Pedersen Model GY At RIA

Rock Island Auction seems to always have something special, but this particular item is exceptional even by those standards. Forgotten Weapons has a video overview of an extremely rare Pedersen GY rifle. This rifle was a Pedersen design from the late 1930s that copied its entire mechanism from the M1 Garand rifle. John D. Pedersen, it seems, was not above acting on the old axiom “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”:

Very little information is available on the GX and GY rifles; in fact very little is known even about what the differences between the two models are. I admit, I spent some time studying high resolution pictures of both types, and could not find any differences. What is known is that they are “Pedersen-ized” Garand clones; in operation. The GX/Y rifles are both gas port designs – like the main production M1 – which utilize en-bloc clips of a proprietary design. Evident in the blueprint below are some genuine improvements made to the Garand by Pedersen. First, Pedersen has separated the functions of the action spring and the magazine follower spring. Because of this, he has also given┬áthe follower itself the duty of actuating the clip release, which in my opinion is a much better arrangement than the Garand’s, which actuates via the operating rod catch. The final feature of the Pedersen GX/Y that is worth pointing out is that the operating rod spring is now nestled all the way through the operating rod. It’s not inconceivable that this could cause heating problems with the rifle.


Blueprint of the Pedersen GX rifle. Image source:

Those who have read the prologue to my series on the Light Rifle know that Pedersen was very sure of his victory – it must have been a serious blow to him to lose to John Garand (indeed, this also played a part in the loss of a British contract for his design as well). It’s difficult – impossible really – to tell whether the GX and GY rifles are evidence of Pedersen being humbled and returning to his art in the best way he knew how, or he undauntedly feeling he could do what Garand did, but better. Perhaps his actual feelings were somewhere in the middle.

Last year, James D. Julia auctioned off a GX. High resolution pictures of that rifle are available at the James D. Julia Auction website.

And, of course, the GY at Rock Island is up for auction here soon. That means there are high-resolution images available of that rifle on their site as well. Our readers should take a look at both the RIA GY and the JDJ GX and see if they can find any differences between the two rifles!

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at