Experimental rifle by John Pedersen

Pedersen T1 rifle at bottom
The Pedersen T1 semi-automatic rifle is shown above at the bottom, compared with the Garand T3 semi-automatic rifle, in the center, and the Springfield US Model 1903 rifle, top.

Springfield Armory NHS archives, US NPS

 
Loading the Pedersen T1 rifle
Pedersen T1 being loaded at Springfield Armory with the charger.

Springfield Armory NHS archives, US NPS

Pedersen T1 Rifle .276 caliber SPAR1329

The Army contracted with John D. Pedersen to develop a rifle in competition with Garand's rifle. Pedersen's version, shown here, had a mechanism similar to the Luger pistols. His rifle, first presented in February 1924, employed a delayed blowback action in which two opposed caming blocks are held by a link in the form of a toggle. The camming surfaces on the blocks rotate on eachother as the breech block is forced to the rear upon firing. It loaded with a ten-round charger.

 
Pedersen T1 cartridges compared with US M1903 cartridges
Pedersen T1 rifle .276" caliber cartridge compared with Springfield US M1903 rifle .30" '06 caliber cartridge.

Springfield Armory NHS archives, US NPS

The .276" caliber cartridge was introduced for the testing of trial guns in 1923. The .30" '06 caliber cartridge, used so effectively in long range machine gun tactics, had previously been an infantry cartridge, too. Some army officers thought that a rifle of less caliber, using a lighter cartridge, might offer advantages allowing more cartridges to be carried.

Here can be seen the .276" caliber cartridge next to the .30" '06 caliber cartridge on the right of the photo. The .30" '06 caliber cartridge is shown above them in a five-round clip as used in the US M1903 rifle. To the left is the .276" caliber cartridge in a ten-round charger used in the Pedersen T1 rifle.

 
Pedersen action locked back and charger being expelled following firing of last cartridge
The Pedersen T1 rifle, though it was the first  semi-automatic rifle in  U.S. history to be recommended for adoption by an Army service board (April 30, 1928), did not do well against the Garand T3 rifle the following year. Efforts by Pedersen in 1930 to reintroduce a somewhat improved T1 rifle were inadequate. The Pedersen rifle the saw some limited prototype production by Vickers, Ltd., in Britain.

Springfield Armory NHS archives, US NPS

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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