Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record

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Maker/Manufacturer:PEDERSEN, JOHN D.
Date of Manufacture:1918
Eminent Figure:
Catalog Number:SPAR 1325
Measurements:OL: 32CM 12 5/8" 2.1 lbs. with empty magazine

Object Description:

Manufactured by Remington Arms, Bridgeport, Ct. - Device which converted Model 1903 MkI rifle from bolt-action to semi-automatic with 40-round magazine feed mechanism. Interchanged with regular bolt. 10-groove rifling, right hand twist. Weighs 2.1 lbs. with empty magazine. Also, see SPAR-1324 and SPAR-1326.

Rear housing: U.S.A. 1918-MARK I/63812. REMINGTON-BRIDGEPORT/PEDERSEN PAT.'S PENDING. Rear: Appears to be E.L.C./X.

Device transferred to the Museum on 28 January 1932.

See, SPAR-1324 (M1903 MkI Rifle); SPAR-1326 (Pedersen Magazine).

Notes: "After studying the actions in France during 1916/1917, the US Army came to the conclusion that the most dangerous time for infantryman was during the advance across No Man's Land, where the covering fire had stopped and the enemy was alert. With some urging from the French, the US authorities decided that the best solution would be to equip every man with an automatic rifle and have him fire from the hip as he advanced, so covering the area with bullets and making it most hazardous for any enemy to poke his head over the parapet of his trench. This was termed 'Walking Fire; and it is a theory which has re-appeared at various times since.
The prospect of producing an automatic rifle for every soldier was out of the question, and since the man would normally require a bolt-action rifle for other occasions the problem was a difficult one. It was eventually solved by John Pedersen, at that time working as a designer for Remington. He devised a method of removing the bolt from the standard M1903 Springfield rifle and replacing it with a simple blowback device fitted with its own magazine and a short barrel which, outwardly, resembled a .30-06 cartridge case. This fitted into the chamber of the rifle, after the bolt was removed, with the magazine protruding obliquely to one side, and thus, in fifteen seconds, the soldier had transformed his manual rifle into a species of submachine-gun or automatic rifle. The cartridge was specially designed by Pedersen to suit the device and has never been used in any other weapon; it resembles a lengthened .32ACP cartridge in appearance." - Ian Hogg & John Weeks

"ORIGIN: Designed by J.D. Pedersen in 1917, and manufacture begun in January 1918. 65,000 units made.
USE & DISTRIBUTION: Not issued to troops, due to Armistice in November 1918. Weapon kept secret till Spring of 1932.
METHOD OF OPERATION: The Pedersen Device fires from a closed bolt. Upon firing the pressure of the combustion gases, acting through the base of the cartridge case, forces the bolt and slide assembly to the rear. The cartridge case is carried to the rear, held by the extractor claw on the left side of the bolt face until the mouth clears the ejection port cut in the left side of the receiver, through which it is ejected by the spring-loaded firing pin, which then remains in its fully forward position, projecting 5/16" from the face of the bolt. The bolt then continues to the rear of the receiver, where it is stopped by a powerful buffer spring, at which point the compressed mainspring drives it forward, stripping a round from the magazine and chambering it.
FIRING METHOD: The sear of the Pedersen Device is tripped by the sear lever, which is actuated by the trigger mechanism of the rifle. The sear is pivoted on a pin driven through the frame, in such a manner that pressure forward on the sear lever along the axis of the receiver, forces it down out of engagement with the shoulder on the rear end of the tubular firing pin. The pin then moves forward, driven by the compressed firing pin spring, and strikes the primer.
As soon as the bolt starts to move to the rear, the firing pin spring is compressed within the hollow firing pin, causing the pin to remain tight against the cartridge primer during extraction, until the mouth of the cartridge case clears the edge of the ejection port, at which time the cartridge case is ejected by the forward motion of the firing pin. The bgger mechanism of the rifle.
LOADING METHODS: The rear lugs of the magazine are engaged in the recesses of the twin magazine catches. The magazine is then pulled to the rear against the tension of the magazine catch springs. The magazine is then allowed to rock forward until the front lugs engage in the slots machined in the magazine recess.
REMARKS: This device is used in U.S. Rifle, Cal..30, Model 1903 Mark I, which is a standard M1903 except for modifications to the sear, magazine cutoff, and the provision of an ejection port cut in the left side of the receiver. These modifications do not affect in any way the normal use of the rifle with the service cartridge." - U.S. ARMY ORDNANCE SCHOOL

"75 YEARS AGO - THE PEDERSEN DEVICE. These remarks refer to the 'Automatic Pistol, Caliber .30, Model 1918,' otherwise known as the 'Pedersen Device,' 65,000 of which were manufactured, though up to the very end of the war its very existence was known only to about two dozen officers, one of whom is the present write. In spite of its name this device is not an automatic pistol at all, but is best described as an 'automatic bolt' for the Springfield rifle, which can instantly be inserted in place of the regular bolt. It is fitted to a magazine loading 40 cartridges, which are of .30 caliber, so they will fit the barrel of the rifle, but are about the same size and power as the .32 automatic pistol cartridge. - Maj. Julian S. Hatcher (Mar. 1932)." - THE AMERICAN RIFLEMAN, May, 2007.

Army# 4880 - Transferred to Chief of Military History on 24 April 1957.

Hogg, Ian & John Weeks. MILITARY SMALL ARMS OF THE 20TH CENTURY. 6th Ed. DBI Books, Inc. Northbrook, Il.
U.S. Army Ordnance School. SUBMACHINE GUNS VOLUME I. Aberdeen Proving Ground. Aberdeen, Md. 1958.

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