6.5mm Arisaka chambered pistol

This pistol, chambered in 6.5x50mm Arisaka, was purportedly found in a South Vietnamese rice paddy. I cannot tell if the photo it is real or a fake. The front sight is far to low, unless there is a hole drilled into that metal block above the chamber.

[ Many thanks to Sven (Defense and Freedom) for emailing me the the info. ]



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Rusty Ray

    Wow, now that would be a ‘Blaster’….

    My guess would be that it isn’t a fake. And that it is that particular shape to take acount of the ability to fit the Broohandle’s Stock/Holster. Kind of makes sense to me, not so much a pistol as a very short carbine that can be carried in its own holster/butt. BATFE would love it!

    Cheers – Rusty

  • Burst

    I can believe it.

    Given that it’s a single-shot pistol, I don’t think accuracy was deemed crucial. This is probably an execution/ intimidation gun, or last ditch defense weapon. the fact that it has sights at all is optimistic.

  • Vaarok

    The VC often built single-shot firearms meant to look like something more intimidating, one in particular I saw on a discussion forum was mocked up to look like a BAR, but was actually a bolt-action shotgun using cut down .50 BMG casings for the shotshells.

  • justin

    the Viet Cong were known to take weapons damaged beyond repair and make new weapons out of them. That was obviously once a Chinese mauser that died and converted. But what I can remember of Viet Cong homemade guns you couldn’t pay me to shoot that thing

  • Dom

    Looks like it has seen better days. Maybe those are just the mounts for the sights and the sights had broken off?

  • Sian

    I bet that made an impressive fireball from the muzzle.

  • Oh man, what did those mean people do to that poor, innocent Mauser 96?

  • Tam

    With a lot of those “village blacksmith” guns, the only reason it has sights at all is because, well, guns have sights. They don’t actually do anything, mind you, but they’re there.

    The sights on my “village blacksmith” .38 sure aren’t regulated to anything that would resemble the point of impact, not that I’m likely to shoot the thing to confirm it…

    http://cosmolineandrust.blogspot.com/2006/10/filipino-blacksmith-revolver-fruit-of.html

    • Tam, good point. ha, your village blacksmith is awesome.

  • allen

    The mere thought of shooting an old rusty Asian homemade break-open pistol that fires a rifle cartridge is thrilling.

  • John C.

    that would probably be more dangerous to the shooter than the target

  • Aurelien

    Well i’ll say that’s a Viet-Minh custom. They were quite fond of this kind of things “back in the day” when they shot at French troops for fun.
    I’ll say that’s late 1940s, at that time they had lots of Japanese ammo and rogue Japanese military “consultants”. That fits the bill.

  • Al T.

    Vietnamese version of the .45 ACP “Liberator” handgun is my guess. Probably the only ammo the gunsmith had access to and was (again IMHO) meant to be used at very close range.

  • Gage

    Wow. I bet this gun would have been produced in more numbers if we hadn’t dropped the A-Bomb.

  • Will

    Reminds me of the Liberator single shot .45. A simple weapon used to get another better weapon.

  • Mu

    I thought I read about that thing 20 years ago in a German gun journal – then I noticed the German filename of the picture. If it’s a fake it at least has reached legend status by now.

  • Some time back I saw a Sunday Morning travel show about people treking through either Afghanistan or Pakistan in the 1960’s. One segment was on the Village Gun Building Programs. The point they made was the fact the villagers copied existing firearms on the outside, but the innerds were crap.

    I mention it because one of the guns they showed was a broom handle looking single shot pistol. Don’t recall the calibur. Steve’s blog has shown us that home made guns are found all over the world.

  • Peter

    That would make a mess of some one close up or a mess of the shooters hand

  • Bryan S

    I wonder if the sights were originally another type of metal, and rotted away because of galvanic corrosion?

  • Martin (M)

    You folks are missing the point of hand-made firearms by assuming that if they are chambered for a certain cartridge, then they were fired using said full power cartridge. Much like a Khyber Pass Special, the ammunition for these guns is also hand made from available (and often recycled) components, but as seriously reduced loads. It’s all a matter of using what is available to you.

  • Trone

    I would fire a fillipino homemade pistols made in Cebu than that………..!

  • Gun.up

    Do you even know if the action is still inside?

  • Derek

    This may be one of the Chinese “Bolo” Mausers used by the Nationalists during WWII, or it could have been a cheap copy of one–a knock off, if you will, made by the Communist Chinese–post Chinese revolution. It would be possible that such a gun was carried by a N. Vietnamese fighter or regular since a the NVA received Chinese munitions and material.

  • JR

    For some reason, this reminds me of accounts of the latter stages of the Battle of the Little Big Horn – in which the Indians (on their later accounts) spent quite a bit of time searching around in their ammunition pouches looking for suitable ammo to load into their (extremely various) “trading” rifles/muskets to fire at Custer. Conclusion – Custer had to try really hard to lose … Holding a loaded model of something like this in one’s actual hand, and pulling the trigger – exciting, perhaps, but not recommended … JR.