View Full Version : Type "I" Rifle?

March 29, 2010, 04:31 PM
I recently acquired a bolt action rifle. I have not been able to match it to any pictures to positively identify it. The closest thing I have found is possibly a Type "I" military rifle with a Carcano action.
The barrel states it is a .257 caliber. Any help appreciated.

Mike Irwin
March 29, 2010, 04:37 PM
What are the other markings on it?

March 29, 2010, 05:04 PM
Yes it's a Carcano but not sure which one. The bolt has been bent back and the magazine has been removed. For lack of 6.5 Carcano cases it was often rechambered to 6.5x257 using a 257 Roberts case.

Jim Watson
March 29, 2010, 06:43 PM
The Japanese purchased the Type I rifles from an Italian maker.
They are on the Carcano action but with a flush Mauser/Arisaka type magazine.

Original caliber was 6.5 Arisaka.

The .257 marking might mean that it was rechambered for the 6.5x.257 Roberts, a common solution to the lack of the original caliber. Hard to think of anybody going to the expense of a new barrel for an odd surplus rifle.

A chamber cast to determine the actual cartridge seems indicated.
Part of the cost of "acquiring" a pig in a poke.

James K
March 29, 2010, 09:45 PM
The Type "I" rifles were the result of Hitler trying to unite the wideapread Axis nations and boost the Italian economy to help his friend Mussolini. He persuaded the Japanese to order rifles from Italy, though the Japanese claimed they had a more than adequate supply of their own rifles and much preferred them.

Anyway, a deal was cut and 60,000 rifles were made, split among three manufacturers, the Royal Army Arsenal at Gardone (50%), the National Arms factory at Brescia, and P. Beretta at Gardone (each 25%). All the barrels were made at Terni. Production began in 1938 and ended in 1939. The caliber is 6.5 Japanese, but the rifles are not Arisakas; they are a mixture of the Carcano action and a Mauser type magazine, loaded with the standard Japanese clip. One pecuilarity the Japanese insisted on was the use of a two piece buttstock, which they felt was stronger than the normal buttstock used by most other nations. The Italian glue was apparently not as good as the Japanese, since several Type I rifles I have seen were coming apart at that seam.

Reportedly, once received in Japan, all the Type "I" rifles were turned over to the Imperial Japanese Navy, and at least some were used in combat by Naval landing forces (sometimes incorrectly called "Japanese Marines" by Americans, though Japan had no separate Marine Corps as the Americans and British did).

Many I have seen were in good shape, indicating seizure from depots rather than capture in combat, though I have seen some that obviously had seen heavy use and lack of proper care. No need to worry about ground chrysanthemums, though; the Type "I" never had a "mum" or any other identification except the serial number and a few factory inspection marks.

AFAIK, "Type I" is an American collectors' term; I have not been able to determine what the Japanese called them.


March 29, 2010, 10:03 PM
Thank you for the replies.
It has been mentioned that due to only having one lug securing the bolt, it is considered unsafe. There are no obvious signs of damage. Is there a design flaw?
Would this be a practical white tail deer piece, once determined it is chambered for .257 Roberts? Or should I consider this a nice looking paperweight on the mantle?
Also, is there a way to determine which of the three manufacturing facilities this particular rifle originated?

Markings on the barrel include the serial number, which begins with the letter "J" and the .257 cal stamp.

March 30, 2010, 09:13 AM
I still own two type I rifles and converted one or two that were parts guns. Pull the bolt out and look at it, there should be two locking lugs on it. If nobody ground one off, it should be O.K., strength wise. If it is a 6.5x257 you are going to have to reload anyway, so just keep the loads mild. The Carcanos got a bad reputation probably because they look like crap. They are not that bad and the type I was the best, they had Japanese inspectors looking over their shoulders.

Mike Irwin
March 30, 2010, 10:22 AM
There have been many 1 lug bolt rifles made over the years.

No, they're not as strong as the Mauser dual lug, but as long as you keep to the loads that more or less match what the original was chambered for you shouldn't have a problem.

The American Krag-Jorgenson is another example of a 1 lug rifle.

In both cases, though, the bolt handle serves as a secondary, or safety, lug should the bolt lug shear off.

March 30, 2010, 10:51 AM
That Carcano should have two lugs. If it does not, somebody ground one off and it is junk. Again, pull the bolt and look at the front of it, there should be two lugs. I am thinking the person you talked to was referring to bolts with a third safety lug. I own two type Is and reworked at least two others I remember, and they should have two lugs. I can't see the front of the bolt in your pictures.

March 30, 2010, 11:11 AM
Thank you again for the answers. The most information I've received have been from these pages. Everyone I've spoken to in person is just as lost as I am.
I've attached a picture of the bolt. It appears to me it has a lug on each side along with the lever to hold it in place. That worry was senseless.

Now to find a trustworthy Gunsmith in Houston, TX. I would presume that is who would cast the chamber and slug the bore. Any recommendations out there?

March 30, 2010, 12:20 PM
It may not be the right bolt. The long groove in the bottom of the bolt should be in the middle of the bolt. Look down into the receiver when putting the bolt in,the ejector should line up with the groove. It is a small stud looking thing that is spring loaded. I don't have a digital camera to take a picture of mine. Wouldn't know how to put it on here anyway, fairly new to computers. I don't know the Carcano models that well, I dealt with the Japanese stuff, and they all had center grooves in the bolt. You have to ask someone else if the Italians had other models with the ejector groove in the center. I have seen some at shows with the wrong bolt in, apparently it is easier to find a regular Carcano bolt than a type I. You probably have the right bolt, but check before you stick more money into it.

March 30, 2010, 03:31 PM
After leaving the gunsmith, I've decided to sell my firearm. I appreciate everyone's knowledge. The gunsmith said I have a nice firearm, but ammo will be expensive and/or hard to find since I'm not a reloader. Thanks again.

James K
March 31, 2010, 08:48 PM
Hi, Gunplummer,

While the Type I is usually and correctly described as having a Carcano action, the receiver is NOT identical to the Italian Carcano. One difference is that the ejector in the Type I is in the center, not offset as it is in the Italian version. Also, the Type I has a clip guide for the standard Japanese Arisaka clip while the Italian rifle uses six round "en-bloc" clips.


March 31, 2010, 11:11 PM
Yes, they are different. I was trying to decide if the bent bolt was bent after the factory. I never saw a type I with a bent bolt unless it was the wrong one put in by someone. Maybe you know if there was an Italian model with a bent bolt and central ejector groove? I don't know the standard Carcanos that well.

James K
April 1, 2010, 08:37 PM
AFAIK, all Type I rifles have straight bolts; there were no carbines. Italian carbines have turned down bolts, but the Italian bolts won't fit the Type I. Even if you force the ejector out of the way, the bolt handle lug of the type I is about 3/8" further forward than that on the Italian bolt, and the Italian bolt in a Type I won't turn down. Like I said, the Type I is a Carcano action, but the receiver is NOT identical with the Italian rifles.


April 2, 2010, 04:54 AM
That sounds about right. Either they were jammed in or laying with it. I never saw a correct one with a bent bolt. Just looking at them laying at gun shows, I really do believe the Japanese rifles I have were the cream of the crop. Type Is are not bad little rifles when stripped down. The Italians are probably just as good, just crude looking. I may pick one up to play with.