Many of the old timers who sell at the gun shows are not that interested in selling the guns on their tables, they are there for the hobby and many of them would either prefer a trade or dicker the on price.
Then you have the type of hobbyist who needs to thin the collection or sell something he has to buy something different.
I was at a local gun show here recently and I overheard a seller trying to sell an old sporterized Arisaka to someone. The seller offered the gun at $100, then $50, then $35 and even offered to throw in a box of new ammo.
When the original prospect walked away, I swooped in and agreed to the deal. For $35 I bought an Arisaka Type 99 Rifle and a new box of Hornady ammunition.
From the pictures you can see that it has been sporterized.
It has a traditional Monte Carlo style stock with cheek rest, grip cap and ebony fore tip.
The sights are aftermarket, the front looks like it is from another gun and it sits very high, the rear is a Lyman Peep Sight.
The barrel was shortened from 26" to 23" and the the muzzle was re-crowned, a very profession job.
The gunsmith who built the rifle added sling swivels and an Outdoor Connections Super Sling.
The bolt was modified using the back portion from a M1903 Springfield Rifle bolt, they also added a safety, one which I don't immediately recognize, but it works very well.
The length of pull is a bit short at 12 3/4" and the Win-a-Mer recoil pad only offers minimal cushion.
I may add a thicker, more modern recoil pad that would add a bit to the LOP.
I checked the history of the rifle and here is what I learned:
It is an Arisaka Type 99, series 6, made at the Nagoya Arsenal sometime between 1939 and 1942 (yes the "Mum" has been ground off). I have no way of knowing when the gun was sporterized, but I would guess it was sometime from the early to late '50s. This is when surplus military rifles were cheap and plentiful while production sporting rifles were somewhat available, but not cheap.
There are some issues with this gun that I would like to address.
1. The chamber. I have no idea if the gun retains its original chambering of 7.7 x 58mm. I will need to make a cast of the chamber and find a field or no go gauge to check the head spacing.
2. The LOP on the stock is a bit short, I will add a wider recoil pad with spacers to match the grip can and fore end tip.
3. The recoil pad sucks, it will be replaced as above.
4. You cannot close the bolt on an empty magazine, I will taper the back portion of the magazine follower to allow closing the bolt when the gun is empty.
5. The stock is not as graceful as I would like. I will thin the comb, raise the lower side of the cheek weld and shorten it.
I will also give it some flutes at the front of the comb, perhaps something like the one below:
I have drawn lines so you can see where I will be removing material. One line will follow the pistol grip, the other will point directly at the corner of the toe of the stock
5. The bluing is worn off on the barrel and since it has silver soldered parts, I will rust blue the barrel & action. The trigger, trigger guard, floor plate and bolt end will be highly polished and hot salts blued. The screws and ejector will be nitre blued. I will polish the rest of the bolt and handle until they shine like chrome, then I'll jewel the bolt. I will also remove the dents and scratches from the stock and refinish it.
6. I think I will make an attempt to checker the grip and fore end on this gun. I have never tried it before, but what better to learn than on a $35 rifle?
7. I may end up pillar & glass bedding the barrel channel as well, I'll have to wait until I take it apart to decide.
8. Before refinishing I will thin the trigger guard and round it, making it more graceful and less utilitarian
I will probably have multiple posts for each of the changes being made to the gun.
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