Original Imperial Russian Model 1870 Berdan II Infantry Long Rifle Dated 1884

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is antique gun, Model of 1870 manufactured in Russia in 1884. Obsoleted in 1895 after the adoption of the M-1891 Moisin Nagant Rifle. This extremely scarce Imperial Russian Berdan M.II Single Shot Infantry Rifle, Dated 1884 is a very impressive Imperial Russian infantry bolt action rifle designed by US Army General Hiram Berdan.

The model of 1870, or Berdan II, is a single shot bolt action with a distinctive short, pear-shaped, bolt handle. The bolt handle serves as the only locking lug for the action, and when closed, points upwards at a 30 degree angle, rather than horizontally. The Berdan II was produced in four variants: an infantry rifle, the lighter and slightly shorter dragoon rifle, a Cossack rifle with a button trigger and no trigger guard, and a cavalry carbine. Infantry and dragoon rifles were issued with quadrangular socket bayonets. Initial production of the Berdan II was at Birmingham Small Arms in England. The rifles were later manufactured in large numbers by Russian factories at Tula, Izhevsk, and Sestroretsk. Estimated total production of all models is over 3 million. The rifle was known for its accuracy, simplicity and reliability.

The rifle was patented in USA in 1870, and was adopted as a service weapon by only two states, Russia and Bulgaria. At the time, Berdan II was among the most powerful service rifles in the World. Berdan rifles were still in use during the World War One, as a secondary weapon. Many Berdans were captured by Austro-Hungarians and Germans, and consequently, were reissued to their armed forces.

The rifle is 1350mm long, indicating that this is truly an Infantry rifle. There is a faded factory cartouche on the right side of the stock. There is a bow and arrow stamped into the top of the buttplate. The receiver displays an Imperial Russian Double Headed Eagle and Cyrillic letters. Mismatched serial numbers. Different serial numbers are stamped on the barrel (15921), bolt (12814) and buttplate (20055). No serial numbers are present on all the remaining parts, as is correct for this model of rifle.

Barrel nicely marked (translation-) Imperial Tula Armaments(or Firearms) Factory".

The rifle comes with the original cleaning rod, which is threaded on the lower end and screws into the stock. All metal parts are fine dark gray patina in overall very good condition, with almost no pitting visible. Bore is in very good plus condition with very strong rifling. The action is strong.

Caliber 10.75 mm x 58 rimmed.

Offered in truly fine collector's condition showing a few minor storage nocks and very little metal finish wear. A difficult rifle to locate today in such good condition!

History of the Berdan Rifle-

Type Service rifle

Place of origin United States

Service history

In service 1869-1891, and later as reserve issue

Used by Russian Empire, Bulgaria, Finland (limited), Kingdom of Montenegro

Wars Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, Balkan Wars, World War I, World War II

Production history

Designer Hiram Berdan

Designed 1868 (Berdan I)

1870 (Berdan II)

Number built 3 million

Variants Berdan I: infantry rifle

Berdan II: infantry rifle, dragoon rifle, cossack rifle, cavalry carbine


Weight 4.2 kg without bayonet

4.6 kg with bayonet

Length 1.3 m (infantry rifle)

Barrel length .83 m (infantry rifle)

Cartridge 10.75 mm x 58 mm rimmed; 24 gram paper-patched round nose lead bullet, 5 gram blackpowder; cartridge also known as .42 Berdan or 4.2 Line Berdan

Action Berdan I "trapdoor"; Berdan II "bolt"

Rate of fire 6-8 per minute

Effective range 400 arshins (284 m)

Feed system no magazine, single shot only

Sights rear sight in "arshins" 200-1200; front sight is inverted v; some infantry rifles have a long range "volley sight" on the right side of front barrel band, along with a second "V" on the right side of the rear sight slide

10.75mm Berdan, 42 Berdan

Type: 10.92x56.9Rmm-3M

Cartridge Type: Bottle Necked Blackpowder

Average Muzzle Energy: 2318 Joules (Average Barrel Length: 68.04 cm)

Round Mass: 53.29 Grams

Weapons: M1870 Berdan Rifle

Description: Hiram Berdan was one of the demigods of American rifle lore. During the American Civil War he organized Berdan's Sharpshooters, one of the first specially trained sniper units. But after the war he was an influential weapon and ammo designer. But like so many inventors during the late 19th century, he was virtually ignored in his homeland and found success and fame abroad. The 10.75mm round he developed featured the first modern centerfire rifle primer, which became the standard European primer pattern (by contrast the American Boxer primer was invented by a British Army officer who was equally ignored in his own country). The round and the bolt action single shot rifle that accompanied it were adopted by the Imperial Russian Army in the late 1860s, and these remained in service until the late 1890s.

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