Murata Rifle
Murata Rifle
Country of origin



Major Tsuneyoshi Murata

Production began


Production ended


Weapon type

Service rifle


8x53mmR Murata
11x60mmR Murata


Bolt action

Overall length

51.2in (1.30m)

Barrel length

33.1in (0.84m)


9.0lbs (4.1kg)

Magazine/Cylinder capacity

Single shot (Civilian Model)
5/8-round tubular magazine

Used by

Empire of Japan

The Murata Rifle was an early Japanese, breech-loading, service rifle. Designed by Maj. Tsuneyoshi Murata and produced between 1880 to 1905, the Murata served the Japanese Empire and China until it was replaced by the Arisaka.[1]


Before Japan managed to develop the Murata, their armed forces had had to rely upon imported European rifles, such as the Chassepot rifle. Only when Maj. Tsuneyoshi Murata fused elements of the Gras Rifle of France and the German Mauser Rifle did Japan adopt their first homemade rifle.[2] Named the Meiji Type 13 Murata Single Shot rifle, the Murata would develop during its service life, appearing in various guises.[3]

Russo-Japanese War (1904-5)Edit

The Murata was used alongside its eventual replacement, the Arisaka, during the Russo-Japanese War. The use of the Murata is often overlooked, as the land battles of the war are themselves overshadowed by Japan's Naval successes. Japan used soldiers equipped with Murata rifles and supported by Machine guns and Field Artillery to fight in format similar to that used during the First World War.[4]

Design DetailsEdit

The Murata Type 13 was originally a single shot rifle, which took elements of its design from the Gras and Mauser rifles (among others). The bolt handle was extended and hollow (like a Dutch Beaumont M1871) and lock infront of the receiver. The receiver itself splits to allow the cartridge to be chambered and extracted. As with the Gras, however, the Murata lacked an ejector, meaning the shooter had to extract a spent cartridge it by hand.

The barrel was rifled and featured a Martini-Henry style bayonet mount. Specifically, the bayonet lug was located on the front-most barrel band. Sights were covered by a ladder sight of various gradiants.


The Murata was the last rifle Japan adopted that used blackpowder cartridges. These cartridges came in two calibre sizes, 8mm and 11mm. The 8mm calibre cartridge was identified as the 8x53mmR cartridge, while the 11mm calibre was known as the 11x60mmR. 

Later Muratas were fitted with tubular magazines, with varying capacities between five and eight shots.


  • The Type 13 designation is given as the Murata was first adopted by Japan in the 13th year of the Meiji Restoration.


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