Chapter Belgium

(Royaume Dc Belgique-Koninkrijk Belgie)

Belgium has been a center for the development of all types of firearms throughout most of the period of recorded gun history. Much of the early equipment used in Germany and England came from there. Belgian factories have provided arms from the poorest grades (made during the 19th Century for South African, South American and Asiatic trade) to some of the finest modern arms manufactured.

GOVERNMENT PLANTS: Manufacture De L'Etat at Liege. This plant no longer manufactures arms.

PRIVATE PLANTS: Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre (commonly known as "F. N.") is one of the world's largest arms plants. This plant was founded in 1889 by a Liege (Belgium) Syndicate and by L. Loewe & Co. of Berlin to manufacture Mauser rifles for the Belgian government. After World War I, F. N. undertook large scale manufacture of Mauser rifles to supply markets formerly serviced by Germany. This firm is the manufacturer for Europe of John M. Browning's shotgun and rifle designs, and for most of Browning's pistol and machine gun designs.

Auguste Francotte of Liege, Anciens Establisscments Pieper (Bayard trademark) and H. Pieper of Liege arc the other outstanding Belgian names in the rifle world. Hundreds of small firms manufacture for custom or for export. It is not practicable to list them. None produce arms of unusual or noteworthy design; though all are reliable, since Belgium requires that all arms made there be Government proofed.

PRINCIPAL MILITARY RIFLES: F.N. cal. .30 M1919; F.N. 7.62mm NATO "FAL"; Mauser Models 1889, 1935, and 1936, Caliber 7.65mm. In recent years the F. N. Mausers have been withdrawn from service; these later types are all mechanically identical with the German Service rifle. Also British No. 1 and No. 4 Lee-F.nfields were used after World War II.

Model 1889 Belgian Mauser

This is the basic Mauser one-piece bolt design from which all modern Mausers stem. It differs only in comparatively minor details from the later German types. Hence the design differences only need be pointed out.

The bolt has only the two forward locking lugs, the third safety lug did not appear on Mausers until 1896.

The end of the striker is threaded. Other Mausers use interrupted thread systems for attaching the cocking piece. The striker has a rib (instead of flat surfaces) to prevent it from turning within the bolt sleeve. The cocking piece stud rests in a notch in the rear of the bolt to prevent the sleeve from turning accidentally.

There is no safety flange on the bolt sleeve. There is a slight variation in the manual safety.

Belgian Model 1889 (Mauser) Carbine. Note barrel jacket and projecting box magazine which instantly identify this model. Caliber 7.65 mm.

Mk19 Grenade Launcher Field Stripped

Belgian Model 188V ready for loading. This is the first production model to use the charger clip. Cocking is completed on last inch of forward thrust, as sear holds cocking piece back.

Cross section shows straightline single column design magazine. This was used on all later production Mausers until the appearance of the double column staggered magazine in the Spanish 1892 Model.

Although discarded by all other armies, the Ml889 design was kept in first line sendee by Belgium ajter World li ar I. These rifles were modified by the filling of Model 98 type bolt sleeves and by the shortening of barrels. This model is called the M.36.

The extractor differs radically from all other Mausers. It is a short spring claw positioned in the bolt between the locking lugs. It turns with the bolt, a design which requires excessive chamfering of the rear face of the chamber decreasing the support for the head of the rimless cartridge.

The sear spring is positioned horizontally in the receiver.

The magazine is a single line vertical box which projects below the receiver. It is detachable. Two flat levers and two flat springs are used to feed the cartridges. The magazine side walls are of spring steel, cutaway and curved in at the top to retain the cartridges.

The barrel is lighter than later models and is fitted with a barrel casing for protection of the barrel and of the soldier's hand when the barrel becomes heated from rapid fire.

Loading: Standard for Mausers.

Opening the Bolt: Standard for Mausers, except for extractor action.

Closing the Bolt: Standard for early Mausers. Sear engages cocking piece stud when bolt has l-inch farther forward travel. Cocking is on this last forward thrust, not on turning down the handle.

Belgian Model 1889 Mauser

Caliber: 7.65mm

Overall length, rifle without bayonet: 50" Overall weight, rifle without bayonet: 8.1 lbs. Type of action: Turnholt

Type of Magazine: Detachable Box-Vertical Column Barrel Length: 30.7" Wo. Grooites: 4

Bore Diameter: .301" Groove Dia.: .313"


With bayonet attached: 59.7" With bayonet attached: 9.6 lbs. Type of bolt: 1 piece—Rotating Head Capacity: 5

Direction of Twist: Right Rate of Twist: $.84"

i. Fabrique Nationale de Armes de Guerre was originally founded to make this rifle. Today it is one of the world's greatest arms plants. These rifles were also made in Leige by Fabrique d'Armes de l'Etat. During World War I the M. 1889 was also made in the U.S. by Hopkins & Allen at Norwich, Conn.

Belgian Model 1889 Mauser Carbines

There are four different carbine forms of the Belgian Ml889 Mauser and all are called Model 1889. They are as follows:

Carbine M1889 with Bayonet—Differs from the rifle Model 1889 only in dimensions, having a shorter barrel and shorter overall length—41 inches; it uses the standard rifle bayonet.

Carbine 1889 with "Yatagan"—A "Yatagan" is a curved blade sword without handguard. The Belgians had a bayonet of this pattern used with this car bine. The carbine generally resembles the Model 1889 carbine with bayonet, but it has a turned down bolt handle. Used by Foot Gendarmes and fortress artillery troops.

Carbine 1889 'Tightened"—This is the true cavalry carbine. It has a turned down bolt and is 35 inches long. The stock terminates at the lower band and the rear sight is mounted immediately ahead of the receiver, which is farther to the rear than on the preceding models. It has a catch with lock on the left side of the butt which is attached, for carrying, to a strap-mounted metal stud worn over the cavalryman's back. Does not take a bayonet.

Carbine 1889 "Lightened with Yatagan"—Same length as the Ml889 "Light ened" carbine, but has a longer stock. The lower band is a very short distance from the upper band. It has swivels mounted on the lower band and butt as do all of the other carbines, except the Ml889 Lightened, but it also has a sling bracket on the right side of the butt. It has a bayonet stud and uses the "Yatagan" type bayonet. This model was used by mounted gendarmes.

Later Mauser Models

In the period between World Wars I and II, Belgian firms, notably F. N., manufactured Mauser rifles for distribution to nations throughout the world.

In accordance with common German practice, these arms were provided in calibers which permitted use of standard Mauser receivers and with slight changes in machining permitted interchangeabilitv of parts. This was possible because of the original Mauser system of basing the jmra, the 7.65mm and the 7.92mm cartridges on the same cartridge case head diameter and the same approximate case length.

All modern Mauser military rifles are based mechanically on the Mauser patents from 1893 when the Spanish Model was introduced through 1907 and on Belgian and Czech ordnance modifications instituted in 1924. The bolt heads on all these designs are the same. Only in the field of sporting Magnum and Short actions (which are merely oversized and undersized receivers and locking assemblies) does one Mauser vary particularly from any other regardless of the country in which it is manufactured. Magnum actions were built for sale to custom gunmakers throughout the world, who barreled and fitted them for ultra-powerful big game or "wildcat" cartridges.

303 Rifle Deuxi Guerre

FN Mauser Spotter. Note shrouded firing pin and safety mounted on rear sitte of the receiver.

Mauser rifles made by Fabrique Nationale d'Ariues de Guerre are variously listed as the Models 1924, 1924-30 and 1930 in the export field. These rifles differ from the German and among themselves in the form of handguard about the barrel, projection of bolt handle, types of sights, thickness and weights of stocks, placing of sling swivels, types of slings and similar features which have little or 110 bearing on basic design or mechanical functioning or parts.

Post-war F. N. Sporting Mausers are basically the same mechanically, but are modified for U. S. sporting use in line with N. R. A. recommendations. These are also slocked in America and were formerlv sold under the trade name of

F. N.'s American rifle distributors, Firearms International Corp.

Model 1949 FN Semiautomatic RiHe

This weapon was developed prior to World War 11 but was not produced until after the War. In U.S. caliber .30 (.30-06), it was adopted by the Belgian Army. It has also been used by the Egyptian Army in 7.92mm and the Venezuelan Army in 7mm, among others. The weapon has also been made in selective fire, i.e., full or semiautomatic versions. This weapon was designed by Dieudonne Saive (pronounced like "save") of Fabrique Nationale, and the basic patents covering the weapon were filed in 1936. It has also been referred to as the Model ABL.

For the first time in its history Belgium adopted a semiautomatic rifle in the year 1951. Designed by Dieudonne Saive, the weapon became known throughout the world as the FN Semiautomatic Rifle, having seen service with the Belgian Army in Korea. In selecting the FN Semiautomatic Rifle for the army, the Belgians continued use of the .30-06 cartridge which had been adopted right after World War II.

M. Saive originated the design of the FN semiautomatic rifle, which was patented in 1936. Two years later by a strange coincidence—probably through the courtesy of the Patent Office—the Russian Tokarev was introduced, with a remarkably similar gas-operated bolt system which they perpetuated in their SKS semiautomatic rifle. For the second time in the Twentieth Century the Germans invaded Belgium and, as in World War I, M. Saive, like so many other patriotic Belgians, refused to work for the invader. At great peril to his life he escaped to England with the plans of his semiautomatic rifle, which impressed die British sufficiently to undertake development work and tests in 7.92mm Mauser. During his second exile in England, M. Saive contributed indirectly to the liberation of Belgium by assisting the British on important ordnance projects. However, it was not until M. Saive returned to FN in Belgium that the design was finally put into production.

In addition to Belgium, the FN semiautomatic rifle was also adopted in caliber .30-06 by the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg. Venezuela preferred it in caliber 7mm. Egypt purchased 50,000 in caliber 7.92mm. Approximately 160,000 were produced before the design was discontinued in favor of Saive's later adaptation, the celebrated FN NATO assault rifle. A limited number of FN semiautomatic rifles were produced for Belgium with a full automatic as well as the semiautomatic feature.

The gas-operated bolt system of the FN semiautomatic rifle functions as follows: When the weapon is fired, gas is tapped from the barrel near the muzzle.

Mauser Carbine BelguimBolt Action Type Firearms

Belgian 7.65mm A 11935 Service Rifle. This -weapon has the 98 Mauser type bolt action.

1 {above) FN 7.92mm Mauser Model 24 Rifle, 2 (below) FN 7.92mm Mauser Carbine; both as made for Ethiopia prior to World War 11.

1889 M36 Mauser

Belgian 7.65mm At 1916 Service Rifle. This weapon is a conversion of Ml 889 Rifles and Carbines. It has a 98 Mauser type bolt sleeve and firing pin mechanism.

Homemade Submachine Gun

Paratroop Version of New FN "FAT" Rifle.

Belgium Made Browning RifleBelgium Made Browning Rifle

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  • abeba
    How to make fabrique national d'armes de guerre herstal belgique pump action 22?
    9 years ago
  • william
    What caliber is 1889 belgian mauser?
    9 years ago
  • sanelma koskinen
    Where to post a belgium mauser for sale?
    9 years ago
  • yvonne
    Where to find a handguard for Belgian mod. 1924 mauser rifle?
    8 years ago
  • nahand
    How to sear studs jacket?
    7 years ago
  • silke
    How to disasemble a browning fn mauser bolt?
    7 years ago
  • thorsten ebersbach
    How safe are fabrique nationale venezuelan model 1924 30 rifles?
    7 years ago
  • aatifa
    What type of rifels were made in Belgium?
    30 days ago

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