Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1663: Springfield Armory U.S. T1 Rifle 276

Auction Date: September 10, 2016

Historic and Rare Springfield Armory John D. Pedersen Patent U.S. Semi-Automatic Test Rifle "T1" in .276 Pedersen

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $55,000 - $85,000

Historic and Rare Springfield Armory John D. Pedersen Patent U.S. Semi-Automatic Test Rifle "T1" in .276 Pedersen

Manufacturer: Springfield Armory U.S.
Model: T1
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 276
Barrel: 24 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 3838
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 312
Class: Curio & Relic Long Gun

This is a fabulous example of an exceptionally rare and historically significant Pedersen "T1" test rifle chambered in the .276 Pedersen cartridge. This rifle is one of the most significant U.S. test rifles that we have had the chance to offer for sale. In the early days after WWI nearly every country in the world acknowledged the advantages of using a new and improved semi-automatic rifle and were actively seeking to design and produce new rifles. Initially, countries struggled with which cartridge was the best to use, what should the weight of the rifle be, and, obviously, what is the correct magazine capacity; you can't give the infantry soldier too much ammunition as he will just shoot it all up! Don't these arguments sound familiar? While most U.S. Ordnance Board members continued to compare any new candidate rifle to the standard Springfield Model 1903 rifles using the 30-06 cartridge, some advocated going to a new small, high velocity cartridge with a lighter bullet and cartridge weight so the soldier could carry more ammunition. To that end, the U.S. Ordnance Board in 1922 began the search for suitable candidate rifle to test and evaluate. This effort finally culminated in the "second series" of rifle tests of 1929. At that time, the Ordnance Board had reduced the various competitors down from six to two suitable candidates: the early "T3" rifle developed by John Garand and the "T1" rifle designed by John D. Pedersen, a brilliant mechanical engineer that even John Browning had said was a near genius, which is the rifle we have for sale here. Both rifles were chambered in the very early .276 Pedersen cartridge; a smaller, high velocity cartridge firing a bullet that weighed approximately 125 grains. In 1928, the U.S. Ordnance Board had directed the Pedersen company to manufacture approximately 20 test weapons, 5 carbine versions for the calvary and 15 rifle versions for the infantry. This rifle is serial numbered "19" and it is clear that this was certainly one of the 20 prototype or test rifles manufactured for the 1929 tests. It has the correct full length 24 inch barrel with the spiral cooling fins on the rear section of the barrel. The patented toggle lock type action similar to the Luger pistol was developed by John Pedersen. It used the new "enbloc" magazines also developed by John Pedersen. It was fitted with a full length walnut stock similar to the 1903 Springfield with finger grasping grooves on the sides and 9 elongated cooling vents on the underside of the forend. It was fitted with a short stamped steel, perforated rear handguard. It has all milled parts to include both of the barrel bands and the front sight, all similar to the Model 1903 rifle parts. The rear of the receiver was fitted with a newly designed fully adjustable rear sight that was adjustable for both windage and elevation. The left side of the receiver is stamped in two lines: "U.S. SEMI-AUTO RIFLE T1/CAL. .276 PEDERSEN PATENTS". The top of the receiver ring is also stamped "SA", for Springfield Armory, and the left side is numbered "19". This rifle design eventually lost out the T3 design submitted by John Garand, which eventually resulted in the famous M1 Garand chambered in the standard .30-06 cartridge. This was an excellent design that was extremely well made, but it had a couple major problems that really kept it from being more successful than the Garand design. Those were: the .276 cartridge had to be "waxed" to sufficiently operate in this rifle, which the board found totally unacceptable in an infantry type weapon, it also had considerable more parts, costing more to manufacture, and it was heavier. After the 1929 test, the Ordnance Board selected the John Garand's T3 rifle and directed that he continue to redesign and improve his rifle. He redesigned his rifle to fire the old standard .30-06 cartridge based on the board's direction, and he also finally accepted the "enbloc" magazine (from John Pedersen) but redesigned it so that it could be loaded from either side and used it in his rifle. The rest is history.

Rating Definition:

Excellent with 95% of the original blued military type metal finish, high spot wear overall, and thinning of the blue on the box magazine. The markings are clear and sharp. The stock is in very fine condition with a nice dark walnut color overall showing only minor handling marks on the side in a few places. Mechanically excellent. This is truly the missing link in most US martial arms collections that bridges the gap between the Pedersen rifle designs and the John Garand rifle design.

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