WATCH: RSC 1917 – France’s WW1 Semiauto Rifle

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Did you know that the French Army issued more than 80,000 semiautomatic rifles during WWI? They had been experimenting with a great many semiauto designs before the war, and in 1916 finalized a design for a rotating bolt, long stroke gas piston rifle (with more than few similarities to the M1 Garand, actually) which would see field service beginning in 1917. An improved version was put into production in 1918, but too late to see any significant combat use.

The RSC 1917 (Fusil Automatique Modèle 1917) was not a perfect design, but it was good enough and the only true semiauto infantry rifle fielded by anyone in significant numbers during the war.

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About Author

Ian McCollum is a self-described professional gun nerd, passionate about firearm design, manufacture, history, and practical use. He is always looking for rare, experimental, and unusual firearms to learn about, and loves sharing that interest with others.

1 Comment

  1. The Mexican “Mondragon” automatic rifle was put into limited use by a few British, French, and German pilots early in World War One. However, introduction of machine-guns as aircraft armament quickly phased out the Mondragon, which incidentally is believed to have been the first automatic-rifle design.

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