Lebel 1886 Run and Gun (This One Sucked)

    By popular demand, we are now ponying up and putting the Lebel on the run and gun course. As the first rifle to make use of smokeless powder, the Lebel is one of the few moments in the history of small arms that changed the entire game. The 8mm rifle doubled the effective range of a soldier and was, in 1886, the best gun in the world. So how will this one go?

    Transcript …

    – [Voiceover] Well, here we go.

    The running gun that I have been dreading for a long time, but has been requested by you guys quite a lot.

    So, I guess give people what they want and here we are doing the running gun with an 1886 Lebel rifle.

    The Lebel rifle is truly one of the greatest innovations in firearm history.

    You had smokeless powder introduced with this rifle.

    And the French, all of a sudden, had the best rifle the world had ever seen.

    These are strange now, but at the time, were absolutely incredible.

    You had new cartridge and a new rifle that doubled the effect of range of all black powder rifles and it sent everyone into a frenzy.

    Not to mention it just had smokeless powder, but eventually they introduced a spitzer bullet, which is a pointed bullet.

    It was not introduced with the cartridge originally, but it was added later.

    And if you’d like to learn more about this, I’m sure that a thing could learn you.

    But they do have a tube magazine.

    You might wonder how to store pointy bullets in line with one another.

    You can see that the French put a recess around the primary pocket so that you could store the pointy bullets in line with one another.

    Now, to load the Lebel is really not pleasant at all.

    You open the mechanism, and then, it’s almost like loading like a shotgun, but from the top.

    You basically click the rounds into the magazine, one by one, so there’s no way to quickly load it like as a Mauser, or something with an in-block click, which most of the major powers in World War One had, so I would make the case that during World War One, this rifle was already obsolete.

    So, let’s try this running gun, I guess.

    We’re gonna fire the tube magazine and then single-load, as I guess that’s the only way to make sense, and I’m going to fire some single shots on a run, like you do if you’re running across a trench line and you didn’t want to not ammo.

    So, 70 yards, 24 shots, here we go.

    Alright guys, here we go with one of the most requested rifles for this.

    That’s gonna be a Lebel.

    Basically, I’m gonna fire the entire tube magazine and then just single-load because in World War One.

    Well, in World War Two, French troops probably wouldn’t have taken the time to sit and reload if there were enemies charging at them.

    So, here I go, and I’m ready to embarrass myself.

    (ammo loading) (gun shot) (ammo reloading) (gun shot) (ammo reloading) (gun shot) (ammo reloading) (gun shot) (ammo reloading) (gun shot) (ammo reloading) (gun shot) (gun shot) (gun shot) (gun shot) (ammo reloading) (gun shot) (ammo reloading) (gun shot) (gun shot) (ammo reloading) (gun shot) (gun shot) (gun shot) (ammo reloading) (gun shot) (ammo reloading) (gun shot) (ammo reloading) (gun shot) (gun shot) (ammo reloading) (gun shot) (gun shot) (gun shot) (gun shot) (ammo reloading) (gun shot) Alright guys, that’s it.

    Let’s go talk about it a little bit.

    Okay, so that was probably the weirdest running gun I’ve ever done.

    When I used to single shot rifle, the Rolling Block, at least, you know it’s a single shot rifle, so, you’re kinda prepared, but with this gun, after you run out of rounds in a magazine it’s just like regressing back to a Chassepot, or something like that.

    So, it’s very strange and as you saw, it didn’t eject the shell all the time, so I had to really kinda muscle it out to make them leave the gun, and often, I was kinda flipping it out of there, but, I fired a total 24 rounds, normally it’s 25.

    I guess I forgot to load one extra in the pouch, but I can’t say that it is pretty dang accurate.

    The sights are very simple, but I believe I’ve landed 24 out of 24 hits.

    I’ll count the pings and put the total hits versus misses here.

    But, I can say with some confidence that when the Lebel was introduced, it was the best rifle in the world.

    But, it held on to that title for maybe a year and a half or two years.

    So, let’s go back to the room and talk about this just a little more.

    Alright, so that was probably the least graceful running gun I’ve ever done.

    I will admit it, it was probably the most interesting one I’ve ever done, because in World War One, if you heard the whistle and you had to charge across no man’s land, then you fired your magazine, and if you were still alive, you obviously just didn’t stop and reload.

    You’d threw a round in there and hopefully fired it at the enemy, and that was a daunting task to say the least.

    I would much rather have a Berthier or an RSC 1917 I guess if I was really lucky.

    But, I hope you guys enjoyed this one.

    I can’t really say that I did, but at least I kinda got a feel for how crude these were come World War One.

    I’m sure in 1886, everyone was happy to have one, but I would really, really had rather had pretty much anything else in World War One.

    Anyways guys, thanks for watching special thanks to Ventura Munitions and we hope to see you next time.



    Alex C.

    Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.