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View Full Version : You want obscure? I got obscure!


Tamara
October 27, 2004, 11:14 PM
Had a customer come in the other day:

"Hey, I got this ol' military rifle. A buddy of mine tol' me that this lady that works here knows a lot about ol' army guns, collects 'em, even, and could tell me what it's worth."
"That'd be me."
As he started to heave the rifle up onto the counter, saying "I think it's Japanese...", I heroically kept from squeaking "Ohmigod! It's a Type "I"!"

In 1937, the Japanese Army was using up all of Arisaka's production, so the Japanese Navy contracted with the Italians to make 60,000 rifles, using Carcano-type actions with Arisaka-style barrels, bottom metal, and magazines. Known as the Type "I", they are screamingly obscure (this is the first one I've seen in person) not being mentioned in any of the standard reference works. (I've only found them mentioned in Collecting Classic Military Bolt Action Rifles and my gunsmith's little reference work on WWII Japanese military rifles, and they're illustrated in neither.) We put a few bucks into it, and the boss let me take it home for $130, which seemed eminently reasonable to me (and karmic, since I'd finally scored some 6.5 Jap for my Type 38 Cavalry Carbine just two gun shows ago...)

Pics to follow. :)

JohnKSa
October 27, 2004, 11:55 PM
Of course you're going to post a range report... ;)

Handy
October 27, 2004, 11:58 PM
This super rare rifle is worth only $130? Or was that just the price the lady rifle expert happened to give that day? ;)

Wraith
October 28, 2004, 01:32 AM
I'll make sure not to sell you any old, rare, or unique rifles. ;)

Samuel2001
October 28, 2004, 01:46 AM
Ah, the benefits of working for an FFL!

It truly is nice aint it? ;)

Tamara
October 28, 2004, 12:11 PM
...a thrilling, "behind-the-scenes" view at an FFL:

"So, what's it worth?"
"Hard to say. The gun isn't in any of the usual price guides. Obscurity may work against it, the bore is a nasty dark orange with corrosion, and ammo is so expensive that an empty magazine means the gun's nearly totalled. On the other hand, it's cosmetically nice, and someone who knows what it is and is just dying to have one for their collection may be willing to pay well to get it. What do you figure you need to get out of it?"
"Well, I'd like to get out of it what I've got in it..."
"Which is? If you don't mind me asking..."
"Naw. I paid $75 for it, and I reckon I've got $5 worth of my time in running it over here. How's $80 sound?"
"Let me call my boss."

I walked in the back room and rang him on the cell phone. Bear in mind my boss doesn't know one milsurp from another. To him, they're all just junky old rifles.

"Hey, I've got this guy that wants to sell us a Type I." *long pause* "It's a rifle with Arisaka-style parts on a Carcano action." *longer pause* "Anyhow, it's an oddball old Japanese rifle. He wants $80 for it."
"I dunno, money's still kinda tight right now. You think we could sell it for $150?"
"Hell ye... er, I mean, I know somebody who'd pay $150 for it."
"Who?"
"Me!"
"Okay, give him $80."

Back out front.

"Here you go, sir."
"Thank you very much, ma'am; if I find anything else, I'll let you know." ( :cool: )

Later, my boss apparently decided that he could live with making only a $50 profit off me, instead of a $70 one, which was just fine with me.

I'd type more, but there's a bunch of rust I need to be scraping out of a certain rifle's bore. If it ever shot a round of non-corrosive ammo in its life, I'd be surprised.


(FWIW, if I were to put the gun out for sale on my own, I'd stick a $200 tag on it to use as a starting point for dickering. This is known as the "Greater Fool" theory of gun pricing. The old guy found a greater fool in my boss, who found a greater fool in me, and if I ever decide to part with it, I'd hopefully find an even greater fool. I'll probably hold onto it, though, since the bolt had a small "PB" mark, and Beretta-made ones are apparently prized. :D )

Cal4D4
October 28, 2004, 06:00 PM
Shame on you, Capitalist Dog! Wonder what it would go for at the garage sale? :)

Gewehr98
October 28, 2004, 08:01 PM
Just hope the old boy doesn't log on here and read the after-action report. :(

Tamara
October 28, 2004, 08:26 PM
:confused:

I asked him how much he wanted for it, he told me, I paid him. I asked my boss how much I needed to pay, he told me, I paid him. Everybody walked away happy. Sounds like the very definition of two good deals to me.

Is the rifle worth more? Who knows. It's in that "It's worth whatever you can get someone to pay for it" class. If I was lucky enough to stumble upon some military rifle collector who knows what it is and is just dying to have one in his collection and is willing to overlook the trashed bore, I might get two bills out of it. That would probably take a while, though... :o

Gewehr98
October 28, 2004, 09:09 PM
My 6.5x53R Dutch Mannlicher Cavalry Carbines haven't really gone up in price too much, either, and I know they're as scarce as hen's teeth. (That, and if I hydrate your breakfast cereal with something other than moo juice I risk never getting an example of .577-450 brass)

From the work-up above, sounded like the Holy Grail of Arisakas, you getting all excited and such.

Another write-up of the Type I Arisaka:

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BQY/is_5_50/ai_114283920

Here's a potential source of rust-free parts:

http://www.hoosiergunworks.com/catalog/military_misc.html

Three spiffy-looking Type I rifles pictured here:

http://oldrifles.com/japanese.htm

FirstFreedom
October 29, 2004, 09:46 AM
and ammo is so expensive that an empty magazine means the gun's nearly totalled.

"Hey, I've got this guy that wants to sell us a Type I." *long pause* "It's a rifle with Arisaka-style parts on a Carcano action." *longer pause* "Anyhow, it's an oddball old Japanese rifle.

Bwaaahaha - always highly entertaining, your prose, Tam. :)

BTW, schuh-weet find! Errm, why didn't you just say hey, here's my phone number - call me later and I'll give more than this shop would - then you'd have the rifle for $90. You're a loyal employee - rare anymore.

BigG
October 29, 2004, 11:53 AM
So now you and Lee Oswald got sompin in common.

jtb1967
October 29, 2004, 02:19 PM
Type I's generally saw little use so it's not uncommon to find them in excellent condition. $130.00 is a good price. The few I've found out and about are normally in the $100.00 to $200.00 range depending upon condition.

Tom2
October 29, 2004, 02:30 PM
About 20 years ago my friend had a type I that he told me was a Japanese rifle. I didn't know much about jap rifles then, so I was totally baffled by the Italian markings and told him I could not figure that one out. Later I found out about the deal. Also, some guy who served in Japan at the end of the war, gave my brother a bayonet that he said he got over there. He eventually let me see it and it turned out to be a bayonet for the Italian M91 rifle, with the neat early brass/leather scabbard. So go figure. Was told that does not fit on a type I.

Tamara
October 29, 2004, 10:44 PM
Also, some guy who served in Japan at the end of the war, gave my brother a bayonet that he said he got over there. He eventually let me see it and it turned out to be a bayonet for the Italian M91 rifle, with the neat early brass/leather scabbard. So go figure. Was told that does not fit on a type I.

Hmmm... Good question! :)

[Trots off to closet.]

You're right; the Japanese bayonet I have for my Type 38 and Type 99 fits the Type I perfectly, so I reckon a Carcano bayonet would be a no-go.

4V50 Gary
October 29, 2004, 10:47 PM
Good deal Tamara! Remind me not to bring any guns into your shop. ;)

WhoKnowsWho
October 30, 2004, 05:36 AM
:p Hehe, I got my Type I at the beginning of the month, http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=104755&highlight=italian though I haven't finished loading up the ammo on the press to go try it yet.

It is pretty nice though. I like I like!

Jake 98c/11b
October 31, 2004, 08:47 AM
Tamara, reminds me of something that happened in our shop a while back. An older black lady came into the shop and wanted to sell her grandfathers gun, don't remember the specific model but it was an old Merwin and Hulbert revolver in 44-40, a little rough around the edges but still pretty damn nice. I showed her what it was worth by the book and told her what we would sell it for and what I could offer. I think she was expecting less than I had offered but I told her that she might have better luck at another shop that catered more to collectors and I gave her directions. She thanked me and left, came back about 40 minutes later and said she would sell it to me for less than I had offered her the first time. Turns out that the owner of the other shop (who is rarely there) said "where did you steal this" and offered half what we did. I felt bad about it, I had no idea the other guy was such an ass and I appologized several times. She left happy and we got a good deal, I would have that gun today but that was right after I bought my second M1A so the cash just wasn't there. Reputation is to fragile to risk by underhanded dealing. As long as everyone is happy it is a good deal.

I will be looking back into the collectibles in the near future, enjoy your Type 1 and if you see a nice Martini Henry keep me in mind.