Type 26 Photos (Project Gun)

            I got this gun at a reasonable price at an auction in Red Deer, Alberta in August, 2005. It was very rough, and I already had two nicer ones, but I wanted to have one that I wasn’t afraid to tinker with and that I could display disaassembled to show the mechanism. Here are some photos of it in its initial condition along with a diagnosis of what needs to be done. Further down the page you can see it after the repairs were finished. In this shot one can already see an obvious defect: the lanyard loop is missing from the bottom of the grip.


            Here is the left side. Two more problems are obvious here. First, the hinge pin screw has been replaced by a brass screw. Second, there is a large chip missing from the bottom front of the left grip panel that has been “repaired” with plastic wood.


            Here is a close-up of the Tokyo Arsenal marking, the model designation (2-10-6-year-type, i.e. Type 26), and the serial number.


            Here is a close-up of that brass screw. The correct screw would be steel and fill the entire circular recess around the head of the brass screw. While original Type 26 parts are almost impossible to find, a screw that can be adapted to the purpose should be possible to find once I determine the thread type required. If not, making a screw is not that big a deal for someone with good machinist skills like my husband.


            In this shot you can see the missing lanyard loop and stud as well as the plastic wood used to repair the chip. The characters on the butt are inspection markings.


Closer inspection of the grip shows it also has a crack.


            The loose fit of the sideplate here at the point where there is a finger grip for opening it and the signs of rough treatment in that area suggest some other problems, the exact nature of which was not obvious prior to disassembly. Much more on that to come…


            During the inspection period before the auction I was able to examine the gun, but I could not get it to open, so I didn’t know what awaited inside. However, I knew there would be problems, because the whole gun just did not “feel right”. The barrel latch was way too stiff, it was too hard to tilt down the barrel, etc. Once I bought it and (after an interminable registration delay) was able to bring it home and get it apart, I realized the full scale of the problems as well as what had caused them. Some of the problems were just dirt and grit that needed to be cleaned from the remote recesses of the revolver. However, the major problems resulted from the fact that at some point in the past someone forced open the sideplate without swinging down the trigger guard first. They did this by inserting a screwdriver between the sideplate and frame and hitting it with a hammer. This bent and cracked both the locking stud on the inside of the sideplate and the “stirrup” inside the frame that it fits into. A similarly inelegant means of disassembly was attempted in other spots, even where it made no sense (e.g. between the extractor cam and the hinge on the lower barrel assembly). This brute force approach resulted in numerous burrs that affected the smoothness of the mechanism. Most of the functional problems can be fixed with just a little polishing with a stone to remove the burrs, although little can be done about the cosmetic damage. However, the locking stud on the inside of the sideplate was so badly cracked that the tip was just barely hanging on and fell off when I was cleaning it. Fortunately my husband Stephen can either weld or silver-solder it back on. I also discovered that the strut spring was missing and had been replaced by a piece of thin cardboard that had been folded over to give the strut some “spring”. This part should also be possible to fabricate, since I have two other guns to use as examples (this spring is a little V-shaped spring that fits between the front of the trigger and the strut).

            The plastic wood used to “repair” the chip in the left grip was actually mostly stuck to the frame rather than the wood. I got it all off much more easily than I had expected.

            The serialization of parts on Type 26 revolvers is a bit complicated because they used sub-assembly numbers which did not always correspond to the last digits in the gun’s serial number as they did on later models like the Type 14. The procedures also varied over time. In the serial range which includes this gun, two sets of numbers were used, neither of them related to the gun’s serial number. One is recorded on the left side of the frame under the grip and the other on the right side of the frame under the grip (this placement of the numbers, at least, is common to all Type 26s). Amazingly, despite the poor condition of this piece, all the numbers matched. The parts that need to be replaced (hinge pin screw and strut spring) are not numbered.

            By mid-October we had finished the repairs. When I fix an old gun, I try to do the minimum possible to get it working again. I don’t try to make it like new. A little age on a gun makes it looks interesting, at least to me.

            Here’s what we did.

            My husband Stephen pounded the stirrup for the locking stud flat and then silver soldered the crack. He also silver soldered the head of the stud back on. Then I cleaned them up with a fine file and then a stone. The stud took a lot of work because it has been bent as well as broken, so I had to do a lot of file and stone work to get it to fit back into the stirrup.

Here is the stirrup after repair but before bluing.


This is it after bluing. Notice that the bluing doesn’t take on the silver solder.


Here is the stud before bluing…


…and after (it has oil on it, which is why it is so shiny in this shot).


            Here is the grip repair. I used LePage’s plastic wood and filed and sanded it to shape. It took several applications to get the contours right and fill in the low spots. Fortunately the chip was only on the outer edge and didn’t go into the checkered area. I used Minwax Wood Finish stain, #225 Red Mahogany. I was very pleased with the colour match, which was as close as one can get, I think. If you look at the grip closely you will definitely see the repair, but if you just handle the gun casually I doubt anyone would notice. My husband Stephen also glued the crack for me with Crazy Glue. By applying it from the inside, it spread by itself without leaving a trace on the outside (actually, is isn’t even really visible from the inside, either—you don’t need much of that stuff).


            Original Type 26 parts are almost impossible to find, so I bought a new hinge pin screw and a lanyard ring assembly from a well-known producer of repro parts for Japanese militaria, Don Schlickman. I was going to have my husband make the screw, but it turns out the Japanese used an obsolete thread he couldn’t duplicate. The parts from Don looked and fitted great. They are a bit new looking given the state of the gun, but the revolver has enough patina on it that it is not that noticeable. (There is a link to Don’s parts list on the “Parts” section of this site.). I also made one thing myself, the little V-shaped strut spring that fits into the front of the hammer. First I made one out of 1/64” thick brass strip, 3/32” long. Then once I had the shape and size down I made one of out of .010” stainless steel cut 3/32” wide (both the brass and steel strips were from a hobby shop).


            Here is the lanyard ring assembly installed on the gun. It is held in place by a tiny little screw that is actually more like a pin with a couple of turns of thread on one end. The slot in the head was so small I had to use my glasses screwdriver; all my gun screwdrivers were too big. The two studs to the right and left of the lanyard assembly fit into holes on the bottom of the grip to hold it on.


            Here is the right side of the final product. One other repair Stephen helped me with was the trigger guard. It had gotten bent outwards just enough that it was extremely difficult to get it to release and swing downwards. Stephen put it in a vise and bent it back. The metal was amazingly springy, so he had to bend it quite a bit to get the metal to change its “memory”. Now it has just about the right amount of resistance.


            Here is the left side. This was more work than most US collectors would find worthwhile for a gun in this condition, but Japanese stuff is so scarce up here in Canada that I feel an obligation to try to save every piece. Sort of like taking in stray dogs, I guess. Anyway, the gun works very smoothly now, with just a bit of a catch in the latch when breaking it open. I was very pleased at how it came out, since this was the first revolver of any kind I have ever stripped down to the bare frame to work on (though I have done so with many semi-autos and even a Bren gun).


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Last updated: October 19, 2005. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.