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This week I picked up a Type 99 Arisaka from another fine member on this site. Here it is next to its former foe: the M1 Garand.

This Arisaka was made in 1942....produced while my grandfather recovered in the hospital from wounds sustained at Pearl Harbor.

This past week I've thought a lot about its history. What happened to the soldier that was issued the rifle? Was it in battle? Who was the G.I. that brought it home?

The rifle that was made by an Empire (an Empire that nearly killed both of my grandfathers) to conquer Asia now hangs on my wall. I've nicknamed it "Ozymandias" after my favorite poem about a long forgotten ruler.

The final stanza of the poem, and the rifle on my wall, serve as a reminder that good triumphs but, good or bad, tyrant or saint, we all pass to the sands of time.

"And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."


I wonder what the odds are that those two rifles were not only on the same battlefield, but their soldiers were shooting at the other as well?


Interesting concept.
Here are two foes from 1943:

Webley Mk IV .38/200 (with “War Finish” and “GR” (George Rex) markings)

Astra 300 in 9mm kurz. Made in Guernica under Franco, Waffenamp stamp and from a shipment that went to the Luftwaffe over the French border in ‘43. Interesting side note on Astra’s Guernica factory - although it was the Condor Legion’s target in the bombing made infamous by Picasso, it was unscathed.

Both are fun shooters. The Webley is built like a tank, and the top-break ejection always brings a smile. The Astra has an amazing trigger and is very accurate for a small pistol.

Thank you for sharing the memory and side by side perspective. My uncle brought an Arisaka back in 1945 with its horrible long bayonet. He was a GM3 in “McArthur’s Navy,” There were giants on the earth in those days...including a skinny kid from Tacoma :s0042:


Those Arisakas (except those made later in the war) were legendarily strong. There's a story from the 50s about a man who bought a Type 38 and rechambered it for 30-06 but didn't rebore the barrel. He took it to a gunsmith and complained it was a "hard kicker". The gunsmith was amazed that the Arisaka was drawing out 30-06 to 6.5mm. Similar stories about people putting the wrong milsurp ammo (7.7mm, made for the type 99) in a type 38 and the gun firing it over and over without blowing up, with the problem only realized once the owner took it to a gunsmith and asked if recoil could be reduced.

The Garand to me is just a weird rifle. A detachable box magazine seems so obvious...it's like the Garand is the "missing link" in the evolution from bolt action to sturmgewehr-class rifles. Then again, an M14 with a full mag (20 rounds) is ridiculously heavy.


Just as a side note to "side by side". My father was in the Navy (radio operator) from 1943 to 1946. All his time was spent in the So. Pacific from Pearl Harbor to Iwo Jima. He detested the Japanese during the war like most people did. He built our home in 1958 the year I was born. The house had a very nice daylight basement and he and mom used to rent it out until my younger brother was born. His first renter? A former Japanese Army solder who had a love of HAM radios. He and my father became good friends and had a ton of mutual respect. Now side by side is not so bad.


Great story fstfraw!. A must read book on reasons for Pearl Harbor is the book: Operation Snow, by Koster. It's an amazing story that despite being true, is not told and is but little known.

Aero Denezol

I love those old warhorses. I've been drawn to them ever since I was a little kid.

I had a fairly nice Arisaka I sold to @Nibbs because there was no ammo available. I have at least one good example of most of the others (Enfields, K98, Mosin, etc.).

The Garand to me is just a weird rifle. A detachable box magazine seems so obvious...it's like the Garand is the "missing link" in the evolution from bolt action to sturmgewehr-class rifles. Then again, an M14 with a full mag (20 rounds) is ridiculously heavy.

I agree. Even the Soviet SVT-40 has a detachable magazine. Or the Enfield No. I/IV/V, for that matter.. When I got my first Garand I spent hours practicing with the enblocs and snap caps until I got pretty good at it. There is nothing else in my safe like it.
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