By Dan Shea
“Yup, shot one of those, got one of those, bagged TWO of those with a fifty cal machine gun once, Hey! I never nailed one of these here critters… where can I find these fellas at- say, are these two for sale?” – Raffica in the endangered species section of the zoo.
Of course I hadn’t shot these animals, I am just another politically incorrect gun owner of today. Like many others, we are feeling burned out by all the ridiculous rules and regulations. The new Nazi’s are all over the place, and they have a different cause every day. One day it’s the “Endangered species” (Many times for a good reason, usually not) and the next it’s “Child-proofing” firearms. “How can you not be FOR the children?” They never seem to get to the root of the problems they are worried about, just glance at the surface and make some compromise that “Feels good”. Rush said it the best- “Symbolism over Substance”. I must confess to having reached a point of no return. I have to “Tweak” them. Bumper sticker recently seen at a show: “If they take away our guns, how can we shoot the liberals?”
I know that it’s not conducive to good Public Relations, but some of our opponents are not only lacking in common sense, they have no visible sense of humor. Our media leaders used to parody the “Holier than thou” set. One could count on Groucho Marx and others to invent the country of Freedonia. Where the hell are Moe, Larry, and Curly when you need them? I’d like to see Saturday Night Live skewer Sarah Brady and Josh Sugarman, slapping their sanctimonious attitudes around like a bad dog. Fat Chance.
I guess we are just going to have to keep fighting them every day, but I, for one, am going to keep a sense of humor about it.
Raffica has received numerous requests over the years touching on some obscure ammunition. Recent conversations have touched on two items that seem of importance today. I would like to get to these two questions first.
Q1- I have been looking at a Japanese Type 100 submachine gun that was a wartime trophy of a friend’s father. He registered it as a dewat during the 1968 Amnesty, and had filled the chamber with what appears to be bronze. I would like to buy this gun, but I wonder about making it operational. What about ammunition? Any advice?
A1- Advice? If the price is reasonable, then by all means purchase this gun. It’s a wonderful piece of history. It’s proper name is the 100 Shiki Kikantanju, generally referred to as a “Type 100” or a “Jap 100”. There were three basic variants- the 1940 model that was either a full stock or folding stock, and the ones made after 1944. The primary differences will be in the care of manufacturing that you observe. The later guns have fixed sights, and the welding is crude. The 1944 manufactured models also have a replaceable firing pin. It should transfer on a Form 5, no tax, even though the barrel plug might be questionable. “Dewatting” was supposed to be done with steel weld- although at the time, brazing was frequently done. I would say that the chamber was brazed shut, and a qualified gunsmith should be able to clear this out. The $200 tax on a Form 1 would then be required, and if the firearm does not meet the criteria of a “Dewat”, then transfer it on a Form 4 tax paid, and you won’t have to do the Form 1 to re-activate it.
The problems are going to be in the chamber reaming, as well as obtaining ammunition. The caliber on this firearm is 8mm Nambu Auto Pistol, which is very rare, and has never been manufactured outside of Japan that I am aware of- other than by Dangerous Dave at the Old Western Scrounger who lists them at $49.95 per box of 50 (The Old Western Scrounger- 530-459-5445). The 8mm Nambu round was designed for the Type 14 Japanese Automatic Pistol, usually referred to as a “Nambu”. It was also used in the Type 2 and Type 94 pistols, as well as an unusual single shot bolt action rifle the Japanese had at the end of WWII. Externally, the cartridge resembles the .30 Luger in that it is a necked case, and both cases are about .850” inches in length- this is an approximate. I am not suggesting making your own cases out of .30 Luger. If you want to try making cases yourself, choose something less expensive that has a similar case rim diameter.
I am unaware if anyone has ever made a chamber reamer for this caliber, but you might try Kent Lomont or Bob Landies. Both of them have experience with the Type 100 submachine guns, and might have had reamers made at some point. It would be a shame to change the caliber on this firearm, just to make it a shooter, but you could probably re-barrel it to something more common if you needed to.
On a side note, the “Baby Nambu” pistols that were supposed to be issued to Japanese officers had their own unique ammunition; 7mm Nambu Auto Pistol. This ammunition had no other firearm it was made for, and was only manufactured in Japan. If you are fortunate enough to have a Baby Nambu, shooting will be a rare pleasure. The Baby version is a scaled down version of the Nambu Type 14, and was made in small quantities- estimates are around 3000 were made. The Nambu pistols had an interesting “Floating Locking Block” design that SAR plans to go into in future issues.
Q2- I recently transferred in a French MAS-38 submachine gun. Where do I get the ammo?
A2- Anywhere you can. .32 French Long is another rare cartridge. This odd looking gun, with its barrel and bolt track at angles to each other, and the large saddle ring on the side, was only made in the one caliber. Technically called 7.65 Long Auto Pistol, it will usually be identified as .32 French Long in the United States. The French M. 1935 A automatic pistol uses the same round of ammunition.
I went to HP White’s revised book on ammunition dated 1968; Pistol and Revolver Cartridges; Volume I & Volume II because there has been some controversy as to the history of this ammunition- many think that the 7.65 Long Auto Pistol cartridge is an exact copy of the .30 caliber Pedersen Device ammunition. Can’t think of a better authority on the subject, so the following is a quote of their data charts.
“All other measurements, such as bullet diameter and the various case dimensions, are identical. The similarity is so consistent that one naturally arrives at the conclusion that this French round is a direct copy of the earlier American ammunition. It is interesting to note that firing tests conducted with the short type Pedersen cartridge in the French Model 1935 A Automatic Pistol gave an average velocity reading of 1114 feet per second, which is only 61 feet per second slower than the results obtained with the regular French ammunition. Pedersen cases bear the initials “R.A.” and “F.A.” for Remington Arms Company and Frankford Arsenal, respectively. They can be distinguished from the French ammunition which carries typical French base mark initials such as, “V.E.”, “E.C.P.”, “S.F.M.”, “A.T.S.” and others.”
The Pedersen ammunition is even harder to find than the original .32 French Long, but if you should run into a similar round with the US markings on the base, you know NOT to shoot it- it would be of great interest to the collectors.
The two most common things to do with an MAS-38 submachine gun, other than to just show it as a historical piece, are both caliber changes. The first is a basic one to .32 Auto, which requires magazine blocking as well as barrel changes and spring tension adjustment; the bolt face may need some widening as well. Second is either 9mm Kurtz or 9mm Parabellum, each with it’s own problems. The 9mm Kurtz (.380 ACP) is perhaps the easiest on the firearm because of the pressure. The magazine requires blocking, and a new barrel must be made. Both the .380 and the 9mm Parabellum have a larger cartridge rim diameter, which will require the bolt face opening being widened and some extractor adjustment. The 9mm Parabellum should function in the magazine quite well. On the 9mm Parabellum conversion, care should be taken to insure that the recoil spring has been strengthened to accommodate the additional recoil force of the Parabellum round.
The Old Western Scrounger offers a 93 gr. newly manufactured version of this .32 French Long ammunition, retail priced at $49.95 per box of 50. (SAR note: Dave has good products and a long standing reputation in the industry. If you need any weird obsolete ammunition, the Old Western Scrounger is a good place to start. You can get anything from 4mm to large bore- and I do mean LARGE, and the reloading equipment for your 20mm and .50 cal guns including the Boyes and Lahti!)
If you do talk to the guys at Old Western Scrounger, mention you read this in SAR, they should be on the bus with us.
The Old Western Scrounger
12924 Hwy A-12
Montague, CA 96064
Customer service: 530-459-5445
Questions to: Dan Shea, C/O SAR, 223 Sugar Hill Rd, Harmony, ME 04942 fax to: 207-683-2172 email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V1N7 (April 1998)