Comblain Cartridges

Subj:  BRAZILIAN COMBLAINS
Date: 00-01-05 16:07:25 EST
From: compsup@aircmd.af.mil.nz (Brad Dixon)
To: KeithDoyon@MilitaryRifles(.)com

Hi - My name is Brad Dixon and I am a Cartridge Collector and Historian. I have written two books on "European Sporting Cartrdiges" (the first published by Armory Publications in 1996 and the second due for publishing shortly. I have also written an article on Cartridges for Comblain weapons, (ed. note:  re-printed below). Several months ago I went into your excellent site and through information gained I have been corresponding with Snr Adler Homero F. de Castro and following my questions has provided new material on the Brazilian Comblains which should be of benefit to you.

    My article is obviously cartridge oriented but I do have quite a bit of correspondence on the features and identification of the various Brazilian Comblains - some of which has only just been established by Adler. Please reply if you want such details. I hope the article is of interest to you, all the best ... Brad Dixon

COMBLAIN DRAWN CASE CARTRIDGES 

WBD/1 : 11/99

Hubert Joseph Comblain, a Gunmaker of Liè ge (Belgium), designed Rifle loading mechanisms commencing in 1867 with a side lever action rifle (the Comblain No1 Rifle which was also evidently known as the "Reilly-Comblain"). In 1869 testing of the Comblain No2 Rifle begun in the Belgian military Rifle trials that had commenced in 1867. The No2 Rifle used the more well known Dropping/Sliding Block action now generally referred to as the ‘Comblain’ action. Rifles were originally produced by the Belgian company Lambin et Cie. In 1870 this rifle was adopted by the Belgian civil guard as the Comblain M70 Rifle and in 1871 a Comblain M71 Carbine was adopted by the Belgian Cavalry. Brazil and Chile adopted their own patterns of the Comblain No2 Rifle action (some with unique calibres) and evidently, Greece, Peru and evidently Argentina were supplied with standard Comblain No2 Rifles in the original 11x50R calibre.

All early 11mm Belgian military Rifles and Carbines used rolled brass foil cases. In 1875, drawn brass cases were first produced in Belgium by Charles Fusnot & Cie. In 1879, the Ecole de Pyrotechnie d’Anvers (EPA) took over production of such cases. All the Belgian Comblain Rifles used identical firing chambers, although successive adopted cartridges used different case profiles. The foil case type was also used in early Brazilian rifles and carbines. This article will concentrate on the drawn case types used in Comblain Rifles and Carbines, all of which (except perhaps CO7) used a case with 14.7-14.9mm base. 

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The original military M70 Comblain Rifle used the same cartridge as used in the Albini-Braendlin M67, M73 and Tersen M68 rifles. This cartridge used a rolled brass foil case and exist in at least 8 variations from M67 to M72. All but the last had minor structural changes or different bullets but used a straight tapered cased. The M72 however had a definite bottleneck c10mm below the mouth but was still foil cased. At various times these cartridges have been known as the : 11mm Belgian Infantry, 11mm Tersen, 11mm Comblain M71, 11mm Albini M67. The excellent article by Francis Latoir ‘The 11mm Belgian Infantry Cartridge’ (The Cartridge Collector 237-2:9/84), discusses the foil types in detail.

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Note : In 1884, the ‘Societe Anonyme pour la fabrication des Cartouchos et Projectiles’ of Anderlecht patented a ‘neck-ring’ sitting on the outside of the M76 case at the bottom of the neck. This allowed reloading of the case, as normally the M76 case was deformed on firing as it did not fit flush in the straight chambers. Some of these cartridges still exist and have a "Ste ANONYME BREVETTE (meaning ‘Patent’) hs.

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The 11x53R Brazilian Comblain cartridge was previously thought to have been used in all the Brazilian Comblain Rifles commencing with (and described as) the M74. Brazilian sources confirm however, that the only rifle that this case type was used in was the M89 Comblain Rifle. This cartridge should therefore no longer be referred to as the Brazilian Comblain M74. Speculation that some of the 53mm foil cases lengths of the 11mm Belgian may have been intended for early use by Brazil, now appears false. These rolled brass cases with c53-54mm case lengths appear to have been part of the original M67 Belgian production, before the case length was standardised at 50mm.

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References/Additional Reading Guide

ALFA ARMS CATALOG (1911)
ANDERSEN. P.A. , ANDRESEN, V. ST0MSTAD,T : CARTRIDGE CASES
BRASIL - MINISTERIO DA GUERRA - ARSENAL DE GUERRA DO RIO DE JANEIRO (1870’s-1911)
BUTTWEILER, R. :. COLLECTORS AMMUNITION CATALOGS
DATIG, F.A : CARTRIDGES FOR COLLECTORS (Four Volumes)
DE CASTRO, ADLER H.F BREVE HISTORIA DO COMBLAIN NO BRASIL (JORNAL ARMARIA)
HOYEM, G.A : HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL ARMS AMMUNITION (VOL 2)
HUON, J : MILITARY RIFLES AND MACHINE GUN CARTRIDGES
LATOIR, F : THE 11MM BELGIAN INFANTRY CARTRIDGE’ (THE CARTRIDGE COLLECTOR : 237-2)
LATOIR, F : THE BELGIAN AMMUNITION TRIALS 1884-1889
LORENZ COMPANY CATALOGS (c1886-1904)
RWS/UTENDOERFFER COMPANY CATALOGS (c1898-c1908)
SFM COMPANY CATALOG (1900) and SFM FACTORY DRAWINGS
SOUSA, AGUSTO FAUSTO DE SOUZA : BRAZILIAN MUNITIONS MANUAL, RIO DE JANEIRO (1874)
VIEIRA, OLIVé RIO DE DEUS : OFFICERS MANUAL, RIO DE JANEIRO : IMPRENSA NACIONAL (1895)

http://www.users.skynet.be/HL-Editions/comblain
http://www.MilitaryRifles.com/ ... Belgium/BelgComb.htm ...Chile/ChilComb.htm ...Brazil/BrazComb.htm

A special thanks to Snr Adler Homero F de Castro from Brazil

for providing most of the details on the Brazilian Comblains.

Brad Dixon can be contacted at wb_dixon@yahoo.com

Page originally built June 4, 1997

Updated: Oct 29, 2021