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The Lebel Model 1886 is a bolt-action, magazine fed rifle used by the French Army from 1887 to 1940.


It was the first military rifle to use smokeless gun powder versus black powder. It served most notably in World War I. The rifle is chambered for the 8mm Lebel cartridge and had a 8 round tube magazine located under the barrel. It weighed 4.18 kg unloaded and was considered heavy, and long, by most soldiers, (although no more so than many of its contemporaries). The rifle was also found to be durable, reliable and accurate.


The Lebel rifle had features which can be commonly found between early repeating rifles. Early variants had an exposed barrel and adjustable sights. The rifle also had a magazine cut-off function, which allowed the user to manually chamber and fire individual rounds while keeping the ammunition in the magazine reserved for later use. One of the most interesting things about the Lebel rifle is the unusual 8 round tubular magazine. Tubular magazines have a safety disadvantage for having rounds stacked end to end which may unintentionally set off the primer. The Lebel rifle solved this problem by having small grooves around the primer at the rear of the cartridge, never allowing the pointed end of the bullet to reach the primer and ignite it.