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I have a Type 99 that my dad sent back from Japan. An officer in the Army Air Corp, he arrived at Atsugi with a transport squadron shortly after the surrender. A squadron detail broke into a nearby arsenal and distributed rifles, pistols, bayonets etc. to everyone as souvenirs.

A long rifle version produced in 1939, it has all matching numbers, intact mum, winged airplane sights with a chrome lined barrel but no dust cover and monopod. Since he never saw them, possibly they were discarded for home guard duty or perhaps they were removed and recycled to new production of the shorter barreled versions. The bore is excellent and it shoots well.

His squadron employed ex-Japanese soldiers for laundry etc. They also built rifle shipping boxes out of aviation plywood from huge stacks at the airfield. Dad said it was the finest plywood he had ever seen. I remember that shipping box. It was mailed to his parents house in Yonkers, NY. The stock suffered most of its damage from my brother and I playing with it when we were kids.

The mum, or chrysanthemum, makes the rifle a real artifact and has always intrigued me. My dad specifically stated on several occasions that only rifles of enlisted men had to have mums ground off, not officers, because this would somehow be disrespectful to the post apocalyptic Japanese mind. I have seen statements on mum grinding in various articles and books, but no mention of the exemption for officers.

Has anyone else read or heard first hand from a vet of the officer exemption? Is this the source of all the mum versions? Did this only occur in Japan or after the surrender?
 

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I believe the Japanese government wanted the mum ground off rifles that were being surrendered, as the mum was the representation of the Emporer. You'll find lots of Arisakas with the mum ground off - those would be rifles that the Japanese handed over to the Allies.
You'll also find Arisakas with mum intact - those rifles are most likely battlefield pick ups, or, in this case, came from an arsenal before the Japanese had time to grind off the mum.
Actually, what's rarer on Arisakas is the dust cover. Field troops threw away the dust cover pretty quickly, as it rattled. Later Arisakas dispensed with the dust cover save time and material in manufacturing.
 

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My dad brought back a T38 from Burma, he was a T-5 in the 879th Army Engineers attached to the 10th AAF.
He was involved in the airfield battle at Myitkyina (sounds like mitch-in-ah made famous by Merrills Mauraders) - they went in by glider and found the airfield was still hot. He stuffed the rifle and bayonet into his dufflebag and carried it all the way back with him. The Mum is still intact.
 

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swarfer,

Sorry to contradict, but the Mums were ground off ALL surrendered arms and to whom they were given as war trophies was beyond those defacing mummed receivers. I have several Japanese arms with Mums intact because the seizing officer entered the arsenal a day after the surrender and grabbed his trophies before the grinders were in place.

That "Officer Exemption" sounds like rear echelon nonsense. Or it may be after-war VFW beer talk.

Webley
 

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The stories I have heard are that if the rifle was surrendered at a major troop location- the key word surrender- it was typically collected at a garrison with all the others - those are the ones that were ground. If it was a crude defacement, such as X'ing out with a file or chisel then it was done in the field before the local troops surrendered. If it was a battlefield pickup then no defacement was likely done.

Also as to why most of them have mis-matched bolts... when the GI's were shipped home, they had to deposit the rifle bolt in a bucket/box while onboard ship,then as they were getting ready to depart the gang plank, they could pick a bolt from the pile.

Since I wasn't there, I can't verify how true it is...
 

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Harrier,

I had uncles in WWII in the Marines, Army and Navy and never heard the "drop the bolt in a bucket" story. Again, after 70 years, the stories keep popping up. Most stories seem to be popping up a half century after the war ended.

Webley
 

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The one I have pops the primers out 1/16"- I used to tie it in a tire swing and fire it with a string then necks size the brass for reloading. That worked but the old Norma brass only gave a couple reloads before splitting. Brass was expensive and hard to find. it was my first deer rifle back in the 60's haven't shot it much since but now I have PPU brass that lasts longer.
 

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Bong,

Individual captains of ships surely could have instituted a "drop the bolt in the bucket" on their ship policy. I would agree such a policy probably was instituted after a few homeward bound GIs had accidental discharges with their War Trophies below decks!

Webley
 

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The bolt bucket would explain the terrible headspace on the ones I saw in the 1960s; and explain the exploding brass that gave the 99 a bad reputation with returning GIs.
 

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My dad brought back a T38 from Burma, he was a T-5 in the 879th Army Engineers attached to the 10th AAF.
He was involved in the airfield battle at Myitkyina (sounds like mitch-in-ah made famous by Merrills Mauraders) - they went in by glider and found the airfield was still hot. He stuffed the rifle and bayonet into his dufflebag and carried it all the way back with him. The Mum is still intact.
That's interesting because my Dad was also at Myitkyina with the 1891st Engineers, Aviation.
Horrific fight by Merrill's Marauders. As I recall, they met and defeated a larger Japanese force while suffering 100% casualties due to dysentery, malaria, and combat. "The Finest Generation!"
 

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I wonder if they knew each other or at least went to the same CBI gatherings.
Dad was in Company A, on one of the 10 gliders, one with runway repair heavy equipment - small bulldozers and such. I have the Battalion history which describes the events if your interested but it only mentions what happened with the 879th each day.

I'll bet they also worked on the Ledo Road at about the same time...
 

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One of our oldest Gun Club members died this week, a great guy who ran our Pot Shot program for decades.

Sammy was an enlisted Navy man, trained in communications. His communications group had a Navaho Wind Talker when they landed on Iwo Jima. His group was over run and out of his team (about 25), Sammy and another man were the only to survive a Japanese Bonzai charge. Sammy showed me his bayonet wound and the bump on his head from a butt stroke.

Anyway, Sammy brought a number of collectables back in his duffle bag after the war. He disembarked at San Pedro Harbor CA. All enlisted men were required to open their bags, and Sammy reported seeing a pile off to the side consisting of grenades, land mines, mortar shells!

If you had a Japanese rifle you had to get into a line and the crest was ground off. I examined Sammy's Arisaka and the crest had been ground. He had no idea why American's were doing this other than "we had some sort of an agreement with the Emperor".

So, I heard first hand, from a WW2 veteran, that Americans on American soil were detailed to grind off Mum's on captured Japanese rifles. Obviously rifles got through before the surrender, because I have seen them, but overall, dedicating American resources to keep the Japanese happy, after their surrender, is totally baffling and a waste of time, in my opinion.

My father brought back two Japanese rifles from a storage facility in Tokyo bay. The crests had been ground off before he received them.
 

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Now you get dies and load some ammo and you are good to go.
 

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One of our oldest Gun Club members died this week, a great guy who ran our Pot Shot program for decades.

Sammy was an enlisted Navy man, trained in communications. His communications group had a Navaho Wind Talker when they landed on Iwo Jima. His group was over run and out of his team (about 25), Sammy and another man were the only to survive a Japanese Bonzai charge. Sammy showed me his bayonet wound and the bump on his head from a butt stroke.

Anyway, Sammy brought a number of collectables back in his duffle bag after the war. He disembarked at San Pedro Harbor CA. All enlisted men were required to open their bags, and Sammy reported seeing a pile off to the side consisting of grenades, land mines, mortar shells!

If you had a Japanese rifle you had to get into a line and the crest was ground off. I examined Sammy's Arisaka and the crest had been ground. He had no idea why American's were doing this other than "we had some sort of an agreement with the Emperor".

So, I heard first hand, from a WW2 veteran, that Americans on American soil were detailed to grind off Mum's on captured Japanese rifles. Obviously rifles got through before the surrender, because I have seen them, but overall, dedicating American resources to keep the Japanese happy, after their surrender, is totally baffling and a waste of time, in my opinion.

My father brought back two Japanese rifles from a storage facility in Tokyo bay. The crests had been ground off before he received them.
Very interesting info... Dad came back thru Seattle via Phillipines... apparently not all port of entry ground the mums, He then took a train back to the East Coast wherever.
 

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I believe the Japanese government wanted the mum ground off rifles that were being surrendered, as the mum was the representation of the Emporer. You'll find lots of Arisakas with the mum ground off - those would be rifles that the Japanese handed over to the Allies.
You'll also find Arisakas with mum intact - those rifles are most likely battlefield pick ups, or, in this case, came from an arsenal before the Japanese had time to grind off the mum.
Actually, what's rarer on Arisakas is the dust cover. Field troops threw away the dust cover pretty quickly, as it rattled. Later Arisakas dispensed with the dust cover save time and material in manufacturing.
I have a Arisaka type 99 with the dust cover but the Mum is ground off. It still has the original light colored canvas sling too. I paid $75 for it about 20yrs ago.

Mums were ground off surrendered rifles to keep from insulting the emperor.
 

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I have had a few of these and think they are fun. One has the Mum, aircraft sights and the bracket for the bipod (wire bipod legs are cut off). The 7.7 shot pretty well with 180 grain bullets. Lighter bullets do not follow the alignment of the sights. Another one had the welded safety knob, the mum ground off but had Japanese writing in white paint on it. I shot this one the most when I was young. My uncle in the navy brought this one back after WWII.

I have a 6.5 that someone had started to customize.
It was for sale at a pawn shop for 12 dollars when I was in high school. I ended up having the bolt handle replaced, welded on, the action and stock modified to allow the bolt to work and clear a scope. The rifle is small and light, the load is easy on the shoulder so it is easy to shoot for new shooters.
 

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I made up some ammo for a friend who had a 99 with about a 28" barrel. Loaded it with pulled 173 bullets and it will shoot right on a inch at 100 yards. Someone had sporterized it before he got it and has a scope.

I found the best brass to form the cases from is military cases as the base area expands a fair amount and the military cases having a heavier web area will take it.

Fastest way to make cases is chuck them in a lathe and used a end mill in the tail stock to cut about half the neck off and get close to the case length called for and do the final few thous with a case trimmer.

Fireform the cases and then then neck size them.

They also make good candidates to rebarrel into 308 Win which is what I did to one I retrieved from a trash can. I was talking to a guy who was cleaning up round a old house he bought and he picked it up (barreled action) and threw it in a 55 gal drum. I asked if he was really going to throw it away and he said to get it if I wanted it. That was all it took.

I stopped by a lawyer friend's house on the way back to the house and showed it to him and he pooh poohed it and said I would never fire it. Two hours later I stopped by and showed him three fired cases we had just fired. We loaded up three rounds, took it down to a little range close by, taped it down to a bench, tied 30 ft of masons twine to trigger and got behind a 3/4" piece of plywood and remote fired it.

I rebarreled it about 15 years ago to 308 and sold it about 6 years back and guy is still using it.
 
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I made up some ammo for a friend who had a 99 with about a 28" barrel. Loaded it with pulled 173 bullets and it will shoot right on a inch at 100 yards. Someone had sporterized it before he got it and has a scope.

I found the best brass to form the cases from is military cases as the base area expands a fair amount and the military cases having a heavier web area will take it.

Fastest way to make cases is chuck them in a lathe and used a end mill in the tail stock to cut about half the neck off and get close to the case length called for and do the final few thous with a case trimmer.

.

why would you make brass when it is readily available???


Graf & Sons - 7.7x58 Japanese
 
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