Japanese rifle dates.


March 15, 2008, 10:54 PM
Manufacturing date of Japanese 6.5 Ariska (sp) rifle.

Does anyone know how to tell if a war trophy is a solid early rifle or possibly a last ditch effort rifle that I have heard of? I have a mismatched bolt to reciever rifle that is pretty much a junker and may give it to a friend to build a rifle, it I think it would be safe to use.

I searched the forums with no success.


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March 16, 2008, 12:40 AM
If it's 6.5mm it's not last ditch. Last ditch Arisaka's were all type 99's and in 7.7mm. 6.5's were generally type 38's.

Type 99's were often nice rifles. They built them properly up until late in the war. Even last ditch rifles are collectible though. They might be incredibly crude, but they're a pretty impressive historical piece. If you hold one you can just imagine being inducted into the Japanese army near the end of the war and knowing that all is lost as soon as you see your rifle.

March 16, 2008, 03:00 AM
Manufacture dates for Arisakas are not available; that information was all lost when the factories were repeatedly bombed during the war. The rifles will have series marks and serial numbers, and those can tell you when it was made relative to all the other rifles made at a given factory.

Last ditch Type 99s are recognizable by a handful of features. Things like unfinished safety knobs, wooden buttplates, no protective wings on the front sight, a fixed basic rear aperture sight, cylindrical bolt knobs, no upper front handguard, and no finger grooves in the stock. Some even had the rear sling swivel replaced with a hole in the sock for a piece of rope.

March 16, 2008, 10:10 AM
Thanks guys, after reading what you have posted and looking the rifle over, I think that maybe I should just keep it for the grandkids.
It is all there and has some lite surface rust and gumbo on it. The stock is separating where two pieces of wood were laminated, but it is a piece of history. Who knows the where it has been and how it was used???

Thanks again,


March 17, 2008, 11:23 AM
This may be helpful.


BTW, your stock is probably not separating because it is laminated. Most Arisakas were made with two-piece stocks, and a little separation due to wood shrinkage is pretty normal.

March 17, 2008, 11:27 AM
Also, don't assume that your rifle is non-matching just because the number on your bolt does not match the serial number on the receiver. The parts on early Arisakas (like the 6.5mm Type 38) were stamped with assembly codes rather than the rifle's serial number. You may be able to find the assembly code stamped on the receiver under the wood. I'd look to see if the parts match that number.

March 17, 2008, 11:34 AM
I have customised Arisakas 38 / 6,5 to .308 heavy barrel tight chamber .308 Win and 9,3x57.
They are very accurate and reciewers are also very strong.

March 17, 2008, 08:58 PM
From the information obtained from guninthewaters post I feel that I have a Koishikawa (Tokyo) arsenal rifle. It has no prefix to the serial number, which is in the 440,--- range. Therefore it is an earlier production rifle. (I think) The bolt and the extractor both have 846 stamped on them. The barrel is somewhat dark and has hang ups when you push a jag and patch through it.
The Mumm (sp) on top of the reciever has 4 chisel like marks defacing it, somewhat like crosshairs of a scope.

Does anyone think this is valuable to keep "as is" or just play with it as in building a shooter out of it.
I had read as KI. W. stated that these rifles were very strong/well built units. Stronger than both the Mauser and Springfield actions and maybe the enfields, too.

Again thank you for the input.


March 17, 2008, 10:46 PM
They're pretty much the strongest action you're going to find in a surplus rifle, but I'd just keep it as is. They're just a little bit too collectible and oddball to modify. In half way decent shape they usually go for $200+ and bear in mind that people that buy old milsurps tend to have a much more forgiving opinion of what half way decent shape is than hunters. Sporterized Arisakas usually go for $100 or less, unless you've done a fantastic job of it, so you'll end up dumping money into something and will probably actually lessen it's value in the process.

If you want a shooter, I'd sell it and get a K31 or a used bolt action Remchester.

March 18, 2008, 01:42 AM
Keep it, when the pacific version of band of brothers comes out, BAM! skyrocketed synthetic collector's price

March 18, 2008, 05:34 AM
the 6.5 is a sweet little shooter. Keep it as standard as possible and enjoy it.

I certainly like my Type 44. I also have one of the last ditch type 99s with the mum still intact.

March 18, 2008, 06:12 AM
I really don’t want a shooter, just something to do. My serious shooting days are over. I get more fun out of making things whether it is wooden toys for the grand kids, draw dividers for the wife’s silverware draw or some kind of weird rifle. You get the idea.

The time and effort to build many of these type projects is quite substantial and as such, not a money- making or saving proposition.

I have the machines to do almost anything I want. I am medical retired so have some time to do a few things but not too much energy. I have made several .22 LR barrel set-ups for the M-1 Garand and M-14 to shoot the cheap .22 for single shot offhand practice. These are fun.

I am toying with the idea of making a .54 cal. Rifle using brass 28 gauge shotgun shell casings on an old p-14 action that someone butchered a long time ago by cutting off the ears and grinding too much. I just cannot pass up this type of thing for a couple of dollars at gun shows.

As I stated, I was thinking of giving this rifle to a friend who would just like to build a rifle to do it. It would be a good base to start with but I didn't know for certain that it would be. It is his if he wants it.
One other thing is the bore is very rough. It probably could be shot but wouldn't be too acurate as is.

One thing that is very helpful is the knowledge & experience of so many of the people here on THR and their willingness to share. Thank you all very much.

I should take the time to learn how to post pictures; they say they are worth a thousand words.


March 18, 2008, 09:58 AM
If perchance it is the cavalry carbine version it is very highly collectible.
I saw one at a gunshow in Montana 15 yrs. ago go for $1400.00. 2 people wanted it. very rare!!!!!!

March 18, 2008, 10:59 AM
I'd just chip in that it's best left alone. Japanese rifles are very quickly going the same was as German K98s, I've been seeing Type 99s bringing over $400 and decent but generic Type 38s in mediocre shape passing $300 on the right day.

Better to play with a bare action of something than destroy a complete rifle. They aren't making any more of them.

That said, and I kinda regret bringing this out to share because I'm trying to talk you OUT of ruining it, but I got this at a gunshow about six months ago:






Clint C
March 22, 2008, 10:08 PM
Freedomv will not ruin the gun. I've seen what he can do with a rifle and I'll tell you I was very impressed.

Vern, I would like to see it when you are done!

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