Nagoya 28th Series sub-caliber training rifle for Tank Guns

Quazit

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So, some time ago, I walked into a local pawn shop and saw what was a Japanese Arisaka Type 38. It was unusual and it was cheap so I picked it up.


After a lot of indulgence into history, I discovered that this was a specific rifle made for a very specific task.

In Japan during WWII, the Japanese Army needed something to save on Ammo to sight in their heavy guns. They didn't want (Or couldn't afford) to keep shooting cannons with actual ammunition for sighting them in. So someone there devised a "Carriage" that would rest on top of the heavy guns. In this carriage they would bolt a Type 38 Arisaka and use that to sight the big guns in. It was a unique/cheap/novel way to get the job done.

The Arisaks in question (I will add photos) does have a "scrubbed" mum or "chrysanthemum" or Logo of the Emperor. "Scrubbed" meaning this logo that was stamped into the forged barrel hood was ground off by American forces (But still partially visible in many cases). As to the uniqueness and shootability of the gun. It is Chambered in 5.6x50 JAP which was the standard Japanese round for these weapons. It is a full length rifle just like one which would be carried in combat (In fact it probably was dual use).

It took me a few years to track down the author of a book, The Early Arisakas Mr. Francis Allen.

These are rare. Speaking to the man who wrote the book on them Francis Allen, there are probably 20 or so in the U.S. For whatever reason, people do not value them very high which really surprises me still. I dont shoot it, but its a keeper for me as is the email from Mr. Francis Allen.

"Nagoya 28th Series sub-caliber training rifle"

Accpording to Mr. Frances Allen who published a comprehensive book on Arisakas in 2007,
"
To mount the rifles for this purpose holes were drilled in the rear of the stock and threaded sleeves were fitted so that the weapons could be screwed securely to the mount or a cross bolt was fitted. The forward portion of the rifles were either retained by a cross bolt fitted through the rear barrel band or held in place by clamps attached to the mount.

Type 38 infantry rifles were utilized in at least three known variations of these devices. These are:



Type 90 – This device was designed to be substituted in the standard mount for the 57mm tank gun of the Type 89 CHI-RO medium tanks. The rifle retained its original 6.5mm Japanese caliber. The rifle and the mounting apparatus, plus transportation box and special tools weighted 55lbs. (25kg).



Type 94 – This mounting was utilized as a substitute for the standard mount for the 37mm tank gun of the Type 95 HA-GO light tank. Again the rifle caliber remained unchanged. The rifle and the mounting apparatus, plus transportation box and special tools weighted 77lbs. (35kg).



Type 97 – This apparatus was intended for use as a substitute for the normal main gun mount in early Type 97 CHI-HA medium tanks. The rifle and the mounting apparatus, plus transportation box and special tools weighted 73lbs. (33kg)."
 

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dennishoddy

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Great write up! I wasn't familiar with that model of rifle or it's intended use. I learned something today.
I've owned two Arisaka's, the first given to me by a co-worker who's WWII veteran father died. He didn't like guns and just wanted to give it to someone to get it out of the house. It was partially sporterized but the mum was intact. Chambered in 7.7 Jap. Factory ammo is still available, but hard to find. Sold it after awhile as the caliber didn't interest me.
Second was bought at a farm auction. Completely sporterized with a Bishop stock, and rebarreled into .300 Savage. It was surprisingly accurate at the range. The mum was intact on this one as well.
As I understand, the mum was ground off by the military for captured weapons found in storage or collected on the battlefield? Individuals picking them up as battlefield trophy's could opt to keep it intact. I stand to be corrected on that though.
 

Quazit

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Great write up! I wasn't familiar with that model of rifle or it's intended use. I learned something today.
I've owned two Arisaka's, the first given to me by a co-worker who's WWII veteran father died. He didn't like guns and just wanted to give it to someone to get it out of the house. It was partially sporterized but the mum was intact. Chambered in 7.7 Jap. Factory ammo is still available, but hard to find. Sold it after awhile as the caliber didn't interest me.
Second was bought at a farm auction. Completely sporterized with a Bishop stock, and rebarreled into .300 Savage. It was surprisingly accurate at the range. The mum was intact on this one as well.
As I understand, the mum was ground off by the military for captured weapons found in storage or collected on the battlefield? Individuals picking them up as battlefield trophy's could opt to keep it intact. I stand to be corrected on that though.
Thank You sir.

Yes battlefield surrendered Arisakas, machine guns, mortars, etc from Japan had the Mum (emperors logo) Chrysanthemum ground off and intentionally defaced. The reason was because it signified to the surrendered Japanese that the emperor was no longer in control and that the weapon was no longer Japanese Imperial property. The removal of the mum was a slap in the face to the Japanese ad they considered the emperor no less than their god. Such was the way of Imperial Japan.

As far as retaining the mums. That's an interesting subject actually. in the beginning of the surrender, they scrubbed all mums. Even the take backs. But at some point I think the surrender was so large that the U.S. stopped scrubbing them altogether. Early in the war I have no doubt that some were absconded and shipped home with mums intact without general knowledge (Such as in a lieutenant's seabag or trunk being sent home.)

I have been in talks with the formerly mentioned author and deciding whether to now restore the Spotter to a normal T38 or leave it as is. I have another T38 Arisaka which I believe was converted to a training rifle. All matching parts, including the dust cover except the bolt, which was common. What I wish I could find were photos of that carriage in one of the above photos. I have seen one photo of one mounted on a big gun years ago and cant remember where I saw that at.

I have more photos of both rifles if anyone is interested.

A couple of years ago my friend gave me the training rifle and I had forgotten about it until today when I dug it out. I dont think it has been disassembled since 1942 or so. I am currently sourcing matching parts for either - which as you can imagine very difficult to find.
 

Quazit

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For now I will attach some of the comparison closeups of the above spotter rifle and the numbers matching training rifle parts I disassembled to day.
 

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Quazit

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Some photos of both Rifles. I spent the day cleaning the stock of the training rifle today. It was almost black with whatever finish someone put over the original. Cleaning it removed the Red Kanji writing unfortunately, but it brings nothing to the guns value only its history. Will be applying some other finish to it later on. After it dried out the stock wood is pretty dry. I seem to recall them being made out of Japanese Maple, but I can't recall. Whomever applied the dark finish to it really kind of ruined the stock as you can never get all of that black back out of wood properly even using wood bleach, which I would never use on a firearm stock anyway. Enjoy.

Next project perhaps to post about will be a Mosin Nagant that was customized years ago with parts that are no longer available.

Also have a Santa Fe 1903A3 but too many people are afraid to shoot them-due to suggested "excessive headspace" issues.

I guess I like unique arms for some odd reason.

stock1.jpgstock2.jpgstock3.jpgstock4.jpg
 
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Quazit

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Thank You @dennishoddy .

I found out yesterday that what I thought was a training rifle is actually a Chinese Arisaka Import. All matching, so that's a positive thing for me.
 

dennishoddy

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Thank You @dennishoddy .

I found out yesterday that what I thought was a training rifle is actually a Chinese Arisaka Import. All matching, so that's a positive thing for me.
When you say a chinese Arisaka import, was it captured by the chinese during the war and finally imported and sold in the US, or a reproduction?
 

Quazit

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This rifle sports the following hardware that is matching numbers:

Trigger
Trigger Housing
Magazine Box/Housing
Handguard upper
Stock
Upper Tang
Lower Tang
Bolt Release
FrontBand

Bolt Handle: 915 with Kanji/Katakana Char.
Extractor: 467 With Kanji/Katakana Char.
Safety: 324 Kanji/Katakana Char.
Bolt: S
Firing Pin: Kanji/Katakana Char.
Magazine lower plate: 539 Kanji/Katakana Char. and two concentric circles
Rear Barrel Band: not legible with Kanji/Katakana Char.
 

Bob Lee

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This rifle sports the following hardware that is matching numbers:

Trigger
Trigger Housing
Magazine Box/Housing
Handguard upper
Stock
Upper Tang
Lower Tang
Bolt Release
FrontBand

Bolt Handle: 915 with Kanji/Katakana Char.
Extractor: 467 With Kanji/Katakana Char.
Safety: 324 Kanji/Katakana Char.
Bolt: S
Firing Pin: Kanji/Katakana Char.
Magazine lower plate: 539 Kanji/Katakana Char. and two concentric circles
Rear Barrel Band: not legible with Kanji/Katakana Char.
Excellent.
 

Quazit

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Was confirmed that my Chinese Import Arisaka was used for training in China probably around the Hunan Province, then at some point shipped to the U.S according to these markings translated by someone in China. The red marking obviously have been removed because I stripped the fugly paint they had on it.

Red markings are of some "county" n the Hunan district probably and the deep carved or burnt letters just indicate cadet or training rifle

Good to know before I test fire that weapon. Will do so remotely. Was informed sometimes the Chinese had holes drilled under the chamber/barrel step before they were imported to the U.S.
 

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