The Last Big Bore Game Rifle

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Well, certainly it is not in fact the last big game rifle, but rather a little-known offshoot of what was the last military bolt-action rifle adopted as a standard infantry weapon by its home country, the relatively well-known MAS 36. The pictures below shows the MAS sporting rifle variant in 10.75x68mm, complete with added safety, barrel-mounted sights, and sporter stock with MAS buttplate. This last feature proves the MAS sporter was not an after-the-fact modification but an actual factory gun offered by St. Étienne. Indeed, there even exists a prototype of a MAS “Hunting Carbine”, a semi-automatic rifle based on the MAS 40 series action chambered in 7x57mm Mauser and having a longer action than the standard MAS semiautomatic rifle. All of the pictures below were originally posted by user TXrover to AR15.com:

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The MAS 36 hunting rifle, lacking the receiver-mounted sights of the military model, but with an added muzzle brake and safety.

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In 10.75x68mm caliber, comparable in performance to smokeless powder .450/400 Nitro Express, proves the strength of what some believe is an inherently weak action design. On the contrary, the MAS 36’s rear-locking action is extremely strong, and was designed to survive intact firing a round with a second bullet already lodged in the bore.

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Visible in this image is the somewhat ad-hoc safety design: A simple rotating lever that physically blocks the trigger’s movement.

 

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The MAS (Manufacture d’armes de Saint-Étienne) logo molded into the plastic butt of the rifle shows it to be a factory original, and not a later conversion.

 

Notable big game hunter Tony Sanchez-Arino used the MAS sporter, and is captured below using the rifle in Africa, in an image taken from a Gunboards thread. In that thread are also many other images of MAS sporters owned by various posters there.

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Tony Sanchez-Arino using the MAS sporter in 10.75×68. Sources differ on whether this photo was taken in 1947 in Guinea or in Gabon in 1952.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • borekfk

    I rather enjoy French rifles and I would love to own something like this. That 7x57mm MAS-40 sounds great too.

  • Southpaw89

    Just looking at those cartridges hurts, I’ll bet that rifle packed a wallop on both ends. Beautiful piece though, would love to get my hands on one.

    • George

      I have one of these and have fired it. It’s actually not that bad. It has a big muzzle brake on the front that may help with this. My father brought it back from Vietnam – his thought is that it was formerly used by a French plantation owner. Most likely a ‘tiger gun’.

      It’s a neat rifle. Would love to obtain additional versions of this in additional calibers.