Original Imperial Russian Ornately Inlaid M-1870 Berdan Dragoon Short Rifle from the Caucusus

Item Description

Original Item: One of a Kind. This is a very rare and hard to find Imperial Russian Model 1870 BERDAN DRAGOON Short Rifle dating to the 1870's. The Berdan Imperial Russian infantry bolt action rifle was designed by US Army General Hiram Berdan. They were in service from 1870 until around 1895, with the adoption of the M-1891 Mosin-Nagant Rifle.

This lovely example is about 42 inches in overall length, with a 22 inch barrel. The short rifle has a really nice Beech stock, with a beautiful color, and with the expected dents from age and service, but nothing major. The entire top of the action and bolt together with the front 5" of the barrel are heavily inlaid with silver and gold/brass, making this a highly attractive example. This was most likely taken by one of the Tsar's rebels and upgraded with great taste.

Fully working order and condition having been fully cleaned and serviced, complete with the original cleaning rod. The bore has clear lands and grooves, with some darkening overall.

Ready to display!

More on the Berdan Rifle:

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.


Year of Manufacture: 1870s
Caliber: 10.75×58 mmR
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 22 1/4 Inches
Overall Length: 42 1/4 Inches
Action type: Bolt-Action
Feed System: Single Shot

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