John D. Pedersen
was a US arms designer. One of his notable inventions was the Pedersen
Device for the M1903 Springfield rifle in WW1. To help keep the device
secret it was given the designation “Automatic Pistol, Caliber .30, Model
of 1918”. To use the device you removed the Springfield bolt,
inserted the Pedersen device in its place, inserted the 40 round magazine
into the device & you had a 40 shot semi auto rifle shooting a .30
cal pistol cartridge. The idea was to have the semi auto device to
repel the German attacks on the US trenches. Each man would have
40 shots without reloading to stop the attack. 65,000 had been produced
when the war ended but only a few sent for demonstration purposes made
it overseas. The devices were placed in storage until the 1930s when
the decision was made that they were no longer needed & then they were
destroyed. Only a few survived, mostly in military museums.
In the 1920s Pedersen
designed a semi auto rifle to compete with the Garand. Both were
in .276 Pedersen caliber, a cartridge he had designed. The Garand
was a gas operated design. The Pedersen was a retarded blowback.
His rifle had a toggle action similar to the German Luger. This type
of action has no slow initial extraction (the Garand used a turning bolt
that moved the case slightly to the rear as it turned) so it tended to
tear the head off the cartridge case during the extraction cycle.
The answer was to use a lubricated case. Pedersen used a powdered
wax to coat the ammo.
Pedersen took his
rifle design to England & signed a contract with Vickers to produce
both rifles & carbines to try and sell on the world market. Nobody
adopted them but these Vickers Pedersen rifles & carbines are the most
common Pedersen rifles. Even they are very difficult to find.
When Pedersen left
England in 1932 he went to Japan to try and interest them in his rifle.
They experimented with the design from 1932 until 1936 when WW2 started
for them. One of their design changes was the use of a 10 round Mannlicher
style rotary magazine instead of the 10 round (8 round when the Garand
was changed to 30-06) en bloc clip that both the Garand & Pedersen
used. The Japanese Pedersen is the only one that has the spool magazine.
never told the Japanese about the need for lubricated ammo & they never
figured it out. So the rifle never performed to their satisfaction.
By 1935 it had progressed to the point that they made 12 rifles & 12
carbines for field testing. In 1936 Japan invaded China and all semi
auto rifle development work came to a halt at that time.
I recently received
an inquiry to my Arisaka Carbines & Rifles article asking if I could
help in identifying a Japanese rifle that had been obtained on Mindanao,
Philippine Islands in 1945. The rifle was described as a semi-automatic
with a bulbous stock that contains a cylinder that can be removed from
the bottom of the rifle. The bolt folds up into an inverted V exposing
the receiver & cylinder from the top of the rifle. From this
description, it could only have been a Japanese Pedersen rifle or carbine.
I emailed back with
a tentative ID & a request for photos and any other information to
confirm that it was indeed a Pedersen. The following photos show
that it is obviously a Japanese Pedersen carbine.
view. Note the offset rear sight at the rear of the receiver.
The sight is graduated with markings from 3 through 12 for elevation.
There is a small knurled knob at the top right of the sight that is turned
to adjust the windage. The windage graduations are from 0 through
tab directly in front of the rear sight is the release for the bolt hinge
pin. Pushing it in releases the hinge pin & it can be pushed
out through the receiver allowing the toggle assembly to be removed.
The stock cut out
above the rear of the magazine is for access to the bolt hold open.
When the magazine is empty, the bolt locks in the open position.
Pushing the button above the cut out releases the bolt & allows it