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On Monday evening I stumbled across a new posting of a 1916 Tula "Peter the Great" rifle for sale locally. I've been looking for a Russian M91 to add to the collection and this one looked like it would be a pretty fair deal. I met the seller the next day after work, completed the transaction and hurried along home to clean up the rifle. The rifle appears to have been in the same grease that it was wearing when it arrived in the US. I spent the next 4 hours cleaning it up and learning a little more about this one. Some things pleasantly surprised me, some made me wonder a bit. I'll leave those "puzzlers" to the photos below and see what you think or whether you notice anything at all!

So here I present to you a 1916 Tula "Peter the Great" rifle. The rifle is mostly devoid of any blue at this point in time. I do like the "in the white" look with some of the older rifles, so this one makes me smile. What also makes me smile is the (JSE) logo underneath the eagles on the receiver. This is an Austrian arsenal mark, which would seem to indicate that this rifle was captured during the first world war. JSE stands for Johan Springers Erben. 7.62x54r.Net states Josef instead of Johan, however Johan seems to pop up on internet searches where as Josef does not with the exception of 7.62x54r.net itself and a very small number of other sites. If someone can set me straight on that definitively, I would certainly appreciate that. So this russian rifle also apparently spent some time in Austria, which makes it a first for my collection. But apparently the rifle wasn't done travelling around Europe. This rifle also has the Finnish [SA] stamp on the barrel shank. It's certainly possible that the Austrians sold this rifle to Finland after the end of World War I. It also possibly served the Finns through the Winter War and\or the Continuation War. This rifle has been to far more countries than I have!



It's pretty likely that the barrel and receiver have been together their whole life. The tang has the Tula stamp and the "916" (1916) date.


Showing the right side of the rifle, both in shade and in sunlight. The sun really warms up the color in the stock and draws out some red tones.



Showing the left side of the rifle, both in shade and in sunlight.



The bolt serial number matches the one on the barrel but I don't think that it is original, though I'd be happy to be wrong about that. Some of the numbers are very close but I have some question about the "4" actually matching. It could simply be a poor stamping on the receiver that is the difference.


In many cases the Finns will mark out the russian arshin units on the left side of the rear sight. That is the case with this rifle. The right side is renumbered in meters.


The number on the floor plate was scrubbed and not re-serialized. It looks as though the Tula hammer was double stamped at the front of the magazine (looks like rabbit ears). It also has a "R", though it is not a (R) used by Remington.



The rear barrel band has the Tula small hammer mark on it. The fit of the handguard is very tight with the rear barrel band. I have to gently tap the handguard repeatedly to get it to come loose or to go back into position. The top handguard also seems over-sized in relation to the stock. You can see in this picture it appears to be significanty wider than the stock.


The forward barrel band has the Sestroryetsk arsenal mark. It does not have any issues going onto the stock and over the tabs on the handguard. This barrel band is held in place by a retaining screw forward of the band. There is also another large hole above the retaining screw, whose purpose eludes me. If you have an idea of what it would or should have been for, please let me know! Also in this picture, you can see that this is a CAI import. And also unfortunately also has a cleaning rod which is most definately NOT a Mosin cleaning rod. I will have to look around and try to find an M91 cleaning rod to put in its place.


The butt plate of the rifle is also stamped with the Sestroryetsk arsenal mark. The number on the butt plate does not match the rest of the rifle.


Here is a photo of what remains of the stock cartouche. I cannot make out what arsenal it would have originated from. The symbol at the top matches a symbol on the left side of the receiver, rear of the [SA] mark. Whether that is coincidence or not, I don't know. The photo was enhanced a bit in order to make the arsenal cartouche stand out better.


The trigger is a Tula. Ignore the extra crud still on some of these parts, I took these photos before I finished doing a more thorough cleaning.


This rifle also has a one piece interruptor / ejector, also Tula stamped.


It is definately an interesting rifle and I'm looking forward taking it to the range this weekend to see how it shoots. The rifle has been counter bored which is fine but the remaining rifling looks average at best. So I'm tempering my expectations. You never know, it may just surprise me.
 

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I love the wear! Congrats on the find!
 

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Congrats on a very interesting example. Looks nice. I like the patina on the metal. The front looks like an Izhevsk arsenal mark. The bow looks to be worn or sanded away. Just the arrow remains. JSE marks aren't seen much either, a nice find on that one. There's a lot of history in that rifle!
 

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Field Editor ~ GUNS Magazine, Co-Author ~ Serbian Army Weapons of Victory &PH - Kudu Safaris
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Hello Lotema,

Very nice rifle! An excellent find indeed. "JSE" reworked rifles are not common and don't turn up too often. For the record, it's "Johann Springer's Erben" not "Josef Springer's Erben."

Per Heino Hintermeier's original manuscript.......„In der Not der Stunde“ - die fremdländischen Gewehrmodelle in Österreich-Ungarn 1914 – 1918

"JSE : für die Firma Josef Springers Erben in Wien, "

Regarding the current make up of your rifle, the various mixed parts most likely point to a Finnish rebuild after WWI. The "R" marked on the numberless scrubbed magazine might be from FGGY, i.e. the Hungarian arsenal located in Budapest. The reason I add might be is based on the fact that the mark appears in an atypical location. Generally, FGGY inspected or reworked M91s are generally marked on the barrel, receiver or on the stock. However, considering the number of M91s captured by Austria-Hungary that were inspected marked, anything is possible!

The serial number on the bolt is most likely a Finn forced match. Is the cocking knob numbered and if so, does it match the serial number on the bolt body? Would it be possible to post a clear close up of the serial number please?

The swivels are Finnish rather than Austro-Hungarian ersatz wire swivels. The Ishevsk marked buttplate may indicate that the stock was used from a different rifle during the rebuild. Have you removed the buttplate yet, and if so, is the stock dated? The ill-fitting handguard points towards the stock and barrel bands possibly coming from a different rifle. Once again, fairly typical of a Finnish rebuild.

As for the accuracy of the rifle, you simply can't tell how well it will shoot based on the appearance of the bore. Most of us at one time or another have owned rifles with ugly bores that turned out to be very accurate on the range.

Nice find! Hope this info helps.

Warmest regards,

JPS
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hello Lotema,

Very nice rifle! An excellent find indeed. "JSE" reworked rifles are not common and don't turn up too often. For the record, it's "Johann Springers Erben" not "Josef Springers Erben."

Per Heino Hintermeier's original manuscript.......„In der Not der Stunde“ - die fremdländischen Gewehrmodelle in Österreich-Ungarn 1914 – 1918

"JSE : für die Firma Josef Springers Erben in Wien, "


Regarding the current make up of your rifle, the various mixed parts most likely point to a Finnish rebuild after WWI. The "R" marked on the numberless scrubbed magazine might be from FGGY, i.e. the Hungarian arsenal located in Budapest. The reason I add might be is based on the fact that the mark appears in an atypical location. Generally, FGGY inspected or reworked M91s are generally marked on the barrel, receiver or on the stock. However, considering the number of M91s captured by Austria-Hungary that were inspected marked, anything is possible!

The serial number on the bolt is most likely a Finn forced match. Is the cocking knob numbered and if so, does it match the serial number on the bolt body? Would it be possible to post a clear close up of the serial number please?

The swivels are Finnish rather than Austro-Hungarian ersatz wire swivels. The Ishevsk marked buttplate may indicate that the stock was used from a different rifle during the rebuild. Have you removed the buttplate yet, and if so, is the stock dated? The ill-fitting handguard points towards the stock and barrel bands possibly coming from a different rifle. Once again, fairly typical of a Finnish rebuild.

As for the accuracy of the rifle, you simply can't tell how well it will shoot based on the appearance of the bore. Most of us at one time or another have owned rifles with ugly bores that turned out to be very accurate on the range.

Nice find! Hope this info helps.

Warmest regards,

JPS
Thanks for the information JPS, that's exactly what I was hoping to find out. The cocking knob isn't numbered. Here are some better photos of the serials on the barrel and bolt


Looking at them more close up like this, I don't think they're a match. Time to break out the magnifying glass at home when looking at this! My eyes just haven't been as good since I had Lasik done on them, lost so much of the close up finer details.

I did remove the butt plate but did not see a date underneath. I will take another look tonight and make sure that I didn't miss something.

I'm hopeful that it will shoot well. I've certainly had a few with bores I thought were trashed but still wound up doing pretty good. Thanks again for the information, I really appreciate it.
 

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Field Editor ~ GUNS Magazine, Co-Author ~ Serbian Army Weapons of Victory &PH - Kudu Safaris
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Hello Gents,

I'm going to start a new thread in order to address the "JSE" issue as there are indeed identifiable reasons for the confusion.

More to follow in a separate thread.

Warmest regards,

JPS
 
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