French Rifle Markings Tutorial with Patrick Hernandez


Patrick Hernandez is a noted collector of French rifles here in the US, and a moderator of several French firearm discussion channels – so when it comes to deciphering the markings on a French rifle he is an excellent person to ask. So today, we will go through each of the markings that is found on a typical French military rifle. We will be demonstrating on an 1890 Cuirassier Berthier carbine, but this information is applicable to all variations of the Chassepot, Gras, Berthier, Lebel, and RSC rifles.



  1. So while visiting Mr Hernandez, did you take a moment to stop in at Ron Peterson Guns? I lived in ABQ for over 20 years and that shop was a Mecca of weird and hard to find weapons. I actually held a Borchardt C-93 there, bought my AG42, Hakim, and Rasheed (I love that action type) there, and generally was well known a few decades back there. A Gun Nerd like you would be in Hog Heaven in Ron’s back room (I saw it once and was myself). Thank You! I also love French Firearms. And thank you for an ongoing wonderful series. WHen your book is done I want a signed copy!!!!!!!

    • I did take him down to the shop, we got to go in the back to look at all the Antiques there. He was recognized by some customers and employees in the shop.
      I have known Ron for many, many years. He will ask me about any French firearms he gets in, what they are, etc.

  2. Mr Hernandez. Well done sir! I’ll almost certainly never fire, let alone own, any French state bought rifle. If, however, I ever need to know what a French Army rifle’s origins are I will come here first to watch your concise explanation. Thank you.

  3. If anyone ever wants information on helping with the markings, information, origins, etc. on French firearms you can always get ahold of me in my Historical French Arms facebook group or on in the French Firearms forum on, my name on there is 1886lebel.

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