Murata rifle

The Murata rifle (村田銃 Murata jyū?) was the first indigenously produced Japanese service rifle adopted in 1880 as the Meiji Type 13 Murata single-shot rifle. The 13 referred to the adoption date, the year 13 in the Meiji period according to the Japanese calendar.

Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1880
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan View

The development of the weapon was lengthy as it involved the establishment of an adequate industrial structure to support it. Before producing local weapons, the early Imperial Japan Army had been relying on various imports since the time of the Boshin War, and especially on the French Chassepot, the British Snider-Enfield and the Spencer repeating rifle. This was about 300 years after Japan developed its first guns, derived from Portuguese matchlock designs, the Tanegashima or "Nanban guns".

The combat experience of the Boshin War emphasized the need for a standardized design, and the Japanese Army was impressed with the metallic-cartridge design of the French Gras rifle. The design was invented by Major Murata Tsuneyoshi, an infantry officer in the Japanese Imperial Army. Adopted in Emperor Meiji's thirteenth year of reign, the rifle was designated as the model 13 and went into production as the 11-millimeter Type 13 single-shot, bolt-action rifle in 1880.

Superficial improvements such as components, bayonet lugs, and minor configurations led to the redesignation of the Type 13 to the Type 18 rifle in 1885. Further modifications in the same year involving both tubular and box magazines led to the Type 22 rifle, which used a tubular magazine and was reduced to caliber 8mm. The Type 22 was the first Japanese military rifle to utilize smokeless powder and entered military service in 1889.

Three models of bayonets were produced for the rifles: Type 13 and Type 18 which were used with the single-shot variants and Type 22 which were compatible with the repeater variants.

The Murata rifle was the standard infantry weapon of the Imperial Japanese Army during the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and in the Boxer Rebellion. The Imperial Japanese Army was quick to recognize that the design of even the improved Type 22 version of the Murata rifle had many technical issues and flaws. Following the combat experience of the First Sino-Japanese War, a decision was made to replace it with the Arisaka Type 30 rifle, which had been designed in 1898, and which also used the more modern smokeless powder. The rifle performed well in any situation and terrain. However, due to insufficient production, many of the reserve infantry units sent to the front-lines during the latter stages of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 continued to be equipped with the Murata Type 22 rifle.

Type Bolt-action service rifle
Place of origin  Japan
Service history
Used by Empire of Japan
China (Sold, Captured)
Katipunan (Sold)
Philippine Revolutionary Army (Sold)
Wars First Sino-Japanese War
Philippine Revolution
Philippine–American War
Boxer Rebellion
Russo-Japanese War
World War I
Production history
Produced 1880–1905
Variants Type 13
Type 16
Type 18
Type 22
Type 22 carbine
Weight 4.09kg
Length 1294mm
Barrel length 840mm
Cartridge 11×60mmR Murata
8×53mmR Murata
Caliber 11mm
Action Bolt action
Muzzle velocity 435m/s
Feed system Single-Shot
(Type 13, Type 16, Type 18, and civilian models)
8, 5-round tube magazine
(Type 22, Type 22 carbine)

End notes