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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long time ago (back in 94), i bought Japanese Arisaka Type 38 rifle. I bought it because of my Japanese haritage, and my grandfather always talked about "Mr type38"(back then, Type 38 belong to Emperor, and solder was not issued, but rather "allowed to use his majesty's position", so it was big no no to treat rifle roughly, and his unit was instructed to call it "mr type38" with respect to an emperor, or somehting like that. Thats why almost all Jap rifle's mum was severed, as it was simbol of royal family).

Well, anyway, I bought it , shot several rounds though. It was just another antique I had. With POS 2 piece stock, and slightly shorter barrel. Never given much thought being few inches shorter. Most Type 38 was 1280 mm long. And well known Carbine version was 966 mm. Mine is halfway between(1120mm). Just figured since Japan was not known for industry stengh then, it was just poor quality control.

Well, recently I've had chance to chat with Japanese Arms collector(I was interested in Type99 he had for sale with intact MUM), and got talking about this odd length rifle.

He then proceeded to tell me that there were 3 types of non-scoped T38 was in existance other then long rifle and carbin. Its called Calvary rifle. Not much is known as to why it was made. But speculation is that it was made to test how well it can be used in hand to hand combat.

Anyhow, very small number(Less then 15000 i was told) was made. And is very hard to come by. When you do see one, its usually beat up, missing blue, parts, serial number don't match.

Well, mine is 95%, all parts there(including cleaning rod), and ALL number match.

I bought it for $125. But from what he tells me, some decent one are going for $800+ these days!

And he have seen one go for over $1000!

this rifle is described on page 56-57 in the "Military rifles of japan" Book by Honeycutt(Do anyine have this book?

Needless to say I'm very happy (i'm not selling it tho)

319 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
this is the reply i got from collecter

"Hey hey mity2:

Yes it is an honest to goodness Japanese 38 short rifle, and don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise. There are some things you must understand first, after that you will understand what you have.

Tokyo Arsenal ( the 4 stacked cannonball symbol ) made over two million Infantry length T-38 rifles between 1906 and the mid 1920s.

Rifle # 1005XXX was originally assembled with parts numbered to an assembly number, this is the one on the bottom of the receiver behind the cylindrical recoil boss, it consists of a Kanji mark and a 1 to 3 digit number. All rifle parts were alike numbered ( trigger, bolt stop, stock, handguard, all bolt components, tangs, magazine box, trigger guard, front barrel band. I can barely see in the picture of the 580 numbers the original assembly number aft of the recoil lug.

The 3 and 580 numbers on the barrel and receiver were stamped at the time the barrel was screwed to the receiver after the barrel was shortened.

The kanji 122 that has been barred ( chiseled / cancelled ) is the original assembly number of the bolt extractor. The new number 187 has been stamped just like late Nagoya 38 rifles.

The original bolt assembly number has been polished off and the new number 187 stamped.

All early Tokyo 38s had a large hump safety knob with the assembly number stamped on the backside of the hump. The safety on your rifle is more common to later rifles and carbines with a small hump, this item has been renumbered 187 on the end of the stem, just like later rifles.

An original stock was stamped with the assembly number in the barrel channel and the handguard on the underside. Late production Nagoya stocks have no numbers just a couple of "WW / MM" s just like yours, that is a new stock and the proof mark of Chigusa factory is the one on the last picture that you said was 3 inches below the lower tang.

Chinese rifles were field depot conversions of captured / surrendered ex-Japanese rifles, no ill feelings intended here, but Chinese rifles surplused in the 1980s are tired-used-neglected-abused equipment that looks like it was dragged in the mud and stored wet for decades.

Your rifle has blemishes from handling and it was reconditioned in the mid 1940s but is otherwise a minty specimen. Since these rifles were torn down and reassembled from used parts it is possible that many interior parts may have different assembly numbers. In most cases the old numbers were cancelled and the new last 3 digits of the serial number was stamped on the parts that needed to be renumbered only.

Regardless of expressed opinions you have a mighty nice and scarce variation. As to its actual value figure two times what a minty 38 rifle will bring on the market, 900 to 1100 is a good ballpark figure, no matter if in 1994 or today, for $125, you stole that sleeper, congratulations and thankyou for showing us a mighty nice piece.

There are reproduction slings sold by Sarco for 20 to 25 dollars that resemble the originals, I also see repro rubberized slings as well, an original sling will run 100 to 150.

Good luck and good shooting.

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