The MAS-36 bolt action was adopted in the mid-1930s by the French Army
as a replacement for the Berthier and Lebel (8mm) series of rifles. It is
chambered for the rimless 7.5x54 French cartouche, an abbreviated 7.5x57mm
light machinegun round.
MAS denotes its French manufacturer- Manufacture d'Armes de St. Etienne.
The MAS-36 is a magazine-fed bolt action with the bolt handle slanted forward.
This carbine-like weapon with its square, steel-machined receiver is short - some
40 inches long and sports a 22 1/2-inch barrel. Empty, it weighs eight pounds,
bayonet and all. The MAS-36 features a 5-round double-column magazine modeled
after the Mauser magazine with a hinged floor plate. MAS furniture consists
of a two-piece wooden stock.
The magazine is loaded with charging clips or manually fed one round at a time.
A unique feature of the MAS is its bayonet not that it has one, most rifles of
its time did. But it carries the spike in a tube under the barrel. To engage the
pig sticker, Francois had only to pull the bayonet from its tube, reverse its
direction and attach it to the weapon. Unlike the Canadian Ross, the bayonet
did not fall off when it was fired.
Other features of the MAS-36 include a large rear and front open sight.
It comes with a rear sight set in 100-meter increments out to 1200 meters,
but its effective range, although appreciable in the hands of a skilled
sniper, was about half that.
The MAS has no safety. Don't know 'bout you, but a weapon without a safety
is like a grenade without a pin. So French infantry carried their weapons
Suppose that worked if they weren't really all that serious about firing them.
When fired, the MAS-36 has a muzzle velocity of about 2,800 feet per second.
MAS-36 was a long-lived rifle for the French, seeing action in World War II,
the First Indochina War and the Algerian War of Independence. It was in service
from 1936 to 1978, although a paratrooper version was adopted by the French Army
in the mid-20th century. MAS was used as a sniper weapon and as a base from
which to launch grenades.