M1868 Russian Berdan I


GENERALLY:  The Russian Berdans (this rifle and the M1870 Russian Berdan II ) were designed by the American General Hiram Berdan, a prolific designer who also designed the Spanish Berdan system and who's designs heavily influenced Springfield Armory Master Armorer, E.S. Allin's design of the Springfield Trapdoor rifle for the United States;  so much so that General Berdan's widow successfully sued the US Governement for patent infringement (and recoverd quite a number of years later as might be expected).  General Berdan consulted and worked with the Colt company in the manufacture of this rifle and most of the surviving examples seen in the US are Colt built.

And YES, General (then Colonel) Berdan also did indeed design the priming system used virtually throughout the world except for in the US.  Col. Boxer, a British officer, designed the priming system used in the US, in conjunction with development of the British Snider conversion rifle.

PHOTO: The rifle pictured here is a M1868 Russian Berdan I.

DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS:  The Russian Berdan I is a forward lifting block design much like the Spanish Berdan, Albini Braendlin and Trapdoor Springfield rifles. The rifle mounted a straight line striker, similar to the Albani, but without the external hammer, the striker being driven by an internal coil spring.  As the striker moved forward it locked the breech block in place, much like the Albani.  The bolt has a cocking spur which juts up from the back end.


Top of the barrel forward of the rear sight.   The Cyrillic inscription on this Berdan I rifle reads "Colt's Armouries, Hartford, America, No. ..."

Subj:  The wanted translation
Date: 00-05-31 11:26:43 EDT
From: ilijas@siva.com.mk (Ilija Stanislevik Èëè¼à Ñòàíèøëåâè)
To: KeithDoyon@MilitaryRifles(.)com

  "Colt Arms Factory City of Hartford. America.") (Interestingly, I have also been advised as follows
latin:  Koltovskij Oruzenyj zavod gorod Hardford, Amerika or  "Colt's ordonance works, city Hartford, Amerika")

Page first sketched out February 7, 1999
Revised May 9, 2000
Revised July 30, 2000

Updated: Nov 7, 2021