By Joel Hannahs | November 17 2010 14:22

The Arisaka rifle was the bolt action infantry rifle of the Japanese military in World War II. We get The Arisaka Riflean in-depth look at it from American Rifleman in their compelling series: "I have this old gun..."

 If you're a collector, an Arisaka can probably be found; finding one in good condition is another matter entirely.

 "The guns are usually in miserable condition," said Phil Schreier, Senior Curator of the National Firearms Museum. "They were used in the jungle."

The gun, first circulated in 1905, was developed as a 6.5 millimeter, but by the late 1930s the Japanese military favored the 7.7 millimeter "Type 99." Several different models were then developed for specific tasks. Some are fitted with anti-aircraft sights, others break down into two for handling by paratroopers, and some are equipped with short monopod or bipod stands intended for use by prone marksmen. All of these guns are still classed as the Arisaka.

 In recent years, a growth of knowledge in the U.S. about Japanese military artifacts has bolstered the value of the Arisaka and a rise in collector interest. Most valued of all are those few still bearing the royal symbol, a chrysanthemum engraved into the receiver. Upon the surrender in 1945, the emblem was ground out of most of the remaining stock of rifles before they passed into Allied hands.

Since they were not pre-treated for moisture, most remaining examples are damaged by their jungle exposure. Allied veterans will attest that the Arisaka was an accurate and durable weapon during their years in action.

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