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  • The Meunier rifle evolved as a part of the program initiated in 1890 by the French military to develop a semi-automatic infantry rifle that would eventually replace the Mle 1886-93 Lebel rifle. Four government research establishments proposed over 20 prototypes. About half of them were based on recoil and the others were gas operated. This secret program was placed under the direction of General Naquet-Laroque who headed the Puteaux government arsenal.