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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, here's the deal. In a matter of weeks, I'll be inheriting a rifle from my step-dad. Now, he's in good health so it's not a death inheritance thank god.

Anyway, he tells me it's a Japanese 'sniper' rifle his dad brought back from the Pacific theater of WWII, chambered in .222.

The only .222 ammo I'm familiar with is the .222 Remington, but that didn't come out til 1950, I believe. If there is another .222 ammo, I don't know anything about it. Also, I know the Japanese used Arisaska rifles, which were a 7.65mm (?) and their snipers used the same rifle.

I don't have it in my possession yet, so no pictures. If anyone could shed some light on this for me, I'd appreciate it.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Welcome. I'm going to move this thread to the ex-military rifles, where it might get some more exposure.

There was also a 6.5mm Arisaka cartridge, I believe. Maybe that's what he has? I don't know. There could be .22 trainers, I suppose, as many nations had them. But off-hand I don't recall reading about such things, just speculating.

Of course it simply could have been rebarreled sometime. But my guess is that it's likely the 6.5mm cartridge.

Be aware that the Japanese captured arms from various other nations and used them also. My grandfather brought back a Czech VZ24 that had evidently been captured from the Chinese, just another possibility.

Good luck with your search.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
the 6.5mm Arisaka was the type 97, which was used as a sniper rifle in WWII. My first instinct about the rifle was that it was a Type 97, but he insists that it's a .222.

I'll find out soon enough I guess. I had just never heard of anything int that caliber from that period of time.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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That .222 Rem was brought out prior to the .222 Rem Mag - about the same time as the Rem Mod 721 rifle, which was the first chambering in that rifle.

The case head of the .222 is pretty small compared to the 6.5mm or 7.7mm Jap, so I'd think there is a bolt face problem without rebuilding the face or changing out the bolt. A simple rebarreling/chambering wouldn't quite get the job done.
 

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Most of the 6.5mm Arisaka rifles brought back from WWII were the Type 38, with many of the later Type 99 rifles chambered in 7.7mm Arisaka. Both were strong, if somewhat crude actions, with abominable safety mechanisms. It is hard to imagine someone going to the trouble to rebarrel such a rifle, and adapt the bolt-face to fit the much smaller 222 Rem or Rem Mag.

FWIW, sometimes my dad "remembers" things a little funny, so maybe that's what you're running into? It would be obvious to the naked eye if the barrel is a 22 caliber, versus 6.5 or 7.7mm. The very best thing to do is have the action inspected by a gunsmith and chamber cast done, so you know exactly what you have on your hands. Even though the 6.5 Arisaka is anemic when compared to most military rifles with .264" diameter chamberings, it is still a very useful and capable round that needn't be left ignored in the back of a gun safe. There is a ready supply of brass and reloading data that will allow the use of 120-140 grain bullets suitable for harvesting medium sized, thin-skinned big game out to 250 yards, or so.

My 7.7 Jap has harvested two deer and will be going out in the woods with my cousin, this fall. Hornady makes a seasonal run of ammunition for both the 6.5 and 7.7 Arisaka that is well-suited to hunting game the size of deer, bear and wild hogs. The Sportsman's Guide will frequently have it listed for < $30 for a box of 20, and they're brass-cased, boxer-primed, 100% reloadable.
 

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If your rifle is indeed a .22 it would have to have been converted after the war. The Japaneese supply system never carried a .22 c/f round for small arms during WWII. I've customized type 38's and .222 is not one of the cartridges that are recommended for conversion, as kdub described.

I've known some other veterens describe the type 38 as a .22 caliber but in fact it is not, as you know. The type 97 is just a modified 38.

I'd certainly cast the chamber to resolve the issue. Can't fault the old vets for making a little error after 65 years!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Confirmed to be an Arisaka Type 38. Not a sniper rifle, per se, as there is no scope mount or scope, or any evidence of ever having such. Sadly, the Imperial Mum has been ground off.

Now it's time to track down some 6.5x50 ammo and a type 30 bayonet.
 

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http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/cb.aspx?a=691391

140gr SP from Hornady, loaded to 2250fps...$26 for a box of 20. I shoot similar loads from my 7.7 and I can tell you they are accurate and effective, in my gun. Also, B-Square used to make a side-mount scope base that takes a little getting used to, but I've had one my 7.7 for a little over 20 years with no problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Cool, thanks for the ammo link.

Only problem I have with side mounted scopes is that I'm a lefty. it's already fun enough trying to fire a right handed bolt action. But I plan on leaving the Arisaka as is. It's more of a collector than a shooter, even though I will shoot it on occasion.
 

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I'd mike the bore b4 buying ammo. If ya don't have a mike, use a .22rf in the muzzle. Snug = some kind of rebarrel [maybe .225Win or .220 Swift - both can work in action]. Loosey-goosey = more likely original caliber. Any markings on barrel itself? Open sights present and look "military"? More good clues....
 

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Confirmed to be an Arisaka Type 38. Not a sniper rifle, per se, as there is no scope mount or scope, or any evidence of ever having such. Sadly, the Imperial Mum has been ground off.

Now it's time to track down some 6.5x50 ammo and a type 30 bayonet.
Plenty of snipers did not have scopes on their rifles in WW11 .
I have seen photos of Japanese snipers beinging shot out of trees and they only had open sighted weapons.
So it is possible that the weapon was used by a Jap soldier engauged in a sniper activity .
You are applying modern thinking to the issue.
The term sniper was a lot different back then to what we percieve as a sniper now.
Back then it was anybody taking a well aimed shot from a static position that was not part of a mass attack.
If you are walking through the J and someone climbs a tree to have a look at the enemy and he decides to take a shot at you then that would be classed as a sniper even if he was the company cook .
Nowadys the title sniper is more formal and specialised , we have special units for them and special training and special equipment etc.
Back then an officer could just say get up in that tree and start shooting and you became a sniper to any poor bast*rd that you hit .
 
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