Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3595: J.C. White Self-Loading Rifle 30-06

Auction Date: December 6, 2015

Extremely Rare Unique J.C. White "Experimental" 30-06 Semi-Automatic Rifle with Pedersen Type Toggle Locked Breech Mechanism and Documentation

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $18,000 - $27,500

Extremely Rare Unique J.C. White "Experimental" 30-06 Semi-Automatic Rifle with Pedersen Type Toggle Locked Breech Mechanism and Documentation

Manufacturer: J.C. White
Model: Self-Loading Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 30-06
Barrel: 23 3/4 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 3692
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 213
Class: Curio & Relic Long Gun

This is a fabulous example of "one-of-three" different J. C. White "Experimental" semi-automatic rifles that we have for sale in this auction. These three White experimental rifles remained virtually undiscovered for over 50 years in an unknown martial arms collection until discovered and purchased in 2006. This amazing discovery is discussed in the fall 2006 issue of the Garand Gun Collector journal, on pages 3-11 with these very unique and intriguing rifles being discussed in several areas of the books "Hatcher's Notebook" and the "Book of the M1 Garand" by Julian Hatcher. It is amazing that all three rifles were still together after all these years and all three were stored in the same wooden box. These three rifles were developed as prototype/test example for the U. S. Army in the early 1930s when the U.S. Army was looking for a new semi-automatic rifle. All three are certainly "unique" and certainly "One of a Kind" rifles that represent three different approaches being developed for the U.S. Military. The White story is intriguing and sketchy at best, and began in 1929 when the War Department issued an invitation to all manufacturers for the development and submission of candidate semi-automatic rifles for testing. In August 1929, J.C. White, who was a young engineer and firearms inventor that was working for the United Shoe Machinery Company in Mass at the time, presented to the U.S. Ordnance Board his unfinished, early prototype semi-automatic rifle designed for testing and evaluation. As part of his submission, he asked that he be granted an additional six-weeks extension to complete his rifle so that a full and complete evaluation could be conducted of his weapon. His weapon was accepted, however, he was denied the extension and as such his candidate weapon was disapproved. At that time the U.S. Government already had on hand, "six" different candidates for testing and evaluation; four were rejected with the other two being approved for further testing; those being the M1 Garand and Pedersen rifles. Undaunted he continued to work and develop his candidate rifles and in so doing in May 1930, he did submit it to the board "two" other completed rifles for testing. This example is actually a full sized semi-automatic rifle which fired the standard military 30-06 cartridge. It was obviously intended to compete against the Garand and Pedersen designed rifles. It has very similar handling characteristic to the M1, however it utilized a toggle-lock type breech/action mechanism that is very similar to the Pedersen design, combined with an almost blow-back recoil system very similar to the later M1941 Johnson Automatic rifle design. In this configuration the barrel and the receiver are fixed together and actually recoil rearward during the cycling of the action. Its assumed that this rearward movement, initiates the unlocking of the toggle breech mechanism. It uses an enbloc magazine design similar to the Garand and Pedersen. It has a full length one-piece walnut stock with has perforated cooling holes on the underside of the stock with a short half-length perforated steel handguard or heat shield on top of the barrel. The sides of the stock has deep finger grooves and the rear section of the stock is identical to a 1903 Springfield pistol grip stock. The front barrel band has a integral bayonet lug on the underside and doubles as a barrel band to stabilize the barrel during the recoil cycle. It has a fixed blade front sight with a fully adjustable rear also similar in design to the pedersen rifles. Although the rifle appears to be very robust and extremely well machined, it was not tested much, as it was considered way too complicated for a military service rifle. The written report on the rifle noted that it handles well, is not unduly heavy and is free from awkward projections. It also states that the method of retaining the action and barrel to the stock is totally unsatisfactory and would not be suitable for bayonet fighting. A very unique and certainly one of kind White experimental gas operated semi-automatic rifle. It is accompanied by the noted GCA article, a short article by Anthony Williams on the history of the White rifles, copies of the various patent filings for this rifle and one original enbloc magazine designed for this rifle.

Rating Definition:

Very fine with 75% of the blue finish overall showing minor handling marks and blue loss on the top and side of the receiver from cycling the action. The stock is also very fine with only very minor handling marks on the sides in some areas, however there is a minor stress crack on the front underside of the stock behind the front stacking swivel, that extends reward for approximately 4 inches, through several of the perforated cooling holes.

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