Original Belgian M-1870 Comblain Falling Block Carbine with French Chassepot Bayonet – Serial 28637
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Original Item: One Only. Invented by Joseph-Hugo Comblain, a Belgian Gun designer from Liege, this is a single short falling block weapon of ingenious design. It was adopted by Belgium, Brazil and Chile, but was up against the British Martini Henry Rifle of even better design that dominated most of the 1870s. It is marked on the side of the receiver with:
It was described by W.W Greener in his 1871 book Modern Breechloaders: Sporting and Military (page 214):
This rifle is called No.2, to distinguish it from the first Comblain, which is a modification of the Snider principle. The Comblain no 2 has the vertical sliding block and guard lever of the Sharp rifle; but the arrangement for exploding the cartridge is different.
The mechanism of the lock is fixed in the breech block, which consists of the ordinary main-spring acting upon a tumbler by a swivel. The tumbler and striker are made in one piece; the sear and trigger are also in one piece . By depressing the lever the breech block is brought down, the cartridge-case extracted and the rifle is cocked. A fresh cartridge being inserted, and the lever returned, the rifle is ready for firing.
The breech arrangement is strong and simple. It is used by the Belgian volunteers, and has been severely tested both at Liege and Wimbledon.
This example bears serial number 28637, and is in very good condition. The action is bare steel, and is marked with additional serial number 10234, which matches the bayonet stand, but not the bolt, which is marked 10366. It was almost certainly re-worked at arsenal at some point. The top of the barrel knox form is marked ED. MALHERBE / A LIÈGE, a well known Belgian firearms and edged weapon manufacturer. There is also the typical E / L G / * in an oval proof mark of Liège, though some attempt has been made to stamp over some markings. There is also an arsenal rondel on the left butt stock, which is not entirely legible, but looks to be South American.
The barrel has a lovely blued finish with some peppering from age. The butt Plate, Nose Cap and barrel bands are brass, while the screws and trigger guard are steel. The two piece wood stock is in good condition, with a nice patina and signs of wear. Comes complete with the original cleaning rod. Bore is in very good condition, with clear lands and grooves, and a mostly bright finish. Just a small amount of darkening is present in some of the grooves. There are proof marks on the receiver and other parts of the gun.
The carbine comes with a very nice example of the long “yataghan” saber bladed bayonet for the French Fusil modèle 1866 “Chassepot” Needle Fire rifle. These were very often cut down or altered later on in their service life, but this example still has the original full length 22 3/4 inch long blade, with an overall length of 25 1/2 inches.
The spine of the bayonet is marked St. Étienne Mars 1872, indicating original manufacture at the arsenal in St. Étienne, during March 1872. It is in very good condition, with a mostly bright blade, with some areas of light staining. The brass handle has a lovely aged mustard patina.
Hard to find and ready to display!
Year of Manufacture: circa 1870. Pre-1898
Caliber: 11×50mm R Comblain
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 23 Inches
Overall Length: 38 1/2 Inches
Action type: Falling Block
Feed System: Single Shot
Blade Length: 22 3/4″
Blade Style: Single Edge “Yataghan” w/ Fuller
Overall length: 27 1/2“
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