Vintage Japanese Arisaka Type 99 Rifle


Throughout WWII, Type 99 rifles were deployed extensively across South Pacific islands for use in battle. Renowned for their precision and dependability, these guns quickly gained widespread support across every campaign fought there.

By mid-1942, various manufacturers of the 99 had begun cutting corners to speed and ease production; this gave rise to what would come to be known as “late war” 99s that earned them a bad rep among users.

Original Item

The Type 99 rifle became an enduring symbol of Imperial Japan’s struggle against the United States during World War II. Conceived by Nariakira Arisaka and Kijiro Nambu, it saw service at every significant battle across the Pacific theater–Bataan to Guadalcanal, Gilberts Marshalls Ryukyus Marianas, giving their army powerful and effective bolt action rifle.

Japanese weapons designers based their Arisaka rifle on the Mauser-action design of Germany’s Gewehr 98 rifle; however, some changes were made to give their version a distinct character. Features of this gun included a folding wire monopod rest, rear leaf sight with flip-up extensions for targeting aircraft, and muzzle cover.

Japanese rifle stocks were notable for their unique features; among these was their use of urushi varnish made from crushed shells and other organic materials to add durability and protect wood against rust or other forms of damage. This coating added durability while adding an aesthetic flair, protecting wood against moisture damage from raindrops or snowfall and providing a unique aesthetic.

Soldiers and Marines returning from South Pacific battlefronts frequently brought early models of the Type 99 rifle back home with them; this fine example hails from the Toriimatsu factory of Nagoya Arsenal in 1941 and still bears its mum – often known as an Emperor’s mark. On most postwar and later-war Type 99s, it has either been defaced or ground off completely.

Although its battlefield performance was stellar, the Type 99 suffered after World War II for various reasons. As allies took control of seas and skies, making it increasingly difficult for Japan to obtain supplies and equipment from suppliers, bombing Japanese factories was another factor; over time, their quality degraded from that seen in early war into late war versions;

This rifle exhibits some light signs of wear on its receiver; however, overall, its condition remains good, with an original blued finish, an intact hammer, and a matching bolt.

Original Condition

The original condition of an Arisaka gun is one of the main factors in determining its value and usability, such as ease of use and maintenance. A gun with much wear and rust could become less functional over time; when buying one, it should have all original parts intact.

The Arisaka rifle was first put into service in 1939. Designed by military officer Nariakira Arisaka and firing the 7.7x58mm cartridge, its intended replacement would ultimately not come until 1945 due to war stress.

One of the arisaka’s defining features is its iconic imperial chrysanthemum, commonly referred to as “mums,” found atop its front receiver ring. These marks once identified this weapon as being part of the Emperor’s collection, although most have since been defaced or ground off. Still, some can occasionally be found.

An intriguing feature of the Mariska was its distinctive safety system, located at the rear left side of its receiver. While similar to Mauser models, its safety operates differently: instead of engaging using just the thumb, its security requires engaging using the entire palm in one swift movement that involves pressing down and rotating to the right – something easily disorienting while trying to operate it in combat situations.

Throughout World War II, the Arisaka rifle was modified in many ways to improve its efficiency and ease of use. Some modifications included installing a more user-friendly trigger mechanism that was easier to operate when wearing gloves like those worn by Japanese soldiers and adding a rear magazine well that allowed more rounds to be loaded into it, as well as improvements made to its barrel, sling mount, and monopod.

At one point in time, the Arisaka became widely considered to be an inferior weapon due to its tendency for ball ammunition to explode when fired from it, leading to reports of poor construction and leading to its nickname as a last-ditch rifle. However, closer examination revealed these reports were unfounded: when Shannon visited Japan for temporary work, he discovered a store selling Urushi, an ancient sealant used on Arisaka stocks; its colors corresponded directly with what shade of urushi was used on each batch and vice versa!

Original Finish

The Type 99 was meant to replace the Type 38 as Japan’s primary infantry rifle, but war never allowed that to happen. Due to mass production requirements and time-saving measures such as eliminating sliding dustcovers in an effort to save materials and production time, other features like fine knurling on manual safety levers and adjustable rear sights were deleted for speedier assembly times. As a result, later War 99s earned a poor reputation due to poor craftsmanship – especially since sliding dustcovers had to be deleted to save materials and production times; more features like fine knurling on manual safety levers and adjustable rear sights were all taken off to speed things up even further – leaving later war 99s notoriously poorly made due to mass production needs; such as what were called ‘roughing out’ production processes used on other components as well knurling on manual safety were deleted in order to speed production processes even further speed things along;

Late war variants of Type 99s brought back by U.S. Marines and soldiers were brought back home as “substitute standard” rifles, often called by their serial numbers such as this Kokura Arsenal example (serial number series 25), typically associated with late war rifles.

Its trunnion shows signs of wear and tear, but that should come as no surprise. The wood has an attractive finish despite being scratched up from battlefield use, though there are also the usual battlefield dings and nicks on it; nevertheless, it remains in good shape considering its age. All its essential parts – square cleaning rod release, nose cap, and buttplate with two Kanji character inspector proof marks under its buttplate are present, further validating its authenticity.

This example exhibits an adjustable rear sight and the sling swivels removed from late war rifles to cut costs, along with its folding ladder rear view – typically found on late war Type 99s – featuring an aperture for 100-meter shooting that, when folded up, opens to provide 300-meter coverage.

Refinishing this stock would be possible, though you must keep certain things in mind before beginning. First off, its original urushi finish cannot be replicated with modern varnishes. Also, keep in mind that it contains toxic substances that could cause skin rashes in some people; finally, sanding away an original urushi coating is not for the faint of heart!

Original Hardware

Late WW2 Japanese Arisaka Type 99 Bolt Action Rifle of 7.7mm Arisaka caliber features 25 1/2″ barrel with blued finish, military stock with two barrel bands and rear peep sight, sling mounts and bayonet lug, trigger guard subassembly with safety lever and release latch assembly, etc.

The Type 99 rifle saw service with every major battle of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, from Bataan and Guadalcanal through to Peleliu and Iwo Jima. Although designed as a replacement for Type 38 rifles, war stress prevented a smooth transition. Both types fought alongside one another throughout.

Although this rifle was based on the German MG 08 and Mauser 98 rifles, it had its distinctive features. A cock-on-close bolt design allowed users to fire one round at a time while its sliding bolt cover kept dirt out when closed. Furthermore, it was the first mass-produced infantry rifle with a chrome-lined bore for ease of cleaning.

Unique features gave the Type 99 an air of sophistication that matched its performance yet also earned it an unsettling reputation. Once word spread that Type 99s were susceptible to rupturing under pressure, manufacturers gradually eliminated many features in order to speed up production and save on raw materials costs – from taking away its sliding bolt cover altogether to lowering action height and eliminating fine knurling on manual safety mechanisms.

Even with its shortcomings, the Type 99 was still an extremely potent weapon. Its massive non-rotating claw extractor enabled controlled action feeding while its dual opposing lugs provided strong locking. Furthermore, this was the first Japanese rifle equipped with an easy fixed sighting system, making aiming and firing at close range much simpler for soldiers.

Even with its poor reputation, the Type 99 rifle remains an impressive piece of military history and an elegant piece to own. Many US soldiers who served in the Pacific theater brought back one as a souvenir or trophy; these rifles can still be found throughout America today.