Type 97 sniper rifle
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|Type 97 rifle|
Type 97 sniper rifle
|Place of origin||Empire of Japan|
|Used by||Imperial Japanese Army|
|Wars||Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II, Korean War, Chinese Civil War|
|Weight||3.95 kilograms (8.7 lb)|
|Length||1,280 millimetres (50 in)|
|Barrel length||797 millimetres (31.4 in)|
|Muzzle velocity||2,500 feet per second (760 m/s)|
|Feed system||5-round internal magazine, stripper clip loaded|
|Sights||2.5x Telescopic sight|
The Type 97 Sniper Rifle (九七式狙撃銃 Kyū-nana-shiki sogekijū?) is a Japanese bolt-action rifle, based on the Type 38 Rifle. Following the standard practice of the time, it was adapted from an existing infantry rifle. The only difference between this rifle and the original Type 38 is that it had a lightened stock, a 2.5 power telescopic sight and a mid-band setup for a monopod, although later models had this deleted. The rifle entered service in 1937. When fired, the mild 6.5x50mm Arisaka cartridge gave off little flash or smoke and made counter-sniper activity difficult. The lack of flash and smoke comes from the length of the barrel; a 797 millimetres (31.4 in) long barrel allows cartridge propellant to fully burn and attain the optimum combination of accuracy and bullet velocity. The scope was offset to the left, to allow stripper clip loading. Like other Mauser pattern rifles, it has a five round box magazine. The rifle can be loaded with either a 5 round stripper clip, or single rounds.
After fighting German-trained Chinese snipers, the Japanese Army decided to develop snipers for themselves. Training in camouflage, field craft and other such techniques was common to normal Japanese infantry, so snipers were specially trained only in shooting and given a sniper rifle.
Type 97 was the standard Japanese sniper rifle, a regular Type 38 Arisaka fitted with a scope. The Type 97 was used frequently by Japanese snipers, often hidden in palm trees or more usually hidden positions, with deadly results. As they were chambered for the 6.5x50SR Japanese cartridge, which produced virtually no smoke or flash from the long barrel of the Type or Type 97, it was a difficult rifle to spot at ranges greater than 150 yards. Experienced US troops knew they had to continue their advance when fired on by Japanese snipers in order to get closer and spot the sniper.
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