Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Machine Gun (VIDEO + 12 PICS)

04/22/19 9:00 AM | by

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Machine Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Machine Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot

Sometimes, even for seasoned collectors, tinkering is the only way to learn about a gun. For decades Air Force veteran Gayle Dinsmore thought he had a Japanese Type 98 machine gun chambered in “Jap 77,” or 7.7×58mm Arisaka, until one day he realized he didn’t.

As Dinsmore’s son, Mark Dinsmore, explained: “It wasn’t until the mid-eighties when he was fooling around at the front of end of the gun with a .30-caliber projectile, and when he put it in the barrel, it fell all the way through. He was like ‘I’ve owned the gun for this many years and it’s in 8mm.’ So, not three days later, we were out shooting it.”

Learning the correct chambering — 7.92×57mm Mauser (or 8mm) — opened up a flood of information. Mark, who acquired the gun from his late father, described the Japanese Type 98 as a licensed version of the German MG 15 machine gun. Japanese troops used the design, which fires 1,100 rounds per minute, to protect their bombers during World War II. “If you’re not careful it will climb right back in your lap. It wants to rock in behind you,” Mark said about firing it.

The decades-long misunderstanding could perhaps be attributed to the casualness of the exchange with which the machine gun was acquired. Mark explained his dad saw an ad listing the Type 98 for trade while stationed at the Alconbury Air Force base in England back in 1967. Gayle called up the colonel who was offering it and asked what he wanted. The colonel answered: “a bottle of good Kentucky bourbon.” Well, being from Kentucky himself, Gayle just happened to have a few bottles with him and the rest is history. Mark estimates the gun’s current value to be around $35,000. Not a bad trade!

In honor of his father and his love of machine guns, Mark brings the Japanese Type 98 out along with a number of other weapons in his collection to the semi-annual Big Sandy Shoot in Arizona.

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Machine Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Gun. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Machine Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Gun. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Machine Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Gun. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Machine Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Gun. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Machine Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Gun. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Machine Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Gun. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Machine Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Gun. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Machine Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Gun. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Machine Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Gun. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Machine Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot

Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Gun. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

Mark Dinsmore with his Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot

Mark Dinsmore with his Japanese Type 98 Bomber Defense Gun at the Big Sandy Shoot. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

German MG 15 by Rock Island Auction Company

The Japanese licensed the German MG 15 as seen in this photo to produce the Type 98. The two guns were identical. (Photo: Rock Island Auction Company)

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