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1895 Daudeteau Indochina Trials Carbine

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Louis Marie Daudeteau was a persistent and prolific arms designer in France in the late 19th century. Born in 1845, he gained substantial military experience in the Franco-Prussian War, and afterwards turned to weapons design. He built a variety of different arms for military consideration, from magazine conversions of the Gras to machine guns, rapid-firing cannons, and self-loading rifles. Ultimately, however, he came closest to military acceptance with his 1891-1896 bolt action rifle.

While the bolt mechanism is similar to that of the Lebel and Berthier, Daudeteau’s rifle used a 5-round fixed magazine fed by stripper clips, had a much simpler disassembly procedure (no need to remove a screw to take the bolt out), and controversially used a 6.5mm cartridge. At the time, there was substantial debate over the effectiveness of such a small bullet (much like there still is today regarding 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO cartridges). Daudeteau, correctly, saw his round as vastly superior to the 8mm Lebel cartridge because of its flatter shooting, better terminal ballistics, and better penetration.

The French Army rejected his rifle on a technicality, but the French Navy was interested enough to purchase several hundred for extended troop trials in Indochina in 1895/6, and this Series S carbine is one of those trials guns.

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