Military Review

Basile Gras Single Shot Rifle

7
For some reason, earlier to the latest in handguns weapons they were more serious and almost immediately, such innovations ceased to be such, since they received maximum distribution. At that time, neither the high cost of production nor the individual shortcomings of the weapon stopped, which were eliminated even when the weapon went into operation. I don’t argue that at the moment the military operations are very different even from those that were in the middle of the XNUMXth century, but the idea does not leave that the soldier’s life was valued more expensive, because if a soldier can carry out a combat mission more quickly and successfully, then there’s a chance to stay he has more alive. At the moment, there is a huge number of a wide variety of developments that can significantly increase the effectiveness of certain classes of weapons, but due to the fact that production and rearmament is too expensive, all these developments remain experimental and rarely go beyond the territory of the plant. So, for example, arrow-shaped bullets can significantly increase the effectiveness of large-caliber machine guns and SWF, as already mentioned, but despite the idea that it has been a lot for many years, these weapons and ammunition have not been put into mass production. But when the first ammunition with a metal sleeve appeared, very little time passed before the moment of their widespread distribution and this despite the high cost, the need to create new weapons or at least adapt existing ones. At that time, neither the price of the issue nor the possible problems with the new yet tested weapons scared anyone, since they saw that such ammunition had a clear advantage over a paper cartridge. Let's try to get acquainted with one of the samples of weapons converted from a paper cartridge under a cartridge with a metal sleeve, namely with a rifle and ammunition, proposed by Basil Gra.


The Gra rifle is a kind of product of understanding that a more advanced weapon leads the army to victory, although it was necessary to pay a high price for understanding this simple truth, namely defeat in the Franco-Prussian war. Seeing that the main reason for the defeat lies in the lag in armament, it was decided to urgently re-equip the army and first of all you need to start with the adoption of a rifle for a cartridge with a metal sleeve. Of course, there was no money either for the cartridge itself or for the weapon, and it was always quite expensive to rearm an entire army. Partly solved the problem by Captain Basil Gras, who proposed a relatively cheap solution for creating a weapon chambered with a metal sleeve, using Shaspo rifle as a basis, well, I had to pay the full amount of ammunition. By the way, the cartridge for the rifle is also the merit of Captain Gras. In fact, the decision was not the most original and many saved it in this way, however, the merits of the captain cannot be diminished, especially considering that the resulting weapon was distributed at the time in Russia. In fact, the main work of the captain was to create a bolt for the rifle and cartridge, the work with the drill associated with the chamber can be disregarded as a matter of course. Since the basis of any weapon is ammunition, then we will begin with it.

The cartridge was based on a sleeve-shaped sleeve with a flange made of brass 59 mm long. Powder weight was the weight of 5,25 grams, but the most important was the bullet of this cartridge. The bullet was cast from pure lead, and its weight was 25 grams. Leaving the barrel of weapons, this bullet accelerated to 448 meters per second, that is, the kinetic energy of the bullet was about 2500 Joule. Considering that the bulletless blast is easy to imagine what kind of injuries she inflicted when she hit the body of the enemy, with such energy. Add to this a decent bullet caliber just over 10 millimeters and get the perfect ammunition for hitting an unprotected enemy with a bulletproof vest. However, not everything was as perfect as it seems. Sealing the junction of the liner and the bullet was made quite unreliable composition in the form of a mixture of wax and fat. As a result, when the weather was quite hot, the whole thing “floated”, and since the bullet itself held onto the shell only on this train, the missile could simply have dropped out of the shell itself. Saved only by the fact that the hot weather was far from frequent. Another interesting point was that the cartridge primer was originally covered with a cap so that the cartridge would not accidentally shoot, and also to protect the capsule composition from moisture. This was done very briefly, and since it was necessary to remove this cap to make a shot, they came up with more sensible methods for sealing the capsule. In general, the cartridge for its time came out very good and lasted much longer than the other first ammunition with a metal sleeve, although it was constantly being upgraded.

As mentioned above, the Gra rifle is a modernized Shaspo rifle, in which the bolt was replaced, and the chamber was bored under the metal sleeve. Even the bayonet of the weapon, which was a small saber, was left unchanged. The rifle bolt was a very simple and at the same time robust design, which consisted of only 7 parts and without any threaded connections. Thus, it took seconds to disassemble the bolt, which was a positive weapon quality, because thanks to its simplicity and ease of maintenance, absolutely anyone could handle it. The barrel was locked over the crest of the bolt when turning 90 degrees. Despite the seeming simplicity of the design of the shutter, it is easy to notice that it took a lot of time to make it, and judging by the photos, the quality of the machining of parts is such that many modern manufacturers (I won’t point the finger) have a lot to learn, and yet all this was done against the general background the strictest savings. The extractor is a V-shaped spring, which at one end seizes the sleeve at the rim, and with the other, when the bolt is locked, it rests against the constriction in the receiver. As a result, the second end of the spring reliably grips the liner rim, which allows you to reliably remove the liner after the shot, even if it was deformed for some reason and stuck in the chamber. Of considerable importance in this all has a thick shutter handle, quite convenient for the application of muscular strength to her arrow.

The appearance of the weapon is largely due to the fact that the bayonet attack was an integral part of the battle of that time, so they tried to make the weapon as comfortable as possible to work with a bayonet. The rifle's stock and rifle were made of walnut wood, the receiver was fastened with just one screw, and in addition, the barrel of the weapon was fixed in two rings. As already mentioned above, the bayonet of the weapon was a small sword, which could be quickly detached from the weapon and used separately from the rifle. An interesting point is that in the butt of the weapon there was a small capsule with holy water. Many consider this to be nothing more than a legend, but absolutely on all rifles on the right side you can notice a small cap in the butt. I personally do not see any justified practical motives for adding to the construction of this part, so why not be this true. By the way, one more thing about the stock. The butt plate was metallic, so that the butt hit was serious, not as serious as a bayonet strike, but it was definitely not a pleasant one.

Sights, which are mounted on the weapon, are quite interesting and using them is far from being as easy as it may seem at first glance, but if you look, then no problems arise. Sights consist of a pillar and front sight on a high rack. When firing at a distance of up to 300 meters, a slot is used based on the rear sight, in other words, the part that is closest to the arrow is used. From this we can conclude that the distance of the direct shot of the weapon is 300 meters. For firing from 300 to 400 meters, another slot is already used, which is located on the rising part of the rear sight, it is wider, plus it is located just above the first slot in the raised position. It is difficult to imagine that the fire with the help of open pillars and flies can be conducted effectively at a distance of more than 400 meters, however, there were no alternatives at that time, and to be able to at least scare the enemy with off target fire, hoping that thanks to luck find, I would like to. In this case there is a very high folding part with graduation at different distances from 400 to 1100 meters with a slot in the center. But this is not the limit. At the very top of the huge pillar along the length there was another cutout for firing at a distance of 1200 meters. With the improvement of ammunition appeared sights for firing at a distance of 1800 meters, which is, in my opinion, an even greater manifestation of optimism. I, for example, wouldn’t spend ammunition at a distance of 600 meters, since it’s absolutely useless to shoot at a great distance, although 600 meters is a distance for shooting “for good luck” with such sights, and the single charge of the weapon is clearly not has - the hand will be tired by the time the enemy approaches the normal distance.

The barrel of the weapon had a 4 rifling height 0,25 millimeters in increments of rifling 550 millimeters, but the length was already dependent on the weapon version. The barrel of an infantry rifle was the length of entire 820 millimeters, while the length of the rifle itself was 1305 millimeters, and with a bayonet, and in general 1827 millimeters. The weight of this weapon without a bayonet was equal to 4,2 kilograms, with the bayonet the same - 4,740 kilograms, do not forget about the metal back plate on the butt, with a good swing you can quite successfully crush the skulls of foes. In addition, on the meringue of the Gra rifle, a carbine was created, or rather, two carbines, one for the military, the other for the gendarmes, they differed only in details and were generally the same weapon. They differed from an infantry rifle with a smaller length of the barrel of the weapon, as well as a bend of the bolt handle, for more convenient carrying of the weapon. The length of the carbines was 690 millimeters, the total length was equal to 1175 millimeters. The carbine version for the army was also equipped with a bayonet, with which the total length of the weapon was 1748 millimeters. For the gendarme variant, a bayonet of a slightly different design was also provided, but it was not used. The weight of the carbine for the army was 3,56 kilograms, the gendarmery carbine weighed a little more - 3,59 kilograms. With a bayonet army version of the carbine weighed kilogram 4,25. There was also a fitting made on the base of the rifle. The length of its barrel was 505 millimeters, while the total length of the weapon was 990 millimeters without a bayonet and 1563 millimeters with a bayonet. The weight of this device was equal to 3,26 kilogram and 3,915 kilogram without a bayonet and with a bayonet, respectively.

As is clear from the description, the weapon was not easy even in its most “trimmed” version, and the length of these samples was clearly not the most compact, which was in principle a plus when working with a bayonet. The maximum claimed rate of fire was 30 shots per minute. That is, it was assumed that in two seconds the shooter would remove the cartridge case, insert a new cartridge, aim and shoot, which is unlikely if it is a really aimed fire and without taking into account various circumstances that make it difficult to recharge and aim, such as the enemy’s fire.

Officially, the rifle was decommissioned by the French army in 1886, when Lebel’s rifle came to replace it, but the rearmament process was delayed. Only by the middle of the 1910-s was it possible to completely remove weapons from the army and store them. And here it began история weapons on the territory of Russia, since after the conservation of the 450 thousands of rifles, carbines and Gra unions were sold to us. In addition, part of the weapon was sent to Greece, where it was successfully used during the war and after it. Strange as it may seem, but the weapon was by no means the best even at the time of its creation, yes it was not bad, but, nevertheless, this model was widely spread due to circumstances, at the same time it was simple and cheap as made it quite famous, forever inscribed in the history of the name Basil Gras. Naturally, the weapon was constantly changing, the ammunition improved, some moments changed during rifle production, but no significant changes were made, even the rifle magazine was not hitched, and this would significantly increase the rate of fire, increasing the effectiveness of the weapon. In general, such a weapon was here, and since it became a part of our history, we still need to know it, even though now it can be found very, very rarely, even in a museum. Although, maybe, a couple of hundreds of these forgotten rifles were lying somewhere in some warehouse in the corner.
Author:
Photos used:
www.opoccuu.com
7 comments
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  1. avt
    avt 27 March 2013 09: 26 New
    +3
    Level history excursion good the topic may not be as running as an automatic weapon, but cognitive.
    1. scrabler
      27 March 2013 10: 57 New
      +2
      This is, so to speak, distract smile
  2. Peacemaker
    Peacemaker 27 March 2013 09: 48 New
    +3
    It is unclear why Russia was buying obsolete rifles in all respects. request
    1. Vladimirets
      Vladimirets 27 March 2013 10: 13 New
      +5
      Cheap and foreign (an analogy with the Mistrals suggests itself), although Mosinka already had one.
    2. scrabler
      27 March 2013 10: 58 New
      0
      But a lot and cheap smile to know the exact equivalent of the amount paid would be generally wonderful.
      1. Ascetic
        Ascetic 27 March 2013 17: 05 New
        +3
        Quote: scrabler
        But a lot and cheap to know the exact equivalent of the amount paid would be generally wonderful.


        Cyril, I even heard that the Gra rifle was in service with units of the People’s Militia in the battle of Moscow in 1941-42. Is this interesting?
        1. scrabler
          27 March 2013 18: 41 New
          +1
          This is the last use of this weapon in history
      2. anomalocaris
        anomalocaris 28 March 2013 18: 26 New
        0
        Oh...
        Rifles Gra, Gra-Kropachek, Vetterli and others were not purchased from a good life. There was a war. and in its course it suddenly became clear that rifles were sorely lacking. So they bought everything that they sell.
        Read V.G. Fedorov "In Search of Weapons". Then the desire to write stupid comments will immediately disappear.
      3. anomalocaris
        anomalocaris 28 March 2013 18: 26 New
        0
        Oh...
        Rifles Gra, Gra-Kropachek, Vetterli and others were not purchased from a good life. There was a war. and in its course it suddenly became clear that rifles were sorely lacking. So they bought everything that they sell.
        Read V.G. Fedorov "In Search of Weapons". Then the desire to write stupid comments will immediately disappear.
      4. anomalocaris
        anomalocaris 28 March 2013 18: 26 New
        +1
        Oh...
        Rifles Gra, Gra-Kropachek, Vetterli and others were not purchased from a good life. There was a war. and in its course it suddenly became clear that rifles were sorely lacking. So they bought everything that they sell.
        Read V.G. Fedorov "In Search of Weapons". Then the desire to write stupid comments will immediately disappear.
      5. anomalocaris
        anomalocaris 28 March 2013 18: 27 New
        0
        Oh...
        Rifles Gra, Gra-Kropachek, Vetterli and others were not purchased from a good life. There was a war. and in its course it suddenly became clear that rifles were sorely lacking. So they bought everything that they sell.
        Read V.G. Fedorov "In Search of Weapons". Then the desire to write stupid comments will immediately disappear.
    3. Construktor
      Construktor 27 March 2013 11: 07 New
      +5
      It is unclear why Russia was buying obsolete rifles in all respects.
      Read V. Fedorov "In Search of Weapons". When, with the beginning of WWI, there was a shortage of small arms, he collected all kinds of junk around the world. Even from the Mexicans, he stole the arisaki they bought. And to establish your own production is not destiny ...
    4. jurmamed
      jurmamed 27 March 2013 15: 26 New
      +1
      bought where they could and what they could. And my great-grandfather in civilian with GRA Voronezh defended from Shkuro. All that I remember-cartridges like carrots-puffing in pockets ...
  3. carbofo
    carbofo 27 March 2013 09: 58 New
    0
    As far as I remember, in westerns this rifle was used more than once, precisely for long-range shooting. Although, as the author mentioned, the bullet was not suitable for firing at long distances.
  4. Construktor
    Construktor 27 March 2013 11: 16 New
    +3
    Riding and not for sure!
    "The Gra rifle is ... a product of the understanding that more sophisticated weapons lead the army to victory, though it was necessary to pay a high price for understanding this simple truth, namely the defeat in the Franco-Prussian war"The Franks paid for the superiority of the Prussian artillery. But the guns of those (Dreise) were no longer at the level. Moreover, the speed of adoption of gras (EMNIP - 1874, the author did not even indicate it) shows that (IMHO) development began even before war.
    "Naturally, the weapons were constantly changing, the ammunition was improving, individual moments were changing during the production of rifles, but no significant changes were made, even the rifle shop was not hitched, and this would significantly increase the rate of fire, increasing the effectiveness of the weapon". And what about Gra-Kropachek? By the way, this particular shop is cut in the photo4.
    More thoroughly need (s)
    1. bazilio
      bazilio 27 March 2013 13: 40 New
      +2
      Quote: Construktor
      But what about Gra-Kropachek? By the way, this particular store was cut in photo4.

      Kropachek finalized the Gra system a little later and, if my memory serves me, for the Austrian army
      Quote: Construktor
      But the guns of those (Draise) was no longer at the level

      The Dreise guns were in service with the Prussians until 1871. In addition, Dreise was needle-shaped, that is, to ignite the powder charge, the initiating explosive was punctured with a long needle piercing through the paper cartridge. The design gave advantages over muzzle-loading guns in terms of rate of fire, but often the needle bent, there were problems with breakthroughs of powder gases and so on.
    2. scrabler
      27 March 2013 18: 42 New
      +1
      Thanks, really missed a lot sad
  5. bazilio
    bazilio 27 March 2013 13: 44 New
    +2
    Thank you for the article. An interesting fact about the Gra-Kropachek rifle. Kropachek added an under-barrel tubular magazine to the Gra rifle. The design of the store allowed locking cartridges in the store in order to charge the rifle one cartridge. The Austrian military was pleased with this function because they were afraid of an increase in the consumption of cartridges due to the presence of a store.
  6. smprofi
    smprofi 27 March 2013 15: 41 New
    +1
    for the pack - thanks.

    but here...

    however, the idea does not leave that previously the life of a soldier was valued more


    don't say that anymore.
    do not...
    when four of a kind for a drum beat and with a flag unfurled marching on the cannon battery, and the commander cares about the alignment of the system, not the loss ... and bowing to the cores / bullets is cowardice ...
    Well, where is the concern for life?
    1. AK-47
      AK-47 27 March 2013 18: 18 New
      +2
      Quote: smprofi
      ... and the commander cares about the equalization of the system, not the loss ... and bowing to the cores / bullets is cowardice ... well, where is the concern for life?

      We don’t understand this, the time was different, a different battle tactic, the contempt of death.
    2. scrabler
      27 March 2013 18: 46 New
      +2
      And against this background, new weapons are being put into service, literally for the last money, just because it is slightly better. Well, the rest is already, so to speak, an idea of ​​the honor and courage of that time. Look at how many models of weapons there are at the moment new and how actively they are being put into service, and in fact a more advanced weapon is a soldier’s chance not only to complete the task, but also to remain alive. Is not it so?
      1. smprofi
        smprofi 27 March 2013 20: 23 New
        +2
        Quote: scrabler
        Is not it so?

        no.
        you just had to write right away: the new weapon is more effective, you can kill more enemy soldiers.

        but with modern times ... in Russia sniper bolts were "raised" by Lobaev. then Lobaev left Russia. the people on the forums all ryadil "why is it suddenly?". then ORSIS appeared. and presented "the best sniper rifles." Is it so? Are ORSIS bolts better than Lobaev's counterparts? I do not know. hardly. on the other hand, Rogozin, "the organizer of the defense industry and military science" (ugum, sir, this is after the Faculty of Journalism and the University of Marxism-Leninism), is so excited about ORSIS and its products.
        why's that? yes Rogozin Jr., "a gunsmith in the third (!) generation" (by the way, also a wonderful education: Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics (MESI) and Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University) of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the last from 2005 to now), only the Deputy General Director of the Promtechnologii Group of Companies, i.e. ORSIS.

        weapons at the moment - a fairly profitable event. and there, in the development and production, many are striving. but few succeed. without the support of the powerful.

        although ... there are "jokes": http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21701588
        a bloke named James McCormick was selling "bomb detectors" (and specifically to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Georgia and Niger) for up to $ 40,000 (£ 27,000). at the same time, his firm Advanced Detection Equipment did not invent or produce anything, but took ready-made ... "golf ball finders" at a price of ... $ 20 (£ 13)
        this is gesheft!
      2. anomalocaris
        anomalocaris 30 March 2013 03: 53 New
        0
        What's the point? Suffice it to recall the "gun drama".
  7. Ch0sen1
    Ch0sen1 27 March 2013 16: 44 New
    +2
    Article +
    It would be interesting to compare this device with the Berdan rifle, or just do an overview of the most common single-shot rifles, since this topic is not as discussed as the subsequent weapons story.
    1. scrabler
      27 March 2013 18: 48 New
      +2
      smile Not, such a plan material, probably, until I pull. There, each model is a legend and it is very difficult to compare them, but I will make marks for the future hi
    2. anomalocaris
      anomalocaris 30 March 2013 03: 56 New
      0
      You probably mean the Berdan rifle number 2?
  8. AK-47
    AK-47 27 March 2013 18: 01 New
    +2
    ... in the butt of the weapon there was a small capsule with holy water ...

    What a touching concern for a fighter. +++
    1. scrabler
      27 March 2013 18: 49 New
      +1
      Well, time was different, like people, the awareness of this was important to someone. smile
  9. biglow
    biglow 27 March 2013 18: 45 New
    +1
    interesting look at the story
  10. Robert Nevsky
    Robert Nevsky 30 October 2014 10: 09 New
    0
    I read that the Bulgarian rebels in Macedonia were armed with Gra rifles. By the way, they took them from the Greeks.