Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tokyo Gas and Electric Co. Prototype Semi-Auto Rifle


This is a rare Japanese rifle as manufactured Tokyo Gas and Electric Co.

In July of 1932, the Japanese ministry invited the Nippon Special Steel Company, the Koshikawa (Tokyo) Army Arsenal and the TG&E Co. to develop their own prototype rifles for testing. They were shown the American Pederson and the Czech ZH-29 semi-auto rifles as examples.

TG&E somewhat based their design on the Czech ZH-29 rifle but chambered in 6.5 Japanese.

The rifle is very unique in that it used a gas-operating mechanism with the breech bolt similar to the Belgian FN-FAL rifles only it's mounted sidewise and uses the rear of the breech bolt as a locking lug to lock inside the receiver. During the firing sequence, the rear of the bolt actually cams to the right (inside the bolt carrier), extracts and ejects the spent cartridge. During the loading sequence, the bolt is moving forward, strips a round from the magazine, chambers the cartridge and then the rear of the bolt moves to the left and locks in place. The rifle is extremely well made and used 100% machined parts that were held to close tolerances with final hand fitting, polishing and bluing.

The action is designed to be disassembled using only the tip of a bullet as all the major takedown pins are non-tapered, and two large pins hold the upper and lower receiver groups together making field disassembly very easy.

At the 1935 trials, both the Nippon Special Steel Company and the Koshikawa (Tokyo) Army Arsenal designs passed the various tests.

However, the TG&E designed rifle was considered the least accurate of the three, and they withdrew from the competition.

Shortly after completing the military tests Japan invaded Mainland China and further development was halted until later in the war.

It is estimated that 12 rifles were actually manufactured for testing with only a handful of these captured after the end of the war.

(Originally, it was fed via a detachable box magazine which is absent.)


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