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Arisaka Dust Cover 'RATTLE' Discussion

Article about: I was going to post this in the thread Bill just posted about his gorgeous rifle, but I did not want to hijack the thread. I was hoping we could discuss the dust covers on Japanese Type 38 a

  1. #1

    Default Arisaka Dust Cover 'RATTLE' Discussion

    I was going to post this in the thread Bill just posted about his gorgeous rifle, but I did not want to hijack the thread.

    I was hoping we could discuss the dust covers on Japanese Type 38 and early Type 99 "Arisaka" rifles.

    A commonly held idea (myth?) is that Japanese soldiers threw away dust covers because they rattled too much and would reveal them in stealth situations.

    I believe that Japanese soldiers never discarded the dust covers.

    1. Why would they part out a possession of their emperor/ living god? Wouldn't that be disrespectful?

    2. With the bolt closed and a round in the chamber with the rifle ready to fire, the dust cover does NOT move or rattle.

    3. When firing the rifle and cycling the bolt, sure the dust cover makes a little noise... But it's certainly not loud enough to be noticeable over the roar of combat.

    The rattle is a nonissue unless Japanese soldiers decided to sneak around the battlefield with the bolts of their rifles cocked back and their weapons not ready to fire... This simply does not make sense to me in a combat situation! Wouldn't they want their rifles ready to fire immediately?

    So, why are so many Arisaka rifles now missing their dust covers?

    Here are a few of my hypotheses:

    1. Late model Arisaka rifles never had dust covers in the first place as cost and time saving measure. BUT, Arisaka receivers continued to have slots for dust covers present right up until the end of production in 1945. I think a lot of collectors mistakenly believe that their rifles are missing dust covers.

    2. Anyone who has ever tried to install an Arisaka bolt with dust cover attached knows that it can be tricky! A Japanese soldier with proper training would have no problem with it. On the other hand, a US serviceman unfamiliar with Japanese rifles may be less patient with an annoying to install dust cover. Why not throw the dust cover out? The bolt functions just fine without it!

    3. At the end of the war, Japan was demilitarized and mountains of Japanese small arms were available to souvenir hunters. We have also heard about chrysanthemums being defaced. Stripping Arisaka rifles of dust covers, AA sights and monopods left the rifles still operable for souvenir hunters while also making scrap metal available to rebuild Japan with.

    4. Lots of vets turned their souvenir rifles into hunting rifles... I've seen countless beautiful and rare rifles that have been sporterized. Sportsmen love light weight, streamlined rifles... An easy way to cut the fat would be to remove the accessories on Arisakas...

    So, what do you folks think?

  2. #2
    ?

    Default Re: Arisaka Dust Cover 'RATTLE' Discussion

    I think many were discarded because they were inconvenient and not necessary - by both the Japanese and whoever happened to capture or aquire them.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Arisaka Dust Cover 'RATTLE' Discussion

    With all due respect, John, I just don't think so. We all know how much the Japanese revered their emperor. For goodness sake they needlessly sacrificed their lives/ committed suicide for him! Arisaka rifles are one of the few pieces of Japanese military equipment marked with the emperor's chrysanthemum... I don't think they would just throw out pieces of their emperor's rifles.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Arisaka Dust Cover 'RATTLE' Discussion

    Here are videos of me shooting my Type38 with dust cover and Type99 without dust cover.

    Granted I'm not in combat and not running around, but you can see that cycling the bolt with dust cover attached isn't much louder than cycling a bolt without dust cover.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=b2-RWzK-SEU

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6LFmipstrpk

  5. #5

    Default Re: Arisaka Dust Cover 'RATTLE' Discussion

    Many type 38 and Type 99 Rifles had the MUM removed or defaced in some fashion, I would say that this accounted for many rifles found without the dust cover.. The rifles that I have with full MUM still had the dust cover...I would also think the G.I. removed many also and possibly a few done by the Japanese themselves....BILL
    "As long as there are brave men and warriors the halls of Valhalla will never be silent or empty"

    In memory of my father William T. Grist December 26, 1920--September 10, 2009..
    901st. Ordnance H.A.M. North Africa, Italy, Southern France....ETO
    Also in memory of my mother Jane Kidd Grist Feb. 22, 1920-- September 27, 2009... WWll War bride May 1942...

  6. #6

    Default Re: Arisaka Dust Cover 'RATTLE' Discussion

    maybe they threw it out to lighten the load. i now it doesnt weigh much. but every ounce counts when your loaded down.maybe they werent issued after a while due to the resources going for other things more important. i have a ariska w/the dust cover. the anti-aircraft sight is missing the wings.the mum is present but has an X on it.all intact just w/an X.good shooter.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Arisaka Dust Cover 'RATTLE' Discussion

    I've noticed the same thing, Bill!

    Another common misconception is that Japanese rifles were inferior and prone to malfunction. Certainly, some last ditch rifles were so crude that malfunction could be possible... But the same could be said for German last ditch rifles.

    I think a lot of it had to do with wartime racism. We have all seen the racist depiction of the Japanese as short with huge glasses, squinty eyes and buck teeth. Surely they couldn't produce formidable small arms!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Arisaka Dust Cover 'RATTLE' Discussion

    Quote by deadeye View Post
    maybe they threw it out to lighten the load. i now it doesnt weigh much. but every ounce counts when your loaded down.maybe they werent issued after a while due to the resources going for other things more important. i have a ariska w/the dust cover. the anti-aircraft sight is missing the wings.the mum is present but has an X on it.all intact just w/an X.good shooter.
    I understand your point about lightening loads, but a dust cover would be a drop in the bucket when compared to the other items Japanese soldiers had to carry.

    Your rifle could be one of the transitional series that had some of the accessories and not others. This was done to produce rifles quicker and to save resources.

    I wish there was a primary source that could put this issue to rest. Vets must think we're crazy for obsessing over such things!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Arisaka Dust Cover 'RATTLE' Discussion

    maybe a drop in the bucket. but every ounce counts.dont think my rifle was a transitional. has all the early characteristics. for example checkering on the safety knob. the grape on the bolt is the early version. the only things missing on my rifle when i purchased it was the cleaning rod and the fold out wings. but from what i understand most all ariskas incountered where missing the foldout wings. why is that you think. bought my ariska at a pawn shop. didnt think the guy was very well versed on them. got a good deal. had it checked out by a certified gun smith before i shot her.deadeye

  10. #10

    Default Re: Arisaka Dust Cover 'RATTLE' Discussion

    Quote by deadeye View Post
    maybe a drop in the bucket. but every ounce counts.
    I understand your point, but still! I don't think a Japanese soldier would have disrespected the emperor by parting out a rifle with the imperial chrysanthemum. If anything, I think a Japanese soldier would be proud to bear a heavy burden for the emperor.

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