Shooting the RSC-1918 and RSC-1917 French Autoloaders

The day has come to do some shooting with an RSC-1918 – and an RSC-1917 as well! The 1917 was the first selfloading rifle to see substantial combat use, with just over 85,000 manufactured in 1917 and 1918 and used on the frontlines by French troops. The 1918 pattern is an improvement of the design, with a shorter barrel, improved gas system, and using the standard Berthier 5-round charger clip.

In practical terms, the 1917 is the more comfortable gun to shoot, because of its greater size and weight. The 1918 is substantially handier, but requires the shooter to keep a solid grip on it – as would any carbine this size firing a rifle round with a 200-grain projectile! We did find during the course of this range session that the clips were originally meant to be disposable for a reason – they become deformed to the point of causing malfunctions after just a few uses. So owners of original RSC clips, be aware!

Special thanks to Silverdale Gun Club in Ontario for use of their range, and to Paul for letting me use his rifles. Check him out on Instagram!

25 Comments

  1. Handy rifle, especially the later model. Bar some small malfunctions, this looks like sound system. Slow-mo is also quite revealing. In my general observation, and this is not just about these rifles, is about often extremely short bolt over-travel (past base of cartridge place in top position in magazine); not inductive to reliability.

    Great show and thanks to all. Also the club looks impressive, but too far for me.

    • The M16 Berthier clips used to be just a few bucks, but seem to have jumped to $25 or more recently. The RSC-1917 clips are much more, and very hard to find regardless of price. I paid $250 for the one original example I have.

  2. Weird that they hadn’t figured out that the 1917 would be to long by then, and, like somebody else here commented earlier, they should have used an improved Chauchat magazine.

  3. Hi Ian,
    Thanks for the super slow motion of the rifles feeding. I was amazed at how loose the top cartridge was. I am surprised that they fed at all!
    Keep up the geed work. I look forward to Forgotten Weapons everyday.

  4. Common problem with all Mannlicher style en bloc clips is that they have feed lips. This was probably not a problem with most of them originally, but it makes a meaningful modern evaluation of their reliability essentially impossible, unless good quality repros are available. So one must take with a huge pile of salt any modern claims about the reliability of the Mannlicher and Berthier rifles.

      • In Austria-Hungary all rifle ammunition was delivered pre-loaded in clips, so I doubt there was significant reusing of clips on the front. In France loose rounds were issued for Lebel rifles and for reloading Chauchat magazines, so availability of loose rounds would have been better. So, at least in theory there could have been some recycling, but unfortunately I don’t know if it was common in practice, either. In any case it seems unlikely that the same clip or clips would have been reused several times.

  5. Ian

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you. How could possibly think it was acceptable to post such blatant, gratuitous, un-censored porn. I mean really, there are children on the internet Ian! It’s not okay to go throwing your rifles up on screen just because they are French, contrary to popular belief, not everyone loves the French.

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