Original Imperial Russian Model 1870 Berdan II Infantry Long Rifle with Crest - Dated 1888

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is antique gun, Model of 1870 manufactured in Russia in 1879. 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 1879 is a very impressive Imperial Russian infantry bolt action rifle designed by US Army General Hiram Berdan.

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.

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 with the date 1888. The receiver displays an Imperial Russian Double Headed Eagle across the chamber ring and Cyrillic letters. Mismatched serial numbers. Different serial numbers are stamped on the barrel (11489), bolt (37254) and the buttplate even has two (9162 and 9685). 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 1888r.

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 excellent condition with crisp rifling and a bright finish. The action is strong and functions correctly.

Interestingly this may well have been carried at one time by an insurgent somewhere,  as there are two holes drilled through the stock and the fore end presumably to attach a carrying strap and completely ignoring the sling swivel that are in place as expected.

Much original blue, a rifle with a history. A very hard rifle to locate today.


Year of Manufacture: 1879
Caliber: 10.75×58 mmR
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 33 Inches
Overall Length: 53 Inches
Action type: Bolt-Action
Feed System: Single Shot

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