MurataThis is an exceptional and rare rifle seldom encountered in the United Kingdom and is the predecessor of the famous Arisaka Rifle Series. This particular rifle is a Murata type 18 which is actually the second in the series, the first being the type 13. Type 18 actually represents the fact that the rifle was developed in the 18th year of the Dynasty and was not the 18th Model to be manufactured.
This is a single shot rifle in above average condition and has very good woodwork with perfect mechanics and a sound bore. The original Murata was basically a French Chassepot rifle converted with a Murata bolt but this second variant is purely a Japanese manufactured rifle. The Kanzi on the left side of the receiver translates as “Great Nippon Empire, Murata Rifle” and those on the right “ Meiji 18th year”. The knox features a crisp stamp of the Imperial Chrysanthemum symbol. The clearing rod and extractor is extant and there is one small contemporary armourers repair to the wood on the side of the stock.
Manufacture commenced in 1885 and was undertaken using machine tools ordered from Winchester USA, Winchesters designers made several suggestions to improve on the first model which had been prone to stock failure and many of these suggestions were incorporated including lengthening the tang so it could be secured by two screws not one, and the relocation of the locking lugs rear screw.
The timing of the rifle was not exactly opportune as by 1886 the value of single shot rifles had been virtually eliminated by the introduction of multiple shot magazine rifles. Consequently the rifle was only manufactured at the Tokyo Arsenal for 4 years when it was superceded by a rifle with a multiple shot tubular magazine.
As a consequence of low production numbers and from a country that had not yet fully opened its borders, examples are scarce if not rare. This is an iconic rifle and would form an excellent exhibit for any advanced 19th Century Military Rifle Collection.