View Full Version : any experience with a Chauchat?

Snow Fox
February 3, 2007, 11:26 PM
Well the title says it all. Does anyone here have any experience firing a chauchat? Is it as much of a pig as reports say?

For those who don't know it was a light machinegun developed for trench fighting by the french in WW1. Great in theory but it was plagued by cheap manufacturing and fatal design flaws. I crecent shapped magazine tended to have problems with the feed. to get around this they left large open vents on the side to allow access to the feed. and of course these were a dirt magnet, just lovely in the trenches. My great grand father's generation muntinied in 1917. considering the quality of the weapons the surprise isn;t that they mutinied in 1917 but that it took that long.

February 5, 2007, 12:41 AM
My wife's grandfather got to use one a few times in WW1. The French version tended to be better than the US version which couldn't handle the 30-06 very well and those big exposed spaces really did fill dirt in them pretty quickly. Unfortantly he is now dead. Primarly job he had though was for the 105th ammunition train, hauling up supplies to the lines by horse. Poor guy had so many horses shot out for under him he couldn't stand being around them anymore.

Of course to have first hand experience on it usually requires you to be about 90 nowadays so not too many eye witnesses around anymore. About as close as I been to one is a museum. If they had let the US use the BARs instead of fearing the Germans would copy it, it probrobly wouldn't even get a mention nowadays.

Snow Fox
February 6, 2007, 09:10 PM
there are ww1 reenactors out there with them. I hoped someone like that might hang here

February 7, 2007, 10:54 PM
Like Limeyfellow said, WW1 was 90 years ago, so anyone with experience would be over 100 years old. The weapon saw service for only a few years. During WW2, the German army destroyed most of the French army's offensive weapons, leaving rifles and pistols but no cannons or machine guns, so there were not very many if any surplused to the US. With the GCA of 1968 and previous bans on full auto military weapons, it is very unlikely that anyone this side of the FBI's firearms museum will have ever seen or touched one. When I lived in Nevada, I knew several class 3 licensees, and most of them had BARs, Thompsons, a few 30 Brownings, MG 42s, and MP 39s. A few Stg 44s and Fg 42s, but it was mostly pretty tame. Very few exotics.

James K
February 8, 2007, 01:37 PM
I don't know if it is experience, but I fired one magazine out of a Chauchat. It was in the original 8mm, and worked OK. It was much like any other light machinegun.


Snow Fox
February 9, 2007, 10:12 PM
that's exactly what I meant. There are either originals or repos out there.

As for the German's destroying offensive weapons- have you heard the rep this abomination has? My guess they'd require it to be used. In theory it was excellent-a light man portable MG years before the BAR, using the same ammo as infantry rifles. A brilliant move. Unfortuneatly in design is had flaws and it was cheaply made out of stamped metal with almost non-existance quality control.

Mike Irwin
February 16, 2007, 09:26 AM
I've fired a few hundred rounds through an 8mm Chauchat.

It worked flawlessly.

But, I wasn't fighting in trench conditions in WW I.

The design is actually sound. It was the execution that was a freaking nightmare.