I just recently got a Japanese VZ24 rifle. I'm posting photos to see if anyone can make sense of the faded kanji painted on the sling. I suspect it is just numbers but I would appreciate a translation of whatever can be made out.
Also there was a recent thread about markings on the bottom of the stock on Japanese VZ24 rifles. I'm showing the two markings on mine for consideration, one behind the trigger guard and the other on the bottom of the pistol grip. Maybe if we can find enough rifles with the same markings we can identify the markings as Japanese, so the marked slings won't be the only indicator of Japanese use.
Does it shoot 8mm or 6.5?
What's the cliff notes version of vz24s in Japan?
Japanese VZ24 Short Rifle, 7.92X57
Made in 1937 by Zbrojovka Brno in Czechoslovakia, the P prefix serial number series of VZ24 rifles were intended for export. This particular rifle, a P series, was taken for the Czechoslovak Army in 1938 as indicated by the E3(lion)38 acceptance marking on the receiver. Then it was taken back from the army to be included in the 40,000 rifle Japanese Navy contract in 1938. Japanese use is evidenced by the white painted Kanji (Japanese numbers) painted on the inside of the original sling, lack of import marks, and overall fine condition. Unlike some, this one appears to have actually been used by the Japanese rather than just stored in a warehouse. The finish is more worn on the floorplate and the muzzle bears bayonet rub markings. Whether or not the markings on the stock behind the trigger guard and on the bottom of the pistol grip are Japanese is as yet unknown.
These were orphan rifles in Japanese service. First they were a non standard caliber for the Japanese, then the Japanese had a strong “Not Invented Here” prejudice against foreign weapons. The only reason the Japanese Navy bought these and the Italian Type I rifles is that the Army was taking the lion’s share of the Arisaka rifles.
There are GI stories of a warehouse in the Philippines with Japanese VZ24 rifles and more found on Naval bases in Japan. Most of the 40,000 are on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Many went down on Japanese ships and most of the remainder were dumped offshore by US forces. Only a comparative few were brought back to the US by GIs.
The receiver and stock have matching serial numbers. The bolt is a correct P series bolt with a number 4,925 numbers higher than the receiver number. Rifle purchased in a private sale after a Gunbroker auction with no bids, bayonet purchased on Ebay, Romanian frog purchased on Ebay, sling and cleaning rod are original, came with rifle.
There have been several discussions here about the kanji on these VZ24 IJN contract rifles, you might try typing "czech" in the search bar & check them out. My Vz24 came directly from a local veteran, who picked it and a bayonet up in a hanger in Yokoyama
just after the war ended. The bayonet was unmarked, just as the vet found it. You have a very nice example there. Here's a pic of mine. Cliff Czech VZ24 IJN contract 018.jpg
Actually Bill, the blade is bright, not real bright, but doesn't appear to have ever been blued (I need to dig it out and check for sure). Your bayonet is probably just fine. Maybe this pic will help...Cliff Czech VZ24 IJN contract 017.jpg
Your fuller looks to have a thin coating of blue or phosphate, like other 1937-1938 VZ24 bayonets I have and like photos of other Japanese bayonets on this board. The crossguard and pommel look to be the same thin coating.