Right side view of MAS 36 bolt action rifle.
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The MAS 36 is a bolt action rifle of French origin. The MAS 36 was designed in the early 1930's to replace the older Lebel and Berthier rifles and carbines in French service. The MAS 36 is regarded as one of the better bolt action service rifles as its design features many best practices of other rifles. The design of the MAS 36 lives on in the post World War 2 FR-F1 sniper rifle that uses the same bolt design.
The MAS 36 is a bolt action rifle with a conventional layout. It is a relatively compact rifle with a length between that of a full size rifle and a carbine. Many features of older designs have been incorporated. The bolt locking is similar to that of the Lee Enfield, the bolt design and sights are patterned after the M1917 and the 5 round clip fed internal magazine is also used on Mauser rifles. The MAS 36 has no safety. A spike bayonet is carried under the barrel.
The MAS 36 fires the French 7.5x54mm round from a 5 round internal box magazine. Clips are used to reload the magazine. As a bolt action rifle the MAS 36 has a limited rate of fire, but is capable of good accuracy. The maximum effective range is about 350 meters, mostly due to the limitations of using iron sights beyond that range. Some MAS 36 were fitted with optical sights to serve as sniper rifles before the FR-F1 was introduced. Later versions of the MAS 36 are able to launch rifle grenades.
The MAS 36 was officially the standard issue rifle for French forces during World War 2, although due to budget constraints many older weapons remained in use. After the war the MAS 36 was supplemented by the self-loading MAS 49 and the MAS 36 became a second line weapon. The MAS 36 was also widely exported to ex-French colonies. Nowadays the MAS 36 is obsolete but often remains in use as a ceremonial weapon.
The MAS 36 is a modern bolt action rifle. The standard MAS 36 version was the most produced model. There is no carbine model since the full size MAS 36 is not that long and cumbersome.
The MAS 36 CR39 was designed for the cavalry and was later used by airborne forces. The designation CR stands for "Crosse Repliable", which is French for "folding stock". The CR39 features an aluminum folding stock and a shorter forearm and barrel. The stock is hollow and folds over the receiver when not in use.
The MAS 36 LG48 is a version that is able to launch French 48mm rifle grenades. The MAS 36/51 is the most common grenade launching version. The MAS 36/51 is able to launch NATO standard 22mm rifle grenades. To be able to do so the end of the barrel is reshaped and a grenade launching sight is fitted.
In French service the MAS 36 was replaced by the MAS 49. This is a self-loading rifle firing the same cartridge.
The German Karabiner 98k was developed at the same time as the MAS 36. Both rifles have a similar design philosophy in being relatively short, a focus on ruggedness and having a 5 round internal magazine.
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