MAB Model D fixer upper

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by ShawnDow, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. ShawnDow

    ShawnDow Member

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    O.K. guys and gals,
    It's time for my ADD mind set to run wild :crazy:, so this should be interesting. I have an old MAB Model D :confused:that has a story for me and is in need of being fixed up. This relic has been in previous topics (my posts as well as other peoples post; but not the same gun.. there are more than one) as I have tried to work out some bugs. My intent here with this post is to have a log of what I will be doing as I try to go through this firearm and build, fix, restore, call it what you will, to my personal liking. Does this gun have any real world vale? To some collector, probably not, to me... This gun started my intrigue with firearms, the internal lock works (monkey motion) and has taught me a life time of gun safety in the process.
    Well Im sure I'll bore you with more stories later. Lets get started.

    O.K. the French :lmao2:(stop laughing) Pistolet Automatique CAL. 7,65 (.32 ACP) MAB Brevete Modele D, a spin off of an older Browning handgun this model was manufactured back in 1933 until about the 1960's. For more details on its specifics, there are a few websites that do a better job of explaining its history... Im no historian, just a mechanic :dontknow:.. so ill leave that to the pro's.

    This is a simple blowback auto loader, hammerless, and all steel construction less the rubber grips.
    In my next posting Ill try to make an "exploded" view using the parts of the gun all laid out. This might help other people who have one of these, locate parts, their location, and possibly their function. So if any one does have one, feel free to make comments. I will also most likely be asking for advice and suggestions as I go along.

    Attached Files:

  2. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    One in that condition would go for around $175 retail. They have a mild collector interest, mostly among fans of medium size pistols in general, rather than MAB fans in particular. The pistol is all steel, well made and reasonably accurate; many seen in the U.S. have poorly made "target" sights and thumbrest grips, necessary to meet the GCA 68 "point" criteria for import.

    The French police used them before and after WWII. The wartime pistol, made for the Germans, is a bit more valuable, but not significantly so.

    It is not a direct copy of the Browning (FN) Model 1910/1922; there are a number of differences.

    Jim
  3. ShawnDow

    ShawnDow Member

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    Jim K, thank you for the insight to the MAB Model D, I do like this gun, it does not have the desired WWII markings that most people are seeking, but, it is what people considered the "Type 1" or first series.. the Muzzle bushing has the external locking clip, The "Type 2" had a muzzle bushing you pushed in then rotated to remove..

    As for accuracy :AR15firing:??? I bet you, Id have a better chance of throwing it at you from 25 yards, and hitting you with it that way. Im sure after 79 years... Id be a little worn out at a few key points too. I'm going to try and fix that in this build up.

    Any way.. as I stated last post.. Here is a "exploded" view of the gun... using the gun it self! the only things I did not remove are the rear sight and I did not take the back strap / grip (palm) safety apart. Ill do that before refinishing it.

    Now I tried to lay the parts in respect to their neighbor (interacting parts) and in an area as close as I could to the frame. The second picture is the frame assembled with the "monkey motion" (lock works). Less the slide. If you look carefully you'll notice I have already changed one of the parts and removed a little something else. The first pic I took tonight, the second was a couple of months ago... I'm sure some one out there has a keen eye.
    Any way... MAB Model D 7,65 (.32ACP) Type 1 (first series) Exploded View
    Story time will be saved for next posting.

    Attached Files:

  4. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Active Member

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    The safety lever has been repaired with silver solder. You will not be able to properly blue it. You can darken the solder, but it generally rubs off.
  5. Tmergen24

    Tmergen24 New Member

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    that looks like something id buy if i had the chance. Good luck on your project
  6. ShawnDow

    ShawnDow Member

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    Well, I was going to get into why I started this rebuild, but first, I have some pictures that show how the monkey motion in the frame works. Please forgive me for having my hand in the pictures, and don't yell at me if my hands are dirty!
    [​IMG]
    The first pic is of the frame.. with magazine in place, if you look at the top and rear of the magazine, you'll see the safety cam/sear assembly. This firearm is great (my opinion) in the fact that back in the 30's they had the insight to use the magazine as part of the safety. Im sure this is no break through for this gun for the day... but its still cool. The magazine will hold the forward section of the cam in an aft direction, forcing the sear to pivot on a different pin within the cam.. making the sear drop when the trigger is pulled. Also.. if you look at the back of the cam / sear assembly, you will notice it has a boss on the lower side that is blocked by the grip/palm safety.
    [​IMG]
    Here we have the magazine in... and the grip/ palm safety is depressed; note the size of this gun as compared to my hand... (who did the french build this for.. the oompha-loompas?) any way.. with the palm safety depressed.. the sear block moves forward out from under the safety cam /sear assembly allowing for the sear to drop.
    [​IMG]
    Now..with the mag in place, the palm/grip safety depressed, and the trigger squeezed back, the trigger connecting rod / sear disconnect moves the lower portion of the cam assembly, and with the mag holding the cam in an aft direction, the sear can only move down releasing the firing pin (not in pic). The sear disconnect comes into play when the slide cycles aft.. pushing the trigger connecting rod / sear disconnect down off the lower portion of the cam assembly. (here its depicted with a brass shim which I have since removed)

    [​IMG]
    And finally... with the mag out... and all other configurations set for shooting, you'll notice that instead of the safety cam / sear assembly moving down releasing the firing pin.. the safety cam moves forward preventing the gun from firing.

    Any how.. that the "magic of the monkey motion" inside the frame of a MAB Model D... You guys still awake?
  7. ShawnDow

    ShawnDow Member

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    Coffee!
    So, this MAB was my first purchase of a centerfire firearm back when I was 21.. I came across it at an antique shop when I was on the road while working. I saw this sleek looking gun sitting next to a German Lugar P-08... being new to guns back then... and seeing the P-08 had no magazine.. and the MAB was by far easier on my wallet I went with the MAB; Silly me.. should have went with the P-08.
    Well Im sure you can figure out firearm lesson #1, I learned when I purchased it... "What do you mean I cant walk out the door with it?" Lucky for me I had an old acquaintance that was a gunsmith/ FFL holder back home. So I had my first ever centerfire firearm sent to Elmer Brace. 3 months later... I got back home and stopped by Elmer's place... learned all about the paper work involved in registering a firearm... lesson #2.

    Wait until I tell you how he "fixed" it for me when I couldn't get it to feed with the magazine it came with. That story just might be buried somewhere in this forum.

    Well Elmer Brace unfortunately is no longer with us.. So I have resorted to tinkering with this gun ever since... hence my interest in firearms now.

    Well, Here I have a picture of the MAB, and if you study the picture you can see that the thumb safety has been silver soldered back together. It was like that ever since I purchased it.
    [​IMG]
    Some one in one of my previous post mentioned that I may want to change it. So thanks to the internet, I found a brand spanking new safety lever. Now the original one was a solid steel machined part (I love billet things) and remember this MAB is a Type 1 (first series) the New lever is a stamped steel part.. with the metal folded over to thicken it up at the lever end, I will ASSUME that this would be for a Type 2 (second series) MAB. [​IMG]
    Now this image is a bit fuzzy, but if you study the new lever, its a bit tight in the recess and wont actually fit flush to the frame. Now with some T.L.C. jewelers files, a sharpie to "darken the filed areas" (for making rub marks stand out when rotating the part in the boss) and a bit of patience...
    [​IMG]
    I got this for my "lock up" although the trigger and slide wouldn't move at this point... we are after all after a SAFE firearm.. so with more T.L.C. and patience.. I got this. And I cant get it any closer with out damaging the new lever.
    [​IMG]
    This configuration, engages the spring loaded detent pin underneath fully, locks the trigger transfer bar / sear disengage bar tightly (NO movement at the bar) and Keeps the slide from moving rearward. Now I know there is a small gap at the rear of the lever on the slide, but the slide can not move any further forward because of the barrel. So unless one of my new gunsmith friends out there really thinks I'm screwing something up or this configuration will fail... this is how I'm leaving the safety lever. Now all I need to do is prep it for a finish. Still debating on that. Bluing or parkerizing?
  8. mogunner

    mogunner Active Member

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    Very interesting. I have the GZ model in .32, the junior version of that one! Picked mine up off ******** with a broken firing pin for $65.
  9. jmace57

    jmace57 Member

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    A question for you guys. I recently acquired this MAB D. I have 2 questions. First, I notice the original serial number appears to have been ground off and a new one put in its' place. Any ideas what cuased that to happen? Second question is funcitonal. Is the slide on this gun supposed to lock back on an empty mag? I shot it today for the first time and it does not. Also, when I rack the slide on an empty mag, it just goes into battery. Is this normal? Thanks By the way, I REALLY like the way this thing shoots.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  10. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Active Member

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    Unless BATF authorized that replaced serial number, possession of that gun is a felony.
  11. ozo

    ozo Active Member

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    And the number change is very poorly done.

    [P.S. Hey Bill...Merry Christmas...]
    Good to see ya.
  12. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    No, the MAB Model D does not lock back on an empty magazine.

    On the serial number, a real question. The gun has a serial number. I just can't see a U.S. Attorney spending a lot of time and money to try prove that it was not put on by the factory.

    Jim
  13. WHSmithIV

    WHSmithIV Well-Known Member

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    I hope you manage to restore that pistol. The best way to clean the pitting is with 0000 steel wool.
  14. jmace57

    jmace57 Member

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    From another forum after doing some research:I have seen 2 different explanations: The serial number would appear to date this to the later 1940s sometime. It has the Morocco Palm Stamp on the trigger guard.

    1)

    "What you have is the late production guns not used by the French Military, rather they were given to the Gendarmerie and other agencies in France, at this time, the using agencies renumbered the guns. This is covered in "French Service Handguns" by Huon and Medlin.

    Usually there is a "trench" milled in the side of the receiver where the original number was stamped, and they stamped the new number in this cut. I have several here in the shop that are so marked. This is similar to the Unique pistols that have the same style cut in the receiver that enables the stamping of a new number....."

    2)

    "I don't understand why are you dating your pistol 1950-1954. Having a s/n in a trench (or "slot" or "recess") is characteristic of mid-1940s French military/gov't MABs, although a different type of milled area (not really a trench) can sometimes be found on pistols that apparently received new s/n in place of the original one. But what little shows in your photo appears to be the original trenched s/n found on many MAB Ds and Unique pistols produced when the French military restarted arms production after the end of the German occupation, beginning before the end of WWII in Europe (that is, both late Type 1 MAB Ds and early Type 2 MAB Ds share this characteristic, which does not appear to be shared with later pistols). Again referring to Medlin & Huon's book (p. 137), they write that "proof that this 'contained' serial is original to the arm is manifest by the matching numbers on barrel and slide," noting that these s/n are found on both MAB Ds and Unique pistols, and providing an illustration of a Unique pistol with the same type of trenched s/n that is partially evident in your photo."
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  15. ShawnDow

    ShawnDow Member

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    jmace57... yours looks to be the "second" series... you have the "push in and twist" type of muzzle bushing... I have the earlier type that has a spring loaded external latch holding my bushing from rotating....
    Any way... No.. the model D does not have a "last round hold open" feature... when the last round is expelled.. it will cycle and close in the battery position.. all ready to "dry fire" if you pull the trigger again. (done that a few times)
    If you want to have the slide stay open ... with or without a mag.. you have to do it manually... pull back the slide and put the thumb safety in the up position....
    A BIG NOTE on my last statement.... I have put magazines in the MAB with the slide manually "locked back".. then decided to release the slide by pushing down the safety lever.... and had a DISCHARGE!.. I would recommend pulling the slide fully rearward, release the thumb safety... then let the slide go into battery... (just my 2 cents worth) I think the extra 1/8 to 1/4 inch rear ward travel of the slide actually is the time in which the firing pin engages... not when the forward most notch in the slide aligns with the safety lever...
    Enough blabbing... Enjoy that MAB... mine is still in pieces!
  16. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    If releasing the slide from the locked back position caused a round to chamber and fire, the gun is defective, probably because of a sear or hammer notch that is worn or has been tampered with. In any case, the gun is dangerous and will likely become more so as the parts continue to wear.

    Jim
  17. ShawnDow

    ShawnDow Member

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    Jim.. This is one of those hard learned gun safety lessons I learned!:eek:

    What I discovered with the model D MAB (I don't know if this pertains to other firearms).. One can pull the slide rear-ward to engage the slide lock "thumb safety" with out moving the slide fully rear-ward. When you do this... the sear pin hasn't had a chance to engage the sear... (the slide has to go full aft to engage the 2 components). Now... if one was so inclined (as I was) you can put a magazine in the gun at this point (slide locked back) and put "one in the pipe" if you get my meaning, through the ejection port. So you have a +1 capacity now. Well... if you release the slide lock to close the slide, the recoil spring will over power the sear pin (firing pin) spring with momentum (keeping the pin right where it sits) and close the slide... (here is where Sir Isac Newton kills me) now.. the sear pin will follow in short order (being that it was not engaged due to the "short cycle" of the slide). And POP! You just had a bad experience... missed my foot by a few... I have no idea!:tapfoot:

    So in other words... make sure you fully cycle the slide aft before engaging the slide lock (thumb safety)!

    And Jim. This is why I am overhauling this firearm.. to tighten up what has worn out over the decades... All that is left for me now... is to make some custom grips, refinish the metal and assemble! All in good time though.
  18. ShawnDow

    ShawnDow Member

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    $65.. what a deal.. if your lucky you can get a replacement firing pin from Numrich gun parts. These are a fun caliber to shoot!
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