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The Whatziss Revealed! [Now with corrected link]

Of course, we don't really know what it is, as a purely technical matter - in that no one's come up with (and by that I mean in the collector community at large) anything other than the same kind of speculation you guys indulged in. It *is* a Japanese rifle based on the overall look and markings, and since it's a single-shot, one assumes it was built for training.  But it's one that most of us (including myself) were unfamiliar with, being based on a German M88 rifle. The markings on the receiver have been mostly obliterated, but there are enough scattered remnants to confirm it is a German-built rifle, vice one of the Chinese Hanyang copies, but it probably had a Chinese provenance to the Japanese.

You guys can feel good about your instincts on the Japanese features. If anyone can read kanji characters, here's a shot of the markings that were on the butt [Carp.  Wrong pic.  I'll fix it when I get home tonight.  LINK FIXED!]. I'll try to get a good shot of the bore. It's a virtual smoothbore, with just a hint of rifling left. I'm guessing the nice blueing is someone practicing their gunsmithing skills, vice it being found this way, but I could be wrong. The surviving section of the classic Commission 88 barrel jacket is holed all along the wood from bad storage, but the pits are cleaned and blued. It might have been some Japanese armorer's practice or training dummy. I dunno. But it's unusual, and this one was kinda a fun one, watching you scratch your heads over it.  The vise marks on the jacket are from where someone tried to remove that remnant of barrel jacket - sucker's not coming off anytime soon - and given the fragile nature of the rotted area along the stock - I'm not going to try to put much effort to it.   

Japanese training rifle made from an ex-Chinese german-built M88 rifle. [This pic will enlargify.]

It was cheap, and is a variant of the M88 rifle the Arsenal had no extant example of and can tell a story or sorts.  Based on what it is and where it came from,  you can spin the history militant of Asia and the arms found therein, which is a great attractor to me.  I prefer artifacts that have a story other than, "I was built, I was put into storage, I was sold as surplus, and some collector paid a premium price because I'm a pretty boy."  Gimme an artifact whose story is, "I came, I saw, I conquered (or got conquered)!" any day.

11 Comments

I knew it all along, but didn't want to spoil yer fun. (koff)
 
That's a real oddball!

There is a new book out (within last 6 months or so) about arms the Japanese imported, and there may be some clues in there, but I do not have a copy to know if it does.  Maybe someone else has a copy and can confirm or discard that as additional resource.
 
This has been a very good one, boss. Thanks, and thanks for being around to drag it out and make us all think.


 
<I>I prefer artifacts that have a story</i>.

Damn right - tht's why I like my 1914-made 1891 Nagant.

The Finnish Army property marks make it Storied.

(On another note, the text-entry widget here? Awful. Pasting in the quote above, I had to deal with a dialog box, to paste in again... why? )
 
Sigi - spam protection against autobots.  If you want to paste in text without the box (which strips html), or, put *in* html not offered in the menu, hit the "source" button and you can paste in or add html code.

Keeps the spambots from inserting malicious code into comments.
 
 Dang, even the Armorer ain't quite sure!

Hey, Old Timer, there is just one thing,  You had enough "brass", where it counts to the point that you were honest and told us. This separates the men from the wannabes.
 
 
Awww, when I looked at the sight and the boltIi was looking for the rising sun where it should be. it looked one heck of a lot like our familys Jap 7.7
 
Chrysanthemum, not rising sun
 
Except for the color of the furniture, that looks an awful lot like the souvenir my neighbor had back in the old 'hood. It was indeed a training rifle, made solely to give civilians the experience of popping a round off under the watchful eye of an instructor before they had to shoulder arms and fight the Yankee dog invaders on the beaches, in the paddies, and up and down the sides of Mt. Fuji.

Which they were prepared to do, with enthusiasm...
 
I checked this morning - it will mount the standard Japanese bayonet, and the cleaning rod hole... isn't a hole, except for the hole in the metal of the stock ferrule.
 
Yep. I called it. Training rifle... ;)