Short, slightly bent bolt handle
Back sight of the carbine m/1907, but slightly
different back sight base
Stepped muzzle (pretty similar to the Finnish
Completely different bands
No cleaning rod or handguard
Sling swivel on the left side of the buttstock
Permanently attached metal bayonet scabbard on the
There are (nearly) no written sources to determine,
who made this gun, where and in what time frame. So when I say, the carbine shall be
discussed here, I really mean it and I would be glad to hear your opinions.
My theory is that this carbine was made in Russia
later than the Gendarmerie-carbine and earlier than the carbine m/07 for the use in the
St. Petersburg Cavalry School, together with the very rare Mosin-Nagant m/91 folding
bayonet after the proposals of Colonel Gulkevitch. The only written source
says, that there was a carbine in that school, that was made for the use of that bayonet.
And as you know, no other Russian/Soviet carbine Mosin-Nagant (except the late carbine
m/44) was designed to attach a bayonet.
The carbine was made similar to the
Gendarmerie-carbines, but this time using not a dragoon but a normal rifle m/1891. It was
shortened to a length of 1030 mm (slightly longer than the carbines m/07, m/38 and m/44).
1. Back sight
The first indication to support my theory is the
back sight. It is made in the same way as the one of the carbine m/07 and graduated (on
all carbines I know) up to 2000 Arshinii. This way of graduation indicates, that this
carbine was made at least earlier than 1930, most likely earlier than 1918, as from 1919
the Soviets changed their way of measurement from Arshinii to Meters. Of course I know,
that the rifles m/91 and dragoon rifles m/91 produced after WW1 still had the graduation
in Arshinii also. In my opinion the back sight base indicates, that it was made earlier
than the one of the carbine m/07. It has two small sight protections, just like the
carbine m/07, but with a little triangle shaped cutout, whereas the protection blades on
the back sight base of the carbines m/07 are rectangular. If you have a look into the
history of every military rifle you will find, that in all cases the authorities tried to
make production more simple, cheaper and faster. And abandoning the cutout is such a way
to ease production.
OK, the back sights I found on the carbines m/91 are
all graduated up to 2000 Arshinii, whereas the ones of the first carbines m/07 are marked
up to 1900 Arshinii only. Does this mean, the mysterious carbine was made later? I do not
think so. The carbines m/07 have been made in much larger quantities. There are some
around with the old back sight (I know just two(!) of them) and most of the early carbines
m/07 have been upgraded for the new cartridge m/1908. I think the same happened with the
carbine m/91, and as much less of them have been manufactured you just do not find one
with the back sight with the early graduation.
2. Cavalry use
Is it possible, that the carbine m/91 is the one
that was used in the St. Petersburg cavalry school? The source just speaks about
a carbine, not mentioning anything more but the use of the Gulkevitch bayonet.
But cavalry use of the carbine m/91 is very likely.
Cavalry soldiers like handy weapons, most of them all over the world had carbines. OK, the
Russian dragoons had no real carbine, but the long dragoon rifle m/91. But even this rifle
was shorter than the infantry rifle m/91. The carbine m/91 has some features, that
indicate cavalry use.
First there is the bolt handle. It is the normal
short one, which became turned down to an angle of about 60 degrees, which makes it much
handier to work with this rifle.
Second there are the sling swivels. The upper one is
on the left side of the front band and the other one on the left side of the buttstock,
which means that the shouldered carbine was much easier to carry on horseback.
The strongest indication for the use in the St.
Petersburg Cavalry School is the mentioned folding bayonet m/91. This very special and
without any doubt Russian bayonet cannot become attached to any normal rifle Mosin-Nagant
without removing the cleaning rod, as the folding axis of the bayonet bumps to the head of
the cleaning rod when you try to attach it. And the carbine m/91 was designed NOT to have
a cleaning rod, it is not just missing on all know carbines. The carbine has no cutout in
the stock for the cleaning rod.
You are able to use a normal bayonet m/91 with this
carbine. But the normal bayonet does not fit the scabbard! If you turn it backwards it
slips into the scabbard, but the tip of the blade will go into the scabbard just the half
way before the way back of the bayonet will be stopped by the front sight base. The
Gulkevitch bayonet fits, the tip of its blade will be just two millimeters away from
the back end of the scabbard.
That means we know about a bayonet, used in the St.
Petersburg Cavalry School with an unknown carbine, this bayonet does not fit any other
rifle or carbine Mosin-Nagant but just this carbine m/91. My conclusion is: The bayonet
was made for this carbine only, this is the carbine used in the St. Petersburg Cavalry
C. More special features
1. The bands
The bands are unique ones. Their inner shape is
identical to the shape of the bands of the normal rifles m/91. There are two different
types, the early ones, with the open locking screw, and the post 1908 ones, with the
integrated screw, which indicates use of those carbines before 1908 also.
The upper band has a fixed sling swivel on its
left side and on the right side an edged lug. This lug supports the Gulkevitch bayonet
blade when it is put backwards into the scabbard. With a normal bayonet m/91 it does not
work really, as this lug would bend the bayonet slightly, another indication, that the
Gulkevitch bayonet was designed for this carbine.
The lower band has a larger partly oval lug on the
right side with a round hole in it. Through this hole you stick the bayonet blade in the
2. The bayonet scabbard
Just behind the lower band is the bayonet scabbard.
It is about 10 cms long, made of very thin sheet metal and fixed to the stock with four
wood screws, two on top of the stock and two on its side.
All known weapons are matching. The numbers are
stamped on the barrel, the bolt, the floorplate and the buttplate as usual, but the
numerals are slightly larger than the normal Russian ones.
4. Other brands
There are no factory brands except the ones of the
former infantry rifles. You find manufacturing dates from 1899 to 1920 and all
manufacturers of this time frame, which means that this carbine has been made a pretty
long time and even after WW1.
Normally the Czarist Eagles are scrubbed. There is
just one known carbine with those Eagles intact. This can be another indication for the
use in the St. Petersburg school: Those schools always were highly indoctrinated political
institutions, especially in the Soviet Union, and so the Czarist Eagle was no longer
political correct and had to be removed.
On some carbines you find unknown brands, like a
little cloverleaf on the sling swivel at the buttstock, or the brand AA 36 on
the barrel and the buttplate. May be the last brand is something like a rack number.
Unfortunately there are no factory brands on the
bands and the scabbards. But that might indicate the rework by the school
This carbine is a very special and ultra rare
weapon. I have found no indication that it was made in another country, as those countries
would not have used the rare m/07 back sight for instance. But until the time, a written
source will be found, I just can guess, and my guess is still:
This is the a carbine Mosin-Nagant, made by
shortening a normal infantry rifle m/1891 in and for the St. Petersburg Cavalry School.