The Last Big Bore Game Rifle

    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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]


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