Developed by the French for use in WWI, the Viven-Bessieres system was one of a number of "cup launcher" systems developed during the war. In notable contrast to other systems, the V-B was designed to be used with live ammunition; a channel through the grenade allows safe passage of the bullet, which strikes a trip lever to light the eight second delay fuse, and the gas pressure of the round launches the grenade in the conventional fashion. The V-B was used by the French military up into WWII, and saw continued use with the Gendarmerie as a tear gas launcher up to the 1990s. The design was also adapted by the Americans, who produced their own launchers and grenades to be compatible with the 30-06 chambered 1903 and 1917 rifles. The rifle is fitted with a Remington "11-18" barrel, "W/NS" bolt, Eddystone safety, and a "3 GM-K" marked stock with "215" painted on the right side and a tan canvas "Nobuckl" sling. The launcher is blackened steel construction, 10 1/2 inches long with a 2 inch wide and 6 1/4 inch deep chamber, marked "US/MODEL OF 1917/W" on the body and fitted with a spiral cut collar and spring loaded retention clip for engaging the front sight base. Provenance: Bruce Canfield collection.
Fine as arsenal rebuilt, with 75% of the blue finish, showing areas of gray and brown patina, contact marks on the barrel and front sight consistent with mounting and dismounting the launcher, and scattered handling marks. The stock is very good, with some contrasting wood color, scuffs and dents. The launcher shows about half of the original black finish, with a brown patina on the exposed areas and mild wear. Mechanically excellent.
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