Before the Mosin-Nagant, the Tsar’s army used the American-designed Berdan rifle (VIDEO)
By Chris Eger
Two new additions to the National Rifle Association’s National Firearms Museum in Fairfax are a pair of neat old Russian guns with a very U.S.-connection.
As Phil Schreier with the museum explains to John Popp in the above Curator’s Corner segment, the two Russian Berdan series rifles were the mainstay of the Imperial Russian Army for the tail end of the 19th Century.
Designed by Col. Hiram Berdan, a distinguished marksman and engineer who formed the U.S. Sharpshooter Regiments during the Civil War, the Berdan I is a 10.7x58mmR trap-door breechloader that was made by Colt in 1868 for the Russians.
The Berdan II, a bolt-action single shot designed in 1870, was made in England by BSA then in the millions by the Russians at the state arsenals of Izhevsk, Sestroretsk, and Tula. Obsolete by the 1880s, it was replaced by the Mosin-Nagant magazine-fed rifle in 1891, though it continued in use as a second-line rifle through World War I and the Russian Civil War, with hunters still using converted models in some parts of the Motherland today.
Obsolete by the 1880s, the Berdans were officially replaced by the Mosin-Nagant magazine-fed rifle after 1891, though it continued in use as a second-line rifle through