Military Rifles of Armies in Europe 1867-1886 (General)

by Paavo Raukko, Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 17:37 (1658 days ago) @ Mauser

Military Rifles of Armies in Europe, 1867–1886, Including Bayonets and Cartridges, by Paavo Raukko. Pro-Books, Espoo, Finland. ISBN 978-952-93-5781-9, 255 pp.; 11½”x81⁄8”; 828 color and 22 b&w ill.; hdbnd.
It is likely that the average American gun collector would immediately recognize the name Krag, due to its association with a U.S. service rifle. But would they know what a Krag-Petersson rifle was? Probably not. Similarly, blank stares and silence no doubt would be prompted by the mention of a Belgian Terssen rifle. Yet, in their day, they were both well-regarded military rifles issued to troops of European nations.
Their relative anonymity today is not due to any deficiencies of their designs, but rather a glaring absence of information about them published in English. The Krag-Petersson and the Terssen are but two of a substantial number of European military rifles of the early cartridge period that are little known outside of their home countries. Fortunately, the publication of Paavo Raukko’s new book will help focus Anglophone attention on these fascinating rifles.
To call them fascinating is not an over-statement, since they all represent different approaches to accommodate and exploit the then-new technology of metallic cartridges. Some solutions were quite elegant in their design (e.g., the Swedish Jarmann), while others were less so (e.g., the awkward looking Norwegian Lund and Landmark rifles).
It is also quite interesting to see how designs that are now strongly associated with one country were used by others. For example, the British Snider design was adopted for use in Denmark, Holland, Portugal and Spain. The influence of American designers on European military small arms is also evident. While Denmark, Holland, Spain, Sweden and Norway issued imported or locally made Remington rolling block rifles into service, other countries purchased Peabody rifles made in Rhode Island. No doubt, some will be surprised to learn that the Evans repeating rifle was tested and approved for use in Czarist Russia, and one has to wonder what effect its actual purchase might have had on the economic stability of that firm or if its bankruptcy was inevitable.
Though the scope of this book appears somewhat limited at first glance, it is not. The number of arms involved, their wide differences and unique forms will surprise both seasoned and new collectors alike. They also clearly demonstrate how new collecting fields are constantly being unveiled.
For those who would like to learn what a Hurtu & Hautin or a Mylonas rifle were and who used them, this book will provide the answers. More to the point it will do so in an easily understood format with more than enough illustrations to allow quick identification of any of the arms discussed.
In light of its value as a reference and the preceding comments, this book is highly recommended to all arms collectors or military historians. H.G.H.

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