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Old June 16, 2024, 03:27 PM   #1
4V50 Gary
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Japanese Type 38 and Type 99 rifles

The former is 6.5 mm and the latter is 7.7 mm. Is the latter Type 99 merely a scaled up with modern manufacturing (stamped parts like trigger guards and bands instead of forged/milled) but no functional distinction between the parts? I don't have either to examine.

I went over W. H. B. Smith's Rifles of the World and didn't read about any difference in how the parts operated.
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Old June 16, 2024, 04:30 PM   #2
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Both types cock on the closing stroke in the same manner as the 93,35 and 95 Mausers, 191 and 1917 Enfields and the various Lee Enfields. They're reputed to be hell for stout.
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Old June 16, 2024, 07:36 PM   #3
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They are both variants of the basic Mauser systems front locking bolt, large claw extractor. The back end of the bolt is different from the Mausers, and the actions have long tangs the stocks must be fitted to.

Cock on closing, a rather unique (and awkward for most people) rotating safety.

The 6.5mm Arisaka (6.5x50mm) is on the low end of 6.5mm power, getting a bit less than 2400fps with a 140gr bullet from a 19" carbine, and barely making 2100 with a 160gr.

The type 99 is a bit bigger, scaled for the 7.7x58mm Arisaka round, which is ballistically identical to the .303 British in performance.

Early type 99s had a number of "deluxe" features, including anti-aircraft sights, a built in monopod and a sliding dustcover for the action. Wartime production pressure lead to the dropping of some features and changing some non vital parts from milled to stamped manufacture.

They are considered "hell for stout" because when P.O. Ackley did blow up tests on milsurp receivers the Arisakas, failed last. That strength has no application to normal use.
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Old June 17, 2024, 06:39 AM   #4
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In my experience there is virtually no parts interchange between the Type 38 and the Type 99. In essence they are similar but different. They both operate the same.
They are perhaps the strongest military bolt action designs.

Last edited by jcj54; June 17, 2024 at 12:52 PM.
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Old June 17, 2024, 07:23 AM   #5
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I have a 99 that I sporterized and shoots pretty good.
I cut the barrel, removed the sights and re-crowned it,
drilled and tapped it for a Weaver scope base,
cut off the bolt handle, reshaped it to my take on a butter knife and Tig welded it back to the bolt.
I wasn’t thinking when I welded it, I used ss rod which didn’t take the blueing (a spot about the size of 2 BB’s) !
I found an absolutely beautiful Harry Lawson stock (totally by accident for cheap), that is far above the actions worth and later one day gave it to my brother in law.
Poor guy has 12 thumbs so manipulating the funky safety was too much for him.
It’s back in my safe, a reminder of what you will do when you don’t have two Yen to rub together and your labor is cheap!
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Old June 17, 2024, 09:18 PM   #6
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Another tidbit about the Arisakas is the "Mum".

The Imperial Chrysanthemum was marked on every rifle. Normally on the top of the receiver ring. The rifles were technically the Emperor's property.

At the end of the war, the Japanese were required to surrender the rifles, and many, perhaps most, but by no means all, had the "mum" removed or defaced.

Stories differ about who did this, and where some say at the order of US officers in Japan, some say it was done when the guns were imported into the US, some say it was done by the Japanese before turning in the rifles, so they didn't dishonor the Emperor.

An Arisaka with an intact Mum was, for a long time, considered to be proof of a "battlefield pick up", an actual war trophy, and that is still often the case, but its no longer considered definite proof by itself alone as there have been verified examples of surrendered rifles with intact Mums, though not many,

A word about the 7,7 Jap, it is, literally the .303 British with a different, rimless case. Same diameter and weight bullets at the same speeds. Some old reloading manuals say to use the same data for both. More modern manuals show a difference in charge weights, usually around 2gr using IMR powders.

You can make 7.7mm brass from .30-06 cases. Shorten the 06 and run it through the 7.7 sizer and it works. Not quite as good as purpose made 7.7 cases but it will work acceptably well. (work up data for formed brass, of course)
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Old June 18, 2024, 06:03 AM   #7
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I agree with jcj54.

Many of the parts do not 'quite' interchange in my experience.

Dust covers and safeties are two that come to mind.

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Old June 18, 2024, 09:41 AM   #8
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I had a really rough 99 that still had the Chrysanthemum intact.

My sporterized one does not and it had been converted to 30-06.
It shoots surprisingly well with factory ammo although I load my own with.311 bullets. It will do 1-1/2” 3 shot groups with Sierra 150’s and a not max amount of IMR 4895. I never really wanted to push it.

I guess it’s a, 31-06
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Old June 25, 2024, 10:25 AM   #9
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Got Military Rifles of Japan and it's an excellent book, but doesn't have the technical details I want.
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Old June 25, 2024, 01:08 PM   #10
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What details are you looking for???
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Old June 27, 2024, 08:49 PM   #11
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What changes?

Today I learned that the Type 38 had 26 mm barrel shank that was threaded at 1.76 mm and the Type 99 was 26 mm at 1.5 mm. Fewer but stouter threads (and slightly faster machiing).

Was the bolt design modified? The Type 38 was simplified enough from the Mauser and were there any further simplification in the bolt? What about the receiver (I know the clip guide was milled different to fit the 7.7).
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Old July 1, 2024, 10:51 AM   #12
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Whittington Center has both rifles. I'm hoping they give me access to them.
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Old July 1, 2024, 04:42 PM   #13
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Type 38 and Type 99

Bolts are the same in takedown procedure. The 6.5 and 7.7 cartridges are different enough that bolts to not interchange between type 38 and type 99 rifles.
The type 99 receiver is somewhat different from the type 38 due to the different cartridge dimensions, and has a single gas vent compared the type 38 2 gas vents.
If you can find a copy of Otteson's book "The Bolt Action" he does an excellent job of detailing the actions strengths and weaknesses.
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Old July 5, 2024, 04:53 PM   #14
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Got to examine both a Type 38 and Type 99 rifle today. The receivers are very much alike but the bolt has numerous small changes, mostly to facilitate easier machining. Clever bolt and the Japanese did a good job of simplifying a complicated Mauser design.

One thing I like about the Arisaka bolt is that they are easy to disassemble without any tools. Only six parts for the bolt assembly.
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