Having purchased stocks of the bolt-action German Mauser Kar 98 rifle, itself a shortened form of the full-length Gewehr 98 bolt-action service rifle of 1898, the Republic of China took to localized production of the weapon in similar form as the "Type Zhongzheng", popularly recognized as the "Chiang Kai-Shek Rifle" (after the military leader) and formally assigned the type designation of "Type 24" (based on the Year 24 of the Chinese calendar). The Type 24 was one of two standardized service rifles to serve with the Republic of China during World War 2 - the other being the "Hanyang 88". The Type 24 saw additional combat service during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), the Chinese Civil War (1927-1936, 1946-1950) and the Korean War (1950-1953) and was used by both friendly and enemy forces.
At its core, the Type 24 was a typical bolt-action rifle of the time with its full-length wooden stock, uncapped muzzle and bayonet support. The action was contained at the rear of the body and actuated through manual management of the bolt-lever handle. The wooden body incorporated the grip handle and shoulder stock as well as single-banded forend which included finger grooves for a firmer hold by the supporting hand. The trigger loop was slung under the body in the usual way. The barrel extended a short distance away from the body with the forward sighting device fitted at the muzzle the rear device seated just ahead of the action (as in the German Kar 98). Overall weight of the weapon was 9lbs with an overall length nearing 44 inches. The barrel measured 24 inches long.
The Type 24 was chambered for the 8x57mm IS cartridge (the 7.92x57mm Mauser by another name), a proven man-stopper with good penetration value at range. Through the bolt-action system, the rifle was fed via 5-round "stripper clips", each clip containing five ready-to-fire cartridges - the cartridges "stripped" from the clip during the bolt management process. As such, the rifle was limited to the cartridges installed and, as the magazine was fixed internally and detachable, the weapon could not be "topped off" with individual rounds. Effective range was around 550 yards with muzzle velocity reaching 2,660 feet per second. An expertly trainer shooter could manage 15 rounds per minute. A scope could be added to produce a sharpshooter's model (sniper rifle) and two swivel slings allowed use of a shoulder strap for marches.
The Type 24's contemporary across the frontline was the Japanese Arisaka Type 38. This bolt-action weapon, when compared to the Chinese offering, lacked the stopping power and range from its smaller 6.5mm cartridge and proved more cumbersome due to its length. However, it was readily available in large numbers and proved the standard-issue long gun for Japanese ground forces of the period. With that, Chinese troops generally enjoyed some inherent advantages in their weapon when doing battle against their long-time foes. Production of Type 24 rifles spanned from 1935 to 1950 and manufacture - though not official known - may have totaled 600,000 units. Production was handled through various ad hoc workshops in the country as well as several recognized arsenals in Kunghsien, Hanyang, Jinglin and Canton. Chinese industry gradually grew to keep pace with the Chinese wartime need.
The Type 24 served throughout World War 2 (1939-1945) though found reduced service in the decades following, particularly with the influx of American-made arms making their way into the region during the World War 2 draw-down. Reserve stocks of Type 24s continued in service, still seeing frontline combat during the Korean War (1950-1953) (in the hands of the communist Chinese) that followed until relegated to security and ceremonial roles thereafter. Two marks of the rifle eventually emerged, recognized simply as "Type 1" and "Type 2". The Type 1 utilized the original, full-length barrel and forend of the Kar 98 while the Type 2 was given a shorter barrel and forend as well as a down-turned bolt-action lever for a more compact approach.