The Manufrance Buffalo mechanism

I would like you to discover or rediscover a very interesting mechanism. It was declined in different calibers and even in the versions, “Eureka” and “Mitraille”, respectively shooting two and three shot at the same time. This mechanism is that of the Manufrance model Buffalo rifle. We will study it through various extracts of catalogs and a didactic version.

The Buffalo mechanism

Assembling a weapon around a Buffalo mechanism will result in a very elegant weapon. When looking for modern weapons of the same caliber or similar type, we will meet mostly so-called garden rifles. Now the stamp and finish of these modern equivalents have absolutely nothing to do with the design, charm and finesse of the Buffalo. Manuarm or Gaucher rifles are more economical and coarse modern equivalents too.

Vue normale et en coupe

Distributed around a massive steel frame, the Buffalo mechanism is composed of few parts but good size. It seems unlikely that a break in the room will occur. If necessary, I would look more towards the breakage of a spring but not that of the firing pin, it is huge. Although this mechanism is simple in appearance, the shapes of these elements are far from being and require many stages of machining, adjustment and finishing. The forms of the main element of the moving set for example are no longer made on modern weapons. Nowadays, we mainly look for standard geometric shapes that are easily achievable. Which is a bit of an aberration since nowadays CNC machines can work wonders. It appears then that our peers preferred elegance to maximum profitability. It could also be that a certain mechanical complexity was the norm and did not prevent them from being profitable … to meditate.

Vue du mécanisme en coupe

The Buffalo rifle is a lockgun that locks directly on the barrel. The barrel carries the tenons, the breech-shutter carries their housings, as a rule it is the opposite. The locking lugs are massive, each measuring 15 mm high, 5.8 mm wide, 1.3 mm thick. The shutter or the opening is done in 1/4 turn, by manipulating the lever of arming. This piece includes several functions such as: locking / closing, arming the firing pin, a firing pin safety by non-percussion if the cocking lever is not in the down position.

The barrel is screwed onto the frame by a thread of 28 x 100. Two small screws hold it in place on each side of the barrel. Various versions and profiles have been manufactured. Due to the presence of the locking lugs on the barrel, if one wanted to disassemble the latter, it would be necessary, after removing the two small screws of each side, to screw the barrel so that it leaves by the rear of the receiver.

Thanks to an inclined pan which forces the striker to retreat, the servant arms the striker when he actuates the lever of the breech. The striker stays armed on the trigger when the moving assembly is open. The trigger is carried by the moving assembly.

Le mécanisme de percussion de la carabine Manufrance Buffalo.

By closing the breech block or the moving assembly, the trigger is again placed above the trigger tail. Once the loading and the closing done, the shooter if it actuates the tail of detent will be able to fire.

Le canal de percuteur.

The telescopic aspect of the cylinder head reduces the size of the mechanism while having a real access to the room which is very important because it is a manual loading weapon. Few modern weapons allow such high access. Closed breech, the mechanism to a length of: 148 mm (not counting the part that enters the drum).

Vue sur le percuteur et le canal de prcuteur.

The pieces are all perfectly made, there is no trace of machining on the surface thereof. Only time and corrosion have mistreated some.

The stock is screwed on the frame. The screw is accessible under the butt plate. If you change this screw, pay attention to its length, it can act on the mechanism (especially come to touch the trigger).

Disassembly of the moving assembly:

The user disassembly of the Buffalo rifle mechanism consists in detaching the mobile assembly from the frame and then from the shutter and the firing pin.

  • Unlock and open the bolt;
  • Push the trigger forward;
  • Pull the mobile assembly backwards to separate it from the frame;
  • Recover the extractor that will, following the previous step, out of his place;
  • Force (reasonably) the opening of the cocking lever beyond its stop;
  • Take the bolt head forward;
  • Press the trigger to release the firing pin (do not face) with the help of a wooden stop.

Removing the remaining parts in place requires tools.

If you own one of this weapon, it would probably be a good thing to disassemble the set of trigger / disassembly lever as it is quite possible that these parts and their housing have not known cleaning for many years. To do this, you must move two pins over the trigger. For the same reason, continue with the disassembly of the trigger. Thoroughly clean the assembly (parts, springs and housings) then reassemble everything clean after a light greasing. If you do not feel able to do it, or if you are not able to do it properly (which in my eyes is the same), have it done by a professional. Do not consider that it is money lost, since it is a weapon that can only take value, it is an investment.

Détails de l'ensemble mobile.

Special guns

As quoted in the introduction, the mechanism has declined in particular versions: the Buffalo Mitraille and Buffalo Eureka.

Gravure carabine Buffalo Mitraille

Gravure carabne Buffalo Eureka

Who would have fun nowadays, to drill in the same bar of steel two or three holes? Probably not a lot of compagny. The reason is that this exercise brings several major difficulties :

  • Drilling without tool deviating from its path over a length of 45 to 60 cm;
  • Rifling the barrel while the hole is not in the center of the bar. It is more difficult to find a reference surface in this case;
  • The target result must be grouped at a reference distance and not too dispersed if one deviates from the reference distance.

It is easy to drill a metal bar from a single through hole. If you wishe to obtain a concentric barrel, it is then enough to pass to the metal lathe the outside of the bar and thus to obtain the outside having as reference the interior (machining between-point). But here it is much more complex. As if the Eureka rifle was not enough with its two holes in a single bar, the Manufrance engineers designed the Buffalo Mitraille with 3 holes.

Since these two or three shots start at the same time, this implies a suitable firing pin. Since you have to extract the three shell pulled together, you also need a two or three slot extractor. So a piece more complex.

It would be interesting to know what were the motivations of Manufrance engineers who created the Buffalo Mitraille or Eureka. It is a shame not to be able to go back in time and discuss with these men and women their visions and the means of realization available at the time. It was a bold choice, it was done.


Manufrance has a special place in my heart for more than one reason. This place is strengthened when one studies in depth the mechanisms coming from this company. Over time, there is continuity. This is the synthetic side of the weapons mechanisms of Manufrance. Under an apparent simplicity hides mechanisms terribly well designed, solid, with few parts, using high quality materials. One might think that simplicity is easy, it is not the case. The fact of using few pieces hides parts with multiple functions and complex shapes. We can include in this common thread: the French pistol, the Buffalo rifle, the Simplex rifle, the Robust rifle, the Ideal rifle …

They are now weapons of another era where the products of France and old Europe were to be exported anywhere in the world (North Africa, Black Africa, Indochina, South America, Oceania, Europe …) and resist all kinds of aggression to be transmitted from generation to generation.

I started this job, after graduation, working in a Parisian armory. A stone’s throw from it, which still exists, is a home of Malian workers. The latter in search of the “waxed marfa” (probably bad spelling, translation: good rifle) bought, to send to Mali, single-shot rifles Baikal but the rifle that had in their eyes a real interest was the Simplex rifle. It was around 1994-2000: well after the closure of Manufrance.

I pay tribute through this article to the engineers, technicians, armourers Manufrance who had the talent to build reliable and robust mechanisms.

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FEIN 65, dismounting of the barrel.

Some information is difficult to find because it is poorly documented. Either they have no interest or nobody has thought to put this information in shape and available to the general public. Let me introduce you to one of these little-known information, namely, how was the gun of a Fein 65 (airgun) mounted on the carcass?

Having on hand a copy of this weapon in average condition, I took the opportunity to answer this question.

The dismantling of the barrel

Before attempting a particular dismantling method, one must define what is considered to be the method of mounting the barrel. Possible editing modes:

  • Screwed;
  • Inserted in force;
  • Pinned;
  • Pasted;
  • Welded (unlikely here);
  • Several of the solutions cited above;

About me, having no certainty. I hesitate between several choices (press fitting or screwing). I’m considering two options:

  • Pass the barrel to the press and try to extract it to the front. If the barrel is screwed on the receiver, I may damage the parts by tearing the thread;
  • Machine the receiver to remove all or part of the tension around the barrel and see if the barrel is, or not, screwed into the receiver. It’s a destructive way.

I decide to test the first option. If it does not work, fall back on the second. To do this :

  • I drilled a steel plate about 10 mm thick with a 13 mm diameter forest. She will serve me as a breech box stopper;
  • Realization of the housing of the barrel on the gun pusher (the barrel being conical);

  • Presentation of the assembly on the press;

  • Following the first pressurization, it turns out that the pusher is not suitable. The first pusher is a car bolt. The latter was twisted by the effort of the press (see photo below). The second pusher used is a full steel bar with a diameter of 20 mm.

  • With this new push, the effort of the press has fully applied to the barrel. After a snap, the barrel came out of its slot. The snap is due to the breakage of two steel circlips.

  • At the sight of these circlips, it seems that the barrel is mounted by pushing it from inside the box of breech. So, I had to disassemble it by pushing it towards the inside of the box of breech. Which would not have broken the circlips.
  • The barrel housing on the receiver is clean. The diameter of the barrel housing in the receiver is 13 mm. The breakage of the two circlips (barrel stop on the receiver) did not damage the barrel housing.

A possible continuation

What could be the continuation of this article? It would be quite interesting:

  • To make a thread on the box of breech and to raise various cannons. We could then test a Fein 65 in caliber 5.5 mm or 6.35 mm, for example. Whereas the housing of the barrel on the receiver is: 13 mm. The retained thread could be 14 x 100;
  • To see if the volume of compressed air produced by the original mechanism is sufficient to propel a projectile larger and heavier than the original projectile?
  • To make speed measurements of the different calibres for different gun lengths?
  • To mount guns longer to test if the volume of air is sufficient;
  • If the tests proved conclusive, it would then be possible to decline the Fein 65 in a rifle version with compressed air …, see take down air rifle;
  • To consider this method of disassembly to replace a worn barrel and thus repackage Fein 65 shooting club;
  • To dismount a second Fein 65 but this time by pushing the barrel towards the inside of the box of breech to compare the two methods;

Tell me about your ideas, help me extend this list, send me an email at:

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The Sterling pistol 302 in 22 Lr

In this new article, we will discover the Sterling pistol in caliber 22 Lr. I wanted you to discover this little gun because it can give rise to a useful comparison with the Bernardelli Baby pistol whose description was made in a previous article. This will be an opportunity to see an equivalent (pocket pistol) but in a different caliber with other design choices.

The Sterling firm did not exist very long, the choices of the company are probably the cause. We can see it through the commercialized weapons and in particular a compact version of the High standart gun. It’s hard to believe that it sold. The gun 302 seems to be the desire to market a real compact gun and not just a shortened version of a model already manufactured. You can find more information on the following page

Characteristics of the Sterling 302

  • Length of the weapon: 140 mm;
  • Height of the weapon: 90.5 mm (with the charger), 88 mm (without charger);
  • Thickness of the weapon: 25.5 mm;
  • Weight of the weapon: 421 grams (with empty magazine), 442 grams with magazine loaded with 6 cartridges;
  • Barrel length: 59.5 mm;
  • Caliber: 22 Lr;
  • Number of shots: 6 cartridges in the magazine + 1 in the room;
  • Type of mechanism: single action;
  • Safety lever on the left side of the carcass;
  • The grip is good, the weapon is relatively high on the hand for its small size;
  • The weapon is entirely made of steel (except the butt pads);
  • Number of parts: 43.

User disassembly of the Sterling 302

The user disassembly of this weapon does not require any special tools. The different steps to accomplish this task are detailed below:

Direct the weapon in a safe direction before handling.

  • Remove the magazine from the weapon;
  • Check that the chamber is empty;
  • Press the button to unlock the cylinder head assembly lever;

  • The assembly button comes out of its slot;

  • Once unlocked, the bolt comes out from above;

  • User disassembly is complete;

Subassemblies of Sterling 302

The pistol is composed of the following subsets:

  • The cylinder head subassembly;
  • The carcass / barrel subassembly;
  • The charger subassembly.

The cylinder head subassembly

8 pieces compose this subset:

  • The breech;
  • The extractor;
  • The extractor spring;
  • The axis of the extractor;
  • The recovery spring;
  • The striker;
  • The striker spring;
  • The guide of the striker spring.

The cylinder head is made of steel. It seems to be produced by micro-fusion and then machined. Traces of molding and machining are visible. The breech alone is rather heavy, massive. The weight of the piece is: 136 grams. Its dimensions are: length = 119 mm, thickness = 20.4 mm, height = 20.1 mm.

The distance between the barrel axis and the top of the carcass is 6 mm. This is important because if we compare this dimension on several weapons, it can give us an idea of the volume, the height on the hand of the line of sight, the diameter of the barrel, information on the choices made by the designers

The diameter of the firing bowl (housing of the base of the case in the cylinder head) is about 8 mm (not easy to measure this dimension), for a depth of: 1 mm. The bowl of fire at its importance. Indeed, we will notice the presence of two holes: one for the tip of the striker and the second for the ejector.

The sighting system is directly cut into the mass. There is no handlebar or rise strictly speaking but a simple groove. Much simpler to implement, this machining allows to have enough benchmarks to take a sight. In any case, it is not a precision weapon intended for shooting at 25 meters.

Armorer disassembly consists, on the cylinder head, disassembly of the extractor. An axle holding it in place, chase it off and you’ll have access to the extractor and its spring.

The race of the breech (same with or without recovery spring) is: 30.6 mm whereas an ammunition measures about 25 mm.

The recovery spring measures 73 mm. The diameter of the wire is 0.9 mm. The outer diameter of the spring is: 11.6 mm. The reader can count himself the number of turns of the spring in the photo below.

Although the cylinder head retains machining traces, the striker is perfectly machined. Its diameter is: 7 mm. The tip of the striker has a diameter of 1.5 mm for a length of: 2.7 mm. With an almost identical mechanism, we can compare the striker of the Sterling pistol (ring percussion) and that of the Bernardelli baby pistol (central percussion) and compare the choices of the designers. Two small chamfers are present on the tip of the firing pin, they are present to give a better penetration of the bead of the holster during the percussion.

The ejection is done through the extension of the guide rod of the percussion spring. A hole passes through the striker to let the extension pass so that it can fulfill its role of ejector.

The striker rests on its armor again after a rear stroke of the 26.7 mm breech.

The carcass / barrel subassembly

29 pieces make up this subset, here is the list:

  • The carcass ;
  • The Canon ;
  • The barrel pin;
  • The safety lever;
  • The trigger ;
  • Trigger axis;
  • Trigger lever;
  • Trigger lever shaft;
  • The trigger lever plunger;
  • Trigger lever spring;
  • The assembly bolt of the cylinder head;
  • The bolt disassembly button;
  • The spring of the disassembly button;
  • The charger lock;
  • The loader lock pin;
  • The loader lock spring;
  • The push of the safety lever spring;
  • The safety lever spring;
  • The tail of relaxation;
  • The front stop of the trigger tail (pin not disassembled);
  • The axis of relaxation tail;
  • The bar / separator;
  • The separator bar axis;
  • The separator bar spring pusher;
  • The separator bar spring;
  • The right stick plate;
  • The left stick plate;
  • 2 wafer screws.

The carcass is a massive piece, it weighs: 179 grams (bare piece). Its dimensions: height: 79 mm, thickness: 13.5 mm, length: 106.5 mm.

The barrel is particularly fine. The outer dimensions of the barrel are 9.4 mm and 11 mm for the rear part. It is held in place on the carcass by a post of 11 mm in diameter and 12.7 mm in length. Disassembly of the barrel takes place by removing the pin and tapping slightly at the mouth with a piece of wood .. or the press, but it is difficult to quantify his efforts with a press. In any case, this disassembly does not require great strength … at least not for the Sterling 302.

The stripes are not well defined, they seem to be worn.

The trigger mechanism groups together the following parts:

It can be seen above that the effort brought by the shooter’s finger pressure on the trigger tail is transmitted by the bar / separator to the trigger lever. The latter pivots around its axis and triggers the trigger. The latter lowers and releases the firing pin. The springs give the necessary strength to the parts to resume their original place.

In retreating, the breech disengages some parts of the chain formed by the trigger mechanism. This principle is present on the majority of the automatic pistols and avoids a possible shooting in burst. On the Sterling 302, the cylinder head must make a minimum stroke of 7 mm backwards to separate the gate / splitter from the trigger lever.

Charger subassembly

The charger consists of 6 parts:

  • The charger body;
  • The lifting board;
  • The lifting board spring;
  • The stopper of the lifting board;
  • The charger bottom lock;
  • The charger bottom.

The capacity of the magazine is 6 cartridges.

Rather than using a single piece of sheet metal, the manufacturer used two pieces that he then welded together by three points on each side. The two sheets used do not have the same thickness (0.8 mm for the rear sheet (lips of the loader), 0.6 mm for the front sheet). Taking each piece separately is very easy to do which decreases the complexity of the work. The thickness of the magazine is 9.2 mm (in its thickest part). The length is: 27 mm. The plates overlap and an inclined portion acts as a ramp for lifting the cartridge during feeding.

The charger slides perfectly in its housing.

Sterling 302 shooting

The first shooting session did not go very well. It was not possible for me to shoot a complete magazine without a shooting incident. The recurring problem was the chambering of the cartridges. At each shot, there was a good ejection but the next ammunition did not “go up to room”. To introduce the next ammunition, I had to close the breech by pushing it in my hand. With an introduction to the hand (directly in the room, without cylinder head or charger), the cartridges were struggling to enter the room.

The second session takes place after polishing the room. Now the ammunition “go up to room” easily, no problem. I was able to shoot without incident.


Designed and built with ease, the Sterling 302 is a relatively coarse and robust weapon. The number of rooms is limited, there is no superfluous.

The Sterling 302 pistol would have asked for greater care during finishing and especially at the level of the room (at least for the model that I had between the hands). Which is still essential, why buy a defense weapon if it jams with each cartridge fired.

Although this is a low-cost weapon, it is important to keep in mind the number of operations that were needed to add to a carcass, breech and all other parts. Add to this first addition the time spent in adjustment and finishing. I do not have the information to date, but it would be very interesting to know the number of operations of milling, drilling, fitting … that it was necessary to do to finish a breech, a carcass, a pistol Sterling 302.

It could be interesting to have an aluminum casing to lighten the total weight of the weapon. Since the breech is massive, it is possible that it generates an imbalance of the weapon, to see.

With a volume much larger than the Bernardelli Baby for a lower caliber, the Sterling 302 pistol is also higher on the hand. On the other hand the grip is more pleasant on the 302, there is more room.






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