Tanaka Arisaka Type 99 Rifle

The “Type 99 short rifle” Arisaka (九九式短小銃 Kyukyu-shiki Tan-shoju) was the primary Japanese battle rifle during WW2. The Type 99 was the successor of the Type 38. It is shorter than the Type 38 and has a caliber of 7.7 mm instead of the 6.5 mm used by the Type 38. It never fully replaced the Type 38 though and both rifles were used throughout the war. The Type 99 was an excellent  bolt action rifle that could compete with the best designs of its time. This changed as the war progressed and the manufacturing quality deteriorated. Near wars end  the so called “last ditch” rifles were of  low quality and often dangerous to use.

Tanaka Works made a fantastic gas powered airsoft replica of this classic Japanese rifle. Built quality is outstanding, constructed almost entirely of super high quality wood parts and metal.  Nothing rattles, nothing wobbles, simply perfect! The gas is housed in the magazine. Tanakas Type 99 is a powerful and playable airsoft bolt action gas rifle, not a wall hanger like many other WW2 airsoft guns. Performance even with standard gas is superb, it will shoot about ~460FPS using 134a! Hop up is the only thing that could be a tiny tad better IMHO, it is good but not up there with the best of the best. Only real downside is the hefty retail price of 82000 Yen (currently about 700€ / 950$). Extras available from Tanaka are magazines (6000 Yen each), Dust Cover (4500 Yen) and leather sling (5500 Yen). Excellent reproduction slings can be found for less though.

Tanaka made an early to midwar manufactured variant of the Type 99, with all the cool extras like the monopod and the anti aircraft sight. Those features were deleted from later production runs in order to save materials and speed up production.

Bolt Handle: Standard oval shaped straight bolt handle, late production rifles used a cylindrical shaped bolt handle. On sniper variants of the Type 99 the bolt handle was curved down.

Dust Cover: Here you can see the bolt cover. Because the covers tended to cause problems and made a lot of noise when used many soldiers seem to have discarded them. On later Type 99 production runs the cover was no longer included with the rifle IIRC

Markings: Next pic shows the chrysanthemum, symbol of the Japanese Emperor. At wars end the chrysanthemums were ground of the rifles to preserve the honour of the emperor.As to who exactly ordered this and who did so remains to be solved. Below that the Japanese characters for Type 99 (九九式, 99 Type).

Markings for a Series 21 Type 99 manufactured at the Kokura Arsenal:

Sights: And now the infamous anti-aircraft sight. The two wings that fold down on either side of the elevated slide were supposed to help the shooter applying the correct lead for firing at low flying aircraft. I guess in theory it worked very well, in reality it was not very useful. This feature was deleted from later production rifles.

Fold down Monopod.  Another trademark of early manufactured Type 99s:

Safety first: After cocking the gun, push the end of the bolt and turn right = safe. Push again and turn left = fire.

The wood is of high quality and workmanship is excellent:

Apparently Tanaka paid a lot of attention to details. A feature of the real Type 99  that Tanaka perfectly recreated is the two piece buttstock. On real rifles many people confuse this with damaged, split stocks. Actually the stocks were constructed not from a single piece but  from two separate pieces of wood. This was done in order to be able to use smaller stock blanks and by this save valuable resources.

Some pics of the inside:

Check out the difference between the full power export version and the restricted version for the Japanese market. Here is the export bolt:

And this is the restricted version, much smaller opening = way less power…

Hop up:

Front sight and Bayonet mount:

A real Type 30 Bayonet perfectly fits the Tanaka Type 99. Looks very intimidating but not recommended when playing airsoft 😉 But then again, what can you do when you are out of BBs and surrounded by the allies? Banzaiiiiiiii!!!!!! 😀

The magazine, it holds the gas and 10 BBs:

~ by m1pencil on December 7, 2010.

10 Responses to “Tanaka Arisaka Type 99 Rifle”

  1. Very Very Very BEATIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!
    great pictures and description!

  2. I have an Arisaka 99 type with antiaircraft site. i cannot make out the series mark???? serial number 82301, by kokura arsenal. I AM ALSO INTERESTED IN BUYING THE Bayonet and mono pod. Any info would help. i have pictures. HELP!!!

  3. No, it’s an airsoft replica from Japan. It shoots 6mm BBs 😉 Looks and feels like a real one though.

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