Japanese Guns?


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Ohio Rifleman
August 7, 2007, 04:34 PM
In my prowling of the Trading Post forum, I've come across a few guns that the seller says are Japanese-made. I know that as far as gun laws go, Japan makes Chicago look like a gun owner paradise. So why do the Japanese manufacture civilian firearms? Is it strictly for export to free countries such as the US?

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ozwyn
August 7, 2007, 04:42 PM
Miroku of Japan produced rifles imported as Winchesters. Heard they were pretty good. I expect it is mostly export only.

revjen45
August 7, 2007, 04:43 PM
Japan has made numerous guns for the civilian market in other countries.

Fosbery
August 7, 2007, 04:44 PM
Miroku also make some fine shotguns. Japan has gun laws similar to the UK if I remember rightly. No handgun ban though, but somewhat stricter controls on who gets them.

Ohio Rifleman
August 7, 2007, 04:44 PM
That's about what I figured, that Japanese guns were strictly for exporting to other countries. I think you can only get shotguns in Japan, and even then, you have to jump through all sorts of hoops.

MikeH
August 7, 2007, 05:01 PM
I'm surprised nobody brought up Howa yet. They make civilian firearms for export both in OEM and their own brand name, as well as service rifles for the SDF.

The surprising part is that, even with civilian market revenues, they still manage to quote an almost astronomical US$3,000 per Type-89 rifle.

CWL
August 7, 2007, 05:11 PM
Japan has been exporting firearms since the 1540's. (By the end of the 16th Cent., Japanese armies fielded more firearms than European armies.) They have a long tradition of manufacturing rifles and shotguns for export.

I don't know all the details about gun ownership in Japan, but it is possible for civvies to own firearms there. They do hunt in Japan and people can get licensed shotguns and rifles. Pistols are much harder to own, typically you have to be a member of a local shooting club for X-many years and wait a very long time for approval because Japan limits total number of pistol permits in Japan. Legally obtaining firearms in Japan are a serious PITA, but it is possible.

ftierson
August 7, 2007, 05:26 PM
As MikeH says, Howa manufactures rifles for the US market, both under their own name and sold as the Weatherby Vanguard.

They are very well made guns at a very decent price.

As a matter of fact, I think that they're about the best value out there in bolt action rifles...

Forrest

Nomad101bc
August 7, 2007, 05:30 PM
Well I own a guitar made in Japan, my parents have three japanese cars that survive 200,000+ miles of abuse, if any of these are a sign of Japanese quality thier guns should be very reliable and accurate.

fireflyfather
August 7, 2007, 06:10 PM
The Japanese gun laws are extremely strict, but there is no total ban. Longarms can be had, but you have to store weapons and ammo in separate locked containers, and the cops can come any time and inspect without so much as a by your leave. My Uncle-in-law is a hunter in Nagano prefecture.

There were some threads about this in the past, however, so you might want to do a search.

As for why Japanese companies make rifles? Domestic consumption and foreign sales, just like most gun companies around the world. They make some fine rifles. In fact, the WWII Arisaka had the strongest bolt action design of any at the time (and most since). IIRC.

GigaBuist
August 7, 2007, 06:46 PM
if any of these are a sign of Japanese quality thier guns should be very reliable and accurate.Heh, they may be of high quality but I'm of the opinion that the Japanese shouldn't be left to their own devices when it comes to designing firearms.

A buddy of mine was looking through one of my coffee table gun books once and piped up with a "What the.....!?" and without looking I said, "It's Japanese." I was right. :)

jaysouth
August 7, 2007, 06:47 PM
I had a Browning Superposed O/U made in Belgium. It was a fine gun with lots of sex appeal and finely fitted by expert Belgian craftsmen. It had habit of parts shooting loose during skeet bouts.

Later I bought a Browning Citori made by Miroku in Japan. At the same round count where the Belgian made gun started shedding parts, the jap gun was semi-broken in. Jap machines made better guns than Belgian smiths.

I also bought a Miroku 20 ga. in Japan around 1967. The gun was mailed home. It was the exact same gun as the Winchester 101 except for roll marks. The gun has been used for hunting only and is still very tight.

Tommygunn
August 7, 2007, 06:49 PM
Miroku of Japan produced rifles imported as Winchesters. Heard they were pretty good.

I have a Browning B-92, which is a "repro" of a Winchester 1892, in .44 Magnum. It is a very nicely made gun, and quite accurate. They also made 1886, and 1895 Winchesters (Under the Browning and then Winchester name, IIRC). Miroku does a very good job.

rkh
August 7, 2007, 08:11 PM
I hear that Nambu character made some fine pistols in his day.

:rolleyes:

Neo-Luddite
August 7, 2007, 09:16 PM
Their internal laws governing ownership are one thing, laws covering manufaturing are another; they keep the two realms separate. Here in Illinois we can't even pass a budget.


If it says made in Japan and is new production, I look at it twice these days--just like I do for made in USA. You will pay a premium, but the quality and tollerances are worth it.

I have a familial bias in favor of Japanese made anything, but I have in truth rarely ever been disapointed.

Warbow
August 7, 2007, 10:22 PM
My dad has a Browning Auto-5 that was made in Japan and it's very nice.

U.S.SFC_RET
August 8, 2007, 07:53 AM
Japanese know how to machine and to build. I teach automotive technology. They do not shy away from quality metallurgy when needed and I am sure that applies to guns as well. I stripped apart a '81 motorcycle engine that was extremely well designed and better built than 99% domestic anything.

Onmilo
August 8, 2007, 10:34 AM
I own two Miroku produced Winchester replica rifles.

One is a copy of the Model 63 .22 semi automatic.
It is more accurate and reliable than any other Model 63 I have had the pleasure of using including my original Winchester made Model 63.

The other is a copy of the Model 1886 extra lightweight lever action rifle in .45/70 caliber.
It puts all original Winchester rifles I have ever handled, inspected, and repaired to shame.

Very nice firearms.

sterling180
August 8, 2007, 02:21 PM
Miroku also make some fine shotguns. Japan has gun laws similar to the UK if I remember rightly. No handgun ban though, but somewhat stricter controls on who gets them.

You are quite right to a degree Fosbery,in terms of there not being a handgun ban,but not all handguns are permitted,though.Japan does ban most types of handguns and only permits certain types of weapons,to a 'chosen 50' or to a handful of citizens.Combat types such as the 1911A1,Sig-Saur series,etc,etc aren't permitted for private ownership and the only pistols that are allowed,are Olympic or Sporting pistols that are purposely-built for this use,unlike a conventional handgun,that is seen to be used as a combat weapon.So no custom-jobs or special-models that are specifically built for Practical Pistol,Bianchi Cup or ordinary target-shooting events.

The reason why there is little ownership over there,is because the law requires heavier security of guns in storage(An awful lot more than over here.) and the police's bully-boy tactics,where a map of a persons home must be drawn to scale,and showing the exact location of the gun safe and the cops will arrive at any time for a random inspection-however they will not inform the person of this visit,thus giving notice.This makes the UK,look like the state of Texas.

To my knowledge only 'sporting' single and double-barrelled shotguns are only permitted and bolt-action rifles,with a limited magazine capacity are also allowed.It is 10 times as hard to acquire a rifle license over there,than it is a shotgun licence.Also rifles licences are only granted to hunters,farmers and pest-controller professionals,all whom have to show evidence of their kills with the rifle bullets,in order to keep them.This is alot stricter than our exempt 'persons' or 'Section 5 owners,from the handgun ban in 1997.

The only exception to this,is Olympic target-shooters,but they are not exempt from the rest of the population,because they too must suffer these intensive checks,by the police,too.

That's about what I figured, that Japanese guns were strictly for exporting to other countries. I think you can only get shotguns in Japan, and even then, you have to jump through all sorts of hoops

From my explanation of their bizarre gun-laws,you are totally 'on-target',except that rifle ownership is allowed,by it is more or less non-existant,over there.I won't be visiting that country,if I want to break some clays.Shame really,but thats their illogical society,for you-much like over here,too.

McCall911
August 8, 2007, 04:15 PM
I was very proud of and happy with the Browning (Miroku) Model 71 that I used to own.

fireflyfather
August 8, 2007, 07:30 PM
From my explanation of their bizarre gun-laws,you are totally 'on-target',except that rifle ownership is allowed,by it is more or less non-existant,over there.I won't be visiting that country,if I want to break some clays.Shame really,but thats their illogical society,for you-much like over here,too.

Sterling: Actually, it is VERY logical. Japan has one of the highest population densities in the world, especially when you realize that 90% of their people live on 10% of their land. The cities are uber crowded, and so are the suburbs. Hell, I lived in a little mountain village, and if I did much shooting there, sooner or later I would hit something I didn't want to if I wasn't completely paranoid about my backstop (WAY beyond the four rules). They have also had historically low violent crime post-war. There are a lot of other reasons as well, but just because their system is different, restrictive, and draconian doesn't mean that it isn't logical. They have a different set of cultural assumptions, a different situation on the ground, and a very different religion (buddhists tend to be true pacifists a LOT more often than christians).

They also have a centuries long tradition of forbiding the common person from owning weapons. They also had a rather draconian set of laws handed to them at the end of big mistake #2 by a guy named Macarthur. Their gun culture works for them, though a lot of people LOVE guns there (check out all the gun mags and hyper-realistic airsoft stuff available in stores in even the most rural areas).

There's plenty of things in Japanese culture (or any other) that are illogical. Their gun laws are not, though I don't happen to like them myself.

sterling180
August 9, 2007, 03:40 PM
Okay fireflyfather,you seem to have a good point on this and when I called the Japanese firearm laws 'illogical',I meant it in a similar context,to how it is in the UK,nowdays.Obviously it is a different culture over there,but Im glad that Tanaka and others make realistic replicas of pistols in airsoft and in cap-firing live-action versions.The live-action versions are better than blankfirers,on stage and also because they have the same real stampings as the live guns,do.

Carl N. Brown
August 9, 2007, 04:28 PM
If you watch the Japanese-language version of Gojira (Godzilla),
when the villagers of Odo Island learn Godzilla is on the other
side of a hill, they arm themsleves and run up the hill to fight him.
Their weapons include farm tools, samurai swords, single barrel
and double barrel shotguns. I doubt that Toho Productions
would show members of a fishing village armed with firearms in
1954 if it was uncommon.

I have heard that about the only place left with big game hunting
on the Japanese islands was Okinawa and there was a small
trade in firearms there, but not much elsewhere.

I have also heard that Japanese tourists go to American gun
ranges that rent guns and get a kick out of getting to shoot.
Almost a forbidden fruit syndrome.

CWL
August 9, 2007, 04:30 PM
After 9/11 gun ranges around here no longer rent guns to foreign passport holders.

The Japanese still hunt bears, the Asian black bear which is much more aggressive than US version.

fireflyfather
August 9, 2007, 07:42 PM
After 9/11 gun ranges around here no longer rent guns to foreign passport holders.

The Japanese still hunt bears, the Asian black bear which is much more aggressive than US version.

Actually, a few months ago I took an Australian friend to the range, and they told us they get lots of Japanese tourists there.

As for no large game hunting in Japan, I know for a fact that at the very least, in Gunma & Nagano prefectures (central Japan not too far from Tokyo) that they hunt black bear and deer. The school I worked at had two stuffed bears, and another was in the community center a few hundred meters away. My uncle-in-law from Nagano used to go hunting with an American from the embassy, and the dude left him his rifle when he returned to the US.

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