Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Ed

Japanese Revolver

Recommended Posts

Hi Justin!

 

I haven't had the time to investigate further. My conclusion so far is that both revolvers are manufactured i Japan. The Colt 1849 pocket is a pure copy, with it's serial number one. The Colt 1851 Navy is made in Japan under the Colt Brevette licens, hence the low serial number. I am not supriced that arabic numerals are used. It was a period in Japanese history when foreign influences was huge, not the least in forming a new army, equipped with Western weapons.

 

I recently got an Enfield M/1858 Navy, with Japanese kanji on the stock and Beautiful inlays on the barrel, dragon and Clouds, used during the Boshin war and/or the Satsuma rebellion. It is equipped with the formidable cutlass bayonet. It's like having a long rifle and mounting a long katana in the front, a terrifying weapon indeed.

 

Anthony

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Justin!

 

I recently got an Enfield M/1858 Navy, with Japanese kanji on the stock and Beautiful inlays on the barrel, dragon and Clouds, used during the Boshin war and/or the Satsuma rebellion. It is equipped with the formidable cutlass bayonet. It's like having a long rifle and mounting a long katana in the front, a terrifying weapon indeed.

 

Anthony,

 

Its plain you are a busy man and I know this is a Nihonto Forum - BUT - I'd love to see some good photos of the Enfield M/1858 Navy with cutlass bayonet...

 

Best regards,

Barry Thomas

aka BaZZa.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi!

 

Somewhat off topic but on request.

 

The Enfield M/1856 two band Navy. Modern att the time with 5 rifles and grooves. This model could be fitted with the Yagathan or the cutlass bayonet. This one is made for the cutlass. one photo shows also the yagathan.

After the American civil war, 30000 was exported to the Tokugawa side. They were divided in three batches marked with A, B or C att the back underside of the stock. This one lacks that markings and was probably used on the opposite side.

The Cutlass was a side arm in it's own right with 27 inch blade, 1,5 inch wide. 

 

A nice addition to the Bakumatsu part of my Japanese gun collection.

 

Anthony

post-1403-0-56180700-1579197026_thumb.jpg

post-1403-0-85045300-1579197043_thumb.jpg

post-1403-0-88657400-1579197055_thumb.jpg

post-1403-0-69295400-1579197121_thumb.jpg

post-1403-0-08703700-1579197135_thumb.jpg

post-1403-0-86931100-1579197149_thumb.jpg

post-1403-0-21068500-1579197164_thumb.jpg

post-1403-0-17371100-1579197189_thumb.jpg

post-1403-0-74993100-1579197699_thumb.jpg

post-1403-0-70755900-1579197736_thumb.jpg

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very neat guns, guys! I've always wanted to buy one of the foreign made Colts such as this. Definitely love your tastes in these firearms.

 

As a side note from early in this thread, I have always wondered about the Japanese Firearms law? At first I only thought that hunting rifles and shotguns were the only ones allowed, with antique black powder and pinfire a given. But I see there is a store in Tokyo called Regimentals that deals with many firearms. Most are deactivated modern ones, but seems the "Juyo priced" ones are old "live" firearms from 100+ years ago.

 

With the pre-T14 Nambus reaching and having reached that age, I wonder if any came out of hiding. But is the law only for 100+ years prior to it being enacted? And if there has been any change to importation? Seems if someone brought a few Colt 1851s, they'd make a killing...unless registration fees are astronomical or restrictions on resell.

 

There was an RIA auction with an IJN marked S&W New Model 3 awhile back that was stated to have been part of a business transaction in the 70s from Japan. Of course, buy the item not the story, but it doesn't seem too far-fetched with the news articles of the Hino pistols and the Yakuza-owned T94 in the past two decades.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow...good find. I had no idea Regimentals existed. That will be a must see when I go back to Japan.
No new antique firearms can be imported into Japan, so what is there is all that there can be, and obviously only muzzle loaders.

Some excellent info on their page: http://www.regimentals.jp/index_eng.html

 

 

Mr. Masa Miyazaki is the president and founder of Chicago Regimentals Co. Ltd.
He started handling militaria when he was a high School student. His first overseas show was Stuttgart, Germany in 1978. After that he traveled all around Europe for two years.
He moved to the States in 1980 and attended hundreds of US gun shows in all 50 states up until 1993. After successfully dealing in militaria in the States, he moved back home to Japan and opened two retail shops in Tokyo and Osaka. He built up an administrative office in Japan's most famous country resort Karuizawa, Nagano in 1999. After he moved back to Japan, he continued to travel all over the world looking for new and interesting items. Regularly he and his staff travel to Europe more than thirty times in a year!! We are proudly recognized as one of the most active militaria dealers in the world.

We specialize in deactivated weapons from matchlocks to the latest Heckler & Koch High-tech weapons. We carry the largest selection in this field. We have over 300 types of weapons (deactivated) and 3,000 deactivated weapons in our inventory at any one time, all of which are displayed in our Tokyo and Osaka showrooms and catalogued in either hardcopy or on our web site.

Unfortunately, we do not export any of our merchandise. However we are looking to purchase items which we do not have in stock. If you visit our on-line shop, you will know what we have and haven't got in our inventory. Just click "search" to use the Keyword Search. You can enter a weapons name in English and search for it. All our merchandise is described in Japanese, but come with picture(s). We hope you will have some idea about us or at least what we have in stock. If you have something for sale or know somebody who has something which may be of interest to us, please let us know. We have a representative in the UK who has section 5 license which could allow them to purchase all kinds live firearms. They deactivate live firearms to Japanese specifications and export them to Japan. We strictly do not purchase any unregistered or questionable items.

In recent years, we have been expanding our business field into Registered Antique Firearms. According to Japanese Gun Control Law, some antique firearms are permitted if they are properly registered with the Cultural Affairs Agency and with the local Board of Education Office. There are many strict historical and mechanical checkpoints for registering as an antique firearm. We are the only specializing shop which is adapting to these strict rules for dealing antique firearms in Japan. Unfortunately, since 1975, The Japanese authorities have not been allowing to import any antique firearms from outside of Japan. For that reason, we are dealing the antique firearms which were already registered in Japan.

We are also well known as a supplier of historical weaponry to movies, TV programs, and theatrical performances in Japan. Our extensive stocks can be hired out for display and prop purposes.

We thank you very much for your interest in Chicago Regimentals, feel free to contact us with any questions or to share information about our mutual interest.

Chicago Regimentals Team

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow...good find. I had no idea Regimentals existed. That will be a must see when I go back to Japan.

No new antique firearms can be imported into Japan, so what is there is all that there can be, and obviously only muzzle loaders.

Some excellent info on their page: http://www.regimentals.jp/index_eng.html

 

Brian,

 

Thank you for the info regarding importation laws! I figure it may have been more lenient in the past before it really got up to speed, possibly why that one S&W came through, and during the time pre-9/11 and heightened security. I am guessing their declining of exportation is more due to hassle than anything else. Even though it seems the black market has decreased a bit for firearms and ammo here, Chinese Tokarevs seem to be a choice pick for "no-gooders."

 

I am thinking of visiting in the near future on my next trip to Tokyo. If they allow, I'll snap some photos for you as a current sampling of their showrooms!

 

It would be a shame to export something that has been in this country for generations and cannot be brought back in, if that is the case. I'm sure the same would apply for Koa Isshin if they left the country.

 

Fun fact, due to the SOFA agreement with the US and Japan, an American residing on onbase housing can bring their long arms in country via military mail, as they are not checked by customs. Of course, you cannot have ammunition shipped over, so it is more or less a courtesy and surely to avoid having to store them. Not sure exactly regarding offbase usage, but believe due to the agreement, can be registered with the JPN police and ammunition usage via the same laws that Japanese citizens abide by. Makes one wonder some swords come through the same way before registration, although I will not attempt it (as tempting as it is) as I live off base.

 

Unfortunately, as much as I love this country, I do not believe I could live here forever as I am a competition shooter (mainly pistol now) and it would be my kryptonite!

 

There are some really nice guns on this thread! I do hope others will share their pre-1900 Japanese made and foreign contract pieces! There can't be that many sources regarding the history of that manufacture, especially outside of Japan. Would be nice to compile all known data together!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi!

 

I have seen a few S&W model 3 "Russian", calibre 0.44, with Japanese kanji, that found their way to Japan during the Meji period. S&W was early with gas tight cartriges. Unfortunately cartrige loaded guns needs a licence here in Sweden, so they are out of my reach. Cap and ball is no problem.

 

Anthony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Generally, all references to « Russian » were erased when model n°3 were sold to Japan. Cartridges used were, nevertheless, the .44 russian.

https://www.barnebys.fr/ventes/objet/antique-Japanese-contract-s-and-w-new-model-no-3-revolver-OC-ew--hkJ

« In 1867, the Tokugawa Shogunate that had ruled Japan since 1603 came to an end and the period that came to be known as the Meiji Restoration (circa 1868-1912) began. This period of “Enlightened Rule” dramatically shifted the governmental power of Japan from the Shogun (the supreme military dictator) and the feudal lords under his direct control, who had controlled the country for more than two-and-half centuries, by returning the ruling power to the Emperor.

Under the rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate a strict policy of isolationism had been enforced, with only limited contract between Japan and the outside world. This contact was primarily in the form of trade through the port of Nagasaki, which was the only Japanese port open to foreign vessels. Shogunate policy not only restricted trade to this single port, but it prohibited western visitors from entering the interior of the various Japanese islands.

With the arrival of Admiral Mathew Perry in Edo Bay (now Tokyo Bay) in 1853, the Shogunate was forced to communicate with the western world on terms it was most certainly uncomfortable with. The appearance of Perry’s small flotilla of powerful warships full of marines and sailors armed with modern breechloading and repeating weapons made it woefully obvious to even the most backward thinking member of the Bakufu (the Shogunate’s ruling council) that a Japan with a clan based military system of samurai armed with swords was woefully incapable of resisting any serious western military incursion into the Japanese islands. Over the next decade, due to internal pressures brought to bear by more contact with the outside world, the power of the Tokugawa Shogunate waned and eventually the Shogun abdicated his power to the Emperor. The Emperor, with the help of his council and advisors, initiated a policy of modernization that would transform the Japanese military from nearly medieval status in terms of technology and organization to a world military power in about 50 years.

 

One of the first tasks was to reorganize the military from clan dominated professional soldiers to a unified national force, organized along Prussian military lines, and to introduce general conscription so that the former samurai class of “professional soldiers’ served with other classes of citizens from Japanese society. The second major task was to arm and equip this new national army that pledged its allegiance to the Emperor and not some local Daimyo (a local feudal lord who had been a vassal of the Shogun) in a modern way. This meant that for the first time in centuries firearms were now to play a part in Japanese warfare. It had not been since the rise of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the early 1600s that firearms had played a major role in the Japanese military conflicts, and for the next 250 years the possession and use of firearms was strongly controlled by the Shogunate.

The modernization of the military initially required the importation of firearms from western powers, as no significant firearms manufacturing industry was established in Japan. Early long arm purchases included thousands of muzzle loading English P-1853 Enfield rifle muskets as well as P-1856 Enfield rifles, primarily acquired as American Civil War surplus from dealers like Schuyler, Hartley & Graham of New York. These arms were quickly replaced by more modern rifles like the Spencer from American as well English Snider breechloading rifles and European arms like Dreyse needle rifles, French M-1866 Chassepot rifles and eventually French M-1874 Gras rifles. The Gras, in fact, became the basis for the first modern and indigenous Japanese military rifle, the Type 13 Murata rifle, which went into production in 1880 at the Tokyo Arsenal, which has been established in 1871. However, the Japanese military still relied upon foreign handguns to arms those soldiers to which they were issued.

 

From the early days of western influence in Japan, after the Perry expedition, the revolvers produced by Smith & Wesson had found a strong market in that country. The earliest Smith & Wesson revolvers, the Model 1 .22RF and Model 2 (Old Model Army) in .32RF were both imported into Japan in some quantity. At least 1,550 of the No. 2 Old Army revolvers can be documented from Smith & Wesson ledgers as having been shipped to Japanese importers during their period of production, with the earliest recorded deliveries being to C. & J. Favre-Brandt of Yokohama in 1868.

These guns are sometimes encountered with Japanese markings, including Meiji era gun registration marks or Imperial Chrysanthemums, indicating Japanese government (military) ownership. Smith & Wesson certainly viewed Japan as a potential customer for their product line, and certainly were involved in actively pursuing Japanese military contracts. However, it may well have been the fact that Russia adopted their own version of the Smith & Wesson Model 3 revolver (known as the Model 3 Russian or “Old Model Russian”) that pushed the Japanese military to adopt the Model 3 as well. Russia represented the closest potential major enemy for Japan, as well as the largest adversary in region to resist the Japanese push to expand their sphere of influence in their constant search for the natural resources that their home islands lacked.

The Japanese military adopted the top-break .44 caliber “Russian” Model 3 Smith & Wesson revolvers as the “No. 1 Model Break Open Handgun” and would proceed to acquire several thousand of them over the next three decades. Due to the fact that these purchases took place over time, the guns technically belonged to four different model classes: Model 3 Russian 2nd Model, Model 3 Russian 3rd Model, New Model No. 3 Single Action and New Model No. 3 Frontier. It does not appear, however, that the minor differences between the variations was ever a basis for classification in Japanese service, as all were essentially the same model and were all chambered for the same .44 S&W Russian cartridge, with only minor improvements in the extraction system, minor differences in barrel lengths and other very minor changes mechanically and visually.

The first of the Smith & Wesson Model 3 revolvers to be acquired by the Japanese government were some 5,000 Smith & Wesson Model 3 Russian 2nd Model revolvers that were purchased from the London based firm of H. Ahrens, who had offices and warehouse in Yokohama for the purposes of engaging in the Asian trade. These guns were purchased circa 1878 and shipped during the following months in 1878-1879. Examples of these revolvers are known with both Japanese Naval and Army markings.

The next group of Japanese military purchased Smith & Wessons were some 1,000 Model 3 Russian 3rd Model revolvers that were again provided by H. Ahrens of Yokohama, and were shipped during 1878. The next model to be acquired by the Japanese military was a somewhat considerable quantity of the Smith & Wesson New Model No 3 Single Action revolvers. The first two shipments of Japanese military New Model No. 3 revolvers were also supplied by H. Ahrens. The first order was for 232 guns with a second order placed for 600 guns. Both orders were delivered for use by the Imperial Japanese Navy during 1879. This ended the relationship between H. Aherns and the Japanese military and all subsequent shipments of Smith & Wesson revolvers would be delivered by Takata & Company of Yokohama.

Some 9,000 additional New Model No. 3 revolvers were delivered to the Japanese military by Takata in 12 shipments, delivered between 1884 and 1908, with the guns being sent to the army, navy, artillery and even seeing use with some other Imperial Japanese services including police and some diplomatic personnel. In all, the Japanese purchased about one third of the total production of the New Model No. 3 Single Action revolvers. The final variant of the .44 Smith & Wesson Model 3 revolver to be purchased by the Japanese military was the New Model No. 3 Frontier. These guns had originally been produced in .44-40 (.44 Winchester Center Fire) but due to disappointing sales and their availability in the Smith & Wesson warehouse, some 786 of the revolvers had their cylinders changed to .44 Russian and were included in shipments to Takata during 1895 and 1896 to help complete outstanding orders for Japanese military New Model No. 3 revolvers.

 

According to the best possible research and estimates more than 17,232 Smith & Wesson Model 3 Russian revolvers in 4 variants were delivered for Japanese military use between 1878 and 1908. Even though the Japanese designed and manufactured Type 26 revolver was officially adopted in Meiji year 26 (1893), and technically replaced the Smith & Wesson revolvers in service, at least eight additional deliveries were made by Takata as long as fifteen years after the Type 26 was adopted. More than 6,100 Model 3 Smith & Wessons were delivered after the adoption of the Type 26. It was not until the Japanese adoption of the first Nambu pattern semi-automatic pistols in 1909 that the purchase of Smith & Wesson revolvers for military service came to an end. In many cases the Smith & Wessons remained in front line service rolls through the end of the World War I era, at which time they were relegated to secondary rolls, where they remained in service through the end of World War II. As a result, some of the Model 3 revolvers saw service for more than half a century, and some had a service life as long as 60 years!

This explains why most examples encountered today show significant service wear, little original finish and often show mixed assembly (serial) numbers, the result of some revolvers being cannibalized for parts to keep other revolvers functioning. These guns are very scarce and desirable for Japanese military collectors today, as Japanese military marked Model 3 Smith & Wessons rarely appear on the market.

For a serious collector of Japanese military handguns, a Model 3 is the first one you need in your collection, as it was the first major acquisition of a standardized handgun for general issue to Japanese forces. The fact that many of the guns remained in service through the end of World War II is a testament to the quality of the Smith & Wesson design and workmanship. A complete collection of Japanese martial handguns that covered the period from the Russo-Japanese War through World War II should include both a Model 3 Smith & Wesson and a Japanese Type 26 revolver, in addition to the various Nambu semi-automatic pistol variants and end with a Type 94.« 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Japanese arms market was pretty interesting in Bakumatsu and early Meiji times. Clearly lots of folks were arming up at that point. I have enjoyed this thread.Please let me add to it.

Colt style cap and ball pistols were not all that was in play at that time. This pin fire weapon wears an Okayama-ken registration.

Peter

post-338-0-07168200-1580077645_thumb.jpg

post-338-0-02864000-1580077657_thumb.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And to follow on the array of Bakumatsu arms that Anthony has shown, let me append a snapshot of this carbine that has a Japanese style barrel with a nice silver bonji.

Peter

 

post-338-0-67228500-1580078663_thumb.jpg

post-338-0-04699500-1580078684_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And if you REALLY want to get serious about Bakumatsu weaponry, you should take a look at this archaeological investigation of the battlegrounds at Gyokuto. These weapons got used!

Peter

post-338-0-44145600-1580079575_thumb.jpg

post-338-0-13635800-1580079609_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Battlefield of Handakayama, it says, with lots of Snider (Snider-Enfield?) bullets. Goodbye smoothbores! This reminds me of the ending episodes of Segodon, (Saigo Dono) the superb NHK Taiga Drama of 2018.

 

You can see pock marks in the stone walls in Kagoshima City today. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi!

 

Yesterday I won two interesting revolvers at an American auction.

 

First one is a Colt Navy 1851, calible'36. Obviously made in the US but on the right side near the barrel there is Japanese Kanji; Kanagawa-ken...(Kanagawa prefeture...., and also Hyaku yonjushichi go (no. 147). Probably numbered in a weapon roundup in kanagawa. It’s the second Bakumatsu Colt navy 1851 I got, the difference is that my other one is a Colt Brevete, made in Japan.

 

The second one is a Japanese made percussion revolver, calibre '38, with a belt hook. I have no clue if it is a generic percussion revolver of if they have copied an existing model maybe some of you more knowledgable members would know? The inscription on the grip says; Meiji kyunen, sen'hyakunijusan-go (Meiji nine, 1876, no 1123) Probably also a roundup.

 

Regards,

 

Anthony

88156052_1_x.jpg

88156052_6_x.jpg

88156053_1_x.jpg

88156053_5_x.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems to be a mix of designs. I see some US Starr in there, Belgian pinfire design, Colt style grips and the loading lever is Adams/Tranter style.
Very innovative.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...