Nambu World: Murata Rifles
Murata rifles were the first domestically designed and produced modern rifles adopted by the Japanese military. They are little known and seldom seen since they had been obsolete for 50 years by the end of WWII, and hence very few were brought back. Those that survived had usually seen many years of service as drill purpose rifles for training in schools by the time the war ended, and so were pretty beat up. The designer was Tsuneyoshi Murata (born 1832 or 1838, depending on which source you believe). His first design was a single-shot, 11mm bolt action rifle adopted in 1880. That was the 13th year of the Meiji Emperor's reign, so the rifle was designated the Type 13. Five years later a few improvements were made to the mechanism and the bayonet fixture and the revised rifle received the new designation Type 18 (Meiji 18=1885). These rifles have several similarities to the Dutch Beaumont, in particular a leaf spring to drive the striker instead of the now universal coil spring.
The single shot Type 18 was in turn quickly replaced by the Type 22 Murata, which was a major upgrade (Meiji 22=1889). It was a bolt action rifle with an 8-shot tubular magazine under the barrel. It fired a new, 8mm round that employed smokeless powder. Both the 11mm and 8mm Murata rounds are similar to other rounds of the same calibre from the same period, but they are NOT interchangeable with any others. Both rounds are quite rare today. Neither the Type 13 nor Type 18 was a front-line arm in any major conflict, but the Type 22 was the primary front-line rifle used by the Japanese in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 and the Boxer Rebellion Expedition of 1900, and the older Types seem to have still been in second-line use in those conflicts. Some Japanese units were still using the Type 22 Murata as late as the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, although by that time the Type 30 Arisaka was the main infantry arm. I have a well-worn Type 13 Murata and very nice specimens of the Type 18 and Type 22, as shown above. I also have bayonets for all these rifles and one deactivated round of both the 8mm and 11mm ammunition. The bayonets are briefly introduced in the section on each rifle, and shown in more detail on separate web pages (see link below).
To see more photos of the 11mm Type 13 Murata shown above, please click here: Nambu World: Murata Type 13 Rifle
To see more photos of the 11mm Type 18 Murata shown above, please click here: Nambu World: Murata Type 18 Rifle
To see a detailed photo comparison of the Type 13 and Type 18 Murata rifles, please click here: Nambu World: Murata Type 13 vs. Type 18 Rifle Comparison
To see more photos of the 8mm Type 22 Murata shown above, please click here: Nambu World: Murata Type 22 Rifle
To see information on the Murata shotgun, which is often confused with these rifles, please click here: Nambu World: Murata Shotguns
To see more photos of the Murata bayonets for all these rifles, please click here: Nambu World: Murata Rifle Bayonets
Last updated: May 18, 2009. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.
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