The Last Big Bore Game Rifle

Nathaniel F
by Nathaniel F

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:

The MAS 36 hunting rifle, lacking the receiver-mounted sights of the military model, but with an added muzzle brake and safety.
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.
Visible in this image is the somewhat ad-hoc safety design: A simple rotating lever that physically blocks the trigger's movement.
The MAS (Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Etienne) 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.

Tony Sanchez-Arino using the MAS sporter in 10.7568. Sources differ on whether this photo was taken in 1947 in Guinea or in Gabon in 1952.
Nathaniel F
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. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.

More by Nathaniel F

Comments
Join the conversation
 3 comments
  • Borekfk Borekfk on Jul 15, 2015

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

  • Southpaw89 Southpaw89 on Jul 15, 2015

    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 George on Jul 17, 2015

      @Southpaw89 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.

Next