View Full Version : Japanese 7.7mm Rifle

July 31, 2009, 05:59 PM
I just purchased this gun and dont really know allot about it. The guy said it was a 7.7mm Japanese rifle, its bolt action and looks like it is loaded from the top. On the top of the bolt there is some grind marks. The guy said that if the guns were retrieved after the war the gun would have grind marks. I looked it up and found that information to be true, it said the cresanthium was ground off in a last act by the Japanese before they handed the guns over. I was wondering if anyone knew exactly what kind of gun this is and if it has any value. I have attached some pics hopefully they are good enough to distinguish the gun. Thanks

July 31, 2009, 06:01 PM
arisaka, very common WW2 rifle used by the Japanese rifle. Not allot of value. Chambered in the 7.7 jap cartridge. It has grind marks on it because the sun has been grinded off. The japs had a symbol that looked like a sun on it. Near the end of the wer, with their defeat as the rifles were retied the sun was grinded off. The (Loading from the top) part is part of the design of the rifle. It was designed to accept "stripper clips" google it...arisaka rifle

looks like your missing part of the rear sight assembly.

P.S. ammo is expensive

Nice scrubs

July 31, 2009, 06:18 PM
You can get Horandy ammo from Cabelas for 23.00 a box, its good stuff too.

July 31, 2009, 06:19 PM
It is a type 99, mine is a great shooter, sometimes the old milsurps surprise you.

July 31, 2009, 06:23 PM
thanks for the info, I paid hundred bucks for it hopefully I didnt get burnt to bad.

July 31, 2009, 06:30 PM
You can get Horandy ammo from Cabelas for 23.00 a box, its good stuff too.

anything over a buck a pop for me is pricy lol

July 31, 2009, 06:40 PM
You can get Horandy ammo from Cabelas for 23.00 a box, its good stuff too.

anything over a buck a pop for me is pricy lol

Handloading would cut that in half, at least.

.312 bullets are not as common as .308s, but you can get them.....

44 AMP
July 31, 2009, 08:37 PM
Your gun is definitely missing part of the rear sight (the sliding part that goes up the ladder), and has had the stock "sporterized" (trimmed down from the military stock to save weight).

The gun is a variant of the mauser design, but retains the cock on closing feature of early mausers. The 7.7mm round was designed to replace the earlier 6.5mm round, to provide more power. It is ballistically identical to the .303 British round in bullet size and speed, but the cases are quite different, the .303 being rimmed and the 7.7mm being rimless.

The ground on part of the receiver used to have the "mum" on it. Not a "sun" as suggested, it was the chrysanthemum (flower), and was the symbol of the Japanese Emperor. After the Japanese surrender, large numbers of Arisakas were turned over to US forces, and the "mum" was ground off, saveing "face".

Arisakas with intact "mums" indicate battlefield pick up, a ground mum indicates a rifle that was surrendered.

Reloading the 7.7mm is possible, and the most practical way to go. Dies can be found, and even new cases. Cases can also be made from .30-06 brass. New made ammo for the 7.7mm can also be found, but it is not as cheap as more common military surplus calibers. Although the sights are not as good as some military rifles, and trigger pulls range from fair to poor, some of these rifles are suprisingly accurate shooters, once you get past the less than stellar features.

One odd feature of the Arisaka is the safety. It is the large knob at the rear of the bolt, and requires a push in and turn to put the rifle on safe. With a little practice it can be released very quietly, something a deer hunter may value.

There will be markings on the left side of the reciever, after the serial number, which can tell you which arsenal made your rifle, with a little research. Post a good pic, someone here might know more.

If you have some original Japanese 7.7mm ammo, I would recommend not shooting it, as the ammo has proven notoriously unreliable after so much time, and is very scarce, making it worth more as a collector's item than as usable ammunition. You should take your rifle to a good gunsmith and have the headspace checked before trying to shoot it with any ammo, just for safety's sake.

August 1, 2009, 01:27 AM
Some of the captured weapons were ground at the docks as the troops debarked also but not all. I have ar 6.5 type 38 series 5 carbine made in the Nagoya Arsenal with the MUM still on it

August 1, 2009, 06:58 AM
Too bad someone hacked the stock and lost the rear sight elevator. You most def. need to find that part. There were alot of the rifles brought back and people are always parting out the rifles. Maybe find the part online or ebay, they are still allowed to sell sights on there, last time I checked. Also stock sets. Maybe you could find a replacement stock set. SOmeone was making repro stocks but you would still need the metal. The ones in full military configuration were for sale dirt cheap till a few years ago, prices have been on the rise for nice ones. If you can fix the sight or do something as an alternative sight, they are still good shooters if you don't mind the cost or handloading. Just as good accuracy as some sort of straight bolt Mauser or something. If it has the chromed bore it should be nice, too. I have one and just bought alot of brass and some bullets sized for it. I think you could get by with 311 or 312 bullets. Some handloading manuals have loads for the rifle.

August 1, 2009, 08:33 AM
I reload for mine using cut down '06 cases. The 312 bullets work great and surprisingly mine will shoot 180 gr sierra 308 dia. just fine too. I have noticed that the longer bullets do feed much better. The hornady ammo uses Graf brass so you get plenty of life from the case. I agree a buck a pop is pricey but the only other place I know of that makes it is Norma for about 42-46 bucks a box.

James K
August 1, 2009, 03:19 PM
"Some of the captured weapons were ground at the docks as the troops debarked..." Just one of several "stories."

I have also heard that the "mums" were ground on ships and by the post office if the rifle was mailed. One fellow claimed that his rifle was brought back with the mum intact but Harry Truman personally kept track of every captured Japanese rifle and not to offend the Emperor, he sent the FBI to seize them all and grind the mum, after which they were returned.

A lot of stories to cover up a simple fact - if the mum is ground, the rifle was taken from a depot, not "tooken off'n old Hirohitto personal, in hand to hand combat." The story always sounds better, but the old "believe the gun, not the story" still applies.


August 4, 2009, 02:46 PM
Yep it's a 99 all right.

BTW: you work the safety with the heel of your hand. You push on the rear of the bold with your open palm and turn. This engages and/or releases the safety, and if done at night it can be done silently. Which is why the Japs designed it that way. When the little half moon cutout on the rear of the bolt is up, the safety is engaged! Seems backwards to me, but that's how it is.

The bullet that you load into a 7.7 Jap case is a little smaller than a standard .311 bullet and a little larger than a 308 bullet (usually). I've loaded .311's in my 99 using an old Lee Loader and it shot well. I've read that others have done equally well loading 308's in there too.

While ugly they are very good rifles. The 99 was adopted probably because it was more powerful than the older Arisaka 38 round. Both were hard hitting however and accurate rifles, as the Marine who were on Iwo will attest to.

I don't think you can get a new stock. When the GI's gut those things down after the war they didn't care about collector value.

August 4, 2009, 03:02 PM
There are lots of stories about how and why those "mums" were ground off. It is probably true that the Japanese did it as the "mum" represented the Emporer.

In my experience talking to GI's over the years their rifles were not touched if they brought them back in their personal gear. The ones that I own, a 99 and a 38 however are ground. One did come back after the war and was purchased as surplus in Japan. I know this because I have the original paperwork.

The other, the 99 is sans bolt cover and wire rest. So it looks like a bring back. If bought after the war they sometimes retained the bolt cover and the wire rest, however it is ground.

I do not know why the 99's mum was ground off. Could be the GI did it because he harbored a grudge agains the Japanese.

James K
August 4, 2009, 06:54 PM
Until I see some documentary evidence to the contrary, I will assume that a ground "mum" indicates a rifle taken from depot storage and ground by the Japanese workmen before they were turned over to the Americans. Almost all of those rifles not retained by the US (some rechambered for .30-'06 and given to South Korean police) or brought home by GIs were destroyed.

Bolt covers and monopods were often removed by GIs either before or after the rifle came to the states, usually as a preliminary to "sporterizing" the rifle, but sometimes just because they looked funny.


August 15, 2009, 10:34 PM
I have one that was brought back by a wounded 4th Marine after he was hit on one of the island campaigns. It is complete except for the bolt cover which I understand most Jap soldiers ditched cause they made a lot of noise (read, rattle). He even managed to take the bayonet with him-It has the Mum intact too. Other than it still having the Mum, it also has the original leather sling- worth more than the darn rifle. Never shot it and have no ammo for it-wouldn't mind finding an original stripper clip and buying 5 rounds just to have with it. If you ever run across one with the rubberized canvas sling you might think about it- those slings are indeed rare.

B. Lahey
August 16, 2009, 04:23 AM

Am I the only one who noticed the disembodied hand on the wall in the first photo? What the heck is that?

That thing is disturbing, you better get some ammo for that rifle in case you catch it creeping around.:D

August 16, 2009, 05:39 AM
Do they even make bullets for this? Or would you have to buy some old left over?

August 16, 2009, 11:09 AM
I wouldn't trust the old left-over stuff. My understanding is, the Japanese weren't very good about ammo storage, so it's not gonna be reliable. Plus it may be collectible. There is newly-made ammo to be had, however.

For example:

August 21, 2009, 09:31 PM
Until I see some documentary evidence to the contrary, I will assume that a ground "mum" indicates a rifle taken from depot storage and ground by the Japanese workmen before they were turned over to the Americans. Almost all of those rifles not retained by the US (some rechambered for .30-'06 and given to South Korean police) or brought home by GIs were destroyed.

Sammi is still alive but I am not going to give you his phone number .

Sammi brought back a duffle bag load of Japanes weapons after the end of the war. When his troop ship docked in San Diego, every GI was forced to open their duffle bags for inspection. Sammi said there was a pile of grenades, mortars, and land mines :eek: that were taken away from the GI's.

Sammi had several rifles. He was told to get in a line and the crests were ground off by US personnel. He got his rifle back after the crests were removed.

These were battle field pickups, rifles that Sammi had personnally removed from Japanese dead at Okinawa.

There is a subset of Japanese rifles that the crests were ground by American authorities.

The rifles my Dad brought back, from a post war storage island in Toyko bay, the crests had all been ground before he got to them.

August 21, 2009, 10:57 PM
Sometimes you'll find ground mums and sometimes you'll find ones that look like they have just been given a couple whacks with a cold chisel. My Type 38 (http://cosmolineandrust.blogspot.com/2007/06/arisaka-type-38-cavalry-carbine-samurai.html) has a ground mum, but my Type 99 just has a couple horizontal lines across it.

Here's a site to decode the arsenal markings on your Japanese rifle: Clicky (http://www.radix.net/~bbrown/japanese_markings.html).

August 21, 2009, 11:45 PM
Interesting. I have one of these that my FIL passed down to me. All he ever said about it was that it was "that old Jap rifle" (though he was there at the right time to have brought it back). Seems to be all original, complete and in decent shape (have to dig through a box & see if he kept the bolt cover, I know the bayonet is there). The mum looked perfectly intact, but looking at the pic now it might have a couple of slight chisel marks across it. Even have a couple boxes of what looks like original ammo for it. Would someone kindly tell me how to lower the rear sight elevator? I slid it up for a pic & it seems to be stuck there :(