The Fedorov Avtomat dates back to as early as 1907. Captain Vladimir Fedorov of the Russian Imperial Army designed a prototype automatic rifle. By 1912 his first prototype was complete, and 150 of his Model 1912 rifles were produced as test rifles. For his work, Fedorov was awarded the Mikhailovsky Grand prize, which was awarded every five years for the most important contribution to progress in weapons technology.
Fedorov kept working on his design, and in 1913 he decided that it should not fire full-power cartridges, since these rounds would create excessive recoil if fired automatically. Therefore, he chose the less-powerful 6.5×50mm Arisaka cartridge, which was readily available in Russia since the Russo-Japanese war. It was not until 1915 that his rifle was complete, and a year later it was adopted by the Russian Imperial Army. About 3000 guns were produced for service.
Fedorov's "Avtomat" is a short recoil-operated, locked breech weapon which fires from a closed bolt. The bolt locking is achieved by two locking plates, located at either side of the breech. Those plates are allowed to tilt slightly down and up, locking and unlocking the bolt with special lugs. The barrel is fluted to save the weight and improve cooling. Trigger unit uses a pivoting hammer to fire, and separate manual safety and fire selector levers are installed within the trigger guard. The stock is made from wood, with semi-pistol grip and additional vertical foregrip in the front of the magazine. The curved box magazine held 25 rounds in two rows, and was detachable. A special bayonet was attached to the front of the steel heat-shield below the barrel. Standard open sights with tangent rear were installed on the barrel.