French DARNE Shotguns with Sliding Breech Block

Founded in 1881 in Saint Etienne by a gentleman named Regis Darne, this company manufactures double-barrelled rifles and shotguns. What makes them unique among dozens of other European hunting arms manufacturers is the rather unusual sliding breech and tilt lever locking mechanism of their guns.

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New "Super Strong" Barrel Steel Released by Aubert & Duval

French steelmaker Aubert & Duval have announced a new high purity steel alloy that could allow future firearms barrels to be stronger, be tougher, and last longer. The steel, called “ARMAD”, is a 3% chromoly steel made with a similar composition to their GKH (33CrMoV12-9) steel used for small arms barrels, such as those used on the FAMAS rifle. Where ARMAD differs is in how it is made, rather than what it is made from. Aubert & Duval has developed a very precise process that uses both electric arc furnace and laddle furnace stages, which results in very low levels of impurities – significantly less than 50 parts per million of phosphorous and less than 5 parts per million of sulfur. The high purity results in a steel with a finer and more uniform grain structure, which means it can be heat treated to higher hardnesses while retaining its strength – meaning gun barrels made out of the stuff should last longer, while being both stronger and tougher than those made of more conventional steels. A technical article describing the new steel and the process to make it has been published by Forge & Fonderie magazine, but Aubert & Duval provided an English language document to TFB for publication:

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Historical Personal Defense Weapon Calibers 015: The 7.65x20mm French Longue

In this fourteenth installment of Personal Defense Weapon Calibers, we’ll be looking at a highly minimalist incarnation of the PDW/SMG round: The 7.65x20mm French Longue. The story of the French Longue begins with the US entry to World War I and the brilliant inventors John D. Pedersen and John Moses Browning. Faced with the stalemate of trench warfare, these designers were tasked with finding a solution in the form of handheld autoloading weapons. Both came up with semiautomatic rifles firing small, low recoil .30 caliber rounds. Pedersen’s “Device” converted a standard M1903 rifle into a rapid fire semiautomatic, but it was Browning’s autoloading rifle and its .30-18 round (very similar to the .30 Pedersen used with the “Device”) which caught the eye of the French Ordnance officials. The .30-18 Browning, as it is called, was evidently cloned to become the 7.65x20mm Longue used with the interwar French Mle. 1935 pistols and MAS-38 submachine gun.

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First Orders of AIF HK416F Rifles Delivered to French Army

The French government has received the first production units of the Heckler & Koch HK416F as part of its long awaited Arme Individuelle du Futur (Future Individual Weapon). According to the French government Ministry of Defence website, the first 400 HK416F rifles were received by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) on May 3rd. The rifles are the first batch of an expected total contract of more than 100,000 weapons, grenade launchers, training, and accessories worth up to about 400 million Euros.

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MILES Gear Update, Picatinny Attachment

Earlier on TFB we reported on the transition from MILES to DISE within EUCOM. However, it must be noted that the MILES system is still in use, even if sparingly. In fact, during Swift Response ’16, a multi-national airborne training operation, we have seen some of the most recent usages of the updated versions of the MILES gear. Most of the upgrades appear to be in weight reduction, with soldiers carrying less cumbersome and bulky versions of the personally worn vest. However there is another introduction that has the MILES Small Arms Transmitter taking advantage of the picatinny rail installed on most of the U.S. Army’s weapon systems. From a distance the Small Arms Transmitter could easily be mistaken for a black PEQ15 ATPIAL instead of the training device that it is. Since the 1980s MILES has gone through a number of manufacturers throughout its design phases, however most recently Cubic Global Defense is providing the latest iterations of the design, to include the picatinny mounted Small Arms Transmitter. From Cubic Global Defense-

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FAMAS to Equip New 84,000 Man National Guard, Stay in Service Until 2028

Even though the French government has adopted the Heckler & Koch HK416F assault rifle to replace the aging FAMAS, it seems “Le Clairon” will remain in service for at least the next decade. The reason for this is the recent re-establishment of the French National Guard (Garde Nationale), which was stood up as the fifth branch of the French military in late 2016 by President François Hollande.

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Early Selfloading Rifle Mania Continues: The Chauchat C6 Semiautomatic, with Forgotten Weapons

The first nation to begin serious work on the problem of an infantry rifle that could load itself between shots was none other than the then-military superpower of France. In 1886, the French revolutionized the infantry weapon by introducing the smokeless-power, repeating Lebel rifle, and no sooner was the rifle in the hands of the troops, than were French designers and planners figuring out what to replace it with. By 1900, the French autoloader program had been kicked into high gear, with designers Etienne Meunier, Rossignol (first name appears to be lost), and Louis Chauchat, among others, all working towards the goal of a practical selfloading weapon that met the French requirements.

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Modern Historical Personal Defense Weapon Calibers 003: The 7.65x35mm MAS, a .300 Blackout in the 1940s?

Since we’ve covered the two most prominent PDW rounds of today, I want to take a quick detour and look at an interesting – but obscure – personal defense weapon/assault rifle round from history. After World War II, the apparati of the German war machine were being dismantled, and anything of value claimed by the Allies as spoils. While the Americans got Germany’s most prominent rocket scientists, the French claimed Germany’s tank designers, and many of her small arms engineers. As France was looking to replace their motley and outdated collection of small arms (a suite which developed more organically than by design, thanks to two devastating World Wars), they put these German engineers to work, including one Dr. Heinrich Vollmer, who before and during the war worked at Mauser. Vollmer had been involved in development of – among various other projects – the StG-45 assault rifle, which possessed a unique roller-retarded blowback action that promised an inexpensive and reliable, yet lightweight weapon. This rifle would eventually lead to the G3, but during Vollmer’s stay in France, the French government set him to work making a smaller version of it, in variants chambered for .30 Carbine as well as a new round: The 7.65x35mm MAS.

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BREAKING: French Defense Procurement Department CONFIRMS Heckler & Koch HK416 Win for French Rifle Contract

If any of you still had doubts about the HK416’s rumored win of the French AIF (Arme Individuelle du Futur – Future Individual Weapon) contract, doubt no more. The French DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement, their defense procurement office) has released the final decision for the contract, naming Heckler & Koch as the winner. The press release is replicated in machine-translated form below:

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Playing Taps for the Bugle: Forgotten Weapons Sends Off the Famous FAMAS

The French next generation rifle competition is coming to an end, the two finalists, one from Belgium and the other from Germany, and the incumbent is set for replacement over the next few years. Before either the SCAR or the HK416 are inducted as the new arm of France, let’s take a look at the last French-designed standard rifle to serve in that capacity, the innovative and distinctive FAMAS. Fortunately for us, Ian of Forgotten Weapons has done just that, with a half-hour long video on the rare imported civilian version, the MAS 223:

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The Most Advanced Gun in the World (in 1916): The 1916 Meunier Carbine

Beginning in the last decade of the 19th Century, the French government began work on the next great advancement in infantry small arms technology: The selfloading rifle. By 1916, after the outbreak of World War I, they had produced what many consider the most advanced rifle of its time: The Meunier A6 Carbine.

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The Guns Of Parisian Law Enforcement

Let it not be said that when provoked, Paris won’t respond in kind. Following the cowardly attacks on the city last week, the French National Police came out in force armed with several different kinds of firearms, some fairly old but still very capable in the hands of trained professionals. Polish blog Broń i Amunicja posted several photos of PN officers armed with at least three different kinds of weapons: St. Étienne M12SD submachine guns, Mousqueton AMD select-fire carbines, and SIG Sauer P2022 handguns. Broń i Amunicja’s posts are embedded below:

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POTD: Little Green Welcoming Party

After Alex C’s excellent review of the MAS 49/56 rifle, I decided I just had to have one of my own. The MAS 49/56 is the perfected French vision of a semi-automatic infantry battle rifle, an important piece of late 20th Century history, and a very handy, relatively lightweight, and inexpensive civilian full-caliber semiauto. I found one online for sale by  Cliff’s Guns, Safes, & Reloading in Boise, ID, and I picked it up from the local FFL. Then I took the rifle out for some photos, but I didn’t expect I would have a surprise visitor!

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Small Caliber Book Reviews: The Last Bolt Gun

So you’ve just bought a MAS 36, and you’ve heard a lot about how it was too little, too late, how it shoots a weird, hard-to-find caliber, has no safety, and you can’t adjust the sight for windage. On the other hand, you like that the action is short and compact, and the rifle is pretty short and light for a military gun. Where to from here?

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Odd Guns: MAS 49/56

I love France. My first venture to the country in 2008 allowed me to witness the unparalleled beauty of both the urban centers and the countryside, and despite rumors of anti-American sentiment I was always treated with respect despite my very weak grasp on the French language. However one feature about the country that surprised me was the fact that the French have a thriving gun culture, and rank very high in civilian gun ownership on a global scale.

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