View Full Version : Arisaka Type 99 "Last Ditch"

September 7, 2009, 09:38 PM
This is my Arisaka Type 99 "Last Ditch" rifle. This particular example was picked up by my grandfather's brother in Japan after the surrender. Apparently, there were piles of them for the soldiers to take. Other than 60+ years of closet wear and tear, I'm not sure this rifle was ever issued. The stock and metal finsih seem particularly good. He also picked up the bayonet. Both the bayonet and the rifle bear the Nagoya symbol.

I have two questions.

What "series" is this rifle?

And more pressing, the bolt is locked closed. This appears to be a rather common problem with these rifles. The bolt has about 1/8" of movement. There are no obvious welds holding it shut. I've tried the internet remedies to open the bolt - to no avail. Any suggestions?

Big pictures. So I am posting links.

Arisaka Type 99 1 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pPyzWLVW26uTX8VqgYiGYi_mDugyPT2uBmbR9ycRSyrOOUQw_TD2K8xkttZZ5lhHmIlw8Jl8e3t00RbgX3nYp_mAhJ-hCFciY/99_2.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 2 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pvHtSuRM8Hq3Q-fNAdc0WPCqBQ_tNnE9wmRU1hndcZDDhmhZmNGuU54rNtqjTriYTiQLeWZlCjR71nXtno2tUWu45Apw5VVxM/99_1.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 3 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pRxs2xCJgjtu9vh2bGKTc7InOMOpghczAGjwP9oIOoASSc_lrqhkFIy4u7-1PRP8UhZfPKHv3cEln8Bth3rsu2eeR3TPOZmOS/99_3.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 4 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pVBf2VBGh39iBthnb-FI0_3qznAeEoMkDc_OdtGUFnMKYAFzryqR7IDWmH42gVDAkKjVbNcozmbr9uf-yeUzpgq6Sfl-eYSV3/99_4.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 5 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1p84BgoiAU1k_YGTZ1EsblD59cQzOd0hTOlj3vHzrLvs3BfEoj3ZWTMnAjdtrQgZhhiBzB_U8-XOIQ_LVXKtj50FpFHoRM9Yyd/99_5.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 6 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1p-xaSAr0SNwyk8zyVNn8b7kB_XeDfbEWqeN1guzgpxKPHE-6eUGA6K21QcpMQKG0GYRjC7O3DJPT62xHXsWMa1MmBmBxBwxiQ/99_6.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 7 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pA6L_wyQ56T4nZtcdUxPTvvKPjSm4rlc4r0tCESgDR126_4oaURKPVKXImIqaU5LwelnmxPNgAuMik4Vz5uI4JqUnumsobQ1T/99_7.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 8 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pXg-G6bmoPnunmNHzNtZel14GrpPgjHoHH0WZUuiiMT8fereoeuasZ1k5ElhG2kqvHF5Ud9DJjk-AavX010xbwehxe-eHoEl2/99_8.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 9 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pj64hennF8-hxDs3SY2b3Hm4c47a5UHbYYjLnOoAJ04SgPC3kLOdLkzCBuylzhPtKUG1UcyxgoVuTClD7UD09bI1UugNosMnG/99_9.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 10 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pmJdC1YFgAOYZFhnDwi5SUzmrHZj4-aMckGGkz4n_d3ZGAxjBNz2Qxj-44CnkUjT2imueXHhAf1BSBGFokgOvlvnxj-4rFlI2/99_10.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 11 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pSvFACH4EdbGfJpeu5AekxB141w3Wstkjbd_c_9_ZZ0xZBFl6obNJsy9lmCQ7sneTKeHxLcfjlnLp2HnP3WL5w_vwRCnU8kWn/99_11.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 12 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pBD-EvIjK4o2y6y6WVUauJnm_G1JiqXHKc-TOr7zdm-Hz0uGre25vXwuGbAZSPI2AmTdKDPbRrjqNOKbs9VlrVOL5b-vgjKyv/99_12.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 13 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1prMFGa2WgoClLNACRXBhO4hTNK3Vk35wyKV_gQPCqFC3qzWlOjyPbmHHpuAfpGlWfszDQuu8rQCltC2etwJqaiqXZ2wgIepWm/99_13.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 14 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pK2iDSxa7s8KpjUHIWgC6HvoDIix5GLRRrJMCF4_UQpr0WB1eaKMFMCK2biVSgq6vr2_bv_eLCTTgEsTZNo6AJZ-8JcyVhhb_/99_14.jpg)
Arisaka Type 99 15 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pNXGl98t_pRwg0ZBnfUorRaLPTcV4Ycghk3dndRyV_Exqy-c0p7t2ZqkZ2wxdFQKNiZRUz2dThbSyWnoYrj5dyxhaM2BkwDlc/99_15.jpg)

September 8, 2009, 01:28 AM
Dang, that's some crude construction.

Not sure which remedies you've tried already, but if you're able to take apart the barrel/receiver from the stock and all, what's been recommended to me is soaking the action in kerosene, like in a large coffee can or something. I've a gun that could probably use the same treatment, although it's in a more operational state than yours, I just haven't gotten around to trying it yet.

September 8, 2009, 06:01 AM
When you say "locked closed", do you mean that the bolt handle won't turn? Or that the bolt handle rotates, and then the bolt only travels about 1/8" to the rear before stopping?

When you remove the magazine floorplate and inspect the bolt from below, does everything appear normal?

Does the safety still function as a bolt lock on this late example?

September 8, 2009, 06:25 AM
The handle will raise a few degrees, then the tab on the safety knob prevents it from raising any further. You can turn the safety because of that tab. I'm pretty sure the safety has been installed incorrectly.

The curved notch, I think, ought to be on top and to the left side of the rifle. On mine, it's to the right. I think that tab that prevents the rotation of the bolt ought to be in the bolt channel instead of outside it. The trick now is figuring out how to get the safety off the bolt with the bolt in the gun.

September 8, 2009, 06:28 AM
Compare my picture 6 to this example...

September 8, 2009, 07:38 AM
I had noticed that, but wasn't certain that the guy who machined your safety had necessarily milled the cutout in the right place; all those B-29s overhead were probably a bit distracting. ;)

I've never taken down the bolt on either of my Arisakas; looking at the instructions I have, it's hard to tell how easy it would be to reassemble incorrectly. A Collector's Guide to Military Rifle Disassembly and Reassembly by Mowbray & Puleo indicates that the cocking piece/safety will only install one way, but who knows how that may be altered by manufacturing shortcuts on these late guns. Can the cocking piece be turned enough to remove it?

September 8, 2009, 09:04 AM
Would be reticent to try to fire it even if you could get the bolt to move. And you may be suprised that the bayonet is worth as much as or nearly as much as the whole rifle!

September 8, 2009, 01:40 PM
Would be reticent to try to fire it...


September 8, 2009, 02:22 PM
I had an experience with exactly the same problem in High School 30+ years ago. My best friend was given a very ratty Arisaka as payment for mowing a lawn. It had the same problem you describe. We borrowed one of my Dad's Arisakas to diagnose the cause. Naturally, we disassembled my dad's rifle and succeeded in duplicating the problem and locking it up as well!

The problem (IIRC) is that whoever disassembled the bolt on your rifle reassembled it with the safety knob installed "upside down" (or rotated 180 degrees from correct installation). If you remove the action from the stock and look (again, IIRC) on the left side of the action (opposite the bolt handle) there's a slot giving access to a spring-loaded "tooth" or detente that locks the bolt in place (like a bolt in a door lock engaging the door frame). If you use a thin screwdriver to push that tooth back far enough to allow you to rotate the bolt you can then extract the bolt, disassemble it and then reassemble it correctly.

We used that method to disassemble both my dad's rifle and my friend's rifle as well. It's still sitting in my rifle cabinet in the same condition from that day, fwiw...

September 8, 2009, 05:46 PM
Lescoulee, I tried that. That spring loaded tooth is under the block on the left side of the action in my picture #6. Even if I retract that tooth (I don't know the term for it), the bolt will not rotate.

I'm afraid I'm in a situtation where I can't reassemble the safety properly since I can't remove the bolt. And I can't remove the bolt because the safety is assemble incorrectly. Catch 22.

I've gonna break it down again later and take a fresh look at it.

September 8, 2009, 06:14 PM
For question #1, post a close-up pic of the marking just in front of the serial number. I could tell you then. It is from the Nagoya arsenal.

I think on the bolt, someone may have tried to close the bolt with their finger on the trigger?? You know, like on a Mauser, where you hold the trigger while pushing the bolt forward, so that the rifle cannot be dry fired. You do that on an Arisaka, it can bind up something awful, sometimes even breaking the safety. Sorry Firing Line, but go the the Japanese board on Gunboards. There are some very knowledgable guys there that may help.

September 8, 2009, 07:04 PM
I fixed it.

I took the bolt-stop block off the left side of the receiver. This revealed a large hole where I could peer into the action. I found that whoever assembled the rifle last somehow managed to push the bolt into the receiver, with the cocking lug in the bolt lug channel! The cocking lug them popped up inside the hole covered by the bolt-stop block. I used a long, thing screwdriver to puch the cocking lug backwards. When I had it back as far as it would go, I pushed in the safety and it twisted. Then it, the spring and the firing pin popped completely out of the bolt. The bolt then came out as normal.

Then, for the first time in my memory, I was able to look down the bore of this rifle. I must say, the bore is spotless. Shiny and crisp. There bolt assembly is likewise pristine. The spring looks absolutely brand new.

After a quick wipedown, I reassembled the bolt. I made sure before placing the bolt back in the rifle that the cocking lug was pointing straight down, and the handle straight up. The bolt slid in and now the rifle works perfectly.

Here are some more pictures for those interested....

Thanks for all the kind help!

Type 99 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pLOyYCV2YISTugvQUkFMzlP7QUY51vGGmcilEY57iIwv-6bmQcGhEJmQCCBGACpjEPZnXYynnW0I6Kpw6mu9FWyzkk2oiEv9-/99_20.jpg)
Type 99 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pSS4hE84-5Mxby6HSDJddMcjOHbyPE9qrV80Ky5p7MrWgH9lIUHHXTr_ALH0vo-ErJVFUwQlxOwboY-wKFogwjCcbMnBNd823/99_23.jpg)
Safety ON (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pnRDj_z9d4ZjgC0kusCw-D-9Cx0ZcxNo1O6Dfb34innYGpGw3o7qXBp6r-5DGKemyjIIuWlgKEEb_Da0AnILl0mdCnRJtoOZV/99_22.jpg)
Safety OFF (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pKQuw9PloaDInIqqu1koMV8zzXWKYSynjeBwmNVEdsbnF3bB7hmkhjOIw7CVbmLcTU1Hbjj2l9NXItgNjfvD-puf3mVeBqAas/99_21.jpg)
Type 99 (http://19ma2q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pbXg1aCXE3F9zyBBBA-y5w1Ef-ThXMr6dr2UuUbA8HW4CJkI6osiWMOpeciYyzKRZFWJMWHwXuwmVyzsAjdwr-EBV1_QRnxMi/99_24.jpg)

BTW, this is a potentially dangerous rifle. You can fire the gun with the bolt handle straight up - with the bolt unlocked in the receiver.

September 9, 2009, 07:26 AM
I fixed it.

Hooray! :cool:

While we're talking about Arisakas, here's some pics of my Type 38 carbine (http://cosmolineandrust.blogspot.com/2007/06/arisaka-type-38-cavalry-carbine-samurai.html).

September 9, 2009, 06:15 PM
That's a nice rifle. I'd really like to add a nice Arisaka to my very meager collection.

James K
September 9, 2009, 07:32 PM
"BTW, this is a potentially dangerous rifle. You can fire the gun with the bolt handle straight up - with the bolt unlocked in the receiver."

Nope, unless something is very wrong. The firing pin will release with the bolt in that position if you force the bolt handle forward while pulling the trigger, but it can't protrude from the bolt face, being stopped on the firing pin retraction notch.


September 9, 2009, 08:43 PM
I held the handle up and pulled the trigger and the pin released, just like it does when it is down. Whether or not the pin protruded past the bolt face I don't know. So I may have experienced what you described. But you can definitely push the bolt forward and pull the trigger, whether the bolt handle is all the way up or all the way down, and the firing pin releases. Again, I don't know if there is a difference in how far the pin goes.

September 9, 2009, 08:57 PM
@ Jim,

I went out and looked at it again. You are right. The pin is held back when the handle is up by the shallower notch. When the handle is pushed down, the lug slides over to the deeper notch. So, I can see your point that the pin will not protude past the bolt face when the handle is up. So I retract what I said earlier about the rifle being dangerous in that respect.

I inherited this rifle from my grandfather many years ago, and he had it for many, many year before that. This is the first time the rifle has worked in all that time, so I'm still learning it.

September 19, 2009, 07:27 PM
I would like to correct some false asumptions. some of which you have found like the firing pin.the guns are not last ditch they are substitute standard.same as out springfield A3 stampings and such.there is only one bad one and that is the training rifle and its not made to shoot bullets.even the wooden butt plate is a subtitute.

James K
September 19, 2009, 08:14 PM
I have one of those "last ditch" Type 99's. It shoots close to MOA with Norma ammo (I don't load for the 7.7 or 6.5 Japanese). I have little doubt that had it not been for the A-Bomb, an invasion of Japan would have been a bloody business and a lot of people on both sides would have died, including more Japanese than died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.