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I’m saving money to buy a Japanese machinegun. I’m looking at the Type 99 or the Type 96. I like the 92 also but I think it outside the budget. Not too long ago I saw a member on Gunboards acquire a type 99 with the 7.62x39 conversion for 8.5K. So my questions are, Is this a good price to expect? Is there any reason to get the 99 over the 96? Which spares to get? Which manufactures to get or stay away from? Who is a good person to talk to about purchasing? Thanks. Mike.
 

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You’re the king of the caliber conversions. Do that. Japanese ammo is too expensive. I had a 96 with a 7.62x39 conversion that used all mags.

You could always plan for this and find a FA gun that’s wildly underpriced because the Japanese mag is missing. Original magazines are rare and expensive.
I think I’ve seen 308 conversions for the type 99 too
 

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The one I got on gunboards came without an original 7.7 mag, but with the full x39 conversion. The converted MG13 mags work just fine with both 7.7 and .308, as do the reproductions from re-mil. I did manage to find a barrel converted to .308, but while emptying the second mag the firing pin broke, so I'm thinking .308 is a little too much for my gun. Thank goodness for spare firing pins.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I’ve heard .308 is too much for them. I shot one in 7.62x39 and man... I’m hooked through the gills. 7.7 is no big deal to me, I make other cartridges from 30-06, no reason not to just make 7.7 too. bbrown, do you know of anyone who might make a similar deal? Isn’t there a guy making firing pins also?
 

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I’ve heard .308 is too much for them. I shot one in 7.62x39 and man... I’m hooked through the gills. 7.7 is no big deal to me, I make other cartridges from 30-06, no reason not to just make 7.7 too. bbrown, do you know of anyone who might make a similar deal? Isn’t there a guy making firing pins also?
I was in the right place at the right time, with the right amount of spare funds, that's all. The gun is a late war model (02/45), and needed a little tweaking to get it to run right.

This guy makes a slew of reproduction parts for all sorts of Japanese firearms:


Note that my Type 99 appears to like only one kind of x39 (Brown Bear bi-metal polymer coated), and jams with all of the others I've tried. A friend has a Type 96 LMG with the x39 conversion kit, and he's been struggling to get it to run reliably with any brand of x39.

Here are a few videos of the Type 99 LMG in action, one running 7.7 (reloads) and the other in x39.


 

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I noted that the "Don's Reproduction" list was last revised in 2015.
Has anyone done business there recently?
A spare firing pin seem like a good idea as would a spare extractor.

My Type 99 came with 1 original 2 (now out of production) repro 7.7 magazines and the 7.62X39 barrel in addition to the 7.7 barrel.
Jim Langley no longer makes the magazine adapter.
He was however quite helpful with info about that part.
 

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My last order from Don was last September (2019), which went without a hitch.
 

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Mike,

BBrown is in my MG club. He liked my Type 96 and decided it was a good idea and got the Type 99.

I will note that Don's repro pins are the ones I have broken several times (5-6???) I think they might be a bit to brittle.

I am working on my own firing pin for the Type 96. I am going to make it with a replaceable firing pin. I just sent it out to bid on Friday.

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We have talked a good bit on this subject but I think a Type 96 or 99 in the under $10k range with conversion is what I would be looking for. I would also look for the conversion using the original gas block up front. I think the aftermarket gas block I have on my kit has not helped.
 

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I have one of the original Chinese modified T-99 barrels that Omega (Don Bell) imported. I had two, but gave one to a friend. Once I set the head space, the gun runs flawlessly for 20+ years. I do not run a mag adapter, but the mags I built are adapted correctly for the well. Regards, JH
 

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Why would 308 be too much vs the 7.7 cal just curious? Got a curtesy mag out of a 7.7 T99 converted to 308 and it was finicky didn't shoot the brass case he brought. We helped him with an ammo swap. He was complaining about no spares, but lucky he got a few of those MG13 converted mags when they came out as they ran well. At first the gas was way down and didn't run until turned the gas up to 5. It ran alot slower and more smooth than either of those two videos. Are you sure you can't turn down the gas? Is that the normal rate of fire of a T96 or 99?

I was reading on Gunboards about conversions and barrel replacement that was interesting. They cost low for a reason, if you can't make the parts then you just have a non-functional gun. I'm wondering if his fire pins are brittle because they were not stress relieved. You can do that in your oven. Should give you some stress relief on the fire pin. I'm glad too hear you are taking this on. Mfg. with the skills to take up making parts is now more evident evident than ever. Good parts will sell. Once again I'm late to the game now that another ten guys are hunting for Jap guns as the new flavor for the year, that said I really want one now too.
 

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The Type 99 running the x39 conversion barrel has a single gas port setting, so it's not readily adjustable, and it does indeed run very fast. As long as it's not beating the gun to death I'm pretty content. :)

For 7.7, experimentation indicated that gas port setting 4 worked the most reliably (setting 3 resulted in jams/FTE), while either 3 or 4 worked OK with .308.

BTW, I was using Wolf polyformance .308 instead of real x51, so maybe that makes a difference, but I don't intend to potentially sacrifice another firing pin to experiment any time soon since both x39 and 7.7 work well.
 

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Take a torch and heat the pin until it shows a light straw color blush ,this will draw it back to about a 36-38 RC hardness . if you go to a bluish blush you have softened it too much !! This will make it far less brittle but still hared enough ...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Why would 308 be too much vs the 7.7 cal just curious?
Just my observation.
7.7Arisaka runs 42,000psi
7.62 NATO runs 60,000psi

Seems like that would just beat the hell out of it. I heard the NATO conversions break parts and I assumed this was the reason.
it’s all theory, I don’t own one so I don’t know. This was kind of the purpose of this thread. I have no experience with these guns. It seems the 7.62x39 should be a pussycat compared to both of those others.
 

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Not to mention it is far cheaper and still has the power to chew up targets...7.62x39 was the first High Power round I have ever shot Via SKS...It sparked a fire in me that burned it's way here.
 

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Thanks for that explanation. Makes sense to me. One of these day I will start the reloading journey as I've been building up brass. Dont know much about 7.7 but thought that it had similar velocity to 3006. And now I just read that M2 ball has a much lower psi around 45-50K psi than what you stated to 308. I've heard some say that their 1917a1 dont run 308, not enough power. I've run 308 wolf in mine a little Nato and it runs just as fast, the same as 3006 and its not beating up my gun. Not a good comparison I know. It would appear that the 308 chamber gun I shot is loosing gas or its head space was too loose, I didn't look at the casing for signs of gas blow back or deformation. 762/39 surprised me too running that strong and its cheaper which is good. Thanks for the info on the gas ports. The fellow also had a T96 in 762/39 and it has issues cycling but didn't elaborate.
 

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I have a T99 in original configuration w/ 2 factory magazines. No conversion kit, no other calibers.
BUT I reload for it. Use .30-06 brass, formed and shortened (a lot!). There is an overlap in case head dimensions between .30-06 and 7.7Jap. Took some sorting, but eventually ended up with several hundred acceptable cases.
Form, shorten, anneal and shoot. I have 4 reloads on some cases.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Good job! I’m doing the same thing right now with my Hotchkiss. Making 7.65 Belgian Mauser out of 30-06.
 

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I got my price back from emachineshop.com.... even if I order 5, they want $200+ each. Thats more than double the other reproductions. Anyone else know a machinist who might want some of the work. This part is a little over an inch long if I recall.
 

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that is the problem with building parts in small qty. I pretty much quit having parts made for that reason because to make them right is expensive. Or, you have to make a lot of them which lowers the individual cost but drives up total cost. Correct materials, Quality control and sunk costs in developing drawings or CAD programs are all factors. I chuckle when guys call me up and want me to give them drawings or CAD data for parts I have had made. Stuff like the Hotchkiss extractors and ejectors, Maxim water jacket hose connectors etc all cost around $150 -200 ea to get made.

That said - I would be in for a type 99 firing pin or two -
 

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I have one of the original Chinese modified T-99 barrels that Omega (Don Bell) imported. I had two, but gave one to a friend. Once I set the head space, the gun runs flawlessly for 20+ years. I do not run a mag adapter, but the mags I built are adapted correctly for the well. Regards, JH
Here is what I got from Don years ago with ther Cjhinese 762 x 39 conversion.

99936
 
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