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Help identifying a Japanese rifle & finding a proper bayonet Login/Join 
CAPT Obvious
Picture of Spiff_P239
posted
A friend of mine has a rifle that a relative brought back from Japan in WW2. As someone who is not versed in historic rifles (me), I’m hoping that some of our members with a more diverse knowledge base can help me identify the rifle and potentially help me locate the correct bayonet that would accompany this piece. As I’ve been told, it’s chambered in 6.5 JAP. I don’t know anything beyond that. Any help would be greatly appreciated.




 
Posts: 3104 | Location: SE Michigan | Registered: February 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Joy Maker
Picture of airsoft guy
posted Hide Post
If it's 6.5 then it's probably a Type 38, but she's been bubba'd, so there's no place to mount the bayonet.



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Posts: 15833 | Location: Washington State | Registered: April 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gracie Allen is my
personal savior!
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AKA the Arisaka, yeah. Some of the bigger surplus places might have some of the parts (or reproductions of the parts) to un-Bubba that thing if your friend really wants to restore it. FWIW, SARCO is offering reproduction bayonets.
 
Posts: 22833 | Location: Deep in the heart of the brush country, and closing on that #&*%!?! roadrunner. Really. | Registered: February 05, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
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Looks like a Type 38 rifle. Airsoft is right. Bubba’ed stock so no where to mount your bayonet. At least it missed the grinding of the Crysthansumum (I know the spelling is wrong). Should have some Japanese symbols on the side of the receiver that you can look up what factory made it. The serial number will tell you a circa “born on date”.

More than likely still chambered in 6.5x50 Japanese. Check though I bought a Type 38 carbine that was rechambered in 7.62x39.

All things considered looks like a decent rifle minus the poor chopped up stock.
 
Posts: 2681 | Registered: January 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Here's a quick guide to help decipher the markings on WW2 era Japanese rifles:

http://oldmilitarymarkings.com/japanese_markings.html
 
Posts: 1474 | Location: Washington | Registered: August 30, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Plowing straight ahead come what may
Picture of Bisleyblackhawk
posted Hide Post
The receiver still having the chrysanthemum makes the bubba job even sadder Frown


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Posts: 9321 | Location: Southeast Tennessee...not far above my homestate Georgia | Registered: March 10, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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In case you aren't familiar with the terminology, when the previous posters say the rifle has been "Bubba'd", they're saying that it's been cut down from its original configuration. It's a term used in the military surplus collector community. "Sporterized" is the more official term.

The idea is that some guy ("Bubba") had a Type 38 Arisaka rifle that he wanted to use as a deer rifle, but he didn't want all that weight, so he chopped the front half of the stock off in his garage. This was not uncommon during the 50s/60s/70s/80s, when WW2 surplus rifle were cheap and plentiful. (Folks back then didn't anticipate the collectors value these rifles would have someday.) "Bubba'd" surplus rifles also commonly feature other modifications like bolt handles that are bent down to clear scopes, iron sights that are removed, barrels that are shortened, receivers that are drilled and tapped for scope mounts, and wood that has been varnished. All intended to make military rifles more like commercial hunting rifles.

Unfortunately, this "Bubba" treatment seriously hurts the collectors value of the rifle, since it is no longer in its original configuration. Even if its restored, it still won't be the original parts.

Below is how the rifle would have originally looked. Notice the bayonet mount on the front of the stock, which is missing from your rifle, along with the upper handguard, barrel bands, and the front half of the stock.

The good news is that the metal on your rifle doesn't appear to have been messed with, so with enough time, money, and patience, you could possibly find a replacement stock, handguard, and stock hardware to put it back into something resembling original configuration, and then be able to mount a bayonet. But Japanese rifle parts are often not easy to find these days...



 
Posts: 22024 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Constable
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Sadly the Mum is still intact, most were ground off. WHY I never could understand. My Dad brought one back from Japan after the War. The mum was ground on that one...REALLY ground down too.

I'd look for a replacement stock since it is an otherwise intact rifle.
 
Posts: 6074 | Location: Craig, MT | Registered: December 17, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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quote:
Originally posted by FN in MT:
Sadly the Mum is still intact, most were ground off. WHY I never could understand. My Dad brought one back from Japan after the War. The mum was ground on that one...REALLY ground down too.


The Imperial Chrysanthemum was stamped on rifles as a symbol that they were property of the Japanese Emperor. At the end of the war, when the Japanese were surrender all their small arms, it was directed that the mum be removed prior to surrendering the rifles, to signify they were no longer Imperial property. To surrender the God-Emperor's property would be dishonorable. The mums were most often either removed with a grinder or defaced with a chisel.

Most WW2 bring-back Japanese rifles were pulled by servicemembers from big piles of surrendered rifles after the end of the war, like your father's rifle. These postwar surrendered rifles will have ground/defaced mums, so most Arisakas in the states today are missing the mums. But some rifles were battlefield trophies picked up during the war, which still retain the mum marking since they were in active service when their Japanese user was killed and the rifle captured.
 
Posts: 22024 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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quote:
Originally posted by RogueJSK:
In case you aren't familiar with the terminology ....


Thanks for taking the time to explain all that, RogueJSK. I knew most of that, but how do we know how to change a tire if no one shows us?

I’m curious, though, about who and why the chrysanthemum was ground off. I had always heard before that it was the occupation forces that did it to destroy its symbolism. It’s hard to imagine that the Japanese themselves would have been able to avoid surrendering the rifles until they’d had the time and resources to do it themselves: “Wait, wait; we surrendered unconditionally, but we’re not going to give you these weapons just yet. It will be a while.” If I’m wrong, though, I’d be interested in the confirming details.




“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
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Posts: 39219 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
I’m curious, though, about who and why the chrysanthemum was ground off. I had always heard before that it was the occupation forces that did it to destroy its symbolism. It’s hard to imagine that the Japanese themselves would have been able to avoid surrendering the rifles until they’d had the time and resources to do it themselves: “Wait, wait; we surrendered unconditionally, but we’re not going to give you these weapons just yet. It will be a while.” If I’m wrong, though, I’d be interested in the confirming details.


Keep in mind, this surrender process didn't happen immediately. There was a period of a couple weeks before most units had the opportunity to formally surrender and hand over their arms to the Americans. (The Japanese ceased hostilities on August 15th, the Americans landed in Japan to begin the occupation on August 28th, and the formal Japanese surrender was on September 2nd.)

In addition, American occupation authorities are reported as specifically allowing Japanese soldiers an opportunity to grind the mums on rifles prior to their official surrender, if they had not already:

quote:
During collection of arms under this directive, the Japanese requested permission from Allied Headquarters to be allowed to remove the imperial Japanese seal from all rifles before they were turned over to occupation forces. Permission was granted and the crests were ground off all surrendered rifles


(And if nothing else, it gave the large number of Japanese soldiers something productive to do during this period... Wink)

After surrender, most of the captured rifles were dumped in the ocean from landing barges, using Japanese labor.

 
Posts: 22024 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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Thanks for that explanation. Must have been that old softie, MacArthur, who approved it. I can only imagine how the Russians would have responded to such a request from the Germans had circumstances been similar. Wink




“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
— Bertrand Russell
 
Posts: 39219 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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I figure that the occupation authorities recognized that they weren't really giving anything up by allowing it, but were potentially gaining greater compliance in return. It was a feel-good concession to the Japanese, with no downside.
 
Posts: 22024 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
"Member"
Picture of cas
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The up side is you can buy a ground but complete rifle, swap the parts around and sell the full Bubba. Down side is they're not cheap anymore. 25 or so years ago the only factory ammo was from Norma and it was $60-$70 a box, so it was not uncommon to find rifles for sale for less than a box of ammo. (often a lot less). The Internet, reloading components and other ammo sources changed all that.


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Posts: 16462 | Location: 18th & Fairfax  | Registered: May 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
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quote:
Originally posted by cas:
The up side is you can buy a ground but complete rifle, swap the parts around and sell the full Bubba.


Be careful with going that route. Depending upon the arsenal and series, some rifles with struck mums can be worth more than another rifle with an unstruck or unground mum to a knowledgeable collector. We also don't know how much of the remaining parts on his rifle have matching numbers.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: jaybirdaccountant,
 
Posts: 645 | Location: WV | Registered: May 30, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
CAPT Obvious
Picture of Spiff_P239
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Thanks for the info, guys. From what I’ve been told, it was a bring back rifle taken directly from a Japanese soldier and my friend received it from his uncle if I’m not mistaken. I’ve sent him the link to this thread so that he can follow along.
 
Posts: 3104 | Location: SE Michigan | Registered: February 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Leatherneck
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quote:
Originally posted by RogueJSK:
In case you aren't familiar with the terminology, when the previous posters say the rifle has been "Bubba'd", ...


Thank You Rogue for actually providing useful info instead of assuming everyone already knew the term.

One thing Rogue did not mention, that .357fuzz did and I think is important enough to be repeated, is to make sure the gun is still chambered for the 6.5. Another popular modification was to rechanmber a surplus rifle to fire a more common cartridge. My grandfather owned multiple 1898 Springfields that he bubba'd including rechambering them. Thankfully he kept one in original condition and in .30-40 Krag that we hung onto after he passed.




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Posts: 13091 | Location: Georgia | Registered: May 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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Excellent point.

It looks like it still has an original barrel, but it's tough to be certain from the photos. And even then, there are ways to rechamber the original barrel by reaming out the chamber. (It was not uncommon in the postwar era to ream out surplus Type 99 Arisakas in 7.7x58mm to .30-06, for example.)

If he's interested in trying to fire it, a gunsmith can inspect it and make a chamber cast to ensure that it's still chambered in the original 6.5x50mm.
 
Posts: 22024 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Hop head
Picture of lyman
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by RogueJSK:
Excellent point.

It looks like it still has an original barrel, but it's tough to be certain from the photos. And even then, there are ways to rechamber the original barrel by reaming out the chamber. (It was not uncommon in the postwar era to ream out surplus Type 99 Arisakas in 7.7x58mm to .30-06, for example.)

If he's interested in trying to fire it, a gunsmith can inspect it and make a chamber cast to ensure that it's still chambered in the original 6.5x50mm.



most of the 99's I have seen that were rechambered were marked , crudely, 30.06 on the left side of the barrel near the receiver

some were, IIRC, also re chambered and given to the Koreans to rearm the country until they could get M1's etc



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Posts: 7350 | Location: Beach VA,not VA Beach | Registered: July 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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