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How did they build japanese rifles?

Topic author: davef
Subject: How did they build japanese rifles?
Posted on: 10/23/2004 11:00:54 AM

the conversation about 8th series variation made me wonder,how did the japanese build rifles.I always assumed ,since they were a powerful industrialised nation by that point in time,that they used the assembly line process, various parts being made by machinist all over a plant (or several plants subcontracting at times)then the parts being brought to various points on an assembly line ,rifles being rough assembled all along the line,fit reciever to barrel,fit trigger asembly,fit sights...etc..then rifle sent to finishing area,disassembled stamped with serial numbers and markings,blued,fitted to stocks,reassembled and sent to await shippment...does anyone know if that how it was done or how it was if thats not it?just curious


Reply author: BIG ED
Replied on: 10/23/2004 4:44:00 PM
As far as I know Dave your putting the cart before the horse. All stamping was done PRIOR to heat treating the parts,try to stamped a junk receiver sometime with a metal stampimg die and let me know how you make out. (get a very large hammer)Blueing had to be done after all metal was properly finished.I'm sure there was plenty of hand fitting to get the barreled action into the stock. Lastly staking the screws was near the end of the line!!!!

Reply author: davef
Replied on: 10/24/2004 10:47:06 AM
Yeah those are hard recievers..doesnt seem they could heat treat the parts as one unit tho ,so they must have stamped them and then tried to sort out the pieces by number again after heat treating?amazing what can be accomplished with a motivated work force.

Reply author: max
Replied on: 10/24/2004 5:02:25 PM
They started out good,and ended up being built in garages and backyards at wars end.

Reply author: Nagoya10
Replied on: 10/24/2004 10:39:41 PM
I can't imagine that entire weapon systems would be completed in backyards, etc. I would believe it more likely that individual parts, mainly the smaller parts or simple to make parts would be made that way. Like a subcontractor, but no doubt on a less formal basis. The Germans became masters at subcontracting during the Big One with the parts ending at the main manufacturer for assembly into a complete unit, with inspections and proofing done at the final manufacturer. I would guess that the Japanese did the same thing since all (or most) rifles were stamped with the inspector marks all the way to the end of the war. I would think that the inspectors would only be at the final assembly facility and not at hundreds of back alley shops.

I have the Time Life series on World War 2, from many years ago, and in the Japan at War volume there are several pictures of Japanese civilians doing home workshop or back alley manufacture of airplane parts. I am sure that rifles and other weapons would have the same thing done, but with limited types of parts.

Maybe fredh will read this and give a comment since he did extensive research of the wartime Japanese arsenal system and production. Its too bad that some evidence of how actual manufacture was done hasn't shown up. On the German side, researchers found files pertaining to how a K98k was assembled and heat treated, from start to finish. Wouldnt that be awesome for Arisakas?

Reply author: fredh
Replied on: 11/02/2004 7:59:38 PM
Nagoya10, sorry to take so long getting back to you. I've been on a trip and am just getting back to reading the message board. Most of the info I have on Arisaka assembly is anecdotal. I was told, for example, that a armorer put together about 8 Type 99 rifles or Type 14 pistols at a time. I would assume there were several specialty areas for assemblers. For example, I would assume one worker did the barrel/receiver fitting, and that's all he did. Another assembler fitted the small parts and barrelled receiver to the wood. The receiver at this point had the serial number attached. All heat treat was done prior to final machining, and stamping was done by machine. For Type 99 production, I would assume all heat treat was done at the mill (Nippon Special Steel), and no subsequent heat treat was done in the arsenal for the Type 99. After assembly in the white, the weapon was disassembled. Metal parts were sent to the bluing tanks and stocks to the finish room. I do know that they did not use the Henry Ford assembly line. On page 42 in MROJ, I've got a photo of one of the areas where small parts were machined at Jinsen Arsenal. The idea of an individual putting together 8 or so pistols at a time would help explain the overlap of serial numbers and dates on pistol production. The date was put on after inspection. If an assembler was out sick or pulled off his assigned task to work another production problem, the pistol when finally finished would show a later date than expected.

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