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Chapter 4
Chapter 4. Construction
Chapter 4. History of creation
Chapter 4. Improvement
Chapter 4. Manufacture
Chapter 4. Further destiny of the rifle model 1870
Chapter 4. Further destiny of the rifle model 1870

Infantry rifle

model of 1870

One of the most famous rifles of the 19th century.
The first Russian breech-loading rifle of reduced caliber
(from 15.24 mm to 10.67 mm) fit for rounds enclosed
by a metal sleeve.
In 1879, Hiram Berdan arrived in St. Petersburg and offered to replace the flip breechblock of the rifle by a sliding breech bolt. This allowed speeding up the charging significantly.
The improved rifle titled “4.2-linear rifle, model of 1870” was accepted into service for the Russian army.
A considerable number of Berdan rifles No. 2 were refurbished into hunting rifles and carbines.
Rifles enjoyed great demand due to the robust design, configuration simplicity and low cost.
The rifle model of 1870 from the museum collection witnesses a momentous event in the history of the Tula Arms Factory.
On September 1, 1875, the Emperor Alexander II visited the factory after reconstruction and recognized its excellent condition. Whereupon the tsar ordered to assign the name “Imperial” to the factory.

Of all three state owned arms factories of Russia only the Tula Arms Factory enjoyed this honorary title.
The top face of the barrel has embossed words: “Tula Arms Factory. 1875”
The permanent exhibition of the Museum presents the unique weapons made by craftsmen of the Tula Arms Factory as a tribute to the visits by the Imperial family.
Sliding breech bolt
Sliding band with engraved symbols
3D: Assemble a rifle
Steel parts of the rifle are decorated with an engraved and gold-fused floral ornament.
3D: Disassemble a rifle
The top face of the barrel has gold-fused letters: “His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Alexander deigned
to personally imprint the factory name on this barrel
in commemoration of the visit to the Tula Arms Factory
on the September 1st, 1875”.
Artistic finish is applied by Nikolai Morozov and Alexei Polosatov — craftsmen of the Imperial Tula Arms Factory.
4-sided bayonet adjoins the right side
of a rifle barrel via a tube.
Bayonet tube
Gunstock of the rifle is decorated with delicately carved floral ornament.

Small of the butt has a carved Emblem of the Russian Empire with Alexander II the Emperor’s monogram.
3D: Shooting
Butt stock
Small of the butt
Fore-end of the rifle accommodates the carved coat of arms of Tula inside a crown of laurel and oak leaves.
To fire a shot with the rifle:
Turn the breechblock to the left and pull it back.
Then put the round in the round window on the top side of the barrel extension.
Move the breechblock forward to force the round in the chamber.
Lock the bore by turning the breechblock handle to the right.
The history of the rifle begins in 1867. The Russian Ministry of Defense sent Colonel Alexander Petrovich Gorlov and Captain Karl Ivanovich Hunnius to the United States.
Emblems of the Civil War, Alexander Pope, 1888
The rifle with a folding breechblock belonging to American Colonel Hiram Berdan grabbed the attention of the Russian officers.
Subsequently, they introduced over 25 changes to the design of the rifle, such as the reduction of caliber to 4.2 line (10.67 mm) and introduction of unitary central ignition round.
The round consists of an extruded bottle-shaped brass sleeve with a lead bullet filled with black gunpowder.
The Gorlov-Hunnius rifle was accepted into service for the rifle battalions of the Russian army in 1868 and assigned the name “Infantry rifle, model of 1868”.
Samuel Colt factories in America manufactured about 30,000 pieces of such rifles by order of Russia.
For the purpose of launching the production of rifles model 1870 in Russia, radical technical reconstruction of the Tula Arms Factory production facilities was carried out.
The first advanced rifles were assembled in 1873.
Over 20 years, the Hiram Berdan rifle No. 2 was one of the major exponents of the Russian army to be later used as a secondary weapon in the battles of the First and Second World Wars.
The rifles model 1870 began gradually getting into disuse from the army after the Russian army accepted the 3-line Mosin rifle model 1891 into service.
History of Firearms and Bladed Weapons of the 14th Century until 1914
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in the showcase No. 30
at the first exposition level