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Too Slow
03-16-2010, 9:16 AM
Just picked up a t-38 carbine. Seems like a good shooter and I'm trying to find out a bit more about it. It has a tokyo arsenal mark, but the serial number is only 4 digits long. Is this normal? I can't imagine it is that early of gun.

Milsurp Collector
03-16-2010, 9:44 AM
It has a tokyo arsenal mark, but the serial number is only 4 digits long. Is this normal?

Yes. I have seen Arisakas with single-digit serial numbers.

A low serial number doesn't necessarily mean an early gun. Serial numbers were in blocks called series. When a series serial number got to 99999 they went to the next series and started over with 1, 2, 3, etc. So a Series 2 rifle with serial number "1" was made after (later than) a Series 1 rifle with serial number "99999".

Too Slow
03-16-2010, 10:15 AM
Thanks for that. Do you know if there is a way to pick out the series? I've ordered a book on the gun, but it won't be here for a week.

Milsurp Collector
03-16-2010, 10:24 AM
Go to http://www.radix.net/~bbrown/japanese_markings.html

The series character is to the left of the serial number. For example, this is my Type 38 carbine, it is a Series 4 http://www.radix.net/~bbrown/pictures/japanese/series/s4.gif Notice that the circle around the two horizontal lines is partially stamped.

http://i44.tinypic.com/23ldw8p.jpg

Too Slow
03-16-2010, 10:58 AM
Thanks!!

Milsurp Collector
03-16-2010, 11:33 AM
I've ordered a book on the gun, but it won't be here for a week.

Is this the book you ordered? http://www.castle-thunder.com/type38arisaka/

http://www.castle-thunder.com/type38arisaka/pics/38bc.jpg

It is great, one of the best military rifle books I have.

Spiggy
03-16-2010, 11:36 AM
check the barrel underneath the wood, there might be a second set of numbers

Too Slow
03-16-2010, 2:20 PM
Actually I ordered "Japanese Rifles of WWII" by Duncan McCollum. I'll have to see if it is any good and perhaps get the one you recommend as well!

Milsurp Collector
03-16-2010, 3:17 PM
Actually I ordered "Japanese Rifles of WWII" by Duncan McCollum. I'll have to see if it is any good and perhaps get the one you recommend as well!

I have that book, it is basic but inexpensive. It's OK as a primer.

The standard general Japanese rifle book is Military Rifles of Japan (http://www.amazon.com/Military-Rifles-Japan-Fred-Honeycutt/dp/0962320870/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268777365&sr=8-1), which is more expensive but more thorough.

The best Japanese rifle book of all is the "Type 38" book by Allan mentioned earlier, but it doesn't cover the more common Type 99. There is a Type 99 book that is much thinner but is also pretty good, although not in the same class as the Type 38 book.

Too Slow
03-17-2010, 10:50 AM
I was looking at it again last night and noticed a mark I don't see listed in the Radix website. On top of the receiver just in front of the bolt handle, there is a circle with a triangle in it. I don't see any info on a marking located there. Just wondering....

Spiggy
03-17-2010, 4:42 PM
IIRC, it's a 10 or 15% nitro proof that only appears on koshikawa manufactured guns

Too Slow
03-17-2010, 4:51 PM
IIRC, it's a 10 or 15% nitro proof that only appears on koshikawa manufactured guns

Here comes the dummy question, what is a nitro proof?

Milsurp Collector
03-17-2010, 8:33 PM
I was looking at it again last night and noticed a mark I don't see listed in the Radix website. On top of the receiver just in front of the bolt handle, there is a circle with a triangle in it. I don't see any info on a marking located there. Just wondering....

Honeycutt states in Military Rifles of Japan (MRoJ) that that mark is a proof test mark, but Allan in The Type 38 Arisaka challenges that theory, stating that the mark looks like it was made during forging, before a proof test would have been done. No one knows for sure what it means.

Spiggy
03-17-2010, 9:02 PM
Here comes the dummy question, what is a nitro proof?

they pack a round with a lot more powder than a standard cartridge should, then they try to blow up the action

if the action survives and is still shiny, the weapon is OKed and shipped out.

Too Slow
03-18-2010, 4:36 PM
Thanks again for all the great info!