Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Arisaka Type 38 Sniper Rifle

  1. #1

    Arisaka Type 38 Sniper Rifle

    I have an Arisaka Type 38 which I'm trying to bring to life. It belonged to a Japanese sniper that was dispatched by my grandfather. From the markings it is a series 24, Kokura Arsenal. It's not in superior shape from a collectors standpoint but it does seem usable.
    Unfortunately my grandfather has since passed so I cant find out more and I dont have a way to post pics yet but here is what I do know: Top: Imperial Crysanthamum, NO damage, symbols for 'model 38'. Left side: model 24 symbol, serial 227**, Kokura Arsenal symbol. Bottom: 272. Breech guard had been remover by sniper. Scope torn off when he fell out of the tree, rear elevation sight removed. 33.375" from end of barrel to end of bolt. The stock is unlike any I've seen online, having no tripod mount, a short foregrip (18 inches from tip to trigger) and saying "bishop" on the butt plate. There is no cleaning rod either. My grandfather never mentioned refitting the gun so I'd imagine that stock is the original. He did say that he had to take it apart to hide it in his bag and that he lost the screws to mate the barrel and stock.
    If anyone can offer help as far as more history of this weapon or recommending a restoration specialist or anyone who may make parts, ammo, or the like for this weapon I'd appreciate it. I can't seem to find information pertaining to this rifle in a sniper configuration except that they are rare.
    On another note, this weapon will not ever be for sale and I personally feel that pieces of history die when removed from service, even if 'immortalized' for show.
    Last edited by superiormarine; May 11th, 2009 at 01:30 AM.

  2. #2
    Member  
    Join Date
    06-14-03
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    89
    The scary part is where you say it says "bishop" on the butt plate. Bishop was a large manufacturer of sporting stocks, one of which was used to sporterize your rifle. This is why the stock looks like nothing you have seen on a Japanese military rifle. The value with the original stock, if the metal has not also been altered, would be in the low thousands even without the scope. Restoration, if the metal is original, is possible--but the scopes are very hard to find. If the whole thing was sporterized, I think it is best considered a hunting rifle and memento of your grandfather.

    gary

  3. #3
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    07-26-04
    Posts
    1,460
    I am with Gary. Your rife has been bubbatized.

    You could collect the parts to restore it, but the Japs typically numbered every part and yours would be mismatched. Since you never intend to sell it, it would be a labor of love. Or you could just enjoy it like it is as a shooter.

    I had a similar situation. A distant relative who was part of the Philippine liberation brought back a Type 99 in pristine condition. Back in the '60s 7.7 Jap ammo was nearly impossible to find. So, the Major took the bolt out and hid it somewhere (no one ever found it) and let the boys play army with it, which they did with extreme gusto. Consequently, the stock looks like a piece of firewood and the metal finish is much less than it was.

    I have put it in working order and it holds a place in my WWII collection, and I consider it a family heirloom, but it is not a collectible by any means.
    "There is no lie too grotesque, too stupid, or too base for leftist extremists to retell." -- Standing Wolf

    Posted from my Ubuntu machine.

  4. #4

    "bubbatized . . ."

    Bubbatized! Where the hecks that come from? Makes for a good laugh anyway! Thanks for the imput guys, but why 'bubbatized' and why so negative about making this a sporting rifle? I'd rather be taking game with it than hanging it on the wall, the Sergeant would have preferred it that way I believe.
    So Bishop stock or not, would this be a usable firearm for sporting purposes? I see that ammo is expensive in the 6.5x50SR so reloading would be the way to go. Should I assume that this is what this rifle fires or would it be worth having a smith check it out? As far as a scope goes, is there such thing as a modern mount or bracket that would serve this model? Thanks again for the imput, I'm going to try and post some pics.

  5. #5
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    03-01-08
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    877
    So Bishop stock or not, would this be a usable firearm for sporting purposes? I see that ammo is expensive in the 6.5x50SR so reloading would be the way to go. Should I assume that this is what this rifle fires or would it be worth having a smith check it out? As far as a scope goes, is there such thing as a modern mount or bracket that would serve this model?
    Only a competent, knowledgeable rifle smith can tell you if the gun is operable and if you should reload for it. The integrity of the steel will tell you whether you can safely reload brass for it or whether you should stick to military surplus.

    The integrity of the rifle for sporting purposes cannot be told through the internet. It's definitely a job for a trustworthy professional. Good luck!
    NRA Life Member, October 2009.
    SAF Defender Club Member, January 2011.
    NRA Endowment Member, January 2011.

  6. #6
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    12-14-06
    Location
    CNY
    Posts
    1,728
    Also the potential is that your rifle was re-chambered for 6.5-.257 due to scarcity of ammo- technically a 6.5x57 case, basically 7mm Mauser necked down.

    "Bubba-izing" comes from the informal but universal stereotype that most gun modifications are done by ill-informed backwoods amateurs named Bubba in their garage, resulting in abominations.

    The problem with the term is it's also often applied to moderately and well-done sporting conversions of rifles that nowadays would be worth far more in their original configuration.

    6.5x50SR Japanese is easily made from .243 Winchester brass, and 6.5-257 from 7mm or 8mm Mauser or .30-06 brass, so if a smith pronounces it safe and tells you the caliber, reloading should be no trouble at all.

    I have a nice converted Arisaka myself, and there's bunches of others out there. Nowadays an original is best left alone, but what's done in the past is done, and they are as good a rifle as any other.

    http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?p=616756

  7. #7
    Member  
    Join Date
    06-14-03
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    89
    I quite agree that there is nothing wrong with making a sporter of a rifle that is already altered. With a good scope and the Bishop stock, your Arisaka will make a good deer rifle and the 6.5 Japanese is a good cartridge for deer (it is a good idea to check that the chambering has not been altered--I once had a 6.5x257 Arisaka). The prejudice against "Bubbaing" largely comes from ungainly alterations of rifles that have or may become of collector interest, an Arisaka sniper is now a prime collector item--but what is done is done. Back in the 1960's most milsurp rifles were bought with the sole purpose of making them into hunting rifles. Many gunwriters of the day condemned all milsurps but 98 Mausers and '03 Springfields as junk, simply because they could not be made into their idea of a first class hunting rifle. We now are much more inclined to appreciate milsurps for what they are. My own collection includes several sporters made from milsurps back in the old days, and while some of these are among my favorites, I would not again permanantly alter a milsurps, but one already so altered may well make a fine sporter.

    gary

  8. #8
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    04-20-04
    Location
    the North Carolina mountains
    Posts
    1,270
    I've read in numerous sources that the Arisaka has one of the strongest actions of any rifle made. Is this a consequence of the steel used, or due more to the design of the bolt/receiver lockup?

    I have a Type 99 brought back by my grandfather too. I know he was in Saipan, New Guinea, and some other places but I don't know where he acquired the rifle. Apparently its previous owner no longer had use for it . This one however is typical of later war production, roughly finished. The action seems ok, but I'll never fire it regardless. It's great to have a very personal relic of what is certainly the most epic event in human history. So far.
    90 million American gun owners killed no one today.

  9. #9
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    12-14-06
    Location
    CNY
    Posts
    1,728
    The reason the Arisaka is so strong is partly the steel, and mostly the extremely well designed venting that allows overpressure to escape and keep a spike from shattering the receiver. In conjunction with the chrome lined barrel, antiaircraft sights, dustcover, and monopod, the Arisaka is arguably the ultimate expression of versatility in a bolt-action military rifle, and mechanically stands alongside the MAS-36 and Mauser-Verguiero as penultimate evolution of a bolt-action rifle.

  10. #10
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    04-20-04
    Location
    the North Carolina mountains
    Posts
    1,270
    Funny you mention the MAS-36. I don't think it gets enough love from the surplus crowd. I got one on a lark, as a Christmas gift actually, and I have to say it's a great rifle. Especially now that Prvi Partizan is making brass cased reloadable ammo in 7.5x54.
    90 million American gun owners killed no one today.

  11. #11

    here we go (photos)

    Sorry about the poor quality photos, ye olde camera lacks luster.

    And thanks to everyone for the imput. I'm hoping that this will work out and revive as planned. I'm in south MS if anyone can recommend a gunsmith.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    12-24-02
    Posts
    9,666
    Looks strange to me.

    Obviously an Arisaka barrelled action with intact mum and oriental chicken track markings.
    OK

    Installed in a nicely done American made Bishop sporter stock as was common from early post WW II up until mailorder sales of firearms was banned in 1968 and supplies of cheap military rifles dried up.
    OK

    It has an American made Lyman barrel band front ramp sight driven on rather far back because that is where the barrel and sight band tapers matched up.
    OK

    I see no rear sight of any sort. The military ladder sight has been removed and not replaced with anything to aim the rifle with. There is no sporting open sight, there is no peep sight, there is no scope or mount for same. Nor are there any drilled and tapped holes or dovetails for sights or mounts. There is no sign of a Japanese military sniper rifle scope or its mount. Even if it had been "torn off when he fell out of the tree" there would be some sign left. (See a rig at
    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=127896197
    and note how the scope is affixed to the left side of the receiver and the serial number located forward to show. Not every sniper in the Pacific had a scope sight. Maybe he was just the best shot in the platoon so they put him up a tree with a rifle to shoot at Americans.)
    This is the strange part.

    I conclude that this is a case of Sporterization Interruptus. That the gun was being converted into an American style hunting rifle but the job was never finished. I think that was because Grandpa was able to buy the Bishop stock and install and finish it himself at low cost, likewise knock off the ugly miltary front sight and drive on an inexpensive barrel band front. But installation of a rear sight or scope would have taken real paid gunsmithing. Maybe no gunsmith was locally available or his charges were not affordable.

    I don't know about remilitarization. Finding the correct stock and hardware will be difficult and expensive. I would leave it like Grandpa wanted it. I might even finish out the job by getting a rear sight of some sort on it.
    I have a few facts and a lot of opinions.

  13. #13
    Thanks for the quick reply Jim. And definately, I would like to make this a sporting rifle, especially if that was where my grandfather was going with it. As for the story of it, I only heard it after noticing the barrel of the gun poking out of some old newspaper in the attic rafters. He was rather reluctant to talk about it though (I think they lost a few boys to it). I was young at the time so the details were purposely left out. The rest of the family never knew he even had it. I asked about a scope and he said it must have been torn off. Maybe there was not one originally. After that I hadn't seen the gun until I recently found it well hidden in the back of the attic.

    Heck after thinking of all this maybe it was better left alone. Well at any rate, if my Grandfather had begun a process to convert it, I'll give it a go to completion. What would you recommend as far as a rear sight? I tend to like the old irons. There is a small, tapped hole on the top of the barrel, just in front of the reciever.

  14. #14
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    04-20-04
    Location
    the North Carolina mountains
    Posts
    1,270
    It's amazing what you can find somewhere as seemingly mundane as your granddad's attic. My grandfather had the Type 99 rifle, a Japanese battle flag with rusty looking blood stains on it, and some Japanese goggles used by anti-aircraft gunners, sort of like welding goggles for looking directly towards the sun. There is also a bayonet that doesn't fit the Type 99, so I'm not sure what the story is on that one. We really owe a debt of gratitude to men like your grandfather and mine.
    90 million American gun owners killed no one today.

  15. #15
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    12-24-02
    Posts
    2,677
    Restoring this to its original shape would basically involve replacing every part except the receiver. You would need a new barrel, bolt, stock, and all the small bit like sling swivels and stock bands. Even if you got all these, it would be a mismatched gun, and not have much value to a collector (and it was not ever scoped by the Japanese, so you're not talking about much monetary value to begin with).

    Seems to me a much better idea to finish the sporterizing process that your grandfather started.

    And definitely confirm the caliber before you shoot it!
    Baby, don't it drop you to your knees?
    The only thing in life of worth is free
    To anyone who's heard the call
    And turned and run away

    Shadow Gallery, "Ghost of a Chance"

  16. #16
    Member  
    Join Date
    06-14-03
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    89
    About all you need to make this a nice sporter is a scope or good rear sight. Williams makes a good receiver sight for the T38. I'm not sure who currently makes mounts (other than a scout mount for unaltered rifles), but you could probably turn one up.

    gary

  17. #17
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    01-02-07
    Location
    MANNING SC
    Posts
    1,313

    type 38

    if it is 6.5/257r you fire 257 roberts and then reload with 6.5 bullets.I have had one.the metal was the best steel we could send them.before WW2 we shipped much scrap steel to Japan,and some of the early fighters had National radios in them.I worked for NR in malden.
    Lymans mauser peep sight fits on right side. I have one on one of my 6.5s.or you could mount a williams on it.williams 5D jems
    GRAFS has 6.5 x50 new brass.and Lee makes the dies.I think hornady makes loaded 6.5 using GRAFs brass.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •