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Old November 18, 2011, 12:25 AM   #1
Roscoe54
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Rechambering an Arisaka 38

Years ago I picked up a 6.5mm x 50mm Arisaka 38 at a gun show for $45. The barrelled receiver was all original but it had a sporterized stock. At the time I was collecting antique military rifles and planned to restore it. I came across a non-firing training variation of the M38 in a box at a local gun shop and the owner gave it to me so I could pirate the stock. I never got around to it however. I no longer collect military stuff--I auctioned off everything except the Swedish Mausers and a pristine 1954 AG42B Swedish Ljungman (the sucessor to the Mauser, an ultra-cool semi-auto 6.5 x 55 with a unique gas-operated action). The Arisaka wound up in the uncompleted project pile in the corner of my shop.

The mum is ground off but otherwise it's in fine shape. It has a 32" barrel, no rust, a bore I'd rate as good to very good and surprisingly the bluing and finish are excellent. I presume it's pre-war manufacture.

My pet caliber is the 6.5x55 Swede--I bought my first M96 on a whim at a pawn shop in 1979 but the only ammo then available was special-order Norma (pricy stuff) and reloading dies were nonexistent. Though I only put 40 rounds through it over the next dozen years I was impressed with the accuracy and quality. When the import market first opened up in the early 90's I pounced. I first bought another nice M96 (29")and an even nicer M38 (24"), for around $80 ea. Then Lady Luck smiled on me when I stumbled across a dozen threaded 24" Husqvarna factory barrels packed in Cosmoline, in the white, gauged and approval-stamped, unpolished on the outside but the rifling and chambers are mirror-smooth; I paid $9 apiece through an ad in Shotgun News. The small-rings manufactured on Mauser license in other countries share the same thread pitch and I went on the prowl for Mauser actions--since I didn't care about the bore condition I picked up several 7mm and an oddball 7.65mm, along with a pair of Carl Gustav carbine (bent bolt) stripped receivers, at giveaway prices.

Over the years I've built five 6.5x55 rifles on Swedish, Spanish and Turkish actions. Surprisingly (to me) I was able to get match head spacing on most of 'em with minimal effort--only two of the five required lathe work. After some range testing to find the most accurate of the bunch I fitted two with Wolff springs, Timney triggers, shortened/lightened firing pins, new bolt shrouds, thumbhole stocks and some other tweaks. They're tack drivers at 100 yards.

ANYHOW, sorry to drag (and brag) on but it struck me for the first time today that the Arisaka 38 could be easily be rechambered for 6.5 Swede; however I've already got all the Swedes I'll ever need and from what I read the Arisaka is one of the strongest bolt actions around, stouter than a large-ring Mauser and capable of handling magnum pressures. There are a number of options for the .264 bore and I've got a few questions for anyone with Arisaka expertise.

1) The Mauser receivers I'm familiar with are mild steel that's case-hardened--the case hardening is so tough you've gotta spot anneal it with a torch before drilling, but the hardened surface is only a millimeter or two deep. The chrysanthemum has been ground off the Arisaka receiver just behind the chamber. The grinding isn't real deep--I can still see the edges of the mum engraving--but it does penetrate the case hardening. I wouldn't think this area is subject to great pressure but I still wonder if it compromises the safety of the action. Just behind the mum the receiver has a pair of small holes to channel pressure in the event of a ruptured case and this is the same area you'd drill and tap for a scope mount so I don't see a problem, but you never know.

2) I want a flat-shooting long range caliber suitable for deer, antelope and varmints (mostly coyote) though these days I spend more time on the range than in the woods. I don't know if the Arisaka is capable of target accuracy, but what I want is a flat shooter with more punch and longer range than a 6.5x55 Swede. Another Firingline thread says the most common Arisaka rechambering is the 257 Roberts. The .257 is nominally smaller than 6.5mm, which is .264--does this affect accuracy significantly? Looking through an old Hornady reloading manual, another .257 round that strikes me is the 25.06 Remington, described as an outstanding varmint caliber that's capable of 300 to 400 yard shots with 75gr or 87gr bullets at around 3500fps; with 120gr bullets at 2800fps it's suitable for closer-range deer-size critters as well, a combination gun that tickles my fancy. Most of the other .264 cartridges are belted Magnums, meaning bolt modifications, money and a rifle I'd have to test-fire with a lanyard before putting it to my shoulder. Anyway, I'm looking for a non-magnum that's hotter than the Swedish or Japanese 6.5mm. I'm completely unfamiliar with both .257 Roberts and 25.06. The 25.06 began as a wildcat--a necked-down 30.06--but as of 1991 Remington offered the chambering in the Model 700 (it first came out in 1969). I don't know if ammo or chamber reamers are available now, but the ballistics are spot on for me.

3) Is there an optimal barrel length, especially if I go with a slightly under-sized bullet like the .257? This may be a dumb question, 7/1000" difference still allows full contact between the bullet and the rifling grooves and some military ammo probably varies this much to begin with, but I've gotta ask. The stock barrel is 32" with a 1 in 9" twist. The military cartridge was a 139gr bullet at 2500fps; off the top of my head I'd think that the 32" barrel slowed the bullet down a bit. I'll be scoping the gun and dumping the open sights, and unless otherwise advised I'll cut it down to 24".

I had an original bayonet for the Arisaka I foolishly sold on Ebay a few years ago...a wicked weapon with a 16" shaving-sharp blade. The Japanese were into swords and often fought with bayonets mounted. With the bayonet the Arisaka 38 was just short of six feet long. A quick web search just told me that the average height of a WWII Japanese infantryman was 5'3", which for some reason was also the minimum height required for promotion to private first class. Short person chauvinism, that must've stung. Japanese Marines had a 6-foot height requirement (taller than the average U.S. Marine).

The Arisaka 38 was basically a copy of the WWI German Mauser with the stock shortened because many Japanese soldiers couldn't reach the trigger. The 7.5x58mm Type 99 was more potent and six inches shorter but still far from ideal, especially in a jungle tactical environment.

The WWII Pacific theater was largely jungle warfare...I served in jungles myself in the early 70's and there's a reason we carried carbines--long rifles are unwieldy and slow to deploy (not to mention heavy). Visibility can be limited to a few feet. Fighting in the Solomons, Guadalcanal, Guam, Tinian, the Philippines, Saipan, Peleliu and other godforsaken places, U.S. Marines and G.I.'s quickly learned that their most effective weapon was the Thompson submachine gun. The Japanese (who had time to prepare for these campaigns) were mostly equipped with bolt action rifles longer than they were tall, with five-round magazines--they never developed a submachine gun, a weapon that has proven to be a force-multiplier in jungle fighting; a squad equipped with Thompsons, a BAR, Garands and M1 Carbines (when they don't stovepipe, a curse of two I've owned) can lay down more firepower than a platoon with bolt-action repeaters. The only Japanese automatic weapons were crew-served, often in fixed emplacements.

Apropos of nothing I also own a Type 14 Nambu pistol, an 8mm blow-back piece of crap and arguably the worst military sidearm I've fired. Also, when they did decide to equip some of their personnel with carbines rather than long rifles, the Japanese army chose to copy the 6.5mm Italian Carcano--a gun I've also owned and definitely the worst infantry weapon ever adopted. It's the same gun alledgedly used by Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine who shoulda known better (if you're wondering, after watching Oliver Stone's movie "JFK," for curiosity's sake I mounted a 4x Tasco scope on the Carcano, placed a target 190 feet away and managed to put three consecutive rounds in the black in 12 seconds. I'm severely near-sighted, I wasn't a Marine and the target was stationary, but I'd heard the conspiracy debates and wanted to see for myself...I had read somewhere that an FBI sniper couldn't duplicate the shots, pure BS IMHO).

Please excuse the segue, I'm old and sometimes I ramble...I've wandered all over the map here.

SO, to put it in a few words and return to the point, I've got a mint Arisaka 38 I'd like to rechamber and make more useful without spending much money. Any suggestions or feedback from folks familiar with the rifle and the cartridges I've mentioned are welcome. Thank you kindly.

Last edited by Roscoe54; November 18, 2011 at 06:26 AM. Reason: corrections
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Old November 18, 2011, 01:00 AM   #2
hoghunting
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Quote:
Another Firingline thread says the most common Arisaka rechambering is the 257 Roberts
That's a 6.5X.257, the .257 is necked up to .264. Works extremely well and was very accurate on the one I used, but the problem lies in the reloading dies. They are no longer a standard production item, so they are a custom order costing around $250.

A better alternative would be the .260 Remington as the ballistics are a little better and factory ammo and dies are available. I don't know the chamber pressures of the .260 compared to the .257, so you might want to check that before firing factory loads.
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Old November 18, 2011, 01:44 AM   #3
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6.5X50 is actually a pretty good round, ballistically. Brass is available, and it uses standard .264" bullets. You have to get up to the 6.5X55 before you start to surpass its performance, and 6.5X57 or 260 Remngton will really zing the bullets out there pretty good, and a 6.5-06 is a real pleasure to shoot. If you are just thinking about rechambering, I would advise rebarreling instead, you can add a good length barrel with a good profile and a good bore. Since it's already whacked, make it respectable.
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Old November 18, 2011, 01:58 AM   #4
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My sporterized Type 44 Arisaka was re chambered for 6.5-.257 roberts and is very accurate. I use the same bullets that my buddy does for his 6.5 swede.

You can find the dies for about $150 new or used on gunbroker if you're patient. I got my dies in a package deal with the rifle and 100 cases.

It cost less than a chinese SKS,
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Old November 18, 2011, 03:38 PM   #5
Roscoe54
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Is rebarreling possible?

Scorch,
Maybe you know something I don't...I'd consider rebarreling the M38 if someone out there produced barrels with a pre-machined breech, but it's such an oddball design that I can't manage it myself and doubt I could find a machinist willing to tackle it starting with a barrel blank. Basically the bolt/breech design is ass-backwards: The bolt face is flat on the left side, not recessed. This appears to be part of the ruptured-case safety feature, allowing gas to vent through the holes on top of the receiver. The breech forms a sort of cone with notch cutouts on either side of its face--one on the right for the extractor to engage the cartridge rim and another on the left for the ejector slot, so the cartridge seats flush with the breech for half its diameter. It also has a unique (so far as I know) thread pitch of 14 tpi.

I've done some more research since my original post and decided that 25.06 is definitely the best and most versatile way to go if possible; most of the other options aren't significant improvements over the stock ballistics.

On the up side, there's a really interesting chapter on Arisakas in Frank de Hass' book Bolt Action Rifles (Revised Edition). He put a Model 38 through some incredible torture tests attempting to destroy the action and failed to manage it. Things like running multiple rounds of hot 30.06 ammo through it (fully packing the case with various powders--including compressed Hercules 2400--and seating a 180FMJ bullet, way too much pressure for an actual 30.06). The 30.06 case diameter is the same as the Arisaka and by pounding on the bolt handle you can jam one into the chamber (the bullet, of course, is .308 while the Arisaka bore is .257" diameter at the grooves and .266" at the lands. The rifle survived. Hass goes into some depth about the action's remarkable strength: He had a hard time believing it was possible and took the task of blowing one up as a personal challenge. He starts sounding like a peeved kid in the article.

The down side, as I said, is that unless someone tools up specifically for the job it's not worth the expense or trouble to rebarrel it. The various Arisakas are strong, reliable, simple and even the smaller 6.5mm is an effective infantry round with decent accuracy (more than adequate for deer-size beasts) but it's also a bit crude and not real smooth. That doesn't bother me but it makes them unpopular with many shooters and some gunsmiths won't touch 'em.

It's not really worth putting much money into, maybe I'll get lucky and find someone with a 25.06 chamber reamer. The headspace gauges are the same ones used for the 30.06 so that's no problem. I have reamers and gauges for the 6.5 x 55 Swede so I have that option as well.

I've got about 100 rounds of 6.5 Arisaka ammo, I can't remember where or how I came by it, so at least for now I'll reassemble it and do some plinking. I've fired it before and it's a real comfortable shooter.

If you know of other rebarrelling options I'm all ears; thanks for your input.
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Old November 19, 2011, 12:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
maybe I'll get lucky and find someone with a 25.06 chamber reamer.
You'll need a 6.5-06 reamer
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Old November 19, 2011, 03:51 AM   #7
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If you want to rebarrel it, you can call John Taylor at Taylor Machine at 253-445-4073. He is a real machinist, and can make the safety breech for it.

Or just rent a 6.5-06 or 6.5X55 reamer and open up the chamber.
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Old November 19, 2011, 04:40 PM   #8
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Confused re: 6.5-06 vs. 25-06 ????

Scorch,

Thanks for the info--I'm in Olympia and John Taylor is just 40 minutes up the road. I've never heard of chamber reamers for rent--where does a guy find 'em?

Y'all mention that I need to go with a 6.5-06 A-Square reamer rather than 25-06 Remington, which has me scratching my head...yes, the 25-06 bullet is nominally smaller than the 6.5mm (.264 for the Jap vs. .257 for the Remington, .007 difference) but the most popular rechambering for the Arisaka (by far) seems to be .257 Roberts, with shooters here and elsewhere reporting fine accuracy with .257" bullets through the .264" bore. I tapped a .257 bullet into the Arisaka muzzle and it's a tight fit with full land/groove contact.

I'm not trying to argue the point--I'm sure there's a good reason for your method--I'm just too thick-headed to get it.

I don't have the case dimensions of the 6.5-06 but both are based on necked-down 30.06 cases, I'm able to push a 30.06 round about 2" into the Arisaka chamber, so there's no problem with the fit and a finish reamer should re-cut the chamber fairly easily. The neck diameter of the Jap is .288 while the 25-06 is .290, so close it's probably within acceptable manufacturing variations. Anyway, please clarify--my older manuals don't have any info on the 6.5-06. Can I use this reamer to chamber the Arisaka for the 25-06, are the rounds are interchangeable, do I need to use 6.5-06 A-Square ammo, or what am I missing?

The 25-06 strikes me as the most versatile and useful Arisaka conversion, with the best sub-Magnum ballistics of the different rechambering options, longer range than the 6.5x55 Swede (something I've been looking for) and load selections including 75gr 3700fps varminters, 120gr 3000fps hollow points for medium game and more selections in between. I'm using a 10-year-old Hornady reloading manual so maybe there are possibilities I've overlooked, but right now I've got a Bushnell Banner 6-18x50mm adjustable objective scope that's looking for a home, the Arisaka bore is in quite good shape, I'd like to have a 600-yard varminter in my collection and this puppy looks like it just might fill the ticket.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and offer advice. Excuse me if I'm slow on the uptake but I have little experience with caliber conversions that aren't "plug 'n play" and I'd appreciate some clarification on the 25-06 vs. 6.5-06 chambering.
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Old November 19, 2011, 05:08 PM   #9
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I would not have expected your buds to get good shooting with .257" .257 Roberts bullets out of a 6.5 (.264") barrel, but since you say they do...
No reason not to run a .25-06 reamer in and shoot some to see what happens.
If they are not accurate, I am sure Mr Taylor could slightly enlarge the chamber neck to make it a 6.5-06.

I don't know what A-Square has done to the 6.5-06 to be able to put their name on it, it has been a legitimate wildcat for many years as just a .30-06 necked down with no change to shoulder angle or diameter.
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Old November 19, 2011, 06:44 PM   #10
Roscoe54
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Jim,

I don't know anyone personally who's done caliber conversions on Arisaka's, in fact I don't know anybody else who owns an Arisaka 38. I'm only going by what I've read on this forum and others and the .257 Roberts is pretty much the standard rechambering for the few folks who consider the Arisaka worth messing with.

I just came across a company that'll install, headspace and test fire a 25-06 Adams & Bennett 24" barrel on a small ring Mauser action for $150: http://www.switchbarrel.com/Mau_sale.htm. I have a pair of Swedish 6.5mm actions and a pair of Spanish 7mm actions and by going that route I'll end up with a much nicer gun.

I don't want to part with many bucks and the Arisaka isn't worth a whole lot, but as I've researched it I keep reading about how strong and under-rated the action is and I can't help but daydream. I've got Swedish head space gauges and the simplest thing would be to convert the Arisaka to 6.5x55 but many folks say it's the toughest military bolt action receiver anywhere, easily capable of Magnum pressures. I'm not a Magnum fan but I am looking for a long-range paper-puncher/varminter and I'm just exploring possibilities. .257 and .264 aren't that far apart, some military rifles and ammo had manufacturing tolerances that were .007" off. I dunno, I'm just in research mode and looking at what other folks have to say.
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Old November 20, 2011, 01:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
I'm only going by what I've read on this forum and others and the .257 Roberts is pretty much the standard rechambering
Betting they were rechambered to 6.5x.257 Roberts and these people were firing .257 Roberts in them - very inaccurately I'm sure. 0.007" may not seem like much to you, but that is very undersized for a bullet.

The problem with using a .25-06 reamer in a the 6.5 is the pilot will be 0.007" undersized and the chamber probably won't get a straight cut.

This is a .264" bore and if you want to keep talking about the .25 calibers, then rebarrel.
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Old November 20, 2011, 01:52 PM   #12
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In all the enthusiasm about 6.5-'06, don't overlook the fact that it takes a lot of magazine work to get a .30-'06 length round to fit in the Type 38 magazine unless you are willing to stick with a short COAL, either using short bullets or seating them deep.

Jim
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Old November 20, 2011, 05:00 PM   #13
Roscoe54
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Okay, I hear you loud and clear....

I'm beating a dead horse with the Arisaka I guess. I don't doubt the expertise of those who've taken the time to respond, but if you nose around the web you'll find dozens of posts regarding the Arisaka/257 Roberts chamber conversion--here on the firingline, the highroad.org, wikipedia, a report in Brownells guntech section and Frank de Haas even discusses it in his standard reference book, Bolt Action Rifles .

Some shooters report excellent accuracy while others say it's poor. I suspect there may be significant dimensional variations in different 6.5 Arisakas (one person reported that a .257 dropped through his bore but as I mentioned, in mine the 257 is a very snug fit and fully engages the lands and grooves.

I'm resigned to the fact that the Arisaka simply isn't worth putting much work or money into. Since I've got about 200 rounds of 6.5 Arisaka ammo (Norma SP, I have no idea where I picked it up and I wouldn't have paid much for it) so I'll take Scorch's advice and burn that up before I consider anything else. As he said, 6.5x50 ballistics aren't completely disrespectable.

If I do eventually rechamber it I'll go with a true 6.5mm (I already have HS gauges and a chamber reamer for 6.5x55 Swede and the Arisaka bolt and magazine appear to handle the Swede). There's not a hell of a lot of ballistic difference between the practical 6.5 chamber conversions, and I know from long experience that I can't go wrong with 6.5x55.

I greatly appreciate all the feedback and thank everyone for their time and expert advice. The Arisaka action appeals to me--simple and rough around the edges but extremely strong, reliable and accurate for what it is...it was a mistake for U.S. war planners to write it off as a sub-standard weapon. I now see that there are sound reasons, however, why it's never been popular as a sporter.

The Arisaka is now a dead subject, but HEY, guess what, I've got another cool century-old military action sitting around, the most over-built 30.06 I've seen; a 47"-long 10lb P-17 Enfield (one of the good ones, a Winchester with 5-groove left-hand rifling, 1:10 twist 26" bbl, smooth action, excellent bore and around 85% bluing. When an area gunshop went out of business I poked through their parts boxes and found a Timney Featherweight trigger, improved ejector, S&K scope mount and thumbhole walnut stock for next to nothing.

I bent a hydraulic press trying to remove the Enfield barrel (I later heard they were torqued on with an air-hammer device) so the barrel is probably there to stay, but there's gotta be something creative I can do when it comes to rechambering a .308 bore (I'd think). Or if I could manage to cut off the barrel it'd be a good platform for the 25-06 long-range varminter I had to rule out for the Arisaka...that's a necked-down 30-06 so the bolt face and magazine would be a perfect fit. I'll do some research over the next few weeks. The P-17 action is beefy enough to handle just about any belted magnum out there...I have no use for an elephant gun but I'd like to be able to reach out and touch normal-sized critters and targets at 800 yards if the occasion should arise.

Best wishes to all, I appreciate your time and patience...
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Old November 21, 2011, 10:12 PM   #14
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I have READ of the gunsmith's trick to get the tight barrel off a 1917.
Set the whole barrel and reciever up in a lathe and turn a relief groove in the barrel shank just ahead of the reciever ring but don't cut clear through. That is supposed to relieve the stress against the barrel shoulder and let you unscrew it. Of course you don't get to reuse the barrel.
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Old November 29, 2011, 06:02 PM   #15
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i have the 6.5/257 Roberts/Jap reamer, I have the 6.5/257 Roberts/Jap dies by Herters, and I have no clue what the problem is, in the old days the conversion was as common as going from 30/06 to 308 Norma Mag., the difference? Norma gave the reamers to smiths in hopes there would be an increase in brass sales.



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Old November 29, 2011, 10:38 PM   #16
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I think the OP went off in too many directions and some of us got confused. The 6.5/.257 is a perfectly good cartridge and fine for converting a Type 38. It is uncommon today for several reasons.

One is that it is a wildcat, though an easy one to make. A second is that .257 Roberts itself has become uncommon with the .243 and 6.5x55 having become popular. The third is that the Arisaka still has the same problems it always had, it does not take well to scope mounting and the actions are seldom as smooth as a decent Mauser. Fourth, good Japanese rifles have become collectible. Reworking a $25 piece of "Jap junk" is one thing; chopping up a $600-1000 WWII collectible is another.

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Old November 29, 2011, 11:30 PM   #17
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"over-built 30.06 I've seen; a 47"-long 10lb P-17 Enfield (one of the good ones, a Winchester with 5-groove left-hand rifling, 1:10 twist 26" bbl, smooth action, excellent bore and around 85% bluing. When an area gunshop went out of business I poked through their parts boxes and found a Timney Featherweight trigger, improved ejector, S&K scope mount and thumbhole walnut stock for next to nothing.

I bent a hydraulic press trying to remove the Enfield barrel (I later heard they were torqued on with an air-hammer device) so the barrel is probably there to stay, but there's gotta be something creative I can do when it comes to rechambering a .308 bore (I'd think). Or if I could manage to cut off the barrel it'd be a good platform for the 25-06 long-range varminter I had to rule out for the"

That is what happens when the story gets convoluted when told over and over and over, the Winchester M1917 and the Remington M1917 were the first choices when building a rifle, neither had an advantage, except for Remington did not have the oval cut on top of the rear receiver ring.

When it came to quality the Eddystone was anyone's guess, There is a steam torque story, for those that dare to question the answers, I find it difficulty to believe when drawing to 'the lines' 'indexing the barrel' why would the barrel on the Eddystone require more torque, the method or technique would not require more torque, so the quality at Eddystone was suspect and the extra torque could have been required because the draw to lines were further apart. One of my Eddystone receivers is cracked, I purchased it in a pile of parts, it was advertised as a barreled receiver, after checking the receiver I found the crack, I went back and got an adjustment on the price, the seller thought I should have been happy with the price because of the barrel, I told him I would have been happy had he informed me of the crack. Anyhow, the Winchester and the Remington did not have barrel removal problems. Eddystone is the receiver that has the history of being difficult to remove, the last M1917 Eddystone barrel I received came with a history, seems there were 3 smith in Tennessee that had to wait until a fourth arrive before they had enough weight to loosen the grip the receiver had on the barrel, I sent Bryan Ballard a 1894 30/40 kraig barrel, about the time I forgot about the Kraig barrel the M1917 barrel arrived at the house.

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Old December 2, 2011, 09:15 AM   #18
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Whole lot of miss-information flying around on this one. I probably did close to 50 t-38/t-99 conversions and never had the problems listed here. The Arisaka is one of the easiest military rifles to convert to a sporter, and probably the cheapest. The gun simply could not get past the stigma of "Japanese made gun". If you look at a last ditch rifle the reason is obvious. Carcanos were also looked down on and they really do suck to convert to a sporter, but most of the ones I shot were pretty good. The information you listed has some validity, but seems to be all mixed together. I suggest you get some one else to do your gun work. Some one with more understanding of what is going on.
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Old January 7, 2012, 02:00 AM   #19
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I know I am about a month behind, but I have very recently (last 6 months) done some of what you are talking about. I had a Type 38 that my dad cut down the barrel and stock back in the 60's; however, the mum was still intact. I wanted to do something with it starting with rebarreling it because it was shot out (slugged about .267-.268). The Hornady 6.5x50 Jap ammo keyholed at 25 yards.

I thought hard about what caliber for about two years. The main three I considered were 6.5x55, 260 Remington, and 6.5x284. Although it isn't the hottest of the three, I went with the Swede. I now have a Swedish Jap half breed with an undrilled action with an intact mum, a Shilen barrel, Timney trigger, custom scout mount, and a Leupold IER scout scope. It shoots great!

Some people may think it a bit odd, but I love it. It was a project my dad started 5 decades ago and never even shot one time. It was the first gun my dad ever gave me. I just wish he could have seen it and shot it before he died. Damn accurate, lightweight, mild recoil, and in a good, easy to find caliber.

I know you said you have several Swedes and want something different. I would go with the .260 Remington for what you are wanting. You should be able to have this done without many problems ( no bolt or magazine modifications, etc.). Midway USA has the Timney trigger, by the way. HUGE IIMPROVEMENT! B&J Gunsmithing in Davis, OK is who did mine in case you can't find someone familiar with the Arisakas. Obviously mine means a lot to me because of my dad. All that aside, it really is worth putting a little time and money into your Type 38. It doesn't take much to turn it into a much nicer rifle you can enjoy for a long time.
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Old January 7, 2012, 10:43 PM   #20
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It might be hard to get a .260 to feed properly. I also still have a 6.5x55 and it is really accurate at 100 yards. Never tried farther.
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Old January 8, 2012, 09:36 PM   #21
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I have got some Arisakas that were sporterized a long time ago, at pawn shops for $50, $60, $70.

They are in 300 Savage, with surplus 1903 Springfield barrels.
A few twists of the wrist with a 308 reamer, and they are a 308.

But I can handload either 300S or 308, and they are pretty much the same cartridge.
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Old January 8, 2012, 10:22 PM   #22
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Clark

Check the barrels on those t-99's, they may be original. I have seen t-99's at yard sales and auctions that had the barrel turned in about 1/2 inch and re-cut to .300 Savage. I still have one and at 100 yards it is really accurate with .308 diameter bullets. Has a feed problem with more than two bullets but I never cared enough to work it out. Had one in .308 WIN and also had the feed problem. If you did not take one to the range you should. The results might surprise you.
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Old January 13, 2012, 12:11 AM   #23
Roscoe54
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VWFool, thanks for the info...

I appreciate your input. I gather you acquired a 38 with an intact mum that was already sporterized? I would have gone for a full restoration on that one most likely, only because the mums are rare and collectible, then sold it to a collector for enough bucks to buy an action that's better-suited to what I want. Mine has a missing mum but the bluing is around 85% and the bore is excellent, which is why I'm looking into other 6.5mm calibers.

As you mentioned, I already have other Swedes and want something else, though I'm a champion of this caliber (6.5x55 Swedes were used in Olympic competition through the 50's I'm told in Nordic skiing/shooting events and now it's all .22 rimfire). I've got a perfect stock M96, a perfect stock M38 Carbine, a pair of good Husqvarna actions and three Huskvarna-proofed in-the-white fully-threaded factory barrels that achieve match headspacing without any metal removal (1/16-turn past the index mark). Also an un-issued 1955 AG-42B Ljungman semi-auto. I have Timney triggers and some other after-market goodies on hand for the Swedes and the Arisaka, all I have to decide on is rechambering or rebarreling. I just don't need to build an Arisaka Swede (with different receiver and wood) when I already own accurate 6.5mm's from SWEDEN that I'd like to sell, 3 or 4 of 'em.

The whole point of this project is a long range tack driller with minimal expense based on the massively-overbuilt Arisaka 38 action...unlike small ring Mauser actions the Arisaka has been chambered for 458 Magnum successfully and no one has succeeded in blowing up the receiver no matter how hard they tried (there's lottsa stuff on the web about the strength of this action).

In my immediate future I can stay busy building a pair of match-quality Swedes with original receivers/barrels and after-market triggers, bolt shrouds, springs, stocks etc. with parts I've picked up over 15 years. I'll likely lay the Arisaka aside for the time being, hopefully I'll trip over parts for modification or trade as time goes by.

I like hearing from someone with hands-on experience rather than theoretical rattling...Thanks for the contribution, I'll look at your caliber suggestions!
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Old January 14, 2012, 01:11 AM   #24
wachtelhund1
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This last fall I picked up a real nice sportized T-38. I wasn't happy with the grouping so I had it rebarreled and chambered in 6.5X57 Mauser, a German sporting cartridge, almost Identical to the 6.5X55. I already had another gun in that caliber and dies. I purchased the reamer and go gage, $130.00. I used a Midway Adams & Bennett barrel $90.00; and had my local gunsmith turn, thread and chamber the barrel - $75.00. You'll probably cringe at the though of an A&B barrel, but I wanted this just for a shooter and deer hunting. I have built two F class rifles in the last two years with Kriegger barrels. So I wanted to try to an A&B barrel. I followed the barrel break in procedure and it shoots under 1" groups. I'm happy! I cold blued the barrel for the time being. Later this spring I plan to doing slow rust blueing process. I'm also going to checker the stock. Here are two pictures of it.




Last edited by wachtelhund1; January 14, 2012 at 01:49 AM.
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Old January 14, 2012, 09:31 AM   #25
vwfool
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Roscoe54

You are very welcome. I was just excited to see someone talking about an sporterized Arisaka project. By no means do I think all old military rifles should be cut up and sporterized; however, I also don't think someone will burn in hell for doing it.

The only reason I did it to one with an intact mum was because it has a ton of sentimental value to me being the first gun my dad ever gave me, and after his death I really wanted to finish what he started over 50 years ago. Like I said I did reserve myself enough to not modify the action. The mum is still perfect and very clearly stamped. The bolt handle still sticks strait out and is not bent, nor has the bolt face been cut. I picked the scout scope mount so i could use a scope without bending the bolt handle and so none of the mum would be blocked from view by the scope.

I will try to post a pic of mine later today. It isn't the most beautiful rifle, mainly because of the stock, but i wouldn't take anything for it. I just need to figure out how or what I want to do with the stock. Anyway, have fun with the projects!
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