Nambu World: Edmonton Cartridge Show Display, November 3, 2007

    The only cartridge show in a Canadian city near me is held every year in early November in Edmonton, about three hours drive north of my hometown of Calgary. This was my second year displaying there. The display has definitely progressed, but it still needs some visual "oomph" like a background of enlarged photos and commentary. Unfortunately I was so busy in the run-up to the show I was not able to get these planned display panels done. But wait till next year!


    The display ran from right to left due to my position in the hall and the resulting traffic flow. Not that there was a lot of traffic. There were about twenty tables and visitors numbered probably somewhere around 50-75. Since the display started at the right, I put the most visually appealing stuff there, the "big" rounds. In the upper part of the case were Hotchkiss feed strips for a Type 92 heavy machine gun and a Type 92 Naval timed fuze. In the middle was a Type 88 instantaneous fuze with its shipping cylinder and a metal box that originally held ten of the fuzes in their cylinders. The bottom row had two 50mm rounds for the Type 89 heavy grenade discharger ("knee mortar"), a 13.2mm round, a 20mm AA round in its original packaging, a 25mm Naval AA/AT round and a 37mm anti-tank round. Of course, all the "big" stuff is deactivated.

    The next case had two items of trench art at the top. In the upper left was a 37mm projectile marked to commemorate field manoeuvres and a cut-down 77mm German field gun shell extensively engraved to commemorate the Japanese victory over German forces at Tsingtao, China in World War One, when Japan was one of the Allied Powers (i.e. on our side). The lower left has two Type 30 front ammo pouches which held 30 rounds of rifle ammo. The upper one is leather and the lower one is a later, rubberized canvas style. Japanese soldiers carried two of these front pouches and one larger, 60-round pouch at the back, except when they were on sentry duty, when they normally only had one 30-round front pouch. The long pouch in the middle is for light machine gun mags for either a Type 96 or Type 99 LMG. The yellow can in the lower right was a can of powder made for civilian reloading by the Army arsenal. There are various shotgun loads listed on the side.

    Now we come to post-war ammo made in Japanese military calibers, including Norma (top), Midway (lower left) and Old Western Scrounger (lower right), as well as rarer items like the Bell ammo made from individually turned (not drawn) cases and some early custom ammo made from .38 Special brass (these tended to bulge severely and/or split). These are both in the centre-right of the case. There are also some snap caps made by Pachmayr in the centre (yellow packaging).

    The shortage of ammo throughout the post-war period meant that many people reloaded. Here we see dies for the Japanese pistol and rifle calibres and a mould for casting 8mm Nambu bullets. On the left is a set of ingenious gear made and given to me by a well-known German collector to swage .32 bullets up to 8mm and .25 bullets up to 7mm.

    The last part of the display was the trays of individual cartridges. Here is an overall shot of the layout. The stands have brief explanations of the different types of rounds shown.


    Here are closer shots of the trays. In most cases I have had examples of rounds sectioned and display both intact and sectioned rounds. The tray in the lower right has Japanese handgun rounds, while the upper right has comparison handgun rounds, including examples of cartridges that were used to make brass for the handgun calibres (this is why there are some rifle rounds there, as some rifle calibers were cut down and re-formed to make 8mm Nambu, for example). The bottom middle tray has 7.7mm Arisaka rounds and stripper clips, while the upper tray has comparison rifle rounds. The lower left tray has Japanese and British 6.5mm Arisaka rounds and stripper clips and the upper right tray has 6.5mm rounds made by the Nationalist and Communist Chinese (both of whom used large numbers of captured or surrendered Japanese weapons) as well as by Norma and US makers like Hornady.


    The last tray has Japanese machine gun rounds including 7.7mm semi-rimmed for the Type 92 HMG, 7.7mm rimmed (.303) for the Japanese version of the Lewis gun, and 8mm ball. In the lower right there are also some 11mm Murata bits: a deactivated round (brass and bullet but no powder or primer) and a spent brass casing (largely obscured by glare from the flash in this shot).


    My plan for next year, apart from hopefully having more rounds to show, especially the "crowd-pleasing" big ones, is to develop background panels. I have a number of photo albums that show ammo storage and transport methods (crates, metal boxes, packaging, etc.). I want to enlarge some of these photos so there is something more visually appealing behind the cases.

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