This is an extremely rare example of an early Chinese experimental semi-automatic rifle that was developed circa 1918/20. It is believed that there were probably only a handful of experimental/prototypes of these ultra rare rifles produced by the Chinese Arsenal in the early to mid 1920s when the U.S. Ordnance Department was beginning to search for suitable candidates to replace all their 1903 bolt action rifles. Only two were originally identified previously with this example being the third rifle known to us. The only two markings on the rifle are a series of Chinese characters that are marked from left to right across the top of the receiver ring and the serial number stamped below the Chinese characters. A loose translation of the Chinese characters is: "Chinese Peoples Army Rifle, Hanyang Arsenal". The same exact type of rifle is actually pictured (lower rifle) on page 20 of "The Book of the Garand" by Julian Hatcher. The top rifle as noted is specifically marked as being designed by General T.E. Liu of the Nationalist Chinese Government, while the lower rifle has the same/similar outward configuration (to this example) with the raised/reinforced section on top rear area of the action cover with the front sight base having the same small lightning hole through the center. Obviously based on that reference book some of these rifles were actually submitted to and evaluated by Springfield Armory in the mid to late 1920s; however, no known test results have been discovered. From a historical perspective, this was a time when every world power was attempting to convert their armies from standard bolt action rifles into using the newly developed semi-automatic rifles that were being developed in the post WWI time frame. This rifle uses the Bang gas-trap type design with a two-position, adjustable gas system that was obviously modified by the Chinese along with a newly designed bolt locking mechanism. This example has a very long all steel machined receiver with a heavy bolt cover/carrier that is very similar in design/concept the G41/43 rifles. The bolt carrier and bolt body are attached to the machined top cover, with the entire assembly sitting down inside the receiver. The round bolt head position actually just meets the breech end of the barrel enclosed by the receiver ring with the locking lugs positioned at the rear of the bolt. The rear sight is marked on the face of the slide with "2-20" (200-2000 meters) and on the left side of the base with "4-20" and on the right sides "3-19". The rifle has 100% all beautifully machined parts that are all still in the white from the factory having never been final blued. It is fitted with a full length walnut stock with a short handguard. The sides of the stock are machined for finger grooves, and it has a smooth stamped steel buttplate. The buttplate has a sliding trapdoor that holds a one-piece of the cleaning rod. It has a full length stock and top handguard with no markings. There are no caliber markings. However, the bore measures approximately 8 mm, so we assume it is chambered in 7.92 Mauser cartridge, as the Chinese had been using and manufacturing the Model 1888 Mauser rifle. Certainly a very interesting and unique rifle with this being only the third such rifle we have ever offered at auction.
Excellent with all the metal surfaces still in the white as noted above with a mixed light brown patina overall from handling over the years. The markings on top of the receiver are clear and sharp. The stock and handguard are both excellent with a nice matching dark brown color overall showing only minor light handling marks and scratches on the sides in some areas. A very interesting early experimental rifle.
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