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Military Rifles in the Age of Transition
(Non-U.S.) Black Powder, Metallic Cartidge, Military Rifles
1865 to 1890
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M1874(?) Chilean Comblain
GENERALLY: This Chilean Comblain rifle is not a Belgium Comblian nor is it the expected Brazilian Comblain variety. For additional discussion of the Belgian and Brazilian models follow the foregoing links. Walter indicates that the standard Belgian version was exported to Greece and later Chile and Peru, and goes on to describe a distinct model made for Brazil. My information, however, indicates that at least the rifle profiled here was a distinct third pattern for Chile at least.
PHOTO: The rifle shown is a Chilean Comblain, model designation unknown, but carrying a prominent Chilean cartouche on the right buttstock.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: This rifle, like the Brazilian model, has a seperate lower tang, shorter, chunkier receiver and the rear sling swivel attached to a seperate plate which itself is attached to the lower front of the receiver. However, like the Belgian model but UNLIKE its Brazilian cousins, the Chilean Comblain has an exposed hammer with cocking spur and half-cock safety and mounts steel barrel bands, nosecap and buttplate. However, like the Brazilians, this Chilean is also built on a steel receiver. Chambering is unknown at this time.
Notice the small part of the hammer spur jutting at an angle right below the rear part of the receiver behind the trigger assembly. The Brazilian models, with their shrouded hammers, don't have such a hammer spur. Also check the photos of the Chilean vs. the Belgian models. The Chilean is much closer to the Brazilian variant. See the photos of the Brazilian Carbine on the Brazil page.
MISC NOTES: See also M1873 Brazilian Comblain (of 6 contract models) and M1870 & M1882 Belgian Comblain which are each distinctive variants.
EXCELLENT ARTICLE: For a superior article on the Comblain and its cartridge history by Historian Brad Dixon, a New Zealand Cartridge Collector,
click here ----> Comblain Drawn Case Cartridges
A must see!!!!! Follow this link!! Le fusil Comblain
Henrotin Ge'rard's wonderful site on the history and technology of the Comblain rifle. In french, so if you have trouble with the information let me know. The photos are universal though!
FURTHER READINGS: The History and Development of Small Arms Ammunition, George A. Hoyem, VOL II-Centerfire Primitive and Martial Long Arms, Armory Publications, Tacoma, 1982 pg 156. Special Note! For those with access to the Hoyem book, the back of the dust jacket illustrates a Chilean Comblain.
"BREVETE'" is the term for "Patent"
"Martetial Jineta Policia" Chilean Mounted Police
Cartouche found on the buttstock
The Chilean is an exposed hammer variant, but the hammer is substantially different than the Belgian Comblain hammer.
Hammer in the fired position.
A distinguishing charecteristic of both the Chilean and the Brazilian Comblains is the lower sling swivel mounting. It is mounted on a special plate which is screw-affixed to the bottom front of the receiver. The Belgian variety mounts the sling swivel on the lower buttstock. I expect that the Brazilian and Chilean mountings is far stronger.
Another distinguishing charecteristic of the Chilean and Brazilian Comblains is the 2-piece lower tang-receiver. Notice how the lower tang is a seperate piece, mounted with a screw through each side of the receiver (the screw visible is the right tang mounting screw). The Belgian has a lower tang integral with the receiver.
Page built June 4, 1997
Revised March 29, 1998
Revised November 19, 1999
Updated: Oct 29, 2021