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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As we all know, during the Franco-Prussian War France bought a large number of foreign rifles. Several French books written immediately after the war show 5,760 Berdan rifles purchased, but the exact models are not discussed.

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Another book lists the caliber as .42, which suggests Berdan 1. It's unlikely they were Berdan 2, as at that time they were made in Britain for Russia - but who knows?

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However, yet another book (Roy Marcot) states that Remington delivered "2,491 fusils transformes Berdan", which definitely were not .42, but very likely .58.

Does anybody have information on the Berdan models purchased by France? I am particularly interested in the .42 models. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Awesome, just awesome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Some of the newer French sources are truly puzzling. This one states 63,000 Berdan conversions and 1,000 Palmer carbines. This is the only source that claims Palmers were bought by France. And this many Berdan trapdoors?


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The Spanish converted upwards of 100K M59 .58 cal muzzleloaders to trapdoors based on the original Berdan design; those were effectively obsolete by the time of the F-P war, and it would not surprise me that they were sold to France at that point. I would be very surprised to find that any .42 cal Berdans actually made it to France, but then again anything is possible, esp in that war, where France bought anything and everything.
Is it possible the listed .42 cal Berdans were actually Spanish Berdans that Spain had rebarreled to their rolling block caliber for trials or whatever, and then disposed of them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Is it possible the listed .42 cal Berdans were actually Spanish Berdans that Spain had rebarreled to their rolling block caliber for trials or whatever, and then disposed of them?
I know almost nothing about the Spanish Berdan conversions, but 63,000 is a very large number for trials. Besides, I don't trust very much the last quoted source. The line about the Palmer carbines is particularly suspicious.
 

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maybe this are official numbers on papers but the rifles were never delievered. there was alot of corruption in france in this time so its possible someone take the money but deliever only 10% of all.
than giving the officer who make comfirmation about the shipment some %.
in the chaos of the french warfare alot of dealers becoming very rich using bribery.
 

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I have Two .58 Spanish Berdans.
They were converted from 1853 style Muskets in Belgium, and Proofed there.
Provenance on surplus market unknown. Cartridge is basically a Short version of .577 Snider.
DocAV
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The reported 30,000 Roberts conversion is also incorrect. The French Consul General bought 5,790 Roberts muskets (5,000 long frame and 790 short frame). Their cartridge was .58 Roberts, not .58 Peabody as stated in the excerpt above. Source - "Roberts Breechloading Firearms" by Edward Hull.

Makes me wonder how these writers conducted their research.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Speaking of Palmer... Such a wonderful carbine! Well ahead of its peers, but never used in anger.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Being a bolt action I would say inspired by Dreyse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
And the similar Terry-Norman, which the Russians considered briefly before adopting the Carle/Carle needle rifle.

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