Text Box: In writing a report on a rifle that was used in a horrible defeat by one of our allies in World War II, I had my work cut out for me.  Without doubt the MAS 1936 has to be in the top 5 ugliest rifles of the 20th century.  Its driftwood like stock, slab sided box receiver, oddly bent bolt handle, and its crude trigger guard make it a hands down winner.  Mine is in practically unfired condition and all the cheap shots about only being dropped once seem to fit.  But, do you know, this 7 pound rifle is a pretty good shooter despite all the negatives.  It is comfortable to fire and is as accurate as a lot of its rivals.  The 7.5MM French cartridge is a 2400 fps round and is very similar to our .308.
The weapon has a modified Mauser inspired 5 round magazine with a quick release floor plate to facilitate rapid unloading and cleaning.  The problem with it is that there is no hinge and the plate can be released by the spring loaded latch and possibly dropped into a water filled fox hole or leaves in a panic giving you a single shot rifle.  The magazine follower, in the style of most Mausers, blocks the bolt back on the last round.  The magazine itself is inside the box like receiver and is fairly well protected from dirt, etc…  The two piece stock on my rifle seems to be of beech wood and has a very open dry finish, or lack of any sealer.  The butt has a steel butt plate without a trap for cleaning supplies.  The fore end adequately covers the barrel and bottom from burning the rifleman’s fingers in rapid fire.  Front and rear slings swivels are provided as is a leather adjustable sling.  The fore end cap provides the base for the non adjustable for windage front sight and hood.  A unique bayonet is provided and located in a tube under the barrel and imbedded in the fore end.   The blade is a spike cruciform and has an enlarged base with a spring latch which forms a plug in the stock tube and provides a sheath without adding to the soldiers web gear.  The bayonet is simply removed from its sheath, reversed, and snapped on the rifle.  It is quite sharp and would case a nasty wound.  Approximately 7 inches of the barrel projects from the end of the stock along with a short stacking rod.  There is no provision for a cleaning rod, pull through, or oil can.  The box like receiver with its lightning cuts on the sides is produced with a minimum of curved mill cuts.  It has a round bolt way with a bridge that is cut for the stripper clips and two deep grooves for single round loading.  The receiver relies upon the box width for strength rather than thickness.  It is similar to the Martini-Henry approach to rigidity.  The bolt is round and very simple with a single extractor and a gas vent on the bolt face.  The striker is simple and HAS NO SAFETY.  There are two REAR MOUNTED locking lugs which mesh with grooves in the bolt way locking in a manner not unlike the SMLE.  The rear sight is mounted on the receiver bridge and is unusual in the fact that is has a peep aperture not unlike the Garand.  One can’t help but notice the attempt of France to cut corners and costs with this weapon.  It is embarrassing to note that today’s bolt actions feature the round bolt ways and bolt body, eliminating much mill and machine work.  Ain’t progress grand?  Alright, why is the bolt bent in such a comical way?  It has to be like that for the relation of the rear of the bolt, the bolt handle, and the rear of the receiver to make it in the proper position for manipulation by the shooter.  Anyway, it sure is ugly!  
All and all, the MAS is a handy weapon to fire and carry with its short overall length and light weight (7 pounds) and even though it was pretty much obsolete in its type served its purpose even after the war in Indo-China, Algeria, and Morocco.  
			   	







Text Box: FRENCH SERVICE RIFLE MAS 1936 			CALIBER 7.5mm                                           JIM BROADUS
Text Box: Page #
Text Box: The TMCA News
Text Box: Volume 31, Issue 1