View Full Version : MAS 36/51

August 16, 2012, 07:38 AM
Wandering through the LGS yesterday I encountered a MAS 36/51. Nice looking rifle over all, looks to be unissued condition. Bore looks new as does the bolt. 150 bones later I had it home and starting searching for info. Made in early 1953, it has all the proper markings and is 'as new'. NOW, to find some 7.5 french ammo. Post war2 production, but it well fill the French slot for the war2 collection.

Mike Irwin
August 16, 2012, 08:42 AM
Always has amazed me just how long the MAS 36 was manufactured and how long it soldiered on as a front line rifle for the French military.

The French national police were still carrying them (and MAT 49 submachine guns) when I was in France in the early 1980s.

August 16, 2012, 04:13 PM
Graff & Sons was selling boxer brass for the MAS 36 a few years ago. You can redo 6.5x55 brass and it will work. (Better check that, it was a long time ago when I made it.)

August 17, 2012, 08:07 AM
After more research I find I have a straight Mle 1936 and not the 36-51. I found a guy a few hours away that has pallets of 7.5 French surplus.:)


August 17, 2012, 10:09 AM
Nice find! I think you'll be really happy with the rifle. I sold mine a few years ago and I've always regretted it.

Mike Irwin
August 17, 2012, 10:59 AM
One word of caution...

The MAS 36 has NO safety!

If there is a round in the chamber, the gun is ready to go.

August 17, 2012, 09:15 PM
I miss mine dearly :( It's was BRAND new...still wrapped in wax paper and twine when it was purchased, not a ding on it. It had the grenade launcher attachment and front leaf sight as well like the one pictured below. Enjoy, they are great shooters and one of the coolest little bolt guns out there. I pine for another every time I hear about one.


August 18, 2012, 07:30 AM
One word of caution...

The MAS 36 has NO safety!

If there is a round in the chamber, the gun is ready to go.

That had me going for an evening. I'm looking at the end of the bolt:confused:
I finally figured it just didn't have a safety. Confirmed that with more research. I read that troops would chamber a round and leave the bolt unlocked as a makeshift safety.

I'm pleased with the quality of the MAS, much nicer than I anticipated.

August 27, 2012, 06:33 AM
Bought one years ago and after shooting it traded it off.Didn't like the sights,lack of safety,and it just didn't feel right.Hard to believe the french used it as the basis for their sniper rifles, probably to this day.Did keep a Mas 49,and a 49-56.

August 29, 2012, 06:27 AM
I picked one up last month thats a regular mas 36. Its in excellent condition.

August 29, 2012, 08:22 PM
Does anyone know why the unusual feature of no safety on this guy, I have one.. A really nice Bolt action rifle.. Was this some kind of innovative feature?????

August 29, 2012, 10:06 PM
The reason the rifle has no safety is that French troops were taught that the rifle was to be kept empty until needed. Seems to me when that time came it was already too late.


August 29, 2012, 10:25 PM
The MAS is a lovely rifle, I have yet to snag one myself, congrats.

As to the often parroted derision of the French fighting man in 1940, people would do well to remember that Germany had been preparing for war for 10 years already, and sucker punched just about every European nation at that time. Once everybody knew it was on, I'd say the French Marquis ( resistance ) did a sterling job of giving Jerry hell. Blitzkrieg means "lightning war" ... Hitler wasn't sending out a memo to anyone.


Mike Irwin
August 30, 2012, 08:46 AM
As far as I know, French rifles, until the adoption of semi-autos, never had safety mechanisms.

They were designed to be carried chamber empty, magazine full. It was apparently felt that cycling the bolt to load the rifle when needed was far preferable to carrying around a rifle with a loaded chamber, even one with a safety.

Probably some validity to that theory.

Two things about French military history:

1. Sure, those funny "never fired, dropped once" oneliners are "funny," pretty much in the same way that your buddy getting hit in the groin with a football is "funny."

But, they don't have much basis in reality. While I'm not a particular fan of the French, I'm more than willing to have a discusion on the quality of the French as military personnel, because in general, they don't have a lot to be ashamed of.

2. The next person who comes across with one of those 'oh so humorous statements on French military prowess'?

I promise you I will chuckle you as I ban you from farther participation at TFL.

I promise.

August 30, 2012, 11:10 AM
I'd like to remind readers here that the Germans had over 157,000 casualties in the Invasion of France, which lasted just over six weeks, as well as about 1200 aircraft and 800 tanks lost in action. It was hardly a walkover. In comparison, the Germans had only 50,000 casualties in the Invasion of Poland, of which about 16,000 were killed.

The father of one our employees here served in the French Army in WWII. He is Senagalese.

The MAS 36, while not the last bolt action military rifle to be manufactured, was probably the last to be designed. It did not replace all the other rifles by the start of the war, which among other things, meant an infantry squad might be using weapons using two different rifle cartridges. It was also not issued overseas by the start of the war. Even after the war, older weapons continued in use in places for another ten years or so.

Mike Irwin
August 30, 2012, 01:01 PM
The 36 was the last bolt action rifle to be adopted as a standard service arm by any major power.

By the outbreak of war, the entire French army had been rearmed with rifles in 7.5x54 caliber. In that sense they did better than the Italians or the Japanese in getting new arms online.

Many of those rifles, however, were modified, rebarreled Betherier rifles in which the Mannlicher packet clip was replaced with a staggered, 5 round Mauser style magazine.

Moderately successful.

Troops from the colonies, however, including the Senegalese and Algerians, as well as the Foreign Legion, hadn't been rearmed and many were still carrying the 1886 Lebel rifle.

August 30, 2012, 02:57 PM
This reminds me of a couple of things related to French weapons.

Some of the Berthier carbines were marked with a very elaborate script that I noticed on one I examined at the old Potomac Arms in Alexandria, Virginia, several years ago on some nice Saturday morning. They had a number of artillery pieces on hand, too, that had been there as long as I'd been visiting the place, probably 30 years by then. The store was right on the Potomac River and was prone to flooding periodically. The building was elevated (for other reasons besides just avoiding the water) but the parkng lot and all those interesting little artillery pieces frequently got soaked.

While waiting around for the store to open, I was looking at the guns, which included a 7.5 cm German Infantry gun, a few Italian anti-tank gun as well as a couple of French 25mm anti-tank guns. One of the French guns was manufactured just a month or so before the invasion in 1940. I thought to myself, the next time I came by, I would bring things to make a rubbing of the interesting inscription. Well, the next time I came by, whenever that was, they were gone. After having sat on the lot probably for over 40 years, someone had bought the whole lot and they were gone!.

He who hesitates, well, you know, can't make a rubbing from a French anti-tank gun.

Mike Irwin
August 30, 2012, 04:50 PM
I'm not 100% sure, but I think all of the Betherier guns, rifles and carbines, were marked with that elaborate script, which was stamped.

August 30, 2012, 05:59 PM
From Pukindog

"The reason the rifle has no safety is that French troops were taught that the rifle was to be kept empty until needed. Seems to me when that time came it was already too late."

THanks Pukindog

Well I did not know that,.. So I am French Soldier Laying in ambush.. So does anyone know did French Doctrine say Crank a round in a keep your finger off the trigger till the enemy enters the ambush.. Or crank a round in at the time of firing??????

August 30, 2012, 08:15 PM
The problem with French troops in 1940 is the same problem our troops had in Vietnam-bad leaders.
One design feature of the MAS 1936 is the rear sight has no windage adjustements, they were made by installing a new peep sight with the correct amount of offset. The screws on the front band require a special screwdriver, it's fairly easy to make your own.
Neither the Lebel nor the Mannlicher-Berthier which preceded the M1936 in French service had safeties, the version I read said they thought safeties led to a false sense of security.

September 2, 2012, 12:26 PM
I was in the Ahn Khe pass in 1968 and there was a small plot of ground with a lot of white stones, it was the burial ground for Group Mobile 100 of the French Army who had died almost to a man in 1954. Can't give much more than that.


September 2, 2012, 11:51 PM
The 36 was the last bolt action rifle to be adopted as a standard service arm by any major power.

I thought that distinction belonged to Ishapore Enfields in 7.62x51?

Mike Irwin
September 3, 2012, 06:33 AM
The Ishapore Enfield was a modification of an existing design.

The MAS 36 was a whole new design.

September 3, 2012, 07:42 AM
what about the danish madson in 3006. eastbank.

September 3, 2012, 02:26 PM

The Madsen was the last new bolt design that was intended for
service (in Columbia). I have read conflicting reports as to whether
they were ever issued.



September 3, 2012, 03:46 PM

September 4, 2012, 01:41 AM
The Madsen was the last new bolt design that was intended for
service (in Columbia). I have read conflicting reports as to whether
they were ever issued.

Perhaps that one doesn't meet the "major power" part of the statement.

September 4, 2012, 06:32 AM
That Madsen is a nice looking rifle (very few rifles are not, if they're in good shape). Is that butt pad what it came with? It's probably not as soft as it looks.

The Madsen company was very early in producing light machine guns and they were widely distributed. After WWII, they also produced an advanced general-purpose machine gun but apparently did not manage to achieve much in the way of significant sales. Their bolt action was also a little late in the game but according to their advertising, they would produce them in just about any rimless cartridge.

The late 1940s and early 1950s were not a boom time for arms makers, as the first ten years after a war usually turn out to be. The M1 was widely distributed along with other American small arms and left over German weapons were also being collected and sold in the world arms market. Even then, new bolt action rifles were still being manufactured in some places, though not of new designs. The newly obsolete Mosin-Nagant rifles were being passed on to their Eastern friends in China, Korea and Southeast Asia. The SKS appeared soon after the war only to be replaced not long after by the AK series, so most of those went into storage for a while. They'll probably show up here someday.

Mike Irwin
September 4, 2012, 08:36 AM

Major power...

MAJOR power.

The last time Denmark qualified as a major power was about 30 minutes before Adm. Lord Nelson opened fire at the Battle of Copenhagen.

In 1936 France WAS a major world military power.

I'm not sure that Columbia has ever qualified as a major power, even in the South America sphere. Brazil and Argentina, yes.

I give India the benefit of the doubt based on the size of their military at the time the .308 Ishapore was adopted, but that's tenuous at best.

September 4, 2012, 11:23 AM
Hmmm and here I thought we were talking about rifles not the Geo-political and economies of the world.


September 4, 2012, 11:27 AM
Yeah, well, rifles are pretty closely tied to politics and economies.

Mike Irwin
September 4, 2012, 03:07 PM
What part of "The MAS 36 was the last bolt action rifle adopted by a major power" isn't about the rifle?

"Shale we move on to typical foods and drinks then."

No, we "shale" (I like that, actually!) not.

This is a firearms forum. Neither food nor beer qualifies as curio and relic firearms.

September 9, 2012, 12:21 AM

September 9, 2012, 08:33 PM
"...it was the burial ground for Group Mobile 100 of the French Army who had died almost to a man in 1954."

Not hardly...

With 500 killed, 600 wounded, 800 captured I count at least 1400 survivors.:rolleyes:

These 1400 do not include those that made it through the ambushes uninjured.


September 11, 2012, 11:33 AM
Some fine looking rifles I'm seeing on this thread! Being half French, I recently purchased a MAS 49/56 and have been diving into French firearm history. As to why we persist on badmouthing the French, their military/police, and their gear is preposterous to me. Their innovations in firearms paved the way for everything you know and love today, and their guns are darn sweet, too. If there's one thing I've noticed about most things French, it's that they typically don't skimp on the quality of a product. I'm sure they take their guns just as seriously as they do their cheese and wine :)

French forces, primarily SF, are deployed all over the world right now as we speak, and actively fight in Afghanistan. And you don't need me to tell you what tough mothers the Legion are!

September 11, 2012, 11:13 PM
A visit to the Ossuary at Verdun or the war memorial in any small French town
will enlighten those who belittle le soldat francaise. Perhaps because France has sometimes been a somewhat fickle and prickly ally and since there has been so little French emigration to this country they make a convenient object of derision. I recall in the 1960s similar things were said about Italian milsurps-"Never fired, only dropped once!" but since there is something of an Italian vote in this country saying such things has gone out of fashion, and the 655,000 Italian soldiers who died in WWI would quickly correct anyone who questions their valor.
I have only fired my MAS M1936 with 32ACP in an adaptor cartridge. It is a well designed, well made rifle with a few design quirks-the bayonet and the lack of adjustment in the rear sight, but handles well and fires a round comparable to the 7.62x51. In the hands of properly trained and led troops, it will will do nicely.

September 13, 2012, 12:12 PM
I have French Huguenot heritage in my family and any serious student of history would quickly realize that France has produced great armies as far back as the Franks, to the Crusades, through Napoleon to the wars of the 20th century. The France bashing I have noticed seems more based on France not jumping in as allies, when certain other nations say they should jump.

If younger nations had seen the hundreds of years of near constant wars that France has seen on its own soil, they might understand that France has a population that at times has become war weary ... and knows all too well the loss - nobody ought question their bravery and ingenuity as a military nation.

Some might do well to remember that it was the French who aided the U.S against England in the revolutionary wars - their contributions were vital and I say that with an English father, and plenty of pride in my English/Australian families military heritage also.


Mike Irwin
September 13, 2012, 12:14 PM
OK, this thread is about the MAS 36 rifle.

Anymore discussion about the pros and cons of French military prowess and it will be locked.

September 13, 2012, 01:52 PM
Anyone have one with a folding stock? I've seen them in photos but none in person.

Mike Irwin
September 13, 2012, 02:15 PM
"Anyone have one with a folding stock? I've seen them in photos but none in person."

Say what?

That's a variant of which I've never heard.

Was it supposed to be for airborn troops?

Pre-WW II or post?

Mike Irwin
September 13, 2012, 02:18 PM
OK, I did a little searching, and found this...


Pretty darned neat concept.

And here are some additional interesting pix...

ah, crap, that's a nested site or something...

In the photos at the above link, click the word "internet" and it will launch another page with more pictures.

September 13, 2012, 03:28 PM
Oui, c'est cela.

However, I have to admit it's one of many things I've never seen in person, gun-wise. I suspect the reason is there simply weren't all that many made. It was presumably for airborne use, although American weapons were widely used by the French during that period, particularly M1 carbines, which in fact, other armies used as well. I'll bet the MAS-36 folding stock carbine was easily as pleasant to shoot as a Model 38 Mosin-Nagant.

Someone said they didn't think the rear sight was adjustable. I had one for a while and I'm pretty sure it was adjustable, although my memory of it is not particularly vivid. I do remember the peep sight being on the very small side.

Another form of rifle that, in theory, should be around in greater numbers is a Mauser cavalry carbine. Not the short rifle but the carbine. But I think they're all of WWI or earlier manufacture, since that sort of weapons kind of went out of fashion around that time, being replaced by the all-purpose short rifle. In any case, I think I've seen a grand total of one.

September 13, 2012, 10:43 PM
I saw a folding stock MAS 1936 at Sarco years ago. Interesting concept, I wonder how practical and if like the M1A1 Carbine was it was regularly issued.
IIRC the the windage on the MAS1936 is adusted by substituting a peep with the desired amount of offset.

September 14, 2012, 09:24 AM
That folder has some amazing engineering behind it. Lot of work in that, right down to the shorter bayonet. That would be something to find.

Thanks for that link Mike.

September 14, 2012, 10:24 AM
While I have no definate information on the subject of the folding stock MAS-36, they were issued and used in combat. Some things do get produced, issued but sit out most of their lives in a box somewhere, only I don't think that was one of them. I doubt they were produced in great numbers. But for that matter, how many M1A1 carbines were made out of the total number of carbines?

Another similiar weapon was the Mosin-Nagant cavalry carbine produced for the Finnish Army. They manufactured it only for the use of mounted units, so not very many were made but they were "regularly" issued. They would be rare.

September 14, 2012, 02:17 PM
To throw in a little additional info on those rare Finnish cavalry carbines, which were actually short rifles, here's what I got from a site called "Jaeger Platoon."

There were only 2,200 M/27 cavalry rifles manufactured. I guess that's all they thought they needed. Of those that were still around after the war, 304 were sold in 1960 through Interarms. The remaining that had not been lost in battle were destroyed (as not worth saving) in 1944 but the metal parts were sold as scrap metal, to who, it didn't say. Behold, some of those parts ended up in new stocks and being sold as genuine M/27 rifles, which in part, they were, but in part, were not. Buyer beware.

Another interesting carbine was the Swedish Mauser carbine, which may have been a M/95 (and I'm not going to look it up). I've seen all of one, though they were in a lot of magazine ads back in the early 1960s. As they were made, they were a shade under the legal limit. So rather than throw them back, the importers added a barrel extension of a half-inch or so.

September 14, 2012, 06:47 PM
I remember when Numrich Arms had the stocks (Aluminum) for sale. They must have made quite a few if they got a hold of a supply separate from the rifles ?