Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3260: Tokyo Gas and Electric Co. Prototype Rifle 6.5 mm Japanese

Auction Date: September 11, 2016

Rare Pre-World War II Japanese Prototype Semi-Automatic Rifle Serial Number 8

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $18,000 - $27,500

Rare Pre-World War II Japanese Prototype Semi-Automatic Rifle Serial Number 8

Manufacturer: Tokyo Gas and Electric Co.
Model: Prototype Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 6.5 mm Japanese
Finish: blue
Stock: hardwood
Item Views: 4037
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 134
Class: Curio & Relic Long Gun

This rifle is a very rare example of a pre-war Japanese prototype semi-automatic rifle manufactured by the Tokyo Gas & Electric (TG&E) company. This rifle was a faithful copy of the earlier pre-war Czech ZH29 rifle (which was chambered in 7.92 m/m Mauser) that was designed by the Czech engineer Emanual Holek and produced by the Brno factory in Czechoslovakia. Prior to WWII, this rifle design was marketed all over the world with a few examples sold to the Japanese Government. These rifles were given to the Japanese TG&E company to copy and produced prototype rifles chambered in the smaller Japanese 6.5mm cartridge for the Japanese Test Trials held in 1935. It is estimated that 12 rifles were actually manufactured for testing with only a few example still in existence after WWII. An identical version of this rifle shown on page 167 in the book "Military Rifles of Japan" (second edition by Honeycutt). This weapon is very unique in that it used a gas-operating mechanism with the breech bolt similar to the Belgium FN-FAL rifles only it's mounted sidewise and uses the rear of the breech bolt as a locking lug to lock inside the receiver. During the firing sequence, the rear of the bolt actually cams to the right (inside the bolt carrier), extracts and ejects the spent cartridge. During the loading sequence, the bolt is moving forward, strips a round from the magazine, chambers the cartridge and then the rear of the bolt moves to the left and locks in place. The rifle is extremely well made and used 100% machined parts that were held to close tolerances with final hand fitting, polishing and bluing. The action is also somewhat unique in that it is designed to be disassembled using only the tip of a bullet as all the major takedown pins are non-tapered, and two large pins hold the upper and lower receiver groups together making field disassembly very easy. It has a lightweight barrel fitted with an inverted "v" front sight and a fully adjustable rear sight both offset to the left just like the original ZH29 rifle. Unlike the original design, this rifle uses a full length forend held in place between the gas block and the rear of the receiver and also two barrel bands. The rifle is completely void of any manufacturers/model markings and is only stamped with serial number "8" on the heel of the receiver, the heads of both takedown pins, the gas block and gas plug and a small Japanese Kanji character by the safety lever and underside of the gas block. It has a blued metal finish with the complete bolt and bolt and bolt carrier assembly still in the white with a hardwood stock and forend. It has a military style fully adjustable rear sight. This rifle is missing the magazine.

Rating Definition:

Fine with 85% plus of the original blue finish overall with edge and high spot wear with some very small spots of pin-prick type pitting on the left side of the receiver inside the large cutout. The stock and forend are both in good condition overall with the forend having two small stress cracks on the very top rear section of the forend, and it has an old heavy coat of varnish overall. The sanded buttstock is in good condition having an old light sanding with an oil finish. Mechanically excellent. A very rare example of an early Japanese prototype semi-automatic rifle manufactured by the TG&E Company.

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