• 33rd series T99 Arisaka Rifle (Mfg by Toyo Kogyo)

    33rd series T99 Arisaka Rifle (Mfg by Toyo Kogyo)
    (九九式小銃or九九式長小銃 Kyuukyuu-shiki syoujyuu or Kyuukyuu-shiki tyousyoujyuu)

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Caliber: ........................ 7.7 x 58mm (7.7mm Japanese)
    Rifling & Twist: .............. 4 groove, right hand twist, .311” diameter bore
    Barrel Length: ............... 25.75 in. (654mm)
    Overall Length: ............. 50 in. (1270mm)
    Weight: ........................ 8.8 lb. (3.99Kg)
    Magazine Capacity: ....... 5 rounds
    Qty Mfg: ....................... 2.497 million
    (Estimated production between 1939 - 1945 by Duncan McCollum’s calculations)

    Source: ........................ Japanese Rifles of World War II (1996) - ISBN: 1880677113

    33rd series T99 Arisaka Rifle (Mfg by Toyo Kogyo)

    (38 picture virtual tour)

    Observations: (by "Claven2")

    Primary infantry rifle for the Imperial Japanese Army during World War 2. Check for matching serial numbers on left side of receiver and the last 3 digits of the serial number on the bolt shroud, bolt body, firing pin and extractor. Check for a cleaning/stacking rod provision and if present, ensure you get the rod (replacements are unobtainium). Check for availability of serial numbered action cover if an early rifle, which by itself can add approximately $100 value to the rifle. Lastly, check for a non-defaced chrysanthemum stamping over the model designation on the receiver ring as this adds greatly to collector appeal.

    Collector's Comments and Feedback:

    1. The Arisaka T99 was the much anticipated replacement of the earlier 6.5mm T38 infantry rifle in use since before WW1. Initially, both T99 Long rifles and T99 rifles were produced with the shorter of the two being intended for cavalry. Troop trials showed, however, that the shorter rifle was much more useful and production switched entirely to the recognized standard T99 pattern in the first year of production (1939).

    Early on, rifles were made with sliding action covers, a folding monopod, anti-aircraft sighting arms on the rear sight, chrome lined bore and chrome plated bolt face. As the war progressed, supplies of suitable ordnance steel dwindled and the need for rifles increased dramatically. Gradually, early features were deleted and the level of finish applied to the rifles decreased. These were considered “transitional T99 rifles” and were generally made from late 1941 to about late 1943. The Transitional rifles were made to be functionally the equivalent of the early war rifles and even had provision for most of the early war features (except the useless monopod) – the idea being that when Japan won the war [sic], these rifles would be upgraded. As the situation worsened for Japan in late 1943, the “Substitute Standard” T99 was introduced – it is often mistakenly called a “last ditch 99”. These rifles were made as cheaply and quickly as possible. They are often characterized by crude welds, wooden butt plates, lack of any refinement and crude fixed sights with primitive stocks compared to earlier rifles. Contrary to popular belief, they are safe to shoot if in serviceable condition but the general lack of quality is quite evident. It is my personal belief that these rifles were never built with upgrading to full T99 standard in mind.

    The rifle pictured here is a very early 33rd series rifle from the Toyo Kogyo factory in Hiroshima. The characters on the receiver ring translate to “type 99”. Toyo Kogyo was Hiroshima's largest employer, and while the factory was located far enough from the city center to avoid serious damage from the world’s first aggressive use of an atomic blast, many of Toyo Kogyo's employees were not; 400 workers died and the factory never made firearms again. Today the factory is owned by Mazda Motors. Toyo Kogyo made rifles from the 30th series to the 35th series for a total production of approximately 557,000 rifles, about 200,000 or so of which were substitute standard models.

    Serial number observations indicate Toyo Kogyo made the switch from transitional T99 production to Substitute standard production within the first 9,000 or so rifles of the 33rd series, making this rifle one of the last transitional rifles they ever produced. In the pictures you can see that cosmetic finishes were pretty much a non-issue at this point on all non-critical surfaces. Aside from the ground chrysanthemum, this rifle is in excellent condition or a rifle of its type. The rough surfaces seen on the hinged floor plate, trigger guard, etc. are not due to pitting – the parts themselves were basically raw stampings and forgings, only lightly ground and blued at manufacture. The receiver cover, monopod, monopod boss and AA sighting wings are deleted on this rifle, though the receiver is still machined to accept a cover and the rear sight is machined for wings. The nosecap is also a 2 screw type, not the earlier 3-screw model. The stock has no drainage holes, but retains the early war small diameter recoil bolt. The stacking rod has been shortened and is no longer a cleaning rod. The bore is chromed, but the bolt face is not. Unlike the other T99 factories, Toyo Kogyo and Kokura arsenals continued to use the olive-shaped bolt knob and machined safety shroud until the end of production in 1945.

    The stock, like all T99 rifles, is made of two pieces, with the toe of the butt spliced on. The finish is a reddish varnish called Urushi. Do not sand these stocks – Urushi is a powerful skin irritant in dust form. This stock retain the early war thick butt plate.

    When reading the markings on the receiver wall, the first character, a kana, indicates the production series in Japanese, the next numbers are the serial number in Arabic numerals, followed by the Arsenal mark (1 or as in this case, 2 characters) and finished by an inspector’s Kanji.

    The vast majority of rifles the collector will encounter have defaced chrysanthemum markings. This is because upon Japanese surrender in 1945, soldiers in the field were ordered to deface these markings so as not to dishonor the emperor and also because Gen. Macarthur issued orders that the same be done to all officially captured rifles. The US gov’t didn’t want to debase the Emperor’s power as it was felt he would be needed to aid in reconstruction of the country post-war. Only a small percentage of Arisaka rifles escaped this fate.
    (Feedback by "Claven2")
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 33rd series T99 Arisaka Rifle (Mfg by Toyo Kogyo) started by Badger View original post
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