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Registration in Japan today

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  • Registration in Japan today

    Owning an old Tanegashima legally in Japan.
    There is quite a detailed and seemingly watertight process for legally registering antique firearms in Japan today, as has been described elsewhere.
    Despite the application and permission paperwork trail, strange anomalies sometimes arise.
    One of these is the odd simple mistake on your registration card. One of the kanji in the Mei might be misread, or missing altogether, for example. This could be because the scholar misread it, or it could be an oversight under the pressure of the conveyor belt registration process.
    You need to triple check it to make sure the Education Committee has done it right, or it could be problematic in the future for a number of reasons.

    Another anomaly I discovered quite by chance the other day. Despite the white gloves they wear, and the scientific instruments and digital cameras, the bore measurements are not always exact. I will illustrate this below.
    “But why is this of any importance?”, I hear you ask. Well, if we follow Sawada Taira’s gun classifications by bore size, then 1/10 cm difference (1 mm) can make your gun into an irritating puzzle.
    Piers D - Japan / UK

  • #2
    An expensive set of vernier calipers should measure the inner diameter of the barrel, you’d think. Often though, the entrance has been widened from fevered ramming.
    So to test the various bores of four of my slimmer guns, I inserted a wooden rod of 1.1 cm diameter to a depth of about 10 cm. You would have to agree that the actual bore diameter must be larger than the dowel rod, right?

    Last edited by Teppotai; 01-05-2019, 06:59 AM.
    Piers D - Japan / UK


    • #3
      Here are the four registration cards with their bore sizes, 0.9, 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2cm respectively, according to the Education Committee’s official records.

      Oops, just downsizing the photo...

      and yes, you guessed it, the rod goes happily down the barrel of all four.

      Last edited by Teppotai; 01-05-2019, 07:05 AM.
      Piers D - Japan / UK


      • #4
        Four barrels, same 1.1 cm rod. A075C294-2B56-4102-A63E-7AA93E94C5EE.jpeg

        Attached Files
        Piers D - Japan / UK


        • #5
          Of the four, the tightest fits were with the said '0.9 cm' long pistol, and the said '1.2cm' Iyo long gun.
          Since bore size is on average just over 0.2 mm larger than ball size, in general, all four guns must be at least 1.12 cm bore.

          Conclusion. We (and probably the Japanese Education Committee team) should be inserting rods of known diameter to find correct bore size, or fixing ball to the end of such rods.
          Piers D - Japan / UK


          • #6
            Piers, that's quite an interesting phenomenon! I get how rather violent use of the ramrod may widen the barrel entrance, but seeing how you can fit the 1.1 cm rod into the barrel that has been measured as 0.9, I wonder what kind of measuring equipment they use that allows for such errors...
            David Mueller - Germany


            • #7
              David, part of the problem must lie in the system. For an item to be accepted as a barn find, it must be in ‘found’ condition or they will reject it as suspicious. “How do we know you really found it untouched?” They might ask if they see that it has been cleaned.
              So when it is measured and registered, often there is a good coating of rust.
              Once I get it home and start cleaning the barrel, though, the internal dimension must change slightly.
              Piers D - Japan / UK


              • #8
                I guess the Japanese official is not that meticulous as I thought. 2mm is quite a lot. Can actually make a lot of difference when categorising a matchlock, besides the problem it can get you at the police.

                Jan - Sweden


                • #9
                  Piers, that sounds reasonable. Also, I agree with Jan: that must give owners horrible headaches if they are ever so unlucky to have officials compare paperwork to actual caliber... well, only in cases of such heavily differing numbers oc course.
                  David Mueller - Germany