Sunday, October 25, 2009

The glories of French military arms: 1873 11mm revolver

Spent three days down down at the coast with the men's group from my church (sinners go to the beach, Christians go to the coast) and one of my gun-nut buddies wanted to go gun shopping.

I'm always up for that so we drove around trying to find a gun shop. We were down on the N.C. coast in the Caswell Beach area on Oak Island and found gun shops to be a bit thin on the ground.

We finally found a pawn shop in Shalotte that had a few guns, mostly junkers, but there were a few items of interest among them. The only pistol that slightly tempted me was a well-used Sig P239 9mm that was priced way too high.

But my gun-nut buddy spotted the ancient warrior shown here, which with a bit of research at the local library we determined to be a Chamelot Delvigne French 1873 11mm double-action revolver.

An estimated 337,000 were manufactured from 1873 to 1887, so it's not particularly rare. But what I found to be rather astonishing was how long this pitifully low-powered revolver remained in service with both the French military and police, serving with some units up until 1960!

The 11mm cartridge is about .456 or so, but despite its size the cartridge was so low-powered as to make it quite ineffective. But when did ineffective firearms ever bother the French? They don't use them anyway, so anything will do for show.

You may have heard of the famous classified ad that ran in a Paris newspaper right after the close of World War II. "Used French military rifle for sale. Never fired. Dropped once."

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