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Scoped MAS 49

Combloc

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Today being a cold and boring winter's day with my honey out of town, I decided to pass the time by taking a few pictures of my MAS 49 with a scope attached. While I was at it, I thought I might as well talk about some of the scope and mount variations you'll encounter. While there are lots of 49-56 pictures out there, you can't find many pictures on the net of a 49 with a scope and even fewer of one with the early style scope mount. This isn't intended to be any sort of in-depth analysis, just some pictures folks might find useful and a little information to go along with them. Eventually, I might do a deep dive into the MAS 44, 49 and 49-56 rifles, their scopes, and various literature, but not today.

Here's a MAS 49 looking very similar to what one would have looked like when the French were fighting in Indochina:

I say very similar because this rifle underwent government refurbishment for long term storage back in 1970 and part of that procedure was removing the original walnut stock and replacing it with beech.

Here's a period picture of one in action, most likely with a Laotian serving fighting for the French at the time:

Notice that his rifle has the same early style scope mount and rubber eye cup. His scope case strap is attached to his gear too instead of being slung over his shoulder as intended.

The left side of the receiver on my rifle shows that it was refurbished in 1970, probably at the Poitiers maintenance arsenal:

The refurbishment mark is the "P70" inside a rectangle. Besides changing out the stock, they re-phosphated the rifle, checked all the parts, replaced the bolt with a newer, standardized length bolt to replace the earlier multi-length style, replaced the locking shoulder to set headspace, and replaced the older style firing pin with the newer, polish type. They probably also did things I'm not aware of.

As an aside, there is a little pushbutton on the right side of the front band that is referred to but not really discussed in the user's manual issued with each rifle:

Everything you see on the internet about how the grenade launcher mechanism works refers to using the thumb screw on the left side of the band to move the ranging sleeve around the barrel in and out. The farther you screw the sleeve out, the less time the grenade spends on the barrel when launched and this translates to less range. Even Ian McCollum, in his video about the MAS 49 only uses the thumb screw to extend and retract the sleeve; he never even mentions the poor little ignored pushbutton. Well, using this little thumb screw takes time because it's a lot of screwing from full in to full out and vice-versa. That's where this little button comes in. Pressing it disconnects the ranging sleeve from the thumb wheel and allows it quickly slide up or down the barrel under its own weight so long as you maintain pressure on the button. Release it, and the thumbwheel is re-engaged locking the sleeve in the position it's been placed. It's a quick and easy way to set the rifle grenade's range in combat. Now, whether this button was intended to be used this way or, rather, simply as a way to quickly retract the ranging sleeve once you were finished using the launcher, I cannot say. Whatever the case, that's what it does.


Here's a closer view of the scope mounted to the rifle:

Just like the mount used on the German G43 rifle from WWII, this one employs a throw lever to lock the mount on the rail machined into the left side of the receiver on every MAS 49. With the lever on the mount swung to the forward position shown above, it's locked on the rail and ready for use. Swinging the lever to the rear releases the mount's grip on the rail and allows you to slide it to the rear and off the rifle. This quick detach mechanism is finely made so that repeated removal and reinstallation of the mount will cause no appreciable loss of accuracy.
It's important to note that there were no factory new MAS 49 or 49-56 marksman rifles produced. Some 49-56 rifles, once selected, were later sent to St. Etienne for upgrades, but even those rifles originally left the factory new as plain ol' 49-56 rifles. The pairing of a rifle to a scope was done in the field and the scope's user manual explains the process for selecting a rifle-scope assembly. Once paired, they were issued to one man who was responsible for it and considered a unit, never to be used for launching grenades again. I'm assuming the scope and rifle numbers were entered into the unit's logbook as being paired, but nothing was physically done to either the rifle or the scope to show that they were mated. So, there is no way to know whether your particular MAS 49 rifle was ever used with a scope when in service.


The mount has a curve to it so that the scope sits directly over the bore of the rifle. You can also use the rifle's standard sights with the scope mounted:





We'll continue in the next post.
 

Combloc

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If you are a French postwar firearms collector, you may have noticed that something looks just a little bit off with the scope on this rifle. To most people, it appears to be a standard French made APX L806 and it did start life that way. The 806 was the only scope ever issued for use on the MAS 49 and it was calibrated for use with the standard French 7.5x54 cartridge. However, this particular scope was sent back at some point to be rebuilt and recalibrated for use on the FRF2 sniper rifle chambered in 7.62x51 NATO. As part of the process, among other internal things, both the windage and elevation knobs were replaced.
Additionally, the rear bell was stamped with a small "04" to serve as an immediate reminder that the unit had been reworked for the 7.62 NATO cartridge:

How this scope ever ended up on an early mount, I'll never know. And, were I to ever shoot this rifle (doubtful), it would work fine so long as I remembered that it's going to be farther off the farther I shoot from the range I zeroed it at.

The windage knob sits atop the scope. As part of the rework process, it was given more and finer adjustments than a standard 806 scope. This is immediately obvious when looking at the adjustment marks on the reworked "04" scope:


and comparing them to the adjustment marks on a standard scope:


You may have also noticed that the 04 scope has a taller knob. To accommodate this, a taller protection cap was used (shown on the left below:
:
These caps are made of aluminum and anodized.

Regarding the elevation knob mounted on the right side of the scope body, a scope calibrated for the 7.5x54 round will have the range index mark placed at the 9 o'clock position:


While one calibrated for the 7.62 NATO round will be marked closer to the 11 o'clock position:


The numbering on the knob is considerably different too as shown below with the "04" on the left:


Although designed by the State owned "Atelier de Construction de Puteaux" (APX or Puteaux Construction Workshops in English), manufacture was carried out by several companies, none of which, I believe, were actually Puteaux. The two scopes pictured here are made by two different manufacturers:

The one on the left marked "OPL" was made by "Optique de Précison de Levallois" or "Precision Optics in Levallois", a town just outside of Paris that is so close as to be considered a suburb.
The one on the right was made by "Société Mécanique Optique de Haute précision" or the "High Precision Optical Mechanics Company" with factories in Paris and Dijon.
OPL later joined with SOM before it was then absorbed by another company. It gets complicated so we'll just leave it at that.

Here, we see the old style mount on the left compared to the newer style mount on the right:

The later mount moves the scope farther forward on the rifle, supposedly to put the shooter's head in a better position. The main body of both mounts is made of a non-ferrous alloy, presumably aluminum or magnesium. The locking lever and clamping bracket that slides onto the receiver rail are steel and the steel screws used to attach this assembly to the mount are staked in place. I don't know just when they stopped using the early style mount but I have a the first 1958 edition of the user's manual for the MAS 49-56 rifle and the early style mount is illustrated. The 1959 1st Edition manual for the scope shows the new mount but the early eye cup, and the 1965 2nd Edition manual for the scope shows the new style eye cup. Draw your own conclusions.


Early (left) and late (right) versions of the rubber eye cup:

The early one is much more flexible than the late version.


According to the 2nd edition parts manual I have for the APX L806 (the official name is the Rifle Scope Model 1953), the only accessories included with the scope are its case with a shoulder strap, an eye cup, and a special key/wrench/tool made to adjust the windage and elevation knobs. However, my early mount had a lens cleaner brush in the case too. Whether this was issue at one time but later dropped, I do not know. I assume this will be answered once I track down a 1st edition parts manual for the scope. Anywho, here are the adjustment tool and the lens brush:

One end of the adjustment tool is used as a screwdriver to loosen the three screws on each knob cover so that it can be adjusted, while the other end engages notches in the elevation knob to adjust it.

Two scope cases:

The one on the right is an earlier version in natural leather while the one on the left is newer with the yellowish tan dressing on the leather. Eash case has a shoulder strap in the same finish but I didn't include them in the picture. I know they made a plastic case too and I am certain that there are other variations in the leather cases over the years that I am not aware of.

Lastly, we see the scope nestled in it's case ready to go back into storage:

In the lid, we can see the adjustment tool in its little leather storage pouch and a white piece of felt glued to a leather wrapped block (wood, I assume) which keeps the scope from rattling in the case. At the bottom of the case, under the ocular lens, is a round piece of leather with padding underneath of it to add some shock protection. To my knowledge, lens covers were never produced for this scope because it was intended that it be stored in its case unless it was actually in use.

So, that's it for this. Again, it's not intended to be anything in-depth; just a quick look at a MAS 49 and its early pattern scope mount. As a bonus, we took a look at one of the scopes reworked for use on the FRF2 rifle. Noe of the three have very much information about them on the internet and I plan on eventually writing up an "in detail" look at all of them and more.

Thanks for your time and I hope I amused you for a while.

I miss you Mom and every day brings me one day closer to embracing you again. Thank you for supplying me with the tools necessary to navigate this Life. I Love you.
 
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Combloc

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Oh, I almost forgot. When I bought the later model scope from a gentleman in France, he included an old firearms permit issued on April 24th, 1975. Whether he threw it in as a bonus thank you or it was in the case already, he did not say and I did not ask. It allows an individual to own any firearm listed on the back and must be renewed every three years. So, if you have a MAS 36 with the serial number H 13400, it was once owned by a Monsieur Pierre Langlois of Montfermeil.



 

EinheitElf

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Thought those are cool looking rifles but honestly would have to have one in 762x51 so I could shoot it. I cant stand having any cartridge firearm that I can't shoot due to ammo.

Always love reading your writeups,great stuff!
 

lew

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Thought those are cool looking rifles but honestly would have to have one in 762x51 so I could shoot it. I cant stand having any cartridge firearm that I can't shoot due to ammo.

Always love reading your writeups,great stuff!
Prvi's back to making 7.5 semi-regularly again, though there was a dry spell for a while.

.308 49-56 conversions are usually shit. I wouldn't want a Mle. 49 to be subjected to a hack job. 7.5x54 is a good cartridge.
 

Combloc

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Thought those are cool looking rifles but honestly would have to have one in 762x51 so I could shoot it. I cant stand having any cartridge firearm that I can't shoot due to ammo.

Always love reading your writeups,great stuff!
Thank you!

As stated, above, Privi Partizan makes it. As I type this, it's available at $1.32 per round. That's not cheap but it's doable. However, I've never shot any of my MAS rifles. I wouldn't be opposed to doing so for mechanical reasons because they are known to be a rock solid design. The reason I don't shoot them varies slightly for each.

The 44 is in almost new condition. It's clearly been shot but very little. Even the paint on the butt plate is about 98%. But the charging handle is cracked to the point that it would fly apart the first time it was subjected to recoil. I won't even pull it to the rear without first removing the recoil spring. So, that rifle is no longer a rifle but an artifact.

The 49 has been shot too but again, very little. The stock is pristine and would get stained very easily with dirty hands. It's also very rare. So, ditto as above.

The 49-56 shows no signs of having been fired since rework. It's exactly as it was put into storage. So again, no shooty, shooty for me.

Eventually though, I might find a Syrian contract that suits my tastes. When I do, I would have no problem shooting it because it's already going to show a fair amount of wear.




When I was much younger, I used to shoot everything I owned. My thing was.....what's the point of owning it if you aren't going to shoot it?
That attitude began to change as I started buying multiples of certain firearms and more rare items. I began to see some firearms less as a firearms and more as historical artifacts that deserved to be preserved, especially those that saw actual military use. For example, when I bought a SIG AMT some years ago, it still had the factory applied automatenfett grease slurged all through it and zero carbon anywhere, so I know it had never been shot since importation. The first thing I did was clean all of the grease out of it, thoroughly photograph it for a writeup, and then take it to the range to see how it would shoot. Did I devalue it? Yep. Does that bother me? Nope. It's simply a sporting rifle that I can shoot occasionally and still pass it on to the next guy someday who can enjoy it as much as I did. It's given me many good range memories over the years and I have no regrets about shooting it. One day, it will fund a nice retirement trip with my honey:




I did not look at my Swiss Zfk-55 the same way. When I bought it, I was unaware of just how clean it was until I actually received it. In fact, it was so pristine that I was nervous handling it, let alone shooting it. I kept it for a bit but finally sold it off because I couldn't enjoy it....it was too nice, if that makes sense:



Ditto an M1D I picked up on a whim because the price was right. I couldn't even shoulder that one for fear of discoloring the pristine stock pad with my grungy, oily face! So, it went away too:



Sitting here, reading the post I just typed, it occurs to me that I am more than a little strange.......
Oh well, I'm having fun. That's all that matters in the end, right? I think so.
 
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