View Full Version : Flobert rifle, up lift breech

January 26, 2009, 11:17 AM
Hi, Wanting info on the efg oval without crown? Why both a English and Belguim Liege proof mark as per Blue Book? My piece appears to be the same as the Warnant pictured in the 1897 Sears catalog. No cal marking, only plain oval and 1867 underside the barrel. [email protected]

January 26, 2009, 12:26 PM
It's probably "ELG", but many countries have proof requirements that say if a gun is imported into them, they have to re-pass proof under the new country's specifications; you often see Colt and S&W revolvers that have had German or English proofs added to them in order to comply with these laws. In this case, it's likely that this Belgian-made Warnant-breeched rifle was imported into England, but the importer had to submit the rifle for re-proofing before it could be sold. The English proof will tell you if it was re-proofed at the Birmingham or London proof house. Most guns of this type are actually chambered for the 6mm Flobert cartridge, and even if a .22 LR will fit, they shouldn't be fired, because this breeching system is fairly weak.

James K
January 26, 2009, 09:28 PM
The absence of the crown indicates that the rifle was proved ("proofed") prior to 18 Oct 1898 and given only the standard proof. I am not aware of any Liege proof mark specifically for guns shipped to England, but at one time (1893) the Germans would allow importation of Belgian guns only if the oval had a crown, which indicated a higher level of proof. The Belgians complied for guns destined for Germany and then extended the higher proof level (oval and crown) across the board (1898).

Louis Nicholas Auguste Flobert of Paris was the inventor in 1857 of a type of rimfire cartridge using only the primer explosion to propel the bullet, like the more modern BB Cap. The invention may have inspired Smith and Wesson to use much the same system, but with a powder charge, in their first revolvers. He also invented a system of rifles and pistols in which the hammer served as both the firing mechanism and the breechblock. The heavy hammer had a smooth face except for a protrusion which contacted the primer-filled rim and fired the cartridge.

The combination of the hammer mass and the momentum from its forward movement served to prevent the cartridge case from blowing backward. If a cartridge is used that is more powerful than Flobert's, the cartridge case will blow the hammer back and fly out of the chamber, possibly injuring the shooter.

Warnant, a Belgium, invented a breech block that could be used on Flobert type guns but which would allow use of a more powerful cartridge. That is the system used on the gun in question. The arms of the breechblock are screwed to the barrel and I have seen them with screws broken or so badly worn they will fall out if the rifle is turned over. Even though the Warnant system will allow the use of more powerful cartriges than the original Flobert system, it is still quite weak, and I strongly recommend against firing one.


January 27, 2009, 12:53 PM
Thank You Friends,
I think most questions were answered. I had a typo on the efg. Blue book of Gun Values, 29th Edtion, shows ELG* plain oval as Liege Blackpowder for rifle 1811-1892, British Proof Mark. It also shows ELG* w/Crown since 1893 Liege "definitive" Black Powder Belgian Proof Mark. Surely the Belgian plain oval was earlier also? Does your reply answer this?
The recent Feb 2009 issue of American Rifleman (NRA), has article on old Belgian Blunderbuss barrel. It mentions ELG in oval as the Napoleonic Proof rule that was the first Belgian mark. Later under Dutch rule it was evidently not enforced as well. Does this agree?
Other than non ledgible small marks, the Oct barrel on the side has two stylish capital letters G and F. Do they mean anything? Do you suppose the 1867 on the under side is just a serial number or Date or Model number?
I agree it is probably 6mm Flobert, it will chamber 22 shorts or LR easily. Would not new 22 BB caps work decent? The gun is not that great, as most of my stuff is middle of the road. I do have a 9mm German Garden Gun with shotshells and pointed lead that it will fire. Jim

March 24, 2010, 08:30 AM
I recently purchased a "swing breech" rifle that I thought was a 22 as advertised by the seller. After a good cleaning and inspection I decided to fire it. It wouldn't accept a 22 LR so I used a short. It fired and was fairly accurate, but when I remove the shell casing it had bulge in the base and the firing pin indentation was huge. There are very few markings on the gun, however there is what appears to be a belgian proof mark, "LEG" with a crown and the top of the reciever is engraved with the name C.B. Houston. Just wondering if anyone knows anything about this rifle and what it value might be.

March 24, 2010, 08:31 PM
A flobert rifle engraved with "C B Houston" was sold at auction in February 2010. It may be the one you now have. See: http://www.rockislandauction.com/view_item.aspx?aid=1014&iid=252931
The gun was one of five in lot 2402, and the estimated price for all as $650 to 900.