Question about 6.5mm Arisaka

Hi everyone,

I recently found these Type 38 Arisaka cartridges on a WW1 Eastern Front battlefield. The positions are early 1918.

Are these cartridges Russian or Japanese manufacture? I’m certain that they’re not of British manufacture as they lack headstamps and the primers are dome shaped & made of brass. I cant seem to find any stab crimps.

Thank you.

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The stripper clip they were in…

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They appear to be Japanese. Jack

I believe the Russians used the original round-nosed bullet loading. That was certainly what the British supplied to them in large quantities.

It would have been problematic to use the higher-velocity pointed bullet loadings because the bullet trajectory was quite different, so the sights would have been inaccurate.

Tony, it would also matter which exact rifles Russia had bought from Japan and when.

The British acquired 150,000 Arisaka rifles and carbines, mostly the Type 38 (pointed bullet). But they later made vast quantities of Type 30 (round-nosed bullet) for Russia resulting in the British referring to the Type 38 ammo as the “Mark I” and the older Type 30 as the “Mark II”. Russia apparently acquired a large number of surplus Japanese Type 30 rifles and carbines in 1915, and wanted the older pattern ammo (which in Japanese use had been replaced by the Type 38 loading from 1905 IIRC).

A total of over 550,000,000 rounds were made by the UK in 1916-17 to meet Russian demands.

In the 1960s I bought a mixed bag of 6.5 m/m Arisaka ammunition from Interarms here in the U.S. and it gave every indication of being ex-Imperial Russian stock that had arrived at Interarms via Finland. There was a bit of the original round-nosed type (cn and cn clad steel jacket) along with Japanese pointed and that version assembled in Britain from Japanese components employing stab crimps to retain the bullets.

Don’t recall any of the Kynoch version. I’m sure no one, Red or White, in Russia was much concerned in 1917-18 with variations in trajectory between the two types. Jack

Thank you everyone for your answers so I guess it’s safe to assume that these cartridges were bought by the Russians directly from Japan since they have no stab crimps? The positions I’m detecting in are Imperial Russian (not Bolshevik or White) 1917 - early 1918.

Latvian: I can offer no proof, but I think your idea ammunition may have been obtained by Russia directly from Japan is plausible. Jack

I’m not so sure - the Japanese had long finished manufacturing round-nosed ammo by then, which is why the British made it to order - the Russians found it increasingly difficult to get any from Japan.

What I don’t know offhand is whether or not Russia made any of the 6.5 mm ammo.

Tony, as per some publications Russia made the 6.5mm in 1915-1916. But by now noone was able to positively ID Russian made cartridges - if they existed.

It’s not much help, given that stripper clips can be re-used, but the one in the picture definitely has a Japanese look to it. All the British made ones that I’ve seen have a more curved edge between the base and the sides, the early Japanese ones had a much sharper edge.

Peter