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Thread: Japanese Type 18 11mm bolt sction black powder cartridge rifle

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub varifleman's Avatar
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    Japanese Type 18 11mm bolt sction black powder cartridge rifle

    Here's my Japanese MURATA Type 18 bolt action rifle chambered in 11mm. This is the first bolt action rifle manufactured in Japan and was the precursor to the famous Arisaka rifle. It mostly matching numbers; bolt, receiver, barrel, rear sight and trigger guard all match. Stock still retains its cartouche. 32” barrel is very good with some surface wear; strong rifling remains. Rear ladder sight. Bore is good with some surface wear; strong rifling remains. Original cleaning rod intact. Matching numbers receiver shows same brown patina; Bolt action works smoothly and flawlessly. Bolt numbers match; Firing pin mechanism numbers do not. Trigger guard very good with matching numbers. The only numbers I see that do not match are on the middle barrel band. Full length stock remains quite attractive with shoulder stock cartouche. Small repaired crack left side along rear tang; barely noticeable. Original metal butt plate very good. Does anyone make brass for this rifle or have any reloading hints?
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  2. #2
    Boolit Bub varifleman's Avatar
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    A few more details:
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    Boolit Master
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    As i recall my friend had one many years ago. He used 348 Winchester brass to make shot able ammo.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Bouncher50 is correct, one can convert the 348 Winchester cases to 11x60mm Murata. But you may want to slug the bore to confirm the caliber as some rifles may have a oversize bore in them. One of the brass cartridge making businesses might be making longer 348 Win or equivalent cases that would work better though. The 348 Win case comes up a little short but it still works. One thought is the headspace issue the author of the article here had. Maybe the Murata cases had a more thick rim to them.
    ref http://home.earthlink.net/~mhclary/The+11+mm+Mureta.pdf
    Last edited by Earlwb; 06-19-2017 at 09:42 AM. Reason: typo correction

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    IIRC the Japanese converted many of these to use shot shells, don't know what gauge. These were given or sold to Japanese who went to live in a colony in Brazil. Last I heard that colony was still there.

    Great looking rifle you have there. The only examples I've run across locally had wood that looked like a century old fence post.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I have one converted to a shotgun, my father in law picked it up in the pacific in WW2 with the 577th CBMU Seabees (probably Eniwetok or Kwajelien). He said there was a pile of captured weapons and was told to pick out one to send home.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    rmark what gauge shot shell does your Murata take?

    I've seen a very rusty example hanging on a wall but didn't think to ask if I could examine it. The bore looked like it might have been a 20 gauge but it was so choked with rust I can't be sure.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I've seen these or a very similar model that had a hollow wooden bolt handle that contained a flat spring that drove the firing pin rather than using a coil spring in the bolt body.

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub varifleman's Avatar
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    Thanks for helpful replies. Doe anybody know where I can get a copy of this book: Japanese Murata Rifles 1880 - 1897 by Stanley Zielinski published in 2010 I think?

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    'rmark what gauge shot shell does your Murata take?'

    no idea, probably about 28 gauge

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    It has a sling swivel on the barrel, open rifle sights, and a piece of bone or similar as a decoration on the forearm.
    Last edited by rmark; 06-20-2017 at 11:18 AM.

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    Boolit Bub varifleman's Avatar
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    Can anyone translate the characters on the butt stock?

  13. #13
    I don't know what Major Murata's improvements were, but the Type 13 and Type 18 rifles (the year in the modernising Emperor Meiji's reign, making the Type 18 a model of 1885) was closely modelled on the French Gras. It was a time when the Japanese, struggling to build a technological infrastructure and arms at the same time, and without being anybody's colony or client state, had no choice but to be copyists.

    The .348 Winchester should work well. It is about a tenth of an inch short, which shouldn't matter much. The WW cases I used, long ago, for making the 8x60R Portuguese round were at .447in. well under the published .553in. you sometimes see. There will most likely be no need to reduce the head, and there is plenty of metal if you have to.

    The main problem is that the Murata, if John J. Donnelly's books speaks true, has a rim thickness of .093in., as against the .085in. of the rather similar Gras round and the .065in. of the Winchester. You might find the Murata holds the case tightly enough against the bolt face to fireform its narrow but useful shoulder in the rifle, and treat it like a rimless case for evermore. Or you might have to expand the Winchester neck enough to make a shoulder in the sizing die.

    The rifle Multigunner describes sounds rather like the Belgian Marga, except that I think the Marga bolt handle was all metal. It was in many ways a good design, arriving on the scene when plenty of others were introducing good rifles, and it never went anywhere. It is quite possible that the Japanese tried out the principle, which needn't have required much change to the rest of the rifle. But if you find a Murata-style rifle with the mainspring in the handle, don't let it get away from you.

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...0rifle&f=false

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    apparently two very early versions of the Murata were based on the same Dutch rifle that the Belgian Marga was based on

    "MISC NOTES: A unique feature of the Beaumont (Copied by the Japanese Murata Meiji 13 and carried forward in the Murata Meiji 18) is the striker spring housed in the bolt handle. "
    http://www.militaryrifles.com/holland/bmontvit.htm

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Multigunner View Post
    apparently two very early versions of the Murata were based on the same Dutch rifle that the Belgian Marga was based on

    "MISC NOTES: A unique feature of the Beaumont (Copied by the Japanese Murata Meiji 13 and carried forward in the Murata Meiji 18) is the striker spring housed in the bolt handle. "
    http://www.militaryrifles.com/holland/bmontvit.htm
    Ah, now that is interesting. I hadn't realised the standard Murata used a mainspring in the bolt handle. It comes back to me that the only time I ever saw one, thirty years ago and very briefly, I wondered what the screw in the end of the lever was for.

    It is an interesting system. The Beaumont, with a two-piece bolt, doesn't really utilise the quality of making a rear-locking bolt more rigid by reducing the diameter of the hole inside. But the Marga did, and quite possibly the Murata too.

    The Marga is quite an exciting design even nowadays. It had a solid receiver bridge and symmetrical locking lugs right at the rear, in the form of an interrupted square thread. It's a common story: if a rifle could be brought instantly onto the market as it existed when the inventor conceived the idea, it might have swept the board. The power of spring you can use in all of these rifles is limited, and I don't know if the Murata has the spring power and inertia to use safely with modern smallbore smokeless pressures. But then you don't need that.

    Multigunner's link leads to some very good photographs of the Muratas, 13 and 18. Someone on a Japanese sword forum might stretch a point and translate that cartouche for you. My first thought was that as I knew the Japanese used western numbers very early on, it wouldn't be the otherwise very natural "Meiji 18". But they could have been like us, using Arabic numbers and all that confounded decimal business for everyday purposes, but Roman ones for solemn things like monarchs.

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub varifleman's Avatar
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    I found this 11mm Murata data for brass etc; looks like you can adapt the 11mm Gras and 11mm Mauser brass.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #17
    Yes, and probably the thick-rimmed Jeffery version of the .450 Nitro Express, which Bertram at least formerly made. Any of those should be easier than the .348 Winchester, but the .348 should be cheaper and perhaps more durable.us

    As to the book, it isn't currently available on www.bookfinder.com , which is a compilation of various bookselling sites, from Amazon and ABE down to independent booksellers. Great rarities do often show up there on the first search, so that is the place to keep coming back to and checking.
    Last edited by Ballistics in Scotland; 06-25-2017 at 04:31 AM.

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    Boolit Master
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  19. #19
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmark View Post
    'rmark what gauge shot shell does your Murata take?'

    no idea, probably about 28 gauge
    The converted 11mm Murata takes a 32 gauge brass shot shell.
    CBC did make 32 gauge all brass cases in the past, and may still do.
    The extractor is different on the converted shot guns, as the rim on a 32 gauge shot shell is much smaller in diameter and thickness than that on a standard 11mm Murata case.
    You can make 11mm Murata cases from 32 gauge brass cases, but you will have an issue extracting the fired cases.

    Yes, you can use 11mm Gras and 11mm Mauser brass to make 11mm Matura cases, but finding boxer primed cases for either 11mm Gras and 11mm Mauser is not that easy.
    Dominion in Canada was the last maker of boxer primed 11mm Mauser brass that I know of.

    Your best bet is to use the 348 Winchester case.
    Word of caution, you need to neck up the case in small steps, and anneal between steps.
    Fail to do so, and you will split about half your cases during the expanding process.

    Reloading die sets are available from C4HD, and you can special order neck expanders in any diameter you want.
    I go .375, then .400 and finally .429 (all of these are stock size expanders).
    Then I use the 11mm Murata expander for the last pass.

    Finally, slug your bore before you buy a bullet mold.

    Gregg

  20. #20
    Buffalo Arms have 32ga Magtech cases, and were able to send me some 24ga in the UK, despite a recent ban on the export of rifle cases without an export licence.

    https://www.buffaloarms.com/32-gauge...-of-25-mhsbr32

    I wanted mine for one of the most unusual purposes to which anyone puts 24ga shells: use in a 24ga shotgun. People do use them to make .577/.450 Martini-Henry and .577 Snider cases, but I have seen reports of poor case life in the former at least, when used with full black powder loads. One possibility might be to insert a plastic or fibre filler to keep gas pressure out of the hollow rim, or a brass thimble like I have seen in Societé Français des Munitions balloon-head cases. (You would have to use epoxy rather than a mushroom-headed primer pocket itself as a rivet.)

    But I would only do these things in a case that gets necked down more than the Murata afterwards, to avoid the danger of the... thing... coming loose and turning into a bore obstruction. The British cartridges named have a thin rim, originally an attached one of iron. But the peculiarly deep rim recess of the Murata is almost sure to cause rim splitting if you simply go ahead and shoot cartridges made the simple way from 32ga.

    You might find that you can create a thicker rim by fireforming in the rifle, perhaps several times over, with weak powder charges and an inert filler. You mustn't, unfortunately, anneal the rim. The case head must be held tightly against the bolt face, possibly by the case at a length which bears on the chamber throat, or by the extractor. A small piece of something, while unsuitable for shooting, could be epoxied to the inside of the extractor hook for the fireforming job. You also might be able to make some sort of expansive tool which would expand the rim.

    Short though it is, I would prefer the .348.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check