Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3568: Chauchat - 1915 Class III/NFA Light Machine Gun in 30-06

Auction Date: September 10, 2017

Unique U.S. Model 1918 Fully Automatic Class III/NFA C&R French Designed Chauchat Light Machine Gun in 30-06

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $9,500 - $16,000

Unique U.S. Model 1918 Fully Automatic Class III/NFA C&R French Designed Chauchat Light Machine Gun in 30-06

Manufacturer: Chauchat
Model: 1918
Type: Machine gun
Gauge: 30-06
Barrel: 18 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 11752
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 223
Class: Class III

This is a scarce example of a WWI Model 1915 French "Chauchat" light machine gun that has been converted to use the U.S. 30-06 cartridge for the American AEF during WWI. The French termed this as an "automatic rifle", while the U.S. designated it as "light machine gun" and it was one of several types of early lightweight machine guns used by the French, Belgian and American armies during WWI. The original French design (in 8 mm Lebel) had a very poor field record as it had a large curved magazine on the underside of the weapon with exposed/open sides that allowed dirt, mud and anything else to get in to the magazine/action preventing it from properly firing. That model had a very poor/dismal success during the war and directly after WWI the U.S. AEF immediately dropped the use of these weapons. This example is a rare model that has been converted into the Model of 1918 with the redesigned and enclosed box magazine. The left side of the receiver is stamped: "C.S.R.G. (which stood for the members of the French commission that adopted this weapon; Chauchat, Suterre Ribeyrolle and Gladiator) followed by serial number "A8298". The matching serial number, "8298" is also stamped on the upper receiver tube and the rear end cap. It has a walnut stock, pistol grip, and forward support handle with a fixed front sight and a fully adjustable rear sight. These machine guns were able to be supplied in larger quantities over a short production period based on the fact that it was actually one of the first weapons to use standard steel tubing and stampings, combined with a machined bolt/bolt carrier and barrel. They have a unique rotating bolt head mechanism similar to the Swiss K31 and Johnson rifles and operate in a direct blow back manner using a long-recoil spring type mechanism that projects out from the rear of the receiver. They can fire in both semi and full automatic mode. This rare example comes with one 20 round magazine.

Rating Definition:

Very good as converted to 30-06 with 40% of the blue finish still remaining overall and the balance of the metal finish having a gray/brown patina. The wood components are all original and have a dark matching oil finish with minor/light handling marks on the sides from use over the years. Although not the most successful or well-liked weapon, nonetheless a fairly historic WWI light machine gun. NOTE: This item is restricted as a National Firearms Act (NFA), fully transferable Class 3, which is registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (BATFE) that is classified as a "Curios or Relic" as defined in 27 CFR, 478.11. These weapons are still subject to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 and 27 CFR part 478.

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