SOLD FOR: $2803.10
Make: Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Étienne (MAS), France
Model: MLE 1944 (MAS 44)
Serial Number: F 3907
Year of Manufacture: 1945 (virdea.net/french/mas-auto.html)
Caliber: 7.5x54mm (7.5 French)
Action Type: Semi-Automatic with Detachable Magazine.
Barrel Length: Approximately 23 Inches
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a tall post set under a protective hood. The rear sight is an aperture attached to a sliding escalator.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The wood stock has a pistol grip, finger grooves, metal nosecap with stacking bar, hole for the included bayonet, barrel band with sling ring, sling bar, sling well, and a metal buttplate. The buttplate shows scrapes, scratches, and thinning. The wood shows scrapes, scratches, and compression marks. The handguard is lighter in color than the body of the stock. The LOP measures 13 inches from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The stock rates in about Very Good Plus overall condition.
Type of Finish: Parkerized
Finish Originality: Refinished
Bore Condition: The grooves are light gray. The rifling is deep. There is stubborn fouling in the bore which should clean up a bit. There is no visible erosion. In this writer’s opinion, this bore rates 8 out of 10. Many military and C&R eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide. For example, the U.S. used corrosive ammunition throughout WWII. The U.S. military did not begin to phase out corrosive-primed ammunition until the 1950s.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 93% of its metal finish as refinished. The charging handle knob shows a surface crack that does not flex. The metal shows scuffs, light scrapes, and handling marks. The sides of the receiver show areas of thinning and discoloration from oxidation. The action shows operational wear. The markings are deep. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good Plus condition as refinished.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards. The front of the bolt body has an integral stripper clip guide.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The rifle has a spiked bayonet stored backwards under the barrel. This rifle includes one 10-round magazine. The magazine appears to function correctly. The rifle comes with a French technical manual.
Our Assessment: In the winter 1945 the French military had a military establishment that was rapidly trying to rebuild and re-equip itself. Its military structure contained 13 Foreign Legion and Free French divisions rapidly re-equipping with and initial American donation of 50,000 Garand rifles and 75,000 M1 Carbines, 6 Colonial divisions equipped with approximately 60,000 Berthier and M1936 rifles and carbines, tens of thousands of Enfield and M1903 rifles, and huge assortment of smaller units forming or reforming from resistance groups and soldiers released from captivity. There was even a considerable use of captured war stock with German K98 rifles in 8mm Mauser serving alongside French rifles in 7.5 and 8mm Lebel and American rifles in .30-06 and .30 Carbine. This huge number of rifles on-hand stopped the initial plans to issue the MAS Mle 1944 en masse to the military. Instead production of the cheaper Mle 1936 went ahead since this rifle was already in service in quantity. MAS Mle 1944 production ended a few months after the war stopped with only about 7,000 being produced. Despite this the weapon’s design turned out to be a complete success among units equipped with it. The limited production run of rifles would serve in combat with the Marine Commandos in Indochina starting in 1946 where it gained a reputation for reliability.
…Now go shoot something!