Original 19th Century Japanese Type 18 Murata 11mm Single Shot Infantry Rifle - Serial 86303
Original Item: Only One Available. The Murata rifle (村田銃 Murata jyū) was was designed by Major Murata Tsuneyoshi, and was the first locally produced Japanese service rifle. It was adopted in 1880 as the Meiji Type 13 Murata single-shot rifle. The 13 referred to the adoption date, the year 13 in the Meiji period according to the Japanese calendar, and these were marked 十三 (juu-san / 13) on the receiver. This was Japan's initial breech loading Rifle completely designed and manufactured since opening its borders to the Western World in the Victorian era. Superficial improvements such as components, bayonet lugs, and minor configurations led to the redesignation of the Type 13 to the Type 18 rifle in 1885, and these were marked 十八 (juu-hachi / 18) on the receiver instead.
In 1888 a magazine version was introduced in the reduced caliber of 8mm. Heavily used in the 1st Sino-Japanese War of 1894/1895, followed by the Boxer Rebellion, the Murata was replaced in 1898 by the first Arisaka magazine rifle. The Murata however remained in service for the Russo-Japanese War of 1904/1905.
Murata rifles are extremely rare in today's market, as once the Arisaka rifle was adopted the Murata was then designated and re-issued for training purposes at which time all the bolt heads were officially removed. Once declared as obsolete and available for sale as surplus, being unusable due to the lack of the bolt heads, most were scrapped for the steel content. This Murata however escaped that treatment, and is offered fully intact except for the bolt extractor, which is missing.
Condition of the rifle is very good, especially considering the age. The stock and metal components show wear, but the proof marks on the metal components are still clear. The markings on the stock unfortunately are quite worn, though additional markings in Japanese have been added.
Action is tight, and the bore shows clear lands and grooves, with only a bit of wear. Serial number 86303 is present on the barrel, receiver, and many of the screws and other metal components. Other parts do not match, typical of a rifle that had been relegated to training purposes. Cleaning rod is present, something that we do not often see.
The development of the weapon was lengthy as it involved the establishment of an adequate industrial structure to support it. Before producing local weapons, the early Imperial Japan Army had been relying on various imports since the time of the Boshin War, and especially on the French Chassepot, the British Snider-Enfield and the Spencer repeating rifle. This was about 300 years after Japan developed its first guns, derived from Portuguese matchlock designs, the Tanegashima or "Nanban guns".
The combat experience of the Boshin War emphasized the need for a standardized design, and the Japanese Army was impressed with the metallic-cartridge design of the French Gras rifle. The design was invented by Major Murata Tsuneyoshi, an infantry officer in the Japanese Imperial Army. Adopted in Emperor Meiji's thirteenth year of reign, the rifle was designated as the model 13 and went into production as the 11-millimeter Type 13 single-shot, bolt-action rifle in 1880, followed by the Type 18 in 1885.
Year of Manufacture: 1885-1889
Caliber: 11×60mmR Murata
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Overall Length: 51 Inches
Action type: Bolt-Action
Feed System: Single Shot
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