Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1509: Japanese 38 Rifle 6.5 mm Japanese

Auction Date: September 12, 2014

Rare Mexican Contract Japanese Tokyo Arsenal Type 38 Bolt Action Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $2,750 - $4,250

Rare Mexican Contract Japanese Tokyo Arsenal Type 38 Bolt Action Rifle

Manufacturer: Japanese
Model: 38
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 6.5 mm Japanese
Barrel: 31 3/8 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: hardwood
Item Views: 3152
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 248
Class: Curio & Relic Long Gun

This is an extremely rare example of one of the approximately 3000 Type 38 rifles manufactured (in this series) by the Tokyo Arsenal for the Republic of Mexico, circa 1911. It is estimated that these rifle were manufactured in the "A through N" series blocks with approximately 3000 manufactured in each series. This specific rifle was manufactured in the "E" series block with one of the highest serial numbers (1932) ever identified in any of the series blocks. These rifles were manufactured under contract for Mexico in the 1911-1913 time frame, with a few hundred/maybe a few thousand actually shipped to Mexico. However, Mexico defaulted on the payment for the rifles, and, in turn, the Japanese sold the balance or bulk of the contract (approximately 35,000) to Russia at the outbreak of WWI (circa 1914/15). These rifle typically do not have any Japanese markings with this one correctly marked on the receiver with: The Mexican Government Crest, surrounded by "REPUBLIC OF MEXICANA" over the date of manufactured "1913". The rear receiver bridge has a small triangle inside a circle that is typically associated with the Tokyo Arsenal. The breech end of the barrel, left side of the receiver and underside of the bolt has a small "a/RM" proof associated with the Mexican Government. It has a matching bolt body and cocking knob with an unmarked firing pin and barrel bands; (all the parts have been together for a long, long time), with the dust cover numbered "448" on the back side. It is fitted with the correct Type 38 full length rifle stock and handguards with the finger grooves on the sides, and a milled trigger guard/floor plate assembly. The barrel has the inverted "v" front sight with the long tangent sight, marked "4-23" on the face (400-2300 meters) with no anti-aircraft wings.

Rating Definition:

Very good overall with 50% of the original blued finish with approximately 15% of the balance of exposed metal turning a dark brown patina with 5% a gray patina. The stock and handguards are both in fair condition showing numerous heavy and light pressure dents, scratches and dents from years of field use with a small very old light crack emanating from the front edge of the trigger guard. There is also an old 2 inch long plastic wood type repair on the upper right side of the stock. Although the exposed metal finish has turned to a brown patina it is all original to itself and is not a part or put together rifle. Super rare early Mexican Contract Japanese Type 38 rifle; the first one we have ever offered for sale.

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