8mm M1915 Chauchat Fixing and Range Testing

Well, my 8mm French Chauchat finally cleared transfer, as did my application to reactivate it. This was a “dewat”, or “Deactivated War Trophy” – a machine gun put on the NFA registry but modified to be non-firing. This is not the same as legal destruction, as the receiver of the gun remained intact. The method of deactivation on such things can very significantly; in this case the chamber was plugged with weld, the bolt face welded up, and the barrel extension welded to the receiver. I did have an intact spare bolt and barrel assembly, however. I removed the weld holding the barrel assembly in place, cleaned it up a bit, and dropped in my new parts.

Legal note: this was done after the receipt of an approved Form 5 from ATF, complete with tax stamp.

Today I took it out to the range for the first time, to see if any further work would be needed. And yeah, there was a bit of tweaking necessary. The feeding and extraction are solid, but the ejection requires some work. So, after swapping in a better extractor, I headed back to the range for another test run.

This time is ran great, with the exception of one bad magazine (3 of 4 being 100% reliable is better than I expected, given their age and construction). So now, I have a fully functioning Chauchat and three known-good magazines. Next up? Two-gun match! Stay tuned…