Original Belgian M-1870 Comblain Falling Block Carbine with Saber Bayonet – Serial 61022
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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 (partly worn away):
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 61022, and is in very good condition. The action is bare steel, and is marked very faintly with additional serial number 24540 , which matches the number bayonet stand and bolt. There are various other proofs and markings on the receiver and barrel, however they are faint due to wear. There is also an arsenal rondel on the left butt stock, which is not entirely legible, but looks to be South American, and has a visible 1874 date.
Overall the metalwork has a worn patina, with some areas of light pitting, later ground out. This definitely is a carbine that saw quite a bit of use, and was not stored in the best of conditions for a while. The brass barrel bands were at some point replaced with steel, and the lower band fits poorly, sliding around. The upper steel band has a sling swivel on the left side, and there is also a sling swivel forward of the trigger guard.
The carbine comes complete with the original cleaning rod. Bore is in good condition, with clear lands and grooves, and a partly bright finish. There is however oxidation and fouling, particularly right by the muzzle. Also, while the action does open, it cannot cycle completely, as the main spring and trigger look to have been removed at some point.
The carbine comes with a very nice long “yataghan” saber bayonet, very similar to the bayonet for the French M1866 Chassepot rifle. The steel surface has light overall pitting, which has made any markings impossible to see. The brass handle has a lovely dark green patina. Just a lovely bayonet that would look great on a wall.
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 1/2″
Blade Style: Single Edge “Yataghan” w/ Fuller
Overall length: 27 1/4“
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