Berdan rifle. Why in Russia it called American, and in America - the Russian rifle?“ Berdan - the Russian single shot rifle of caliber 4,2 lines (10, 67 mm), with folding (Berdana No. 1) or the lock sliding (Berdana No. 2) under a metal cartridge. The inventor is the American designer Berdan. It is taken advantage of the Russian army in 1868 (Berdan No. 1), improved by officers A. P. Gorlov and K. I. Gunnius (Berdan No. 2) so that in America it was called “ Russian rifle “. Belovitsky A. V. “ Encyclopaedic dictionary of the Russian life and history “.
We will begin with the beginning.
The Crimean war of 1853-1855 showed all inefficiency of the Russian infantry gun loaded from a barrel with very low range and rate of fire in comparison with the newest samples of foreign small arms of that time.
For modernization of the Russian army from 1859 to 1864 over 130 foreign and 20 domestic models were tested. Some of these samples even came to field army, however not absolutely satisfied military and searches were continued.
At that time just war between the North and the South in America terminated. And, as we know, any large-scale war leads to improvement of the weapon. So it also was. Just at that time in North America several successful samples of small arms appeared. The sent officers, representatives of the Head Artillery Department (HAD) the colonel A. Gorlov and the captain K. Gunius stopped on an interesting design of Hayrem Berdan .
About this person not a sin to tell separately. Gold industry entrepreneur and inventor, creator of the first in America “ cases of snipers “ and at the same time desperate coward … Hayrem was even condemned by court of a military court for the fact that “ left a battlefield as soon as the first shots " were distributed;. The colonel Hayr Berdan after resignation concentrated the efforts on designing of the weapon. In 1864 it presented on “ court of the public “ an original rifle 45 - go caliber. The cartridge chamber of a bottle form, conic narrowing of the channel of a trunk for more exact firing and an original design the boss were design feature of a rifle. And here - that the destiny also reduced it with two Russian military experts.
New modification of a rifle was developed for participation in a selection competition by Berdan and the Russian experts. The main difference of this modification - for the best “ nastilnost “ flight of a bullet the caliber is reduced with 45 - go to 42 - go (4,2 Russians of the line).
Gorlov and Gunius sent the report to military department, having especially emphasized aim range huge for those times - 2250 steps (the Russian linear measure about 0,7 m) and maximum - 4000 steps, and also high rate of fire - 10-15 shots a minute. The trust to the experts sent across the ocean was so high that in Russia Berdan`s rifle with the lock which is leaning back up was taken advantage without long tests. Called it “ skorostrelny small-caliber rifle of Berdan “. After appeared more “ advanced “ a design, the rifle with a folding lock was called “ number 1 “.
Berdan`s rifle was taken advantage of the Russian army in 1868. The first order for 30 000 rifles was placed at plants of the Colt. And meanwhile, Hayr Berdan improved the invention, having supplied a rifle with more convenient sliding lock and itself came to Russia to show next “ child “. The successful design so was pleasant to military department that the decision not to redeem in America part " was made; number of the first “ Berdan rifles, and at once to pass to production “ number of the second “. But not redeemed by Russia “ Berdan`s guns “ were sold in America where received the name “ Russian rifle “.
On the basis of a rifle with the sliding lock the whole series of small arms was developed. For infantry - an infantry rifle with a bayonet, for a cavalry - facilitated “ dragoon " option; with a little changed lock design, for the Cossack parts the, “ Cossack “ option. For support personnel and artillery the short and convenient carbine was made. The rifle was supplied with a safety platoon and had a special safety lock from a shot in not locked provision of a lock. For the time Berdan`s rifle was one of the best samples of the army weapon.
The boss to a rifle was not similar to other ammunition of that time too. The long lead bullet wrapped in the salted paper was the main feature of the boss. The bullet was wrapped in order that in the narrowed channel of a trunk lots which twist a bullet when firing were not hammered with soft lead. Further the role of this paper wrapper was undertaken by a dense covering of a bullet from a copper alloy for now …
Here the quote from one of weapon forums: “ Znachitsa so. As she that (a paper wrapper of a bullet) acts physically - I do not know. But - being a fan of usyaky stuff used several chernoporokhovy unions (cut guns), including under a berdanovsky cartridge. If not to wrap a bullet in paper - a grouping any. The bullet flies side at distances for 60 m. And if to turn - that flies directly on how many hosh... “ (Source: guns. ru/forum/36/47. html)
is property of the wrapped-up bullet “ to fly directly on how many hosh “ favourably allocated “ Russian rifle “ at shooting competitions in America throughout all last quarter 19 - go centuries. Many winners of competitions on the accuracy of firing won this title with the help “ Berdan`s guns “.
The cartridge for cavalry rifles was made with a smaller charge of gunpowder, than for an infantry rifle. For two reasons: main - horse soldiers shot on distance much smaller, than infantrymen, well and for return reduction as the horseman often shot from one hand. To distinguish this ammunition, different in the characteristics, the bullet for an infantry rifle was wrapped in white paper, and for dragoon and Cossack rifles - in pink. Bullet weight for an infantry rifle was slightly higher, than for “ horse “ modifications “ " Berdan rifles;.
The single shot rifle of system of Berdan served in the Russian army till 1891, was not replaced with a multicharging trilinear rifle of Mosin yet - the Revolver, legendary “ mosinka “.
That huge stocks “ " Berdan rifles; in military warehouses did not lie “ dead freight “ the decision to sell outdated rifles to the population was made. At the same time the main condition was impossibility of use at such “ civil modification “ service cartridge. There were both cut, and smooth-bore samples of this peculiar weapon. Further any fowling piece remade from rifles of systems of Berdan, Mosin or the Mauser, hunters most often called “ I berdanoit “.
After the beginning of World War I, having the most cruel deficiency of trilinear rifles and ammunition, the Russian military department allowed to use “ " Berdan rifles; for rear parts and protection of fortresses. Also the facts of application of these rifles on a front line in 1915 - 16
during revolution are known and civil war “ " Berdan rifle; it was used as the auxiliary weapon, generally “ firing crews “.
After in Russia revolution and civil war died down, in 1932 the decision on arms by outdated guns of system of Berdan of workers VOKHRA, the armed security forces created for protection of important state objects (the railroads, bridges, the industrial enterprises etc.) was made . At this particular time there was an ordinary expression: “ the watchman with the " Berdan rifle;. Also this served “ " Berdan rifle; in the VOHR system even before 90 - x years 20 - go centuries, practically before disintegration of the Soviet Union.
Unfortunately, now smooth-bore guns and rifles of system of Berdan became outdated so that are of interest only to collectors of the weapon.