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Arisaka Type 38 and 97 rifles

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  • Arisaka Type 38 and 97 rifles

    Entering service in 1897, the Arisaka family of bolt-action rifles armed Japanese troops and others through two world wars and many other conflicts, including the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05. Issued in long and short versions – the latter for cavalry and specialists – the Type 30 was the first main Arisaka model, arming Imperial Japan's forces during the Russo-Japanese War, though after the war it was refined into the Type 38, which would still be in use in 1945.

    Type 30 Arisaka


    After fighting German-trained Chinese snipers, the Japanese Army decided to develop snipers for themselves. The Type 97 Sniper Rifle, based on the Type 38 rifle. The only difference between this rifle and the original Type 38 is that it had a lightened stock, a 2.5 power telescopic sight and a mid-band setup for a monopod.

    Japanese Type 97 Sniper Rifle

  • #2
    The Imperial Japanese Army introduced the Type 30 rifle in 1897. However, the weapon had numerous shortcomings, which were highlighted by combat experience in the early stages of the Russo-Japanese War. These included bursting cartridges, a poorly designed lock in which excess gunpowder tended to accumulate, burning the face of the shooter, frequent misfires, jamming, difficulty in cleaning, and cartridge extraction.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_38_rifle

    A dust cover was added because of experiences in the Russo-Japanese War that left rifles inoperable from dust
    I don't think it was made to deal with mud just dust

    Mud Test: The WW1 & WW2 Type 38 Arisaka

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    • #3
      I actually really like a few things about the Arisakas. I think that they did themselves a disservice by going with long rifles and all of that. If Japan had gone with a universal short rifle version of the Arisaka with a bit larger capacity like the SMLE, I think they would have had a damned good interwar era rifle and an adequate WW2 era one. Imagine a 10 shot 6.5mm semi-auto rifle, that would have been downright scary, especially with the somewhat lighter recoil and somewhat lighter cartridges allowing more to be carried and faster follow up shots.
      Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
        I actually really like a few things about the Arisakas. I think that they did themselves a disservice by going with long rifles and all of that. If Japan had gone with a universal short rifle version of the Arisaka with a bit larger capacity like the SMLE, I think they would have had a damned good interwar era rifle and an adequate WW2 era one. Imagine a 10 shot 6.5mm semi-auto rifle, that would have been downright scary, especially with the somewhat lighter recoil and somewhat lighter cartridges allowing more to be carried and faster follow up shots.
        I would have thought the longer barrel would give you the most powder burn but I think with the Type 99 rifle they found the shorter barrel was only slightly less accurate at distance. So minuscule it didn't warrant using the longer barrel version.

        Yes such nice light recoil, love to shoot one in good condition. Interesting the prejudice against the 6.5mm Jap round, was it all just propaganda? Be interesting to see some ballistic gel tests.

        I am only going on the videos I posted, (wish I could shoot both at an outdoor range to compare!) the Winchester Model 70 has such a louder report. Interesting thinking of the Marine and Japanese snipers engaging each other at Guadalcanal.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by OttoHarkaman View Post

          I would have thought the longer barrel would give you the most powder burn but I think with the Type 99 rifle they found the shorter barrel was only slightly less accurate at distance. So minuscule it didn't warrant using the longer barrel version.

          Yes such nice light recoil, love to shoot one in good condition. Interesting the prejudice against the 6.5mm Jap round, was it all just propaganda? Be interesting to see some ballistic gel tests.

          I am only going on the videos I posted, (wish I could shoot both at an outdoor range to compare!) the Winchester Model 70 has such a louder report. Interesting thinking of the Marine and Japanese snipers engaging each other at Guadalcanal.
          I think that the 6.5 is going to have some of the same problems other rounds in that size range have, that is less performance at longer ranges. I think that we have long since proven that even a .22 caliber round will kill you at what are generally accepted as normal combat ranges.

          Maybe in North Africa a full power cartridge was more useful than not. But I think that the 6.5 was an overall better round for squad-level weapons, rifles and light machine guns. Given my druthers, I'd take an M1 Garand built for 6.5 arisaka, a Bren built for 6.5 Arisaka (well actually 6mm Lee-Navy but I digress), and have my heavier machine guns, vehicle mounts, and snipers firing 30-06. Those machine guns use linked ammo, and snipers draw so few rounds that I think it wouldn't appreciably crimp the logistics chain. But then I'm able to draw on modern knowledge, which they obviously didn't have at the time.

          6.5 Arisaka is by no means perfect. But it's not bad. I think 6mm Lee is a better option but it was a dead cartridge by then.

          30-06: 85mm overall length, 150gr bullet at 2900fps

          6.5 Arisaka: 74mm overall length, 138gr bullet at 2500fps

          6mm L-N: 79mm overall length, 75gr bullet (spitzer) at 3300fps.



          Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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          • #6
            Great stuff Tac! Wish I had your expertise and knowledge

            Marines search for Japanese snipers on Guadalcanal 1942
            Marines_search_for_Japanese_snipers_on_Guadalcanal_1942.jpg
            Attached Files

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            • #7
              Originally posted by OttoHarkaman View Post


              Yes such nice light recoil, love to shoot one in good condition. Interesting the prejudice against the 6.5mm Jap round, was it all just propaganda? Be interesting to see some ballistic gel tests.
              From Everything I've read the Japanese 6.5 mm ammunition and the rifles that fired them were well respected.

              The Japanese Army wanted to switch over to 7.7 mm for their machine guns and rifles during World War II . But only partially converted.

              They probably would have been best off to use the 6.5 mm as the main rifle and squad automatic machine gun. And the 7.7 mm as a platoon or company level machine gun and sniper rifle round.
              "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
              Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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