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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went to a military show this weekend and found a new rifle that was in my budget and I could enjoy. It`s a series 23 Kokura type 99 that had its monopod and aa sights still with it. The mum was ground but it was a very smooth and well done grinding unlike my other mid war type 99 where it was obvious where the soldier had stamped out the mum. It was a mismatch bolt but it was the correct vintage bolt for that series and I managed to work out a deal with the consigner. What surprised me was the four digit serial number on the receiver since I had never seen one that old before. He was asking $500 for it but after I explained all of the faults with it we settled on $350 (I could've probably brought it down a little more but I didn't know how much wiggle room he had on the price). Any thoughts on whether or not I did ok? I can post some more pics if needed.
 

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Generally a mis-matched bolt, ground MUM Arisaka has the lowest collector interest/value. (except of course for sporterized ones) IMO the Monopod looks like a repro. Sling is certainly a repro. Before I got out of active collecting Arisaka's a few years ago, an example like this (minus the repro Monopod & sling) would be valued around $125. I believe values have fluctuated up since then. Probably around $200. Or you can look at it in terms of parts value. Interestingly, parted out rifles of this type can often bring more than a complete one. With complete stock set with hardware, bolt, AA sights/trigger magazine etc and repro monopod & sling might bring in the $300. range parted out. Generally the barrel/receiver has little if any value. IMO you paid a little high, but not too bad. My guess is that the seller priced it at his estimate of parts value.
But you have a decent representitive piece that is likely a good shooter. T-99's had very loose tolerances, so headspace w/a mis-matched bolt is seldom an issue. Should have Chromed bore.
As far as MUM defacing/grinding. Defaced Mum's are generally more desirable than ground. The Mum was the symbol of the Japanese Emperor, whom they considered a God and the owner of the rifle. No Japanese soldier would willingly allow a non defaced MUMed rifle to be captured. So when the chips were down and death was imminent, they would deface the Mums on the battlefield as best they could with whatever tools on hand. Often w/bayonet.
Mum grinding occurred post war as part of the surrender agreement. General Mac agreed to have all surrendered weapons de-mumed as a "face saving" gesture to the Japanese. Generally it was done by American soldiers on occupation duty in Japan. Then the rifles were placed in piles for soldiers returning home to pick souvenirs from. In about 1948/49, all remaining Arisaka's were loaded on barges and dumped into Tokyo Harbor. They are by far more Arisaka's in the U.S. than anyplace in the world.
Bolts usually became mis-matched aboard returning troop transport ships. Soldiers were not allowed functioning weapons aboard ship. So the practice was to remove and store the bolts as the soldier boarded. Generally just thrown in a box with other bolts. Then upon arrival in U.S. port, Bolts were handed out w/little effort to rematch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Well I'm kind of sad I overpaid a little but at least I didn't have to put any other money into the monopod and the sling since they came with the gun. I do have another type 99 that has had its mum "violently" ground off. Compared to this example, which looks like a very clean and precise grinding, the other one looks like it was done in a hurry since I can see each individual striking of whatever was used to remove the mum. The bore on this one doesn't look chromed to me since it is black in color and my later series example has a definite chrome lined barrel because I can see a small part of it on the barrel's edge. Luckily though I have a line on a complete plum handle bolt with the numbers I need and I think I can do an even trade with the bolt I have. That should bring the value back up at least a little bit on this rifle. Also arisakas down south are a little higher price than normal since we never really see these rifles every day. I was lucky when I bought my last arisaka and bayonet together for $250.Of course that was a year ago.
 

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Don't take my estimate value too literally. It's been a decade since I was actively engaged in collecting Arisaka's. Probably the best way I know of to guage the current value of your rifle is to check the gun auction websites. And see what examples in similar condition as yours (Ground MUM/mis-matched bolt) are SELLING for. Consider ONLY guns that actually have bids.
As I said, to Arisaka collectors, ground Mum/mis-matched rifles are primarily valued as parts guns. To the Arisaka collector, a matching number gun is primary. With condition of MUM being secondary. So the pecking order goes as follows. #1. Mumed & Matching. #2. Matching w/ground/defaced Mum. #3. Mismatched
It makes 0 difference in value if the Mum is present or ground if the numbers are mismatched.
So it is a strange but common thing for a complete/original condition, but mismatched rifle to have LESS value as a complete gun, than it would be worth if parted out.
You can take a $100, Sporterized mismatched T-99 that has 0 collector interest, but has AA sights. Tear it down, sell the bolt, mag assembly, trigger group, AA sight and any stock hardware separately. And come close to doubling your investment. And then use the barrel/receiver as a tomato stake.
With a Matching Number (intact Mum or not), sporterized T-99. You could restore it (if you know what you're doing) And increase the value of the complete gun. But you would have to be very careful to use absolutely original condition, correct arsenal/variation parts. Collectors will spot a improperly done restoration in a heartbeat.
As I said, the seller of your rifle likely priced at parts value. Which is different than collector value. And would put price you paid in a reasonable ballpark area.
If you found the correct numbered bolt, that's an AMAZINGLY lucky thing. I've seen collectors looking for matching bolts. It is a VERY RARE occurrence to actually find it. And it should certainly increase the value of the rifle. (Bolts were not Arsenal marked, so as long as correct configuration, no way to tell which Arsenal it came from)
On the Mum grinding. Yeah, some were ground pretty rough. Some were done very nicely. It just depended on who was detailed to do it. There were no points for quality. All they cared about was getting it off. And the attitude of the person doing the grinding towards doing a nice job didn't matter.
I wouldn't worry much about the value. Values on all milsurps have been on a gradual increase ever since the advent of the internet. The vastly increased availability of info and parts sources has contributed greatly to interest. And therefore value. I remember when $100. would buy a wheel borrow full of Arisaka's at a gunshow. Hang onto it 10 years and it'll likely double in value.
 

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BTW: There are alot of Arisaka collectors in the south. One guy in Alabama has a huge collection, runs a collectors association (consisting primarily of southerners) and publishes a collectors newsletter. And they hold Arisaka shoots.
Go to Gunboards.com . It is a milsurp collectors website. Then go to the "Guns of the Rising Sun" forum. It's the best Arisaka web page on the internet. Look for "Arisakadogs". He's the guy I mentioned.
Be warned. They are a cliquish bunch there. Not real friendly at first. They consider themselves an elite group. Gaining acceptance there is akin to getting a Green Jacket at Augusta. But they are passionate and EXTREMELY knowledgeable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's a lot of great info. I'm excited that I did find that bolt and I got it from a great source. He is a family friend of mine who has been collecting japanese and chinese rifles for almost 30 years. He saw my delima and while looking through all of the arisaka parts he had acquired over the years he found that bolt from another parts rifle he bought some years ago. Just from what I've personally seen over the past year arisakas tend to get picked up everywhere else and on occasion make their way into mississippi but they are an uncommon sight at the gun shows. Usually they show up and are way overpriced and in terrible condition but I just felt ok with paying up for this arisaka because of the condition for its age and the fact that I didn't have to invest money into a monopod or cleaning rod, which makes me wonder if I should ask him if he has any original monopods and slings he would be willing to part with......
 
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