Original Japanese M1889 Type 22 Murata 8mm Repeating Rifle with Intact Chrysanthemum Crest - Serial 82389
Original Item: Only One Available. The Murata rifle (村田銃 Murata jū) was the first indigenously produced Japanese service rifle 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. Later revisions including a tubular magazine, and a reduced caliber, led to the introduction of the Type 22 in 1889, the 22nd year of the Meiji calendar.
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.
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. Further modifications in the same year involving both tubular and box magazines led to the Type 22 rifle, which used a tubular magazine and was reduced to caliber 8mm. The Type 22 was the first Japanese military rifle to utilize smokeless powder and entered military service in 1889, the 22nd year of the Meiji calendar.
The Murata rifle was the standard infantry weapon of the Imperial Japanese Army during the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and in the Boxer Rebellion. The Imperial Japanese Army was quick to recognize that the design of even the improved Type 22 version of the Murata rifle had many technical issues and flaws. Following the combat experience of the First Sino-Japanese War, a decision was made to replace it with the Arisaka Type 30 rifle, which had been designed in 1898, and which also used the more modern smokeless powder. The rifle performed well in any situation and terrain. However, due to insufficient production, many of the reserve infantry units sent to the front-lines during the latter stages of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 continued to be equipped with the Murata Type 22 rifle.
When the Murata rifle was equipped and sold of the Philippines from Japan and used by the Katipunero forces from 1896 to 1897 and later the Filipino troops under the Philippine Revolutionary Army was fought against the Spanish Colonial forces during the Philippine Revolution of 1896 to 1898 and the Spanish-American War of 1898 and among the battle against the American colonial forces during the Philippine-American War of 1899 to 1901
Murata rifles are extremely rare, 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 8mm magazine rifle however still has a bolt head and an intact firing pin! It still has both front and rear sights, and the magazine cutoff is present and functional.
The right side of the receiver above the magazine cutoff is marked correctly with 明 治 二 十 二 年 制 定, which is read Meiji (current reigning emperor) Ni-Juu Ni Nen (22nd Year of Reign - 1889) Sei Tei (enacted / adopted). This indicates it is a Model adopted in the 22nd year (1889) of the Reign of Emperor Meiji, the Type 22. The other side of the receiver bears markings indicating manufacture at Tokyo arsenal, as well as other manufacturing information. The rifle bears matching serial number 82389 on the barrel, receiver, bolt, trigger guard, and magazine floor plate. The bayonet lug and firing pin retainer are not matching, which would indicate servicing at arsenal at least once.
Incredibly, this rifle still has the original Chrysanthemum proof of the Japanese Imperial Family! These were almost always removed when a rifle was sold out of service, or would have the characters Hai Ju around it, for obsolete or abolished.
Condition of the rifle is very good, though it definitely does show wear to the stock, which has lost most of the checkering and arsenal markings due to being reconditioned at arsenal. The bore of the rifle shows clear lands and grooves, and has a partly bright finish, with fouling and oxidation in the grooves. The bolt cycles correctly and dry fires, with the magazine feed system cycling with it.
A very rare Japanese Infantry rifle that preceded the 1898 Arisaka, and subsequently is very difficult to find on the collector’s market today. Ready to display!
Years of Manufacture: 1889-1897
Caliber: 8×53mmR Murata
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 29 Inches
Overall Length: 47 1/2 Inches
Action type: Bolt-Action
Feed System: 8 round tube magazine
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