunition.

I fired it long ago and found that when the bullet is fired the chamber opens and the empty shell is automatically thrown out.

Unfortunately that time, the cover with the firing pin broke. I saw that it had been broken before and had been welded with brass. Now after some 45 years, I've lost that broken cover and I wish to had one made again but I can't remember the exact look it had.

Can someone tell me more about that rifle and provide me with a closeup image of the device or a drawing of it or provide a link to a site or a book that could help me with that ?

Thanks



Here are some pictures.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1036m.jpg (225.5 KB, 103 views)
File Type: jpg 1038m.jpg (201.4 KB, 85 views)
File Type: jpg 1039m.jpg (221.0 KB, 81 views)

Last edited by albean; December 12, 2012 at 09:20 AM.
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Old December 11, 2012, 03:08 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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You have the rifle in hand.
Show us pictures so we can be sure what you have and the discussion can go from there.

2526 Belgium

Probably an importers stock number and the country of origin as required since 1903.

a crown, then a "R"

Belgian proof mark for a firearm with rifled barrel.

crowned balloon in which there's "E" and 'LG" under the "E".

Long time standard Belgian proof mark.

found a "MG" mark

Don't know offhand, maybe a factory inspector's mark.

"FL 22 L"

I don't know for sure but suspect it stands for Flobert (design) and .22 Long cartridge. That is where YOUR pictures come in.

Lacking pictures, I can only guess.
It sounds like a Warnant action Flobert and if so, it is NOT supposed to kick open and blow the empty out. Of course it might be something else made to operate that way. I once had a very obscure single shot "automatic" like that.
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Old December 11, 2012, 05:46 PM   #3
PetahW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albean

I fired it long ago and found that when the bullet is fired the chamber opens and the empty shell is automatically thrown out.
FWIW, the only single-shot rifle that was designed to do that, by the factory, was the .22 cal Winchester Model 55 - most likely why the breeching broke to the point of requiring a brazing repair.

It sounds like you have a Flobert rifle, where the firing pin is integral with the hammer/breechblock - held closed only by spring pressure - and not designed to handle modern high-pressure (or ANY modern) ammo.




.
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Old December 11, 2012, 07:44 PM   #4
BillM
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Yup. Flobert, pre Warnant breechblock.

Probably chambered for 6mm Flobert, a VERY low powered round.
If it were in overall good condition, I might consider firing
one with Aguila Colibri ammo, but nothing more powerful.
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Old December 12, 2012, 01:10 AM   #5
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Yep, a Flobert has "automatic" ejection when the cartridge is more powerful than the gun was made for. It is a good way to collect a fired case in the eye and break the gun as well.

Stop shooting that old gun. Break down and buy something that isn't going to blind you or leave a piece of old iron someplace it will be painful.

Jim
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Old December 12, 2012, 09:45 AM   #6
albean
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Pictures uploaded in original post

Hi,

Pictures of the rifle uploaded in the original post.

Even if I preserved it as well as I knew you can see there's some rust inside the barrel and on the outside too. When I recieved it I remember it was covered with rust and the wood was black of dirt. I used a damp sponge and baking soda to "polish" the gun and Murphy oil to clean the wood. Since then, once in a while I re-oil it all over with olive oil.

In the '60s I used a swab and baking soda again to "clean" the inside of the barrel, oiled it and fired it only once. That's when the breach broke, again I can say because I saw that it had been broken before because of the brass. You can see the brass again on what's left of the breach.

I assume the breach is made out of steel since it was braised, isn't it ?

You can see, at the bottom of the ejector, there's a notch. What's the purpose of that notch ? to recieve the firing pin or else ?

I want to have a new breach made. Not to fire the gun but so it could be complete again. It has a family value as it was first owned by my g-grand.
The condition isn't so good because it had been stashed in a wall in a garage during WW1 when the Canadian Gov. commandeered all the metal for the war. It stayed there ever since untill we dismanteled the garage for safety purposes in the early '60s, time where I inherited it along with it's "family story".
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Old December 12, 2012, 11:43 AM   #7
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I believe it's a straight Flobert action, and might not be a Warnant variant (no Warnant pivot studs visible on each side of the rear of the bbl) - but I can't tell from either your pics or description whether it had a falling or rolling block (I doubt RB) breech.

Here's what a Warnant action looks like:





The groove in the lower/central portion of the extractor was to gently push/retract the nose of the firing pin, as these guns were very simple/inexpensive, and had no FP return springs or other device.
It worked off the closing of the breechblock, so that a chambered cartirdge wouldn't be fired if the action was forcefully closed.

Many an itinerant repairman, w/o access or expertise for welding, often brazed parts together as a repair - which (as you found out) is nowhere near as strong.


.

.

Last edited by PetahW; December 12, 2012 at 11:54 AM.
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Old December 12, 2012, 01:06 PM   #8
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Just to reiterate it for future readers, as you were clearly not the first to to it with your gun: When you fired the rifle using 22 lr ammo, it blew up.
It looked like "automatic ejection", but that's not what was supposed to happen. The breach block broke off, and the extractor pulled the case. As the breach block flew away, so did the case.
Flobert ammo is much weaker than even modern 22 short ammo, it's basically a bullet on a primer cap. Unless it's clearly marked as 22 long rifle, don't use it with modern ammunition.
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Old December 12, 2012, 01:45 PM   #9
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I agree, except that in the case of guns with 100+ year old actions built on a weak design, I wouldn't fire ANY modern ammo, even if the gun WAS marked ".22LR".

The metals used back then (often not even the steel of the day on these inexpensive guns) are nowhere equal in strength or internal structure (they often have inclusions, etc) to today's metals.

That, combined with the more powerful modern ammo, is a recipe for disaster.

Anyone shooting a gun that lost it's breeching upon firing was fortunate, indeed, to have not also lost an eye or worse.


.
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Old December 12, 2012, 02:38 PM   #10
Jim Watson
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It is the third type Flobert action, known as the "rolling block."
This is an insult to Remington because it was nowhere nearly as sturdy as even the smallest true Remington Rolling Block.
As you can see by the breechblock having blown clear off.

There are no parts available and you would be horrified at the cost to have a breechblock made, probably hundreds of dollars. The only hope would be to buy a worse junker of the same type to salvage the part off of.
And it STILL would not be strong and safe enough to shoot with smokeless ammunition.
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Old December 13, 2012, 12:47 PM   #11
albean
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Hi Jim Watson

I feel like an intruder here as I know absolutely nothing about firearms.

What's a Rolling Block ?

My rifle had a breech that covered the whole end of the barrel and had an hexagon shape matching the barrel and finishing as a ball or so, but I can't remember if there was a firing pin through the breech or anything else to fire the bullet. But It was in no way close to the picture PetahW shows here.



The breech had an ear on the same side the hammer has it. You would bring that ear backwards, in fact turning it on the pin that retains it in place, load the bullet in the chamber, push the ear back, cock the hammer and fire. And then you can feel the empty case and the breech flying right over your head or so.
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Old December 13, 2012, 03:05 PM   #12
Jim Watson
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You have just reasonably well described the rolling block action.

If you do a search on Remington Rolling Block you will find a lot of information on the strong American design. The European Flobert rolling block works the same way but is dinky and flimsy. Why, it might even blow open when shot with ammunition more powerful than what it was made for.

PetaW shows the Warnant design of Flobert which is an entirely different thing.
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Old December 13, 2012, 07:20 PM   #13
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This is a pic of one of Henri Peiper's Flobert Rolling Block rifles - which I don't think you have (besides the multiple shot/barrels), due to the 2-piece stock style, unlike your one-piece unit.
RB's typically have two axle's/pins through the action, upon which the breechblock and the hammer rotate.



Your stock is more like the Warnant variation, below.

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Old December 14, 2012, 11:13 AM   #14
Jim Watson
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That 7 shot Peiper is not a Flobert. It is fairly close to a real Remington and in the rare underlever action to boot.

I found a couple of "Remington action" Floberts for sale on the www.
Unfortunately they do not show the actions open but if you look close you can see the small breechblock and the way the hammer backs it up... sort of.
http://www.gundersonmilitaria.com/rifleflobert175a.html
http://www.gundersonmilitaria.com/ri...rtcracked.html

The second one has a more prominent ear on the breechblock as the OP describes.


There are four types of Floberts.
The original has no separate breech block, just a heavy hammer and strong spring. The face of the hammer is machined in a shape to hit the rimfire CB cap and with an undercut that is supposed to snag the rim and extract the empty when cocked.
The second type has a small separate extractor because that undercut tended to wear down pretty rapidly. It still depends on the mass of the hammer and strength of the spring to hold the chamber pressure.
The third type is the Remington rolling block knockoff.
The fourth type is the Warnant action with breechblock that swings overhead as PetaW shows. Sometimes called a Trapdoor in mimicry of the US Springfield. There was a later design by Peiper that had the same action but with a striker in the breechblock instead of an outside hammer.

Last edited by Jim Watson; December 14, 2012 at 11:19 AM.
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Old December 15, 2012, 09:06 AM   #15
albean
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Hi Jim Watson,

It was very much like the one in
http://www.gundersonmilitaria.com/rifleflobert175a.html

Now the questions are:
1- Was there a moving firing pin in the block or was the block designed to fire the bullet ?

2- Are there plans or detailed images of that block I can use to rebuild it ?

3- Is there a site or a book I can consult for that rifle ?

4- What's the full name and model of my rifle ?

5- Is there a site or a place I could possibly buy an old block for my rifle ?
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Old December 15, 2012, 10:07 AM   #16
Jim Watson
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Now the questions are:
1- Was there a moving firing pin in the block or was the block designed to fire the bullet ?


There was a separate firing pin in the block. I think the little cut you noted in the extractor is meant to cam it back into place without the need of a spring or extra part as found in nicer single shots.

2- Are there plans or detailed images of that block I can use to rebuild it ?

Not that I know of.

3- Is there a site or a book I can consult for that rifle ?

There has not been a lot of study of such a cheap little gun. I found one article and think there is another I have not yet tracked down in old Gun Digests.

4- What's the full name and model of my rifle ?

In 1901 Sears & Roebuck called it "Our $2.25 Remington System Flobert Rifle." They also said "Note: We do not recommend nor guarantee Flobert rifles. Buy a good rifle, it will pay in the end." US made Stevens rifles started at $2.95.

In 1911 Adolf Frank (Germany) called it the "Small Remington rifle, mod 1910, mark Crolet." Of course it is not a Remington, but a pale imitation. Crolet apparently the maker for ALFA sales and export.

5- Is there a site or a place I could possibly buy an old block for my rifle ?

Not that I know of. Even if you bought a junker in worse condition, there is little chance of the breechblock fitting yours. The two Floberts in the Gunderson list are of the same TYPE but with differences in detail. Made by different companies or at different time, parts not likely to be interchangeable.

The problem is, your rifle is over a hundred years old and of a cheap design and brand to start with. There is not much scope for repair. Finding a junker of the same series would be your only chance, and that not good.
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Old December 15, 2012, 09:39 PM   #17
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The true Flobert has no firing pin and no breechblock. It fires rimfire cartridges by a ridge machined (or cast) into the face of the hammer. The user cocks the hammer, loads a cartridge into the chamber, then pulls the trigger. The hammer falls, the ridge firing the cartridge. NOTHING holds the hammer down (breech closed) except the momentum of the fairly heavy hammer. Let me say that again. NOTHING HOLDS THE BREECH CLOSED! There is no lock, no breechblock and no firing pin. Some have extractors, but others depend on that old extractor, a fingernail.

Obviously the system works ONLY if the mass of the hammer is sufficient to keep the case in the chamber against chamber pressure. If not, the case is blown out of the chamber (NOT "extracted" - it is blown out) pushing the hammer down and back and flying off someplace around the shooter's face. If the round is powerful enough, the hammer may be broken and possibly become part of the miscellaneous pieces flying around.

Most of those guns were not made of steel, which can be welded. They were made of cast iron, which won't take weld, which is why cracks were brazed.

'Nuff sed. Anyone who values his or her eyes should NOT fire any of the original Floberts with anything.

Jim
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Old December 19, 2012, 03:00 PM   #18
albean
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Hum ...

To my understanding, cast iron isn't a very good metal to build firearms.

I've been told that the value of a "working" rifle like mine should be around $100. Realy not much. Plus I can't be sure of what year it was made ... like I've said before it's said to have benn my g-grand's rifle but, there's nobody still alive that can assert that. So I'm left with a load of "maybe" and a broken rifle.

But it wasn't a matter of $.

After what I've heard here I reconsidered having it complete as I can't have any plan or else to base my repair on even if I didn't intend to use the rifle.

Thanks every one for your lights.

Al
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Old December 19, 2012, 07:47 PM   #19
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Cast iron has been used to make many firearms. It was not until c.1850 that steel came into use and even then it was not in common use for many years, wrought iron being the gun material of choice for firearms until the advent of smokless powder c. 1900.

To be honest, I would consider that rifle a part of my family heritage and give it a well-earned retirement to a display case. If you want a shooting gun, there are plenty of good .22's around that will do a better job and with no risk.

Jim
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Old December 31, 2012, 07:36 PM   #20
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Cast Iron was used in American firearms until after the turn of the 20Th century. It was also used in European firearms until the 1930s ( Spanish ). In fact I believe the Remington Double Derringer was cast iron until they discontinued it. Could be wrong, in fact I'm pretty sure I've been wrong once or twice before in the past
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Old January 1, 2013, 06:16 PM   #21
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There is a whole lot of single shot shotguns that were made with castiron recievers. Chances are up to the time H&R came out with the new Handi rifle.
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Old January 1, 2013, 09:20 PM   #22
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The use of cast iron in many Spanish guns led, interestingly, to a total and complete misunderstanding of the term "pot metal". In every French and Spanish home a place of honor on the stove was given to the cookpot, into which went about everything in the kitchen except the cat. Most of the family's meals came from that cookpot ("marmite" in French, "marmita" in Spanish). Since no great strength was required, those pots were made of cheap cast iron, commonly called "pot metal".

Much later, Americans who never saw an iron cookpot, read or heard the term and were puzzled by it. Some young gun collectors, believing that quality guns had always been made of steel, but being familiar with the various zinc alloys used in cheap guns, concluded that "pot metal" meant metal with a low melting point that was melted in a pot, rather than the material a pot was made of. That misunderstanding has now become so ingrained into the gun language that it even is repeated in Wikipedia, which is often cited as the source of all wisdom by the naive.

Jim
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Old January 7, 2013, 08:03 PM   #23
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The concerns about cast iron recievers and frames are often based on the misconception that simple "grey" cast iron was used.
In some cases that would be true, but reputable gunmakers made a point of using various grades of "White Cast Iron" AKA "Malleable Cast Iron" which has tremendous compressive strength.
White cast iron is almost pure iron with little to none of the impurities that cause fracturing of grey iron.
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Old January 7, 2013, 11:10 PM   #24
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The iron most commonly used in gun making was "wrought iron". There were many variations and names, including "(re)fined iron", "bloomery iron" , "malleable iron", and others. Colt revovlers were made of wrought iron into the 1890s and Winchesters into the 1870's. The main reason for case hardening was not decoration, as many suppose. Iron, unlike steel, cannot be heat treated for hardness, so in order to harden iron against the wear of internal parts, it was necessary to carburize or surface harden the metal. The color was a byproduct.

Many guns, like the previously mentioned Remington double derringer, were made of wrought iron to the end of produciton c. 1936. That is why broken hinges cannot be welded, but must be brazed. (Most of those hinges were broken, not by firing, but by ignorant users flipping the gun open.)

Jim
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Old March 3, 2014, 04:14 PM   #25
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The gun you have is not a rolling block breech, it had a breech that was hinged and had the plunger in it. I have one just like it but in better condition. If you look below the ejector you will see the pin that the breech was held by. As was previously stated the crown over R indicates that it had a rifled barrel and the symbol below it is a "perron" which is the symbol that it was produced in Liege, Belgium as that is the symbol of this city. The oval with the crown over it and the ELG and star inside is also a symbol of Belgium manufacture and was made after 1892 because through 1892 there was not a crown over the oval. This proof also indicated that it used a black powder cartridge and the .22L was the cartridge. The .22 long cartridge of this period used 5 grains of black powder and a .29 grain bullet. This was 25% more powerful than the .22 black powder short. Everyone is correct that you should not shoot modern ammo in this weapon and is probably why your breech is missing. I fired a .22 short in mine when I first obtained it in 1954 0r 1955 to see if it worked and the breech opened about 1/4 inch and fire flew out. I never tried again. I think that the FL in front of of the .22 may have indicated the breech was Flobert designed but I am not sure. Flobert also made some .22 rim fire ammo. I'll attach some pics of my old rifle showing the breech, etc for anyone who is interested. The initials was probably the inspectors. The forum will not allow me to upload these files since they are high definition and exceed their allowed size, however if anyone wants to see them I will email them to you.
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