Showa 12.3 Type 14 Photos

            This Type 14 was first one I got: it is not very good, but it has a certain sentimental value since it started my collection. It is a Nagoya Nambu-Kokubunji Factory dated Showa 12.3, or March, 1937. I found it at the Easter gun show in Calgary in 2003. When I got it, it was in abysmal condition with a cut-off barrel and many homemade parts. With a great deal of searching and then a great deal of hand-fitting, I replaced all those homemade parts and rebuilt it into a reasonable state. Only the frame and magazine safety could be salvaged, and even the frame was very rusty.           


            Here is the left side. I removed the rust from the frame with Naval Jelly, prepared the surface with Birchwood Casey Rust & Blue Remover, 2400 grit wet/dry sandpaper and 0000 steel wool and then re-blued it with five applications of Formula 44/40 Instant Gun Blue (I tried Birchwood Casey Super Blue, but it was way too gblueh in colour and so I had to strip that off and start again after finding a gblackerh product). I did not buff it smooth to try to make it look like new as I just wanted it to have a protective coating, and wasnft trying to make it look like a mint gun when itfs definitely not. Besides, buffing makes the markings look too faint, especially when the surfaces are as rough as they were on this pistol.


            Below is a close-up of the markings. The symbol on the far left of the top row indicates Nagoya arsenal supervision. The second symbol from the left is the Japanese character Nan or Nam, meaning gsouthh. Here is it is short for Nambu. It is the symbol of the Nambu Rifle Company, which merged and became Chuo Kogyo. These two companies produced many Japanese pistols under contract. The five digits are the serial number.

            In the second row, the symbol at the left is the kanji Sho, short for Showa, the era name of the late Emperor Hirohitofs reign. The 12 indicates the twelfth year of his reign, or 1937, and the 3 indicates March as the month of production.

            Just below the dot in 12.3 there is another small symbol. It is the character higashi, meaning geasth, and is also pronounced as the To in Tokyo. It is an inspection mark.


            The gun now has a barrel, bolt and trigger guard from a 6.6 dated Tokyo pistol. It took a lot of work to get the barrel to fit, as the lugs underneath were too wide to fit in the channel in the frame. I had to take about 3/1000th s of an inch off each side of the lug and the locking block. The barrel extension was also too big to fit into the bridge at the rear of the frame, so I used a Dremel to remove a couple of thousandths from the inside arc of the bridge. The trigger assembly fit is a bit loose. The pistol appears to function OK, but I would not want to try shooting it as the action just doesnft quite feel right. Cosmetically there is a gap between the top of the trigger assembly and the bottom of the frame. I did get another trigger assembly, but it didnft help: the frame was machined crooked to start with and then distorted slightly by some later trauma, so it isnft quite square.


            The grips and safety on this gun came from a 14.6 dated pistol, serial 625XX, that was being parted out. The grips show plenty of usage, which matches the pistolfs far from perfect condition, and have the correct 25 grooves for a Nagoya Nambu of that period (that factory later went to 17 grooves).


            Here is the inside of the grip panels. There is no serial number, but there is a small gNh inspection mark on each panel. You can just make out the one on the inside of the right panel to the right and slightly down from the hole for the magazine release.


Here is a close-up of that mark.


            Although it would be nice if the pistol were more original, it is still way better than what it looked like when I got it, donft you think? The only thing that I was able to salvage was the frame, magazine safety and the magazine safety spring (which is not original, but it works). Everything else was either home-made, broken or mangled by poor basement gunsmithing (e.g. the bolt was ruined when some poorly cut crooked threads were hand-cut into the rear of it to mate with the coarse threads on the inside of the homemade cocking knob). The locking block was OK but didnft fit well with the lugs on the new barrel, so I had to find another one.


            The safety was homemade, too, and fell out whenever the pistol was tilted to the left. The gun had no magazine when I bought it, and because the barrel had been shortened, it was classified as gprohibitedh under Canadian law. I am grandfathered so I can buy gprohibitedh handguns, but as soon as I got the proper length barrel I re-registered the gun with the new barrel length and had it re-classified as restricted. To do this you must get a receipt proving you have turned in the old short barrel to the police for destruction and get a certified verifier to sign that you have installed the new barrel. Then you fax the CFC with your request and they issue you a new registration certificate.

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Last updated: January 14, 2007. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.