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World War 2 91/30 snipers are commonly found with a known history. In World War One the Americans, British, Germans, etc. had a limited number of snipers but I've never heard of or seen anything about WW1 Russian snipers of any type. I've been looking at my RGUN's WW2 91/30 refurb sniper and just got to wondering about WW1. What's the story about the Czar's snipers?
 

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Russian World War 1 sniper rifle would be normal Mosin-Nagant M/1891 with its normal iron sights. What is known, no such thing as scoped sniper rifle in Russian use back then. It's possible that there might have been very small number of civilian rifles with scopes and/or very small number of Mosin-Nagants equipped with pre-war scopes in Russian use (seems plausible), but none of the sources seem to mention any. Besides - what I have read suggests strongly that Russian pre World War 1 firearms legislation didn't exactly favor civilian ownership of modern rifles suitable for military use, which would suggest that there likely were not that many pre-war scoped hunting rifles to begin with.

Jarkko
 

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Russian officers and nobles could own anything they wanted at that time -many were great hunters and travelers and owned all kinds of beautiful rifles from England and Germany, as did any gentleman of wealth and adventurous tastes, hunting in India and America as well as Scotland and Europe. In Siberia and the north, including Russian Finland, many families hunted with a variety of rifles, but I am not aware of any scoped Russian sniper rifles in any pictures I've seen. Certainly skilled marksman blazed away at considerable range, but no scopes.
 

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Hello Gents,

In all my years of reading, researching and collecting Imperial Russian weapons, uniforms and accouterments, I have never seen a single photo, a single reference or any other indication what-so-ever that the Russian Army issued any scoped sniper rifles at all.

However, there is little doubt that on numerous occasions they must have captured some percentage of German and Austro-Hungarian sniper rifles. The question is, without a training program, did they leave the scopes on the weapons or did they remove the scopes before reissuing the rifles to the typical Russian peasant soldier?

An interesting question?

Warmest regards,

JPS
 

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When it comes to rest of the population in Grand Duchy of Finland first firearms legislation (designed to limit their availability and requiring registration of all long civilain-owned rifled firearms) was introduced by Russian General Governor Nikolai Bobrikov sometime around 1900 - 1903. Incidentally Bobrikov who had succeeded getting himself dictatorial rights made exception by leaving pistols and revolvers outside the law - and got assasinated with FN 1900. :)

Jarkko
 

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I have seen a couple ww1 time period m91 rifles drilled for a scope.
Vit had one such example until he sold it recently.

I am sure they existed but in such small numbers we have yet to come across many. There are so many things that likely never existed that turn up the next year.
 

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I have seen a couple ww1 time period m91 rifles drilled for a scope.
Vit had one such example until he sold it recently.

I am sure they existed but in such small numbers we have yet to come across many. There are so many things that likely never existed that turn up the next year.

Hello ncreptile,

Call me a skeptic, but how is it that you can possibly come to that conclusion considering the fact that WWI ended 94 years ago? Please tell me how you determined that the drilling and tapping on these rifles was performed between 1914 and 1917 and not in the 95 years since then???

Inquiring minds want to know?

Warmest regards,

JPS
 

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Russian officers and nobles could own anything they wanted at that time -many were great hunters and travelers and owned all kinds of beautiful rifles from England and Germany, as did any gentleman of wealth and adventurous tastes, hunting in India and America as well as Scotland and Europe.
In other words scoped rifles were much too nice, and too expensive, to be given to the peasant conscript scum of the Army.
 

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Hello ncreptile,

Call me a skeptic, but how is it that you can possibly come to that conclusion considering the fact that WWI ended 94 years ago? Please tell me how you determined that the drilling and tapping on these rifles was performed between 1914 and 1917 and not in the 95 years since then???

Inquiring minds want to know?

Warmest regards,

JPS
The rifle was still in dragoon configuration. The threads inside the holes had a patina to them which means this was not bubba. Also they were in line with being a very early PE mount on the receiver.

This is strictly my opinion as stated in my post. A month ago you and I would have said no legit PE sniper rifles were imported from russia/ukraine yet I know that to be different now.

Saying there was not a scoped sniper rifle in the entire russian army is a risky statement. As stalins ghost said there were many rich and nobles people in the army who no doubt used their own rifles.
 

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...hmmmmmmm...

...and, the plot thickens!!...yes, the plot thickens!!... ;)
 

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Perhaps you might be able to say that it's possible that someone did have one... but the form of warfare coming into WWI was that the Cavalry was still King, and the great battles were generally fought by massed forces out on the plains... The trenches were dug to stop the Cavalry and the 10,000 man charges... not to give the Rifleman a place to hide... Remember, also... European Nobles would probably not have been doing the fighting themselves in the WWI time period... That sort of thing would normally have been done by the hoi polloi... An officer would not have been sent out to snipe Enlisted men... Especially a Russian nobleman.... Along with that was the general philosophy of War in Europe at the time... The idea that you would hunt and stalk 1 particular person on purpose was totally counter to their military philosophies, as well as the religious beliefs.... That sort of thing was considered Murder... Much different from the rabble fighting it out and people dying randomly.... You weren't trying to find and kill "Jim".. You were just fighting that other guy who was fighting you because someone decided you were at war... Of course, things were different in America... and changed tremendously by WWII.... Thanks
 

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The rifle was still in dragoon configuration. The threads inside the holes had a patina to them which means this was not bubba. Also they were in line with being a very early PE mount on the receiver.

This is strictly my opinion as stated in my post. A month ago you and I would have said no legit PE sniper rifles were imported from russia/ukraine yet I know that to be different now.ko

Saying there was not a scoped sniper rifle in the entire russian army is a risky statement. As stalins ghost said there were many rich and nobles people in the army who no doubt used their own rifles.
Could've been an ex-dynamo or ex-geco (I forget which one was top mount)
 

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The rifle was still in dragoon configuration. The threads inside the holes had a patina to them which means this was not bubba. Also they were in line with being a very early PE mount on the receiver.

This is strictly my opinion as stated in my post. A month ago you and I would have said no legit PE sniper rifles were imported from russia/ukraine yet I know that to be different now.

Saying there was not a scoped sniper rifle in the entire russian army is a risky statement. As stalins ghost said there were many rich and nobles people in the army who no doubt used their own rifles.
And that patina could just as easily come from the 1930s as the 1910s. There may have been some scoped sniper rifles in the tsars army, but threads on old rifles do not evidence make. Show me a complete scope rig with the bits evidently being of pre-Soviet manufacture, and then I might be interested.
 

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According to Boris Davidov & Sergei Savenko before WWI the Russian army placed an order for 50 optical sights "abroad" (the country is not mentioned). Another 50 optical sights were ordered from the Obuhov Optical Factory in St. Petersburg. Therefore, at the beginning of WWI there should have been at least 100 sniper rifles obr. 1891. Survival chances? Something with many zeroes...

Source: "Мир оружия" magazine, March 2005 issue, p. 19. This is the first in a series of four excellent articles "Soviet Optical Sights 1920-1940s".
 

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I would venture to say that there probably were 'sniper rifles' in usage by the Russians in WWI like any other nation, British/Commonwealth, France, German, Austro-Hungarian, Italian ... There was always specualtion of Italian Scope 1891's and some have surfaced in recent years with one that was known have to been used during WWI so possibly one day one might surface, somewhere.

Patrick
 

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Scoped hunting rifles were generally considered unsporting as stalking (or driving the game to you, as in India) was preferred. Close encounters and marksmanship were "sporting" and the most sporting of all for cavalry officers was "pig sticking" in which wild Russian boars were ridden down on horseback and then killed up close with lances and short swords. That was big sport in India for the Brits as well.
Other hunters of this time including Teddy Roosevelt and the great F.C. Selous don't seem to have used scoped rifles. Roosevelt's famed Winchester "Big Medicine" was unscoped and the many rifles Selous mentions in his books are all unscoped. I'm not sure that it was money that kept scoped rifles out of Russian hands so much as a stubborn and hidebound belief in tradition and a lack of experience with them by the officers -the Czar paid well for his Winchester 1895s, his Remingtons and N.E.W.s and his S&W .44 Russian revolvers, plus the fine uniforms and swords of his more elite troops and cavalry. Sniping was considered a cowardly way of doing battle -sniping officers would have, at least at first, been rejected by the Russian nobles, many of whom were related to the German nobility, much as British officers protested it doing the American Revolution, until it was obvious that WWI was a a bloody mess and things like poison gas were definitely not "sporting"'.
As Vic says, some scopes were eventually ordered, but where they went is anyone's guess. Maybe someone has one in their closet and we'll find it at a yard sale!
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At war's beginning the troops of the Czar were not expecting the prolonged trench warfare of WWI and probably came expecting either long grinding marches and rapid movement as they had in the previous Chechen wars of the Caucasus or banners, bayonet charges, cavalry and glory. Most of the "glory boys" got killed off quick as I'm told the Russian officers, at foirst, thought it cowardly to lie down or duck in the face of enemy fire, a bad policy for survival.

UOTE=jjk308;2136662]In other words scoped rifles were much too nice, and too expensive, to be given to the peasant conscript scum of the Army.[/QUOTE]
 

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