j.j. Étienne lenoir

Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne

The Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne (MAS) was a French state-owned manufacturing company located in the town of Saint-Étienne.

Saint-Étienne was already a well-known place for production of swords and knives since the Middle Ages. In 1665, a Royal Arms Depot was created in Paris to store military weapons made in Saint-Étienne.

The Royal Arms Manufacture was created in 1764 under the supervision of the General Inspector of the Royal Arms Manufacture of Charleville.

12,000 weapons were being produced each year when French Revolution happened. The city was renamed Armsville during the revolutionary period and production increased to meet demand of the revolutionary army fighting at the borders against the Royalists supported by European royal families.

The French Empire saw the production increase threefold to meet the needs of the Napoleonic Army in its conquest of Europe.

In 1838, the annual production was well over 30,000 firearms. In 1864, the modern factory was built, new steam-powered machines were installed and the first military standardized bolt action rifle, the Chassepot, was produced from 1866 on, then the Gras rifle after 1874.

From 1886, the MAS manufatured the MAC-designed Lebel rifle.

The MAS designed and manufactured the family of French 7.5 mm rifles, from the MAS 36 to the FSA MAS 49/56, then later the current standard issue FAMAS.

Arms produced by MAS


  • Ferrard, Stéphane. France 1940 l'armement terrestre, ETAI, 1998, ISBN 2-7268-8380-X
  • Gerard, HENROTIN The French Revolver Model 1873/74 - English downloadable ebook (H&L Publishing - 2007)


  1. "French autoloading rifles. 1898-1979 (Proud promise), by Jean Huon ,1995,Collector Grade Publications. ISBN 0-88935-186-4.This volume (in English )contains a detailed technical chapter describing the Lebel rifle and its ammunition. This volume primarily describes all French semi-automatic rifles since 1898, notably the Mle 1917 and Mle 1918 semi-automatic rifles, the Meunier (A6) rifle as well as the MAS 38-40 to MAS49 and 49/56 series.
  2. "La Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Chatellerault(1819-1968)", Claude Lombard,1987,Brissaud,162 Grande Rue, Poitiers,ISBN 2-902170-55-6 . This illustrated volume (in French ) contains the production statistics for the Lebel rifle as well as complete technical accounts on the Gras, Kropatschek, Lebel and Berthier weapons and how they came to be designed and manufactured. This is regarded as the fundamental research volume on the subject.The author is a retired armament engineer who spent most of his career at Chatellerault and had full access to all the archives and the prototypes.
  3. "Military rifle and machine gun cartridges", Jean Huon,1988,Ironside International Publishers,Alexandria,VA,ISBN 093555405X . This volume (in English ) provides a detailed description of all the types of 8 mm Lebel ammunition,including the Balle D (a.m.). The 7 X 59 mm Meunier cartridge (for the semi-automatic A6 Meunier rifle ) is also illustrated and described in detail.
  4. "Standard Catalog of Military Firearms",Ned Schwing,2003,Krause Publications,ISBN 0-87349-525-X. Contains an informative and detailed page dedicated to the Lebel rifle (by David Fortier).
  5. "The Chauchat Machine Rifle (Honour Bound) , Gerard Demaison and Yves Buffetaut,1995,Collector Grade Publications,ISBN 0-88935-190-2, The 10 pages illustrated appendix at the end of this volume (in English) exhaustively describes all the 8 mm Lebel ball ammunition types, plus the less well-known blank,tracer,armor-piercing,incendiary,dummy and proof rounds. This appendix was documented and authored by internationally-known cartridge expert Dr Ph.Regenstreif.
  6. Bolt Action Rifles,Frank de Haas and Wayne Van Zwoll,2003,Krause Publications,ISBN 0-87349-660-4. An illustrated chapter in this volume reviews in depth the Lebel and Berthier rifles (and carbines).

  • Ferrard, Stéphane. France 1940 l'armement terrestre, ETAI, 1998, ISBN 2-7268-8380-X
  • Danel, Raymond and Cuny, Jean. L'aviation française de bombardement et de renseignement 1918-1940 Docavia n°12, Editions Larivière
  • Pelletier, Alain. French Fighters of World War II. Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 2002. ISBN 0-89747-440-6.
  • "Les fusils d'assaut français " "The french assault rifles" by Jean Huon, published by Editions Barnett in 1998, ISBN 2-9508308-6-2
  • Gotz, Hans Dieter, German Military Rifles and Machine Pistols, 1871-1945, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1990.
  • G. de Vries, B.J. Martens: The MP 43, MP 44, StG 44 assault rifles, Propaganda Photos Series, Volume 2, Special Interest Publicaties BV, Arnhem, The Netherlands. First Edition 2001
  • Smith, W.H.B, Small arms of the world : the basic manual of military small arms, Harrisburg, Pa. : Stackpole Books, 1955.
  • Günter Wollert; Reiner Lidschun; Wilfried Kopenhagen, Illustrierte Enzyklopädie der Schützenwaffen aus aller Welt : Schützenwaffen heute (1945-1985), Berlin : Militärverlag der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, 1988.
  • CLINTON EZELL, EDWARD Small arms of the world, Eleventh Edition, Arms & Armour Press, London, 1977
  • Deutsches Waffen Journal
  • Visier
  • Schweizer Waffen Magazin
  • Internationales Waffen Magazin
  • Cibles
  • AMI
  • Gazette des Armes
  • Action Guns
  • Guns & Ammo
  • American Handgunner
  • SWAT Magazine
  • Diana Armi
  • Armi & Tiro


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