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"Japanese Model 97 (1937) 7.7-mm MG" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. military report on the Japanese Model 97 machine gun was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 43, January 27, 1944.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]

JAPANESE MODEL 97 (1937) 7.7-MM MG

A Japanese 7.7-mm machine gun, Model 97,* mounted in a Japanese light tank has recently been examined. The bolt and piston assemblies were missing. The examination disclosed that this weapon was patterned after the Czech ZB (Brno) light machine gun and the British Bren light machine gun; but the parts are not interchangeable as the dimensions differ slightly.

a. Description

The Japanese, tank-mounted, 7.7-mm machine gun, model 97, is an air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed weapon used with a ball and socket type mount. The ammunition is fed through an opening in the top forward part of the receiver from a vertical, staggered, box-type magazine. The sights are offset on the right side of the weapon because of the position of the magazine. The barrel is of the quick detachable type but cannot be used as such while in the tank because of a mounting ring which clamps around the barrel, and gas-piston sleeve. This mount acts as a base for the mount aligning pins and a swivel ring base for the telescopic sight. The barrel change lever is on the right side of the weapon.

[Japanese Model 97 (1937) 7.7-mm MG]

The portion of the barrel forward of the mounting ring is enclosed in a hinged steel jacket. The purpose of this is to prevent injury to that part of the barrel which extends outside of the tank.

The shoulder piece is mounted on a pivot which allows it to be dropped out of the way when not in use. It is adjustable as to length and is held in one of four positions by a spring catch located on the underside of the stock.

This machine gun has a ground mount, consisting of a light bipod which is fitted to the barrel after the detachable armored jacket has been removed.

b. Characteristics

Weight w/o magazine or jacket**      23 lbs 6 oz
Weight with jacket**30 lbs 9 oz
Overall length46 1/2 in
Length with shoulder piece folded 39 7/16 in
Weight of barrel 7 lbs 14 oz
Length of barrel 23 11/32 in
Rifling4 lands, 4 grooves, uniform RH twist
Front sight Tapered post
Rear sightAperture type
Range adjustmentDrum type, graduated to 1,500 m
Windage adjustment None
System of feedVertical, staggered, box-type magazine
AmmunitionStandard Japanese Model 99 7.7-mm rimless only

*Mod 97 (1937) 7.7-mm tank machine gun shown without barrel protective jacket
**Minus the bolt and piston assemblies


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