The First Mosin Nagant was a French Mosin Nagant
The Mosin Nagant is a rifle that represents Russia. When one thinks of Russia typically vodka, potatoes, hard bass music, and the Mosin Nagant come to mind. However, believe it or not the very first production models of the Mosin Nagant did not come from Glorious Motherland, rather the Mosin was first manufactured in the Land of the Baguette; France.
How did this come to be? While Russia adopted the Model 1891 Mosin Nagant in 1891, it was taking some time for Russian arsenals to retool in order to manufacture the rifle. At around the same time, Russia and France were discussing an alliance. Russian relations were not very good in the 19th century, with France invading Russia during the Napoleonic Wars in 1812 and again during the Crimean War. However in 1891 tensions were cooling, and there was a bigger foe on the horizon in the form of Germany. An official treaty was signed in 1892, among which was an agreement in which France would produce 500,000 Mosin Nagant rifles for Russia. Production was contracted to the Chatellerault Arsenal, which produced 503,750 Mosin Nagant rifles between 1892 and 1895 for the price of 59 Francs each. This price included production of the rifle, accessories, and proof testing.
The Chatellerault Mosin Nagant is little different than Russian production Mosins, but the most interesting difference was the addition of a finger rest on the stock.
The barrel was stamped with the double headed eagle which represented the Czar, while the receiver featured Chatellerault Arsenal markings in Cyrilic.