This is the featured articles from the April 1999 issue.

 

JAPANESE OR CHINESE?

 

Robert Jensen

 

I recently acquired a rifle ( Figs. 1 & 2 ) I thought was a "North China Type 19.'' However I now am uncertain if this is so. In its outward appearance it looks exactly like the one pictured in Military Rifles Of Japan. but the receiver utilized is a copy of the Type 30 not the Type 38. The use of this very early receiver in a rifle made in the 1944 - 45 period is certainly possible although it would seem unusual, even unlikely, given the superiority of the Type 38 system. I have not seen or even heard of enough examples of the Type 19 rifle to judge.

 

Figure 1

 

Figure 2

 

The rifle ( or carbine for in fact both the barrel length and overall length are identical with the Type 38 carbine ) has both of the typical Japanese wrist tangs and an identical rear sight assembly ( Fig. 3 ). The stock is of one piece construction and has no handguard. It has the correct receiver stamp for a Type 19 ( Fig. 4 ) but does not have the four characters denoting "North China Type 19." The arsenal stamp on the side rail (Fig. 5 ) is new to me and I could not find it in any reference book. Finally, the caliber is not 6.5mm Japanese but rather 7.92mm - the Chinese cartridge.

 

 

Above, Figures 3, 4, and 5.

 Below, Figure 6.

 

The receiver has enough subtle differences from that of a Japanese made Type 30 receiver to prove it is a newly made one and not simply a reworked receiver. The hook on the bolt assembly is much thicker or fatter that the Japanese made one and the entire bolt assembly is cruder and rougher in manufacture and finish ( Fig. 6 ).

The piece is entirely matching but all the serial numbers except the two barrel bands are internal, that is, placed on the inside surfaces of the parts where they cannot be seen until the piece is disassembled, see Figs. 7, 8, and 9. The receiver, trigger guard, and both wrist tangs have what would seem to be a Japanese arsenal system assembly number. That number is 15. ( Fig. 10 ). Finally, the magazine follower spring is not the usual flat sheet metal spring but is made of spring wire ( Fig. 11 ). The similarities to the Japanese Type 38 carbine and the influence of the Japanese arsenal system are most obvious and straight forward.

So, do we have a piece made at a Chinese arsenal under Japanese supervision or do we have a Chinese made carbine dating from before or after W.W. II? Could it be the precursor of the Type l9 and thus the piece that was in production for the Chinese and then continued in production after the Japanese takeover, simply changed in caliber and with added markings?

We know the Russians occupied Manchuria at the end of W.W. II and when they withdrew they stripped the whole area of all machine tools, manufacturing equipment, industrial supplies, transportation and railway vehicles, and anything and

Figure 5 everything they thought would help to rebuild the Soviet Union after the ruinous

destruction of W.W. II. They then turned over what little was left to the Chinese communists. It would seen unlikely then that this could be a postwar Chinese Nationalist made weapon. This conclusion is further evidenced by the use of the obsolete Type 30 receiver and bolt system rather than the more modern and more easily manufactured Type 38.

It would seem then, based on the aforementioned facts, that this is a Chinese made carbine dating from the mid to late 1930's. That, at least, is my theory. I invite those members who have more knowledge of this area than I to suggest alternative ideas and hopefully we might arrive at the true story of this unusual piece.

 

Figure 7 and Figure 8

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

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