October 21, 2011
By Robert W. Hunnicutt
(Updated 10/21/11 with video footage.)
Dave Fortier was hanging around a gun show when a passing seller offered up a pair of Type 38 Arisakas for $100 apiece. Fortier's not a Japanese collector, but the price was irresistible, so he took the better-looking of the two.
It had an unusual crest that research indicated was the "concentric circle" mark of the Kempetai secret police. Dave decided to bring it along to the IMO editorial roundtable to show it to his fellow writers and give them the chance to shoot it.
I suggested a friendly competition, which idea quickly mushroomed to a full-fledged match. As Hornady provided the ammo, it became the Hornady Arisaka Challenge.
Course of fire was miss and out on steel torso silhouettes offhand at 150 yards, with the tie-breaker at 200 yards. The Arisaka's 9-pound trigger made it plenty sporting, but just to make it more interesting, all firing was with fixed bayonet.
My guess was that it would take less than two boxes of ammo, and that proved right. Of 20 shooters taking part, eight managed a hit at 150 yards and only one, SGN contributor Jim Tarr, scored a hit at 200.
Fortier is giving the rifle and a "meatball" flag signed by all the competitors to a gunsmith friend who is an Arisaka devotee.
What other guns do you think would be interesting selections for this sort of match?