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Original Rare Pre-WWII Imperial Japanese Type 11 Trainer Display Light Machine Gun - Serial 1883

Regular price $3,995.00

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Compare at $5,495.00

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Japanese machine guns very rarely show up for sale, and if they do, rarely are they training models, so we are especially proud to offer this stunning Museum grade example of what we believe is a Type 11 Trainer Display Light Machine Gun. We have never seen one of these before, and there is very little to no information on them, however the design of the stock, grip, and trigger is unmistakably that of a Type 11, with the rest of the gun much scaled down in terms of engineering. Rumors abound that these were pressed into service with live ammo at the end of the war (which we really doubt; it appears to be a simply blow back action that would blow itself apart on the first live round). We have seen these before for the type 96, which differ in the shape of the grip and butt stock, and also have a faux gas piston under the barrel.

This Type 11 Trainer Display Machine Gun was built from a parts set using all original Pre-WWII issue parts on an original BATF compliant non-firing display receiver, making this a 100% legal display Sub-Machine gun. This receiver was created by using portions of the original torch cut receiver, including the barrel bushing, combined with some new made steel portions. It has properly had a 25% section of the total length completely replaced entirely with solid steel bar stock. Meaning a 1/4 length section of the display receiver is solid steel, making this totally legal to own without a license of any kind. Every part on this display gun is original WWII manufacture other than 25% of the receiver replaced by solid steel (as required by BATF). This example is offered in incredible condition, complete with a resin magazine to complete the look.

This excellent example is typical of other WWII Era Japanese trainer machine guns we have seen, and is of a simple design intended only for training. However even though it is a trainer, it still has a wooden carry handle on the front, adjustable bipod, and even the bayonet lug on the bottom. The cocking handle for this trainer looks to have been taken right from an Arisaka rifle. It also has markings on the end of the receiver, which we were able to transcribe:


The 1883 appears to be the serial number, which is marked on the end of the receiver, the rear of the trigger group, and in many other places. This looks to be a "Matching Number" example, which is highly desirable. The other markings actually appear to correspond to Japanese patent numbers, as "特許" are the kanji for "patent". Under this is another marking 杉木式, which we assume indicates the type of trainer it is, as "式" means "type". We were not able to get an accurate translation of this, and the characters are somewhat unclear in places, so we may have misread them. Also, unfortunately by a stroke of bad luck, the Japanese Patent website search is down for maintenance at the time of writing, and will be for the next 4 days.

Very fine with much of the original blued finish still present. The butt stock and carry handle are both in very good condition with their nice original color with light pressure dents and gouges from actual field use and age. We checked the barrel, and it IS live, however it also shows worn rifling with a lot of oxidation.

This is a very rare and desirable trainer machine gun, as not many were brought back by returning GIs as they were heavy and bulky weapons. A very nice example of a very rare Pre-WWII Japanese training light machine gun, the first we have ever had! This a fantastic historical research opportunity that you don't want to miss!

The Type 11 Light Machine Gun (十一年式軽機関銃, Jyūichinen-shiki Kei-kikanjū) was a light machine gun used by the Imperial Japanese Army in the interwar period and during World War II.

Combat experience in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 had convinced the Japanese of the utility of machine guns in providing covering fire for advancing infantry. This was reinforced by first-hand observations of European combat tactics by Japanese military attachés during the First World War, and the Army Technical Bureau was tasked with the development of a lightweight machine gun which could be easily transported by an infantry squad. The resultant “Type 11 light machine gun” (named after the 11th year of the reign of Emperor Taishō, or 1922) was the first light machine gun to be mass-produced in Japan and the oldest Japanese light machine gun design to see service in the Pacific War. It was superseded by the Type 96 light machine gun in 1936.

The Type 11 light machine gun was a design by famed arms designer Kijirō Nambu, based on a modification of the French Hotchkiss M1909 Benét–Mercié machine gun. It was an air-cooled, gas-operated design, using the same 6.5×50mm Arisaka cartridges as the Type 38 infantry rifle.

A feature of the Type 11 machine gun is its detachable hopper; it can be refilled while attached and does not require removal during operation. Instead of a belt or box magazine, the Type 11 was designed to hold up to six of the same cartridge clips used on the Type 38 rifle. The five-round clips were stacked lying flat above the receiver, secured by a spring arm, and the rounds were stripped from the lowest clip one at a time, with the empty clip thrown clear and the next clip automatically falling into place as the gun was fired. The system had the advantage that any squad member could supply ammunition and that the hopper could be replenished at any time. The relatively short barrel (17.5 inches) produced excessive flash with standard ammunition (initially intended for Type 38 rifles with barrel more than a foot longer). A new load was introduced which burned much more completely in the Type 11 short barrel and produced much less flash as a result. This new round was called the 6.5×50mm Arisaka genso round and the ammunition cartons were identified by a circled "G".

The inherent disadvantage of the hopper was that the open feeder box allowed dust and grit to enter the gun, which was liable to jam in muddy or dirty conditions due to issues with poor dimensional tolerances, which gave the weapon a bad reputation with Japanese troops. Another issue was that the weight of the rifle cartridges in the side-mounted hopper unbalanced the weapon when fully loaded. To compensate, the buttstock was designed in a way that it bent to the right, leading to the Chinese nickname for the weapon "bent buttstock" (Chinese: 歪把子). Reloading the weapon during an assault charge proved impossible due to the clip feeding system.

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