Japanese World War II Bolt Action Rifles

Japanese forces were equipped with the 6.5111m Type 38 rifle, Type 38 carbine, and Type 44 carbine for a long time prior to World War II and large quantities of these weapons were used throughout the war. The older 6.5mm Type 30 rifle and carbine were also frequently encountered during the war. After 1 heir experiences in China and Manchuria the Japanese decided they needed a heavier caliber rifle. They had adopted a 7.7111111 semi-rimmed cartridge for use in a heavy machine gun—Type 92—in 1932 and wished to standardize ammunition. In April 1938, a formal requirement was laid down for a 7.7111111 rifle. Four trial rifles were submitted including one each from Nagoya and Kokura arsenals. Two of the models were carbines modeled on the Type 38 and Type 44 carbines. Proving ground tests at Futsu Proving Ground

World War Mannlicher Carcano

Japanese 6.5mm Type 1 Rifle. This weapon uses a Mannlicher Carcano type action. The reasons for Japanese use of this rifle have still not been explained.

proved that the recoil of the carbincs with 7.7mm cartridges was too great for the average Japanese soldier and all further development of 7.7111111 carbincs was stopped. A decision was made to make a long and short 7,7mm rifle; the short rifle to be issued to cavalry and spccial troops. The 7.7mm cartridge used with these weapons was rimless rather than the semi-rimmed 7.7.111111 used with the Type 92 machine gun. The 7.7mm rimless cartridge is usable in the machine gun; however the 7.7mm semi-rimless is not usable in the rifles.

Japanese 7.7mm Type 99 Long Rifle.

In 1939 the second test was made at Futsu and it was decided to adopt the Nagova design "Rifle Plan No. 1" which was generally similar to the design of the 6.5mm Type 38 rifle. Accuracy problems, however, postponed adoption for awhile. In May 1939 the third series ol tests was run with the long and short rifles and improved ammunition and satisfactory results were obtained. Service tests were run at the Infantry and Cavalry school and the rifle was approved and adopted. In 1941, a Type 99 rifle with 4-power scope was developed for sniping—this weapon was officially adopted in June 1942.

In 1943 it was decided to develop a substitute Type 99 made of lower grade materials and simplified for production. The rifle was made without sling swivels and bolt cover, and inferior steel was used. The chrome plating in the bore also was dispensed with. The sight scale is graduated only to 300 meters. The rifle is called the substitute Type 99 and it can be dangerous to the user.

The Japanese had experienced problems with riñes in airborne operations and in June 1941 a study wras started on development of a paratroop rifle. In October, 1942 the first prototype was completed and tested at Futsu Proving Ground. This prototype was similar to the Type 99 but was of take-down type.

Carcano Prototype

Japanese 7.7mm t ype 2 Rifle Taken Down.

After further modification and testing, the weapon was adopted in May 1943 as the Type 2 Paratroop Rifle. In addition a number of Type 38 carbines were modified for Paratroop use by having folding type stocks fitted. There is also

Mauser Singleshot 15mm

Japanese 6.hum Type 38 Carbine; Converted to a Paratrooper Model by Hinging the Stock.

another modification of Type 99 for paratroop use. The two take-down weapons can be distinguished by the presence of a locking key on the receiver of the Type 2. This key is not on the modified Type 99.

Japanese Semiautomatic Rifles Japan experimented with a number of semiautomatic rifles prior to World War II. Among these was the U.S. designed Pedersen with a rotary magazine which was experimented with by the Japanese soon after it was developed in the United States. Original Japanese experiments in this field started in 1931, but development of prototypes was discontinued in 1937. In March 1941 a new program for development of a semiautomatic rille was begun. Kokura Arsenal developed several types of gas and recoil operated rifles, but none was completely successful. By March 1944 the demand for a semiautomatic by field forces was insistent. This was undoubtedly due to the effect of the firepower of the U.S. Mi rifle on Japanese forces. The Navy took the initiative to meet

Japanese Copy of Pedersen Semiautomatic Pipe. This weapon has. a rotary type magazine.

this demand, and developed a modified copy of the U.S. Mi rifle in 7.7mm caliber. In April 1945 prototypes were completed and tested. Tests were not completely satisfactory, being marked by a large amount of parts breakage—

Japanese 7Jmn: type .5 Semiautomatic Rifle. This is the Japanese A'avy copy of the Ml.

Japanese ordnance metallurgy was at its low point at this time—and by loading and feeding problems. Disregarding these problems, the Japanese adopted the rifle as the "Type 5 automatic rifle." It was never put into mass production and only about 20 of these weapons were built.

Japanese 7.7mm Type 5 Rifle

Caliber: 7.7mm Type of magazine: Integral, box, staggered

Overall weight: 9.12 lbs. column; Capacity: 10

Overall length: 43.25" Barrel length: 43.2;/'

Type of action: Gas operated, semiautomatic No. grooves: 5

Type of bolt: 1 piece, rotating head

Japanese "Simple" Rifles

As invasion loomed on the horizon in 1945, the Japanese, as the Germans, started to develop the cheapest, most simple materiel they could to arm their failing armies and civilians. The Japanese even developed cross-bows and longbows to be used with explosive arrows! Three emergency rifles were designed and prototypes were produced. A 7.7111111 bolt action single shot which could be produced on a lathe was the first of these weapons. It was intended to issue these weapons to front-line defense troops. The 7.7mm cartridge proved to be too powerful for this weapon and it was redesigned for the 8mm pistol cartridge.

Single Shotgun Bolt ActionJapanese Rifles Ww2

Comparison of Japanese Type 99 with art ton open and closed. Note that the royal chrysanthemum has been pled off the top of the receiver. The Japanese so mutilated their rifles before surrendering them, feeling i! a disgrace, to turn them in with the Imperial insignia. When used with proper ammunition, this is a veiy rugged military rifle. For strength, simplicity of design and for genera! use it is one of the simplest and most efficient of all the Mauser rifle variants.

Tests of this prototype were successful. The last type was made similar to a percussion rifle from an ordinary piece of pipe 13mm in diameter. Jt was loaded with black powder and the projectilc was made from steel stock cut in 15mm lengths. A percussion type hammer and nipple type tiring mechanism was used.

Earlier Official Breechloaders

The first Japanese service rifle, the Type 13 single shot Murata in 1 imm caliber was modified in 1887 to convert it to a tube repeater. In 1897, a new rifle was adopted to use a new 8mm rim cartridge—the Type 20. This arm was the major infantry rifle of the Japanese in their war with China in 1894.

The next rifle was the Type 30, a rifle which resembles the Type 38 externally and in caliber.

Notes on Type 30 (Original ArLsaka)

As a result of deficiencies found in field service during the war with China, the Japanese proceeded to develop a new design in a smaller caliber. The result was the first rifle credited to Colonel Arisaka (head of the Rifle Commission), the Type 30. This rifle was listed officially as the Rifle Meiji (also spelled "Meidje", when transliterated) indicating that it was adopted in the 30th year of the reign of the Emperor of that name. This was the rifle used in the war with Russia.

This rifle followed most of the Mauser design. It is a turning bolt action loaded with a Mauser type clip.

The rear end of the bolt, however, differs radically from that of any other rifle. A broad flange comprises its extreme rear and protects the guide grooves in the receiver, while it also serves as a gas shield in the event of a blown head or primer. An opening is milled just ahead of this flange and extends about 1" forward in the side of the bolt cylinder. Its front face has a curved cut which provides the rearward camming movement for primary extraction as the bolt handle is lifted. At the end of this cut is the safety notch.

The extractor has a heavy projecting claw resembling the Spanish Mauser. It is recessed in the head of the bolt. It is supported between the head and the bolt proper.

The bolt assembly consists of the striker and mainspring inserted in the front of the bolt cylinder. The rear of the striker has two wide grooves. A rear bushing slips over the striker.

Two semi-cylindrical units form a striker nut. The safety sleeve is a final unit inside the bolt itself.

The rcccivcr bridge is solid as in standard Mauser practice. It extends to the rear and provides an L-shaped slot in which the bolt handle turns. When the bolt handle is lifted, the firing pin is cammed back into the bolt cylinder in Mauser fashion and the mainspring is partly compressed. The complete compression however occurs when the sear nose catches the cocking stud and holds completely locked. The magazine is also very close to the Spanish Mauser in design. The zigzag spring within it however is of round wire construction, it as the bolt is thrust forward during the closing motion. The trigger mechanism follows that of the Spanish Mauser to prevent firing before the arm is completely locked. The magazine is also very close to the Spanish Mauser in design. The zigzag spring within it, however, is round wire construction.

The ejector and holt stop are the same as in the Roumanian Mannlicher.

The riHe has a long two-piece stock with semi pistol grip. As in later Japanese designs, the butt is of built-up construction. Its lower halt is a separate piece of wood stretching to the beginning of the grip section and is dovetailed, pinned and glued to the stock proper.

The caliber is 6.5mm (.256 inch). The bottle ncckcd cartridge case is of semi-rim construction. (Note: The cartridge used by the Japanese at the beginning of World War 11 was only an improved version of this cartridge.)

World War Japanese Rifles

Japanese 8mm Type 20 Rifle. This wa.s the first Japanese small-boie magazine iifl<

Japanese J i mm

Japanese Type 13

Caliber: nmra

Overall length, rifle without bayonet: 50.25" Overall weight, rifie 'without bayonet: q lbs.

Japanese 8mm Murata

Type: Rimmed, Necked, Centcrfire Overall I.rngrh: 2.90" Average \Vt.: .}58 grs. Type Powder: Nitrocellulose Approximate dig.: 36 grs. Type Primer: Bcrdan

Notes: Cartridge virtually unknown.


Caliber: 8mm Overall length: 47.5" Overall weight: H.68 lbs. Type of action: T umbo It

Type i) Murata Rifle.

(Model 1887) Murata

Type of action: Turnbolt Barrel I ength: Approx. 32" Type of bolt: 2 piece—Rotating head

Type 20 (MI887) Cartridge

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