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December 15, 2003

New Gun P0rn™!

Finally got over my funk about messing around with the camera and shootin' irons. I've got several projects in the works, but I've been neglecting my primary customer base. So here's some new Gun P0rn™!

Today for your viewing pleasure... a rifle with some history. My battlefield capture Japanese Type 99 rifle.

Here's something to tide you over while I work on the rest of the post! Yeah, that's my M2 Carl Gustaf holding up the blanket back there. I was doing some work on Carl and was too lazy to move him out of the way...

This particular rifle was brought back from the Battle For Conical Hill by Corporal Frank Huggins of the 383rd Infantry Regiment, 96th Infantry Division. I obtained it, sadly, after his passing, from his widow in Lawton, OK, so I am unable to provide any more detail than that. I wish I had the chance to talk to CPL Huggins!

The rifle came complete, in ways that you usually don't see in Japanese rifles.

The japanese Imperial Mum on the receiver is unground, usually (but not always) a sign of battlefield capture. At the end of the war and after, US military authorities allowed the japanese to grind off the Mums on their weapons, so as not to dishonor the Emperor.

This rifle also has the monopod, intended to help steady it while in the prone position.

Here is another usually-missing feature - the anti-aircraft 'lead' wings for the sights. Using the notch on these wings gave the soldier some ability to 'lead' an aircraft when volley firing. No records exist that I'm aware of detailing the use of the wings - and all things considered, I doubt they were much use without an awful lot of practice.

Yet another usually missing feature - the dust cover. Note also the distinctive oval shape to the bolt handle. Can anyone name the Mauser-pattern military rifles with oval bolt handles?

The Japanese experience beating up on the Chinese in the 1930's convinced them (like the Italians) that they needed a more powerful cartridge than the 6.5mm they were then using. They decided on a .303 rimless round already developed from the Brit rimmed round and used in the M1932 medium machine gun. Rather than develop a carbine - their first intention, they developed a 'short' and a 'long' rifle. The experiments with carbines showed they were too much a recoil monster for the average japanese infantryman. Having fired the Brit .303 "jungle carbine" I can only imagine what a relative feather merchant would feel like after that thing kicked his shoulder! This rifle came late into the war, and was not widely encountered until the final battles - one reason this one is in such relative good shape.

Put the pigsticker on it, and the japanese soldier could negate some of the 'reach' advantage of his american counterpart - not that it mattered in the end.

Well, there you have it - a little bit of history, and a little bit of gun. I'm tired. Took the spousal unit to the airport today at 0430 (that's 4:30AM in NG time, Donnie). Unlike the Bejus Pundit, I'm surrendering to my old fart status. He can have the windmills - and the Towers!

Ya know, after the Guard combat brigades start their rotations over to the sandboxes, we're gonna hafta stop a lot of the Guard jokes. But only some. You only know we love you if we abuse you.