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M1884 French Kropatchek


(photo from: La grande aventure des fusils reglementaires francais, Henri Vuillemin, Gazette des armes, 1996)

GENERALLY:  The Mle1884 French Kropatchek infantry rifle was in every material respect a knock-off of the Steyr made M1878 French Naval Kropatchek rifle, only slightly modified by the Chatellerault Arms Factory for the French Army.  The biggest difference between the two is the provision for a cleaning rod on this later model.  It appears that by making them themselves, the French were able to avoid royalty payments to von Kropatchek.  Mle1884s were made by both manufacturing newly made Mle1884 rifles and by converting earlier Mle1874 M.80 rifles, utilizing the barrels and hardware mounted on a new receiver and stock.

PHOTO: The rifle shown is a Mle1884 French Kropatchek Infantry rifle.

DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS:  The magazine cut-off lever for single shot use operated by moving between two positions to the right of the closed bolt handle, which has matching depressions to accomodate the lever, as in the M1878 Kropatchek.   The a cleaning rod was stored in a channel inletted into the left side of the stock, similarly to the  later M1886 Portugese Kropatchek  and M1887 Turkish Mauser.  Metal parts were finished brown.  Also distinguishing the Mle1884 from the Steyr made Mle1878 was the different shape of the nose cap with bayonet lug which on the Mle 1884 is curved inward between the magazine tube and barrel to allow the pommel of the standard Mle1874 bayonet to attach.


 (photo from: La grande aventure des fusils reglementaires francais, Henri Vuillemin, Gazette des armes, 1996)


 A Chatellerault M1884 French Kropatchek.


Portugese M1886 Kropatchek, above
French M1884 Kropatchek, below


M1886 French Lebel.   The ammunition changed everything, the first smokeless military ammo.  The rifle itself, a tubular magazine repeater,  is pretty blase' for the times, rushed into production to take advantage of the cutting edge ammunition!

Page Revised: June 29, 1997
Revised September 24, 1999
Revised October 1, 1999
Revised August 11, 2003

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

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