Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record

Home | Advanced Collection Search | Advanced Archival Search | Rate Your Search

Send us your own comments about this object.

Title:RIFLE, MILITARY -  U.S. RIFLE T47 .30 (T65E3) SN# 64
Maker/Manufacturer:HARVEY, EARLE M.
Date of Manufacture:1951
Eminent Figure:
Catalog Number:SPAR 3937
Measurements:OL:108.5CM 42 3/4" BL: 55.8CM 22" 8.36 lbs.

Object Description:

U.S. RIFLE T47 .30 (T65E3) SN# 64
Manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma. in 1951 - Lightweight shoulder fired weapon designed to deliver both full and semi-automatic fire from the closed bolt position. Weapon had a conventional drop stock with low sights. Designed to be equipped with bayonet, flash hider, recoil check, grenade launcher, and bipod. Gas-operated (expansion-cutoff), 20-round magazine fed, and weighs approximately 8 1/4 lbs. Muzzle velocity 2750 fps. Cyclic rate of fire: 750-850 rpm. Complete with 20-round detachable box magazine. This model contended with the T44 rifle as a possible successor to the M1 rifle. The T44 was considered superior and the T47 development program was terminated in April 1953. During the T47 development, a heavy barrel version designated the T47E1 was also manufactured. However, its evaluation was limited and actually depended on the success of the T47 rifle test results.

Receiver: 64. RIFLE CALIBER .30 T47.
Select switch: REPEAT AUTO above select switch.
Magazine: J/1438.

Weapon transferred to the Museum on 26 January 1959. At that time weapon was appraised for $250.00.

2SEP45 - 30JUN51 - "As the result (Ordnance Committee Meetings 29132-S, 20 September 1945) a program was initiated in September 1945 for the design and development of a Cal..30 Lightweight Rifle, two experimental rifles had evolved by June 1951, the T-44 and the T-47. In the development of these weapons, stopping or wounding power was considered of paramount importance along with the weight and the selective semi and full-automatic requirements.
The background of the development of a selective fire semi and full automatic lightweight weapon had its beginning during World War II when reports from the combat theatres and from personnel returning from overseas stressed the need for efficient automatic weapons of light weight. The cal. .30 Browning Automatic Rifle, a comparatively heavy weapon, had proven itself to be both efficient and effective. The BAR which is usually carried as a squad or section weapon, is gas-operated, air-cooled, and has a magazine capacity of 20 rounds. Its rate of fire is approximately 300 to 350 rounds per minute at a slow rate, and at fast rate approximately 500 to 600 rounds per minute. It was originally designed as a shoulder-operated rifle, but it had many modifications which have increased its length and weight. In like manner the standard shoulder arm, the Cal..30, M1 had also proven itself superior to any of the semiautomatic weapons used by either our Allies or enemies. The M1, however, weighs 9 3/4 lbs. and is limited in magazine capacity to eight rounds.
In the light of the above considerations the Army Ground Forces, stated in September 1944 that a requirement existed for a weapon that would be similar in size, weight, and efficiency to the M1 rifle, and also lighter in weight that the BAR, the weapon to be fired either as a semiautomatic or full automatic rifle by the use of a change lever. The requirement further requested that the proposed weapon include the modification of the semiautomatic to M1 to include the selective semi or full automatic features to enable the operator to fire either way at will. The automatic fire was to be as effective as the standard BAR as far as dispersion, cone of fire, and ballistic characteristics. The proposed weapon was to include, also, a suitable 20 round magazine.
As a result of this requirement, the Armory was instructed to change the original specifications on a weapon under development, which was designated as the T-20. This cal..30 rifle was the first full modification of the M1 incorporating both semi and full automatic fire. Also, along with the development of this T-20 Rifle, investigations and designs had been undertaken by commercial manufacturers in an attempt to solve various development problems connected with it.
The first model of the T-20, which had been designed with features in mind that would require a minimum change in the parts and tooling These interim models, while incorporating semi and full automatic fire and having the feature of the utilization of some of the M1 parts and tooling, were not lightweight weapons in view of latter requirements. The requirement of a lightweight rifle was 7 pounds was stated in May 1946. However, work on a weapon to meet the desired military objectives was actually begun in March 1945 in the Office of the Chief of Ordnance Washington. The rifle under development at the O.C.O. was designed to meet the following desired military specifications: it was to be a cal..30 selective semi and automatic weapon, weighing 7 pounds was stated in May 1946. However, work on a weapon to meet the desired military objectives was actually begun in March 1945 in the Office of the Chief of Ordnance Washington. The rifle under development at the O.C.O. was designed to meet the following desired military specifications: it was to be a cal..30 selective semi and automatic weapon, weighing 7 pounds with an overall length of 42", having a magazine capacity of 20 rounds and sacrificing none of the efficiency and effectiveness of the M1. The result of the effort to meet these specifications was the weapon known as the Rifle, Caliber .30, T25, the prototype of the lightweight rifle designated the T-47. In 1947 this lightweight project which was begun in the O.C.O. was transferred to the Armory.
The T-25 Rifle was a light compact shoulder weapon, weighing about 7 pounds and 41 inches long, which delivered both full and semiautomatic fire, selectively. It was gas-operated, fed by a magazine of 20-round capacity, and accommodated both the straight and conventional stock.
The operational power of the T-25 was derived from the Gas Cutoff and Expansion System, which had been given a practical form in this rifle. Briefly, this system utilizes powder gases in much the same way as steam is utilized in a uniflow steam engine. A metered quantity of gas is bled from the barrel, trapped, and allowed to expand in a unique gas cylinder and piston arrangement. Applied power may be regulated as to magnitude, duration, and rate of application. Forces of relatively low order act over a relatively long distance, thus producing operating energy equivalent to that produced by the Gas Impingement System in which the gas piston gives a very short impulse of high intensity. The lowered accelerations and velocity of the moving parts in the Gas-Cutoff and Expansion System are considered to diminish magnitude of stress and impact values.
The results of the tests of the T-25 indicated that it had above average qualities in performance, effectiveness and accuracy. Although it proved to be incredibly strong, withstanding pressures in head space, and even withstood pressures up to 150,000 pounds without breakage of parts. Nevertheless, its basic weight of approximately 7 pounds proved to be too light for full automatic fire. The requirement for a 7 pound rifle employing the selective automatic feature, with the stopping power and stability of the M1 presented a most difficult problem considering the ballistics, weapon, and operator. The maximum weight requirement was finally determined to be virtually irreconcilable with the other features involved, and the weight specificatioSubsequent to the development of the T-25 Rifle, work was undertaken at the Armory on the development of a lightweight rifle which could utilize some of the M1 parts and tooling. This work required in the T-36 Rifle, which incorporated a number of the features of the T20E2 which has been mentioned. The T-36 weighed 8 1/2 pounds, was 41.25 inches long, and had a 20-round magazine. Operational power was derived from the Gas Impingement System. Further modifications and improvements of this rifle brought about the T-36 1/2 a development to reduce the weight of the T-36 which later became the T-37, a semi and full automatic rifle weighing 8 pounds and utilizing the magazine of the concurrent model, the T-25 Rifle. The T-37 included minor changes in the bolt and the bolt receiver and trigger mechanism of the M1.
It was fitted with a drop stock, was 41.25 inches long, weighed 8 pounds, and fired approximately 750 rounds per minute.
The T-37 Rifle evolved into the present T-44 Rifle, whose pilot model appeared in June 1951. In this model a change was made from the Gas Impingement to that of the Gas Cutoff and Expansion System. With lightweight box-construction magazine of 20 rounds, the weight of the T-44 is approximately 8 1/4 pounds; and, as in all previous versions of the lightweight rifle, it incorporates the feature of selective semi and full automatic fire. In the design of this model, which has a bolt action similar to that of the M1, consideration was given to the utilization of tooling which is used in the manufacture of the standard M1 rifle.
The T-25 Rifle, following the transfer of the project from the Office of Chief of Ordnance in 1947, was improved upon and is now designated the T-47 Rifle. Numerous mechanical refinements were made in the T-25 Rifle, and the present version facilitates quick filed stripping, assembly, and rapid removal of the 20-round magazine. In the redesign of the T-25 advantage was taken of a slight increase in the maximum weight specification which was allowed to produce a more stable weapon in full automatic fire. (The areas in which weight was saved in redesign included the magazine catch system and the stock clamp system, thus giving more latitude for incorporating more weight in other areas for a more rugged rifle.) The T-47 weighs approximately 8 1/4 pounds, features a conventional stock and has a straight bolt action.
The T-44 and the T-47 were equipped with bayonet, flash-hider, recoil check, grenade launcher, and bipod.
In the design and development of the lightweight rifle stopping or wounding power was considered of paramount importance with weight and selective automatic features. With the concurrent development of the new T-25 type cartridge, which was undertaken at Frankfurt Arsenal, the new light rifles are considered to have a stopping power equal to or superior to that of the standard military rifle. The T-65 cartridge is approximately one-half inch shorter than the standard M2 ammunition. It is the smallest-size round which is available for an armor piercing projectile and has the advantage of a flat trajectory which increases the probability of a 'hit' in firing at a target of estimated range. The T-65 projectile is presently available in ball, armor-piercing, and armor-piercing incendiary types. This new round can be used not only in the machine gun and in the lightweight rifles but also in the BAR, M1919A4 and six other models by minor conversions of these weapons. Other added features of this shorter and lighter ammunition are the saving in space during transportation and lessened weight to the user.
The foregoing is a brief summary of the evolution and Armory's participation in the development of the new lightweight rifle, two versions of which have been undergoing tests and consideration as possible successors of the standard shoulder arm, the M1. A detailed account of the efforts and contributions of private industrial corporations in this account has been omitted, but it should b1JUL51 - 31DEC51 - "In the development of the T47 and T47E1 rifles, the Mathewson Tool Co. is fabricating 45 new trigger housings and 100 modified firing pins. Thirty (30) operating slide covers have been received together with (9) trigger housings. Of the 35 five prong flash hiders ordered, twelve (12) have been received. The Corby Manufacturing Co. has fabricated fifty (50) grenade launchers for above flash hiders. The remaining 23 flash hiders will be fabricated with a 1/4" addition length in the prongs. They are also investigating the possibility of fabricating a brush ring from a carbine steel and copper brazing it into a notch in the prongs. Two (2) receivers made from 8620 steels have been ordered so that these receivers may be casehardened.
A new design of lightweight rear sight based, in general along commercial target rear sights, but with fast lead screws, has been designed and detailed. None, however, will be fabricated because of close tolerances and the resulting high cost. Instead, modified Lyman 48 Series rear sights have been modified for initial use on the first (10) T47 rifles. The weight is approximately 4 ounces. Initial calibration for the basic 100 to 800 yard zeroing is now being done by firing and interpolation.
Three (3) rifles have been assembled with new design of "Bolt Stop"; modified Lyman sights and five (5) prong flash suppressors. These three (3) rifles have been shipped to Aberdeen with twenty-five (25) magazines and spare parts.
Two (2) rifles with the above alterations are now at Springfield Armory, Testing Branch. One rifle has completed a 6000 round endurance test, and the second rifle has nearly completed the endurance test.
Fifty (50) magazines have been modified to function with new "Bolt Stop."
Rain tests have been conducted with "Bolt Locks" which were 'case hardened' and 'case hardened and chrome plated' on various surfaces for comparison with standard components.
A Bipod for T47E1 is in process of design by Associated Engineers.
The "Front Firing Pin" has been redesigned to provide increased endurance life.
A new "Bolt Dust Cover" has been designed and detailed, and is now awaiting checking.
Rate reducer study is in progress.
A "Gas Regulator Plug" has been designed, detailed, checked and is in the process of fabrication.
Heavy barrel parts for eight (8) rifles have been completed and delivered by Mathewson Tool Company. Two (2) rifles for U.K. shipment have been tested satisfactorily. They have been equipped with the latest type bolt stop.
A new magazine latching system with latches forward and aft of the magazine and incorporating a new magazine guide has been designed and extensively tested with satisfactory results. The fabrication of twelve (12) complete units have been completed, and like units are being fabricated for the heavy barrel T47E1 Rifles.
1JAN52 - 30JUN52 - "The development of a Cal..30 Lightweight Rifle, the T-47 Model was improved for general performance and for performance tests in rain, dust and mud. In the T-44 Model activities were directed toward improving the strength of its components and its function in general. Numerous rifles of both of the above versions were sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Benning, Marine Corps and foreign countries for further examination and testing...."
Development of the lightweight rifle with a weight not to exceed 8 1/2 pounds continued. Many experimental components of the T47 were designed, fabricated and test fired. Concentrated efforts were made to improve performance and to eliminate weakness of components that showed up in firing tests. Rifles, User Tested at Fort Benning, were equipped with new experimental shortened stocks and handguards to permit gases from the cylinder to exhaust directly into the air forward of the front band. This greatly improved the performance of the weapons in the rain, dust and heat tests. The best quality of bonding and workmanship yet achieved was consummated in the T47 Ri1JUL52 - 31DEC52 - "The program to develop a lightweight rifle continued during the period. A test of the T3 charger for the T47 rifle magazine proved unsatisfactory and development of this design was stopped. Fabrication of laminated stocks was started to alter the objectionable comb found in the tests that were conducted at Ft. Benning. The trigger housing with new recommended tolerances was redesigned."
1JAN53 - 30JUN53 - "The development of the T47 rifles was discontinued upon the advice that Fort Benning was no longer interested in this rifle."

Notes: This was the later version of the T25 modified in accordance with recommendations of Army Field Forces Board No. 3. The first ten of these were manufactured by the Mathewson Tool Co. Despite improvements to the weapon made at the Armory, weapon continued to have serious problems when dirty. In the 1952 trials, the T47 was judged more accurate than the T44 in the semi-auto mode, but the FN FAL outperformed both weapons. The T47 and the British EM-2 were rejected. "The T47 project was accordingly terminated," write Blake Stevens, "after having appropriated the lion's share of developmental U.S. lightweight rifle time and money for seven years." The T47 project was officially terminated in 1953.

Stevens, Blake. U.S. RIFLE M14 FROM JOHN GARAND TO THE M21. 2nd Ed. Collector Grade Publications Inc. Toronto, Canada. 1991.

SA-NM11-2501, Notes on Development Type Materiel for the Rifle. Caliber .30, T47, by Project Control Section, Research and Development Division. Springfield, Ma. May 16, 1952.

Rate Your Search

Searching provided by:
 Re:discovery Software Logo, and link to go to www.RedsicoverySoftware.com