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Je parle un peu français, mais quand je suis sous c’est mieux. I speak a little French, but when I’m drunk it’s better. That, mes amis, is the magic phrase. Tell it to a Frenchman or woman in country et voilà! Out comes the wine. That said, wine isn’t always a social lubricantas the pinfire pistol above would attest (if it could speak). It belonged to French poet Paul Verlaine. tells the l’histoire:

Verlaine returned to Paris in August 1871, and, in September, he received the first letter from Arthur Rimbaud. By 1872, he had lost interest in Mathilde, and effectively abandoned her and their son, preferring the company of his new lover. Rimbaud and Verlaine’s stormy affair took them to London in 1872.

In Brussels in July 1873 in a drunken, jealous rage, he fired two shots with a pistol at Rimbaud, wounding his left wrist, though not seriously injuring the poet. As an indirect result of this incident, Verlaine was arrested and imprisoned at Mons, where he underwent a conversion to Roman Catholicism, which again influenced his work and provoked Rimbaud’s sharp criticism.

A colorful tale to be sure, but I’m still thinking that “French Poetry’s Most Notorious Gun” is a bit like “Jewish Yachtsmen’s Most Famous Victory.” We shall see what the commercial market makes of it, n’est-ce-pas?

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    • Do an honest assesment of french firearms history and design and you will see that the world, indeed, copied the french.

      Lebel rifle, anyone?

      • Yep. It is difficult to name a more influential rifle than the Lebel 1886. First rifle to use smokeless ammo, a huge influence in the European shift away from large-bore rifle rounds (eg, 11mm) to smaller-caliber (ie, 6.5 to 8mm) rounds.

        Sadly for the French, after the Lebel, they floundered and failed in small arms design for at least three decades. The Lebel 1886 served the French for far longer than should have been necessary.

        • It’s unfortunate that the French weren’t able to just change over to the 5-round Berthier pre WW1. They were forward thinking with the Meunier rifle, but perhaps a bit too forwards-thinking.

          I’d argue that the model 1879 Remington-Lee ranks equally with the Lebel, perhaps slightly higher, even though it used blackpowder. With its detachable box magazine and smooth bolt action, it set the ideal form for the military bolt-action repeater. Refined into the Lee-Metford (in .303), I’d rank it above the Lebel (the trouble the British had with cordite meant it had to initially be used with blackpowder cartridges when production started in 1884), as it had much greater growth potential.

  1. The euros loved them some pin fires. At the time it was a choice between the pin fire and the cap and ball. Some of the pin fires made it to America for the civil war.

  2. Here’s that list of Jewish Yachtsmen’s Most Famous Victories:

    Daniel Adler, Brazil, Olympic silver (yachting; sailing class)

    Jo Aleh, New Zealand, sailor, Olympic champion (470 class), world champion (420 class)

    Zefania Carmel, Israel, yachtsman, world champion (420 class)

    Don Cohan, US, Olympic bronze (yachting; dragon class)

    Peter Jaffe, Great Britain, Olympic silver (yachting; star-class)

    Lydia Lazarov, Israel, yachtsman, world champion (420 class)

    Valentyn Mankin, Soviet/Ukraine, only sailor in Olympic history to win gold medals in three different classes (yachting: finn class, tempest class, and star class), silver (yachting, tempest class)

    Mark Mendelblatt, US, Olympic sailor, 2x world silver (laser and sunfish), bronze (laser)

    Robert Mosbacher, US, world championship gold & silver (dragon class), gold (soling class), and bronze (5.5 metre class)

    No need to thank me.

  3. Was there a highly regarded revolver from France, the Manurhin-MR-73 .357 Magnum revolver? Am I thinking of something else? We should give credit if credit is due.

    • The Frog frogmen and the Gendarmerie continue to use the Manhurin. Also, Walther licensed the PP design to Manhurin when occupied West Germany was not allowed to produce their own guns.

    • Yes. It is a high quality firearm.

      There are, in fact, several very high quality firearm makers in France and that have been making guns in France for decades to more than a century. Most Americans know nothing about these manufactures, because:

      a) France doesn’t export many sporting arms to the US, and the reason why is that
      b) Americans are obsessed with plunking down the least amount of money possible for the cheapest piece of crap firearms in the market, and they sneer at firearms that have high(er) prices and quality that the American buyer cannot even recognize when it’s right in front of their face.

      Some examples are the revolver you asked about. Others are:

      – Chapuis Armes, makers of single and double barrel rifles
      – Darne’, makers of the sliding-breech shotgun (very elegant, very smooth)
      – Verney Carron, makers of double guns (both shotguns and rifles, very high quality). They also make shotgun barrels.

      Occasionally, you see a Darne’ shotgun in a regular gun dealer’s inventory in the US. The others will typically be found only in the inventories of dealers in fine guns.

      • Oh, give me a brake. If it was much as a PITA to get a driver license as it is to get a firearm in France, no one would be driving Spark or a Versa.

  4. There is actually nothing at all in that biography that surprises me in the least. The concept we tend to have is of French refinement, but their lives tend to be lived more like a tacky Christmas light display: exuberant, unplanned, mostly unsuccessful, impossible to ignore.

  5. So this gun has been fired at least twice?

    That’s two times more than most pre-owned French guns on the market!!

    I jest, the French army fought heroically, particularly in WW1 (and don’t forget the French Foreign Legion), it’s just fun to joke about buying used French rifles because they have never been fired and only dropped once…….

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