MAS Mle. 1873

Looks like Tam found something good at the fun show. I previously had no familiarity with this particular pistol or caliber. Looking up the specs of the 11mm French Ordinance, I’m surprised that anyone thought an 11mm 181gr bullet traveling at 430ft/sec was a good idea. I’d think a thick leather jacket might be enough to foil that round. What it is with Europeans liking pistol calibers that don’t actually shoot people?

20 Responses to “MAS Mle. 1873”

  1. PhilaBOR says:

    The French making a machine that works poorly?

    Mon Dieu! Incroyable!

    • Tam says:

      Smith and Colt only wish their early double-action revolvers were as well thought-out and durable as the Chamelot-Delvigne system.

  2. Merle says:

    Well they didn’t want to actually, you know, hurt anyone….


  3. Andy B. says:

    I don’t know what to say about the velocity, but as for the bullet weight, remember they were just then putting the era of the round ball behind them, and a .44 round ball would have been lighter, around 130 grs., so the 181 gr. conical bullet was probably a big improvement on the past, just for penetration.

    • Tam says:

      Indeed. It made Bill Hickock’s .36 caliber Colt Navy look a little effete by comparison, too.

      • Sebastian says:

        I’d just think that below a certain muzzle velocity, you’d have a hard time penetrating anything, unless you’d shooting a bowling ball sized projectile, in which case you’re crushing more than piercing :)

        • Tam says:

          It was complaints that it didn’t work well putting down charging natives on the frontiers of empire that caused them to step the load up in 1890. Also, the navy apparently issued a more stiffly loaded version for their guns as well.

        • Andy B. says:

          I try to avoid speaking as if any loading, no matter how mild, is such a pipsqueak that it isn’t potentially deadly.

          Just for perspective, I won’t get into the circumstances, but the first deer I ever killed was with a .22 Short. Yeah, the velocity was more than 430 fps, but the bullet was only 29 grs. I won’t paint the .22 Short as a dependable deer (or man) stopper, but neither should it be sneezed at.

          Some deer jacklighters of my father’s generation, used old .32 RF rifles with good success. The preferred them because they were relatively quiet, and in their day they could be picked up from behind barn doors for a buck or two. If they got busted and their gear was confiscated, they wouldn’t lose an expensive gun. And, they did the job on 150 – 200 pound animals.

  4. Matthew Carberry says:

    It will discomfit an ancient Egyptian mummy, what more can you ask?

  5. Tam says:


    I’ve actually had the gun for a while. Missing the ejector rod assembly and not functioning in double action, a gunsmith friend offered it to me for $20, which I considered a no-brainer. ;)

    • Sebastian says:

      Ah… I thought I saw you had gone to the fun show this weekend, and assumed it was a new find. That’s what I get for assuming.

    • Sebastian says:

      BTW, can you get ammo for that thing still?

      • Tam says:

        Nope, it’s a handload-only proposition.

        • Andy B. says:

          I should go to my “Cartridges of the World,” but it’s on a high shelf, so I’ll just ask: What brass do you base your cartridges on, that is, assuming you modify modern brass?

          • Andy B. says:

            Sorry, forgot there was dimensional data at the Wikipedia link. With a .451″ base diameter, it looks like you could use any of the nominal “.44” handgun cases trimmed to length, except the .44-40.

  6. Sigivald says:

    Pistols are for officers, and officers are there to keep their own troops in line (in the European model), not to shoot at the enemy*.

    If Lieutenant Francois needs to shoot Jerry, things are already deeply starfruit-shaped**.

    (* I kid. But only a little.

    ** Worse than pear-shaped.)

    • Zermoid says:

      And judging by the ballistics I guess they would rather wound and teach a lesson than kill the traitorous bloke?

      • Tam says:

        This was ballistics in an era before chronographs, high speed photography and calibrated ballistic gelatin. Did it shoot through a board? Did it kill the pig we keep out back? Rock on with it, then. When reports start coming back from Indochina and Algeria, issue a new version with more powder.

  7. Andy B. says:

    “When reports start coming back from Indochina and Algeria…”

    Isn’t that pretty much how our .45 ACP/1911 got invented and adopted? Reports coming back from the Philippines Insurrection? And by then, people had been shooting each other with breach loading handguns for over 30 years!

    Not unlike the M-16 with forward assist getting invented as a result of crappy ball powders and reports coming back from Vietnam.