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Predecessor to the Mosin: the Russian Berdan II

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Before adopting the M1891 Mosin-Nagant, the Russian Empire (like most major militaries) used a large-bore single-shot rifle as its standard infantry rifle. In this case, a .42-caliber rifle designed by American General Hiram Berdan (yes, the same guy who invented the Berdan primer). As with other Russian small arms of foreign design, the initial batch of rifles was imported while the major Russian arsenals tooled up, at which point domestic production took over. The Berdan II was a good if fairly unremarkable design for its time, and served the Russian military well.

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