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I picked up this type 38 from a reputable seller who deals with militaria and firearms. He gets most of his items from the local ad's he puts in the paper. This rifle is one of two T-38's he had. According to him these plus a K98 and several German flags, Japanese flags and swords were all in the same cache from the veterans family. Veateran served in the 97th ID. I have a 3 day inspection period on it. The mum is there but is overstamped with 3 circles. Is this an arsenal stamp or deface? The serial number starts out with doubles 00's. From what I gathered online this means the rifle was removed from military service and issued to training schools? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Hello shooter84 :

So far your description and assessment are correct, this is a 4 digit early Tokyo Type - 38 carbine that was removed from Army service ( the 3 circles over the mum ) , stamped with the "Bun" character that looks like a 1/X between the gas ports which indicates school / education usage. The two added zeros in front of the serial number are the indicators of the transfer from active army to education usage.
Originally all Tokyo 38s had their parts matched by a Kanji character over a 1 to 3 digit "assembly number" stamped on the receiver underside and onto every part internal and external. A lot of folks when they see one of these old arms and finds that the bolt numbers don't match the last 3 digits of the serial number think it is mismatched and therefore of less value.
The quickest way to find out if it is matching or not is to record the bolt number ( as well as the firing pin, extractor, and safety knob ) and compare that against the number on the bayonet lug, if they match there is a strong possibility that the carbine will be matching. Another quick check is the magazine floorplate as it too is numbered on the inside surface, on some the inside of the bolt stop mechanism and ejector are numbered as well. Once apart all internal parts except for the screws should be matched as well.
Unfortunately after 20 to 30 years of service these arms were passed on to the schools for training, many have mixed number parts from that time until picked up as a souvenir after the war.
Vicasoto
 
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