This animated gif is a clip from tomorrow’s TFBTV video featuring Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons and the rifle that almost beat the John C. Garand’s design to become standard-issue service rifle of the US forces during WWII. Garand thumb might have instead been Pedersen eye or cheek with that toggle-delayed blowback ejection!

Had the Pedersen rifle been adopted, NATO might today be using the .276 Pedersen instead of the 7.62x51mm NATO round and tens of thousands of man hours of debates on gun forums about the pros and cons of ditching the 7.62mm would never have occurred.

Watch our our video on Tuesday, which we think is the first video online of the Pedersen rifle being fired.

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  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Wow, that looks like an absolutely terrible ejection system.

    • ostiariusalpha

      If you watch slow motion video of an AR-15 ejection, it doesn’t look all that much more reassuring than the Pedersen’s pistol style ejection. The toggle also blocks the case from bopping you in the face. I would love to know if it ever really had any ejection issues (setting aside the latent extraction problems posed by using any blow-back action for a rifle cartridge).

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        It looks mechanically sound but what about that 2.5″ piece of metal blocking your target picture? That would get annoying.

        • ostiariusalpha

          You do realize that they just slowed the GIF down to make the movement of the action clear, right? In real life, it cycles too fast to worry about any sight picture obstruction. The recoil of the rifle would be far more distracting.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Yeah I know that.
            Still seems like a major distraction.

          • Jonathan Ferguson

            No more so than a Luger toggle, I.e. not at all.

          • Ian McCollum

            Yeah, it really is no issue at all. I actually like how thoroughly it blocks the sight picture when the gun is empty.

          • ostiariusalpha

            “YO, I AM EMPTY!”

          • Y-man

            “Yo! I am EMPTY! FEED ME!”

        • It works so quickly that you cant see it.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            I see, thanks.

          • MAUSERMAN

            Yup. Best example the luger pistol.
            When you fire it your brain is to slow to process the action of the gun.

          • CT

            When fired, the rifle looks a lot like a Luger.

        • Giolli Joker

          What about the sights on the slide of your pistol, recoiling back a couple of inches every time?
          Do they really bother you?
          If so, your reflexes are superhuman, you don’t need guns. 🙂

  • There’s a lot of cool stuff you can see in this GIF, for example you can watch the extractor snap over the rim of the case as the bolt head closes on the chamber.

  • Joe

    “Almost” is a bit misleading. The Pedersen suffered from a high intolerance to contaminants in the action due to the precisely machined delay system and did not fare well in testing. Additionally, the high extraction pressure required the cases be coated in a wax which was a mark against it in military use. Finally, the Garand was initially chambered in .276 Pedersen per the initial US Army request. The US Army (specifically Gen MacAurthur) rejected the .276 Pedersen and mandated that the new rifle should be in 30-06.

    • Vitsaus

      Yeah, I read that and thought “almost” was being generous to the point of mythology.

    • “Did not fair well in testing”

      It was the first selfloading rifle recommended by a US board for adoption. Experts in the UK were even so convinced it would be that Vickers worked with Pedersen to get production set up there, and in fact that’s where the rifle we shot was made.

      • Giolli Joker

        I wonder how a modern version with fluted chamber would work.
        It’s pretty cool.

        • I prefer the waxed ammo, honestly.

          As a modern weapon, it leaves a lot to be desired. You can’t put a scope mount over the action at all, for example (though the Garand had the same problem). The mechanism itself is sound, however, and I think retarded blowback is something that probably deserves more attention. Only the French have really invested in it.

          • Giolli Joker

            I love delayed blowback systems and I still believe that the most elegant is still the roller approach.
            So, unless you want to fit it in a different category, I’d say that the Germans invested the most on this kind of operation.

            What the French did on the FAMAS is surely interesting, but limiting their choice of ammo, so I don’t think it is the path to follow.

          • Oh fair enough. French and Germans.

  • wetcorps

    “Had the Pedersen rifle been adopted, NATO might today be using the .276 Pedersen instead of the 7.62x51mm NATO round and tens of thousands of man hours of debates on gun forums about the pros and cons of ditching the 7.62mm would never have occurred.”
    I’m a bit dubious of that, seing the way some caliber almost became religions 🙂

  • voldamane .

    There is nothing inherently wrong with a toggle as a mechanical device. It has a number of advantages including spreading the recoil of an explosive event across a longer amount of time limited stress on most parts, safety from blowback explosions where the bolt can drive into the face of the shooter (since the toggle in essence gives a rapidly moving loose part a vector up and above the shooter) and when the action snaps closed it serves to completely protect the bolt from dirt and foreign matter – something that is a problem with the Garand and won’t find a good solution elsewhere until you get the MAS 1938 and AG42 designs off the drawing board.

    In the GIF you are also seeing a mistake in how this weapon is setup. In the Luger and other toggle weapons the extractor is suppose to throw the brass clear if the weapon is in good working order and firing full-power ammo. In the GIF you see the case hitting the toggle and bouncing forward, implying that the ammo is not properly matched to the weapon or there is something going on inside of the weapon. Ammo hitting the toggle can be deflected back into the action.

    The main problems with a toggle are it is usually more complicated to clean, has more parts, and is generally harder to assemble in the field,

    • Lots of weapons have ejection patterns like that. Besides, cut the rifle some slack, it and the ammunition it’s firing are 85+ years old.

      I actually felt the toggle would be a bit easier to clean. You just pull it up and wipe it down. All the surfaces inside are pretty simple.

    • ostiariusalpha

      The case isn’t going to deflect off the toggle back into action any more than an ejected case will bounce off an AR-15 shell deflector back into it’s action. They both have way too much outward momentum for that.

    • UnrepentantLib

      The Swiss used the LMG 25 for a good long while. It was design by Colonel Furrer and used a toggle link mechanism rather successfully. Of course the Swiss are famous for precision machining and over engineering things. Furrer also design a submachinegun using a toggle, the MP41/44.

    • Stijn Van Damn

      there is no way that rifle can eject the case and then have the toggle knock it back in again. The front bit of the toggle, the part that closes on the chamber is well in front and already closing when it the case hits the toggel.. And the toggle is angled up at that point, knocking it away from the rifle..
      So BS on that.

  • Kivaari

    The .276 (7mm) cartridge was on the right path. Needing waxed cases to function was a poor idea. Like Japanese machineguns needing cartridge oilers to function.

    • I think you’d change your mind if you’d been there with us. The rounds we used were waxed 85 years ago and functioned perfectly. They do not pick up dirt or debris when feeding, and feel dry to the touch.

      • Kivaari

        That may be OK. The other ammo I used that was waxed, was 7.35mm in the machinegun strips. For that really horrible Italian machinegun. Had the primers been good, most rounds were hang-fires or dudes. The wax was quite thick on the bullet tips. I guess they dipped them and hung them bullet down until dry.

        • I can think of no disadvantage to the waxing process used for the Pedersen’s ammunition (which IIRC was designed by Pedersen himself), and I will note that it appears to act as an excellent preservative for the ammunition.

          The waxed Italian 7.35mm ammunition is miserable, I agree.

          • Kivaari

            If it works and doesn’t collect grit and grime, I don’t see a disadvantage. It is a shame that McArthur insisted on .30-06. As fine of a cartridge it is, the intermediates made more sense. We had all the machineguns, M1917s and M1919s, for ground mount, naval and aircraft use. Perhaps he felt with war on the horizon, and they knew it in the mid-30s, that the army did not want to change. then. Had it been peacetime maybe we would have it. By the 50s, we were in a war, and our side just would not accept small bores.
            At least we ended up with an advanced M16 variant. I like the 5.56mm and the AR pattern rifles. It just took a long time to get to it. The US concept of replacing rifles, light machineguns, SMGs, carbines and pistols with the M14. Who ever thought it would replace all the others, needed to be butt-stroked with one.

          • McArthur was actually just following Ordnance’s wishes. Realistically, the .30-06 was the better choice, because they never planned on replacing that caliber for machine guns.

            The M14 story is really interesting, and that’s why I’m doing the “Light Rifle” series of articles. A major part of that is why, exactly, they thought the M14 could replace all those different weapons.

          • Kivaari

            I remember seeing an article in the late 50s making that claim. I was perhaps 10 years old, and I thought they were out of their minds. A little time after that I was at our local Navy and Marine Corp reserve base. The Marines had one M14 for familiarizing his people. The M1s were still in use. When I joined in ’67, we still had WW2 weapons.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Pedersen didn’t invent the process, but he must have been very interested in cutting edge industrial applications. Taking mineral wax and dissolving it in carbon tetrachloride to produce a solution that would dry very thin & hard was pretty new at the time. That he saw it’s potential for the ammunition he had designed just shows how much he was an out-of-the-box thinker.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Actually, I’ve seen patents filed from 1921 and earlier describing the use of carbon tetrachloride to dissolve ceresin wax for application to a surface, which beats Pedersen’s earliest patent application by 5 years. Pedersen was simply the first to apply this to a cartridge (which is all he claims in the one patent), in the other patent he did invent the method of dipping heated cases in the hot solution to get a more consistent, even application.

    • Tassiebush

      I was worried about idea of waxed ammo too but then I remembered that .22lr is waxed also.

      • Kivaari

        22 ammo is waxed because the bullet is the same diameter as the case, so they need to lube the bullet. It was like most of our cartridges in the 1865-1890 era. Healed bullets with outside lube. A very bad idea. It was the Imperial Russians that started the inside lube practice, with the S&W .44 Russian. Case diameters remained the same, but the bullet was reduced from .44″ to .43″. It required a bore size reduction. Like the .38 Long Colt, had a .38 diameter bullet. With all the negative features found on them. The S&W .38 Special used the inside lube approach. That is why we ended up with .38s being .357s. The rest is history. Even the .22 WRF (later the magnum) used an inside lubed bullet. The .22 AUTO for Winchesters first .22 semiautomatic rifle used the bigger case. Since leaving it as a .22 LR, when black powder rounds were common, would have made the auto rifle fail too quickly. The ’03 rifle did not catch on, once ammo makers abandoned the use of black powder.

        • Tassiebush

          Yeah quite right the two are waxed for pretty different reasons. I was really thinking of it more from an ammo durability angle.

  • Ben

    The way that the toggle smacks the rear sight housing every time the gun cycles isn’t exactly confidence inspiring when it comes to retaining zero. Design considerations may eliminate that as a problem, but at first glance I don’t like it.

    • As far as I can tell it held zero fine. The rear sight housing is very robust.

    • gunsandrockets

      Yeah, that toggle really bangs into it.

  • Tom

    Thanks for posting this. Quite frankly, I think this is the first I’ve seen of this rifle. It’s always a good day when I realize I don’t know everything, quite yet.

  • Ed

    Somebody named Nathaniel F has a man crush on Penderson!!! LOL

    • Man, you would too if you were there. It’s a seriously impressive rifle for being designed in 1925.

    • J E

      So did John Moses Browning…

  • Kivaari

    Those rifles have always had eye appeal.

  • nadnerbus

    That is hypnotic to watch. Gonna save that one.

  • Libertarian1911

    Tough to mount a scope on that thing.

    • ostiariusalpha

      The Japanese just mounted the scope on the side of their Pedersen rifles.