The Japanese service rifle is a simplified Mauser type with an
action similar to our M-1903 (Springfield). Its official name
is the Meiji 38th-year pattern (1905) rifle. Its caliber
is .256 inch (6.5 mm). The weapon has not been changed
since 1905, and the bulk of Japanese infantry is armed
with it, or its carbine form.
The Japs are known to have a larger (bore) rifle of the same
pattern, but it has not been used on a quantity basis. Its
caliber is .303 inch (7.7 mm), enabling the enemy to
use the British .303-inch Mark VII small-arms ammunition. The
rifle has been used to some extent as a sniper's weapon, mounted
with a telescopic sight.
The caliber .256 rifle is operated very much in the same
manner as our M-1903 with the exception of the safety
lock, which is easily figured out. This safety lock is
much more awkward to operate than that of our M-1903. The
rifle itself is a manually operated and bolt-action weapon, which
takes 5 rounds in a clip, as does our M1903. The bolt-stop is
of the Mauser type; it is located on the left rear of the
receiver and is pivoted on its forward end. To withdraw the
bolt, the back end is pulled out.
|Figure 4. Japanese Service Rifle.|
The barrel is 31.4 inches long, and the rifle itself
is 4 feet 2 inches without bayonet
and 5 feet 1/4 inch with bayonet. It is too long
for easy handling--it probably is made long to compensate
for the small stature of the average Japanese. This length
gives them a good reach in bayonet fighting. The rifle is
equipped with a long knife bayonet, in the use of which
the Japanese soldier receives a great deal of training.
The bolt handle is not bent down like that on our M-1903
and, consequently, catches in underbrush and is not so
fast in operation. The sights are graduated from 433 yards
to 2,598 yards. The leaf sight has an open "V" notch
with no windage adjustment. The rifle is not so accurate
as ours, especially at ranges greater than 300 yards.
All in all, the American soldier equipped with an M1 or 1903 rifle
is far better armed than the Jap soldier with this "squirrel" rifle.