Romanian Berthier Carbine Conversions

Romanian had more than a million rifles in its inventory after World War One, but they were mused between Mannlicher 88/90, Mannlicher 95, Mosin Nagant, and Berthier patterns – and they were almost all rifles and not carbines. In order to make practical use of all these arms, it was decided to allocate them geographically rather than try to standardize on one single type. The southern state of Wallachia got the guns in 8mm Lebel; Berthier rifles (obtained from Franc in 1916 to rebuild the Romanian Army) and Hotchkiss and Chauchat machine guns.

To address the shortage of carbines, long rifles were cut down. For the Berthiers, this conversion left the original rear sight intact. The original muzzle was cut off, bored out, and sleeved over the new muzzle, allowing the carbine to use the standard original Berthier rifle bayonet. The front sight was topped with a windage-adjustable barleycorn. The rear sling swivel was removed, and replaced with a sling bar in the left side of the stock. Finally, the bolt handle was bent down.

A total of approximately 9,500 Berthiers were converted into carbines this way in the mid/late 1930s, with 9,200 of them completed as of 1938. Very few would survive World War Two however, and they are very scarce today both inside Romania and elsewhere.

Thanks to the King Ferdinand I Military Museum for giving me access to this example, and to A.N.C.A. for coordinating the visit! If you are in Bucharest, make sure to stop in and visit the museum:


  1. Spending money may make everybody’s tushy hurt. But considering the importance of the main infantry weapon, and the risk and cost of updates/upgrades/mods, and the insane $ spent on other systems… if you went out and replaced every M16 and M4, let’s say a million of them arguendo, and you bought the best thing going in Shiny New Caliber from say Daniel Defense, a million times say $2000 is $2 billion and you’re done. Say 10 million mags at $30 a pop from PMAG or whoever, $300 million.

    $2.3B and you’re done. Okay ammo, for $700M you can probably buy 2 or 3 billion rounds.

    $3B, that’s three Patriot batteries. Meanwhile you could nearly break even, if you sell all the surplus on CMP.

    • Point being, how worthwhile is it, or was it, for all these nations to cheap out like Roumania? Just spend the money. More cash now, less blood later, right?

      • Mind you lots of things to “Spend money on” Defence spending, is not always the best option. Potholes so on and so forth; British infrastructure was built in the main in Victorian times… Great job, but… Starting to show it’s age… Now could we pay modern prices to do what Irish Navis did in years and years with spades – In less years with machines @ a 1000% increase etc in price, no.

        So, it’s fecked really if anyone thought about it.

      • Read some history. Romania had plenty of social political economic problems. Contrary to what you men children think history is more than play soldier

        • “Romania had plenty of social[,] political[,] economic[,] problems.”

          As a Romanian, I can tell you it was not exactly like that. YOU read some history.

          Yes, history is more than play soldier, but I have news for you: history is not ONLY guns, but is ALSO guns. In every country exist at least a military and a history museum (which contains, among other things, a lot of weapons). This is part of history. And history is part of culture. We like it or not, weapons shaped our world as it is today. Think of the Roman Empire. My country (all Latin countries) is (are) a consequence of it. And think also how USA was created by the gun (fighting against the Brits, Indians and Mexicans). So grow up and form a more mature vision about weapons and history. And about weapons IN history.

      • History is more than prepare for war. Look at the US now. Country slowly taken over my non military migration and ideological rot among its citizens. Meantime you strut and talk guns and tactics.

        • “Country slowly taken over my [by] non military migration and ideological rot among its citizens.”

          I agree 100%. And it’s EXACTLY like that also in Europe. If we do nothing, slowly but certainly, the white race will disappear. And our children will be taught, in school and not only, that it’s normal to be homosexual or bisexual. We ALL must take attitude against the “political correctness” cancer. NOW, before it’s too late.

          But that not means we must stop be interested by history, culture, reading, films (I mean good films, not today shit), music (again, I mean good music) or anything else we like.

  2. I think that this demonstrates that Romania was really short of money at this time. The Berthier rifle was well out of date by 1938, but the Romanians had to convert their examples to carbines rather than buy newer, better types. Needs must.

  3. Since you are in Bucharest, I recommend a visit to the National Museum of History. Lots of interesting and rare guns.

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