1919-31 experimental rifles

exper semi-auto rifles 1919-31

Attempts at producing semi-automatic rifles that could fire the full-power military rifle cartridge continued with increasing intensity following the First World War. Many private designers and manufacturers submitted their weapons to the testing trials at Springfield Armory where any weakness or strength became immediately apparent.

The Bang M1922 rifle

The Model 1922 Bang rifle using the sliding muzzle-cap system.

Springfield Armory NHS archives, US NPS

The Model 1922 Bang rifle was a modification of the earlier Models of 1909 and U.S. .30" caliber Model 1911 Bang rifles. Produced in .256" caliber (6.5mm Krag), the rifle was handled by the inventor Soren Bang at the U.S. Ordnance Department trials in 1927 and 1919. “CLICK” here for Close-up view. “CLICK” here for Disassembled view.


Capt. Hatcher 1920 redesign of the Bang rifle

The first of several rifles submitted to test trials by Capt. James Hatcher, the 1920 rifle was not robust enough for military service.

Springfield Armory NHS archives, US NPS

An improvement of the original Bang rifle, manufactured at Springfield Armory following WWI by Colonel James Hatcher, the brother of Major General Julian Hatcher. It was more rugged but was still not strong enough for general service use. It was abandoned after results from comparative tests in 1920. “CLICK” here for left side view. “CLICK” here for top view. “CLICK” here for disassembled view. “CLICK” here for a technical drawing.


Hatcher's second rifle based on the Bang rifle

This rifle used the Bang rifle muzzle sleeve system as had his earlier 1920 rifle, but it was a more robust design.

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

Manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma.

About September, 1920, Captain James L. Hatcher, then on duty in the Experimental Department at Springfield Armory, was directed to supervise the design of a semi-automatic rifle. This rifle was to have the principle and main mechanical features of the Bang Gun, which gave considerable promise in tests of a few years earlier, but to be better balanced, easier to handle, and have its parts so designed as to offer no special difficulty in manufacture. Development of the Bang system, as displayed in this rifle, was discontinued after the 1922 tests of this weapon “. . . by reason that while the design was not considered to be impractical, the tappet actuator system of Mr. Garand appeared to offer greater promise.”(from History of Army Ordnance and Experimental Projects) “CLICK” here for left side view. “CLICK” here for view of the rifle’s major components. “CLICK” here for disassembled view. “CLICK” here for close-up of the working parts.


Thompson M1921 rifle compared to Garand M1921 rifle

The Blish system was designed so that opposed inclined steel surfaces are locked together by friction under high pressure and that the friction between the locking surfaces decreases as the pressure in the gun decreses finally becoming small enough to permit the residual pressure in the barrel to force open the bolt.

Springfield Armory NHS archives, US NPS

Thompson Autorifle Model 1921 [top], submitted by Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing, Inc., for the 1921 trials used the Blish principle of metal adhesion, used in the famous Thompson submachine gun (“Tommy Gun”), as developed by Gen. John T. Thompson. This weapon was preceded by a similar model the year before. In trials in 1921 against the Garand Model 1921 [bottom], the Thompson rifle performed poorly. Later efforts by Colt with rifles using the Blish system were similarly disappointing.


Thompson test rifles

Weapons submitted for the Nov-Dec 1921 tests:
TOP: Thompson Autorifle Model P.C., by Colt’s
MIDDLE: Thompson Autorifle Model V, submitted by Colt’s
BOTTOM: Bertier system semiauto rifle submitted by U.S. Machine Gun Co.

Springfield Armory NHS archives, US NPS

U.S. RIFLE MODEL 1923 THOMPSON .30 SN# 9 SPAR3655 (not pictured)
Manufactured by Colt, Hartford, Ct.

U.S. RIFLE MODEL 1923 THOMPSON .30 SN# 13 SPAR3656 (not pictured)
Manufactured by Colt, Hartford, Ct.

Berthier system semi-auto rifle submitted by the U.S. Machine Gun Co.

“CLICK” here to see left side view of these weapons.


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I’m having trouble figuring out this ammo. Is it .257 Magnum or 6.5 Krag-Jorgensen? Or something else entirely?

.30-06 Springfield, 6.5×55mm Swedish

Self-loading rifles S.Kh. Banga (Denmark-USA)

August 3 20165

The rapid development of small weapons, observed at the beginning of the last century, led to the emergence of a mass of original projects. Both recognized leaders of the arms industry and new designers joined the work on the creation of new designs. For example, at the end of the twentieth years of the 20th century, the Danish gunsmith Soren Hansen Bang offered his version of a semi-automatic rifle. Subsequently, he several times updated the original design and presented a whole range of rifles based on the same principles.

In his project, which started at the end of the first decade of the last century, the Danish designer decided to use a gas engine, which was not very common at that time. The appearance and rather wide distribution of cartridges with smokeless powder allowed the use of such automation without the risk of serious delays in shooting and disruption of the mechanisms. However, due to the lack of worked out solutions S.Kh. Bangu had to independently create a common architecture of weapons, as well as to work out some of its features.

Semi-automatic rifle S.Kh. Banga Photo Forgottenweapons.com

The first version of the self-loading rifle S.Kh. Banga appeared in 1909 year. In the original project, the designer suggested the main ideas, which were further refined several times in order to create new systems. This weapon was intended for use by the .30-06 Springfield cartridge and was able to reload itself. The bang rifle of the first version was tested, but did not fully suit its creator. The result of this decision was the emergence of a new version of the project with the improvement of some parameters. This version of the rifle is known under the designation M1911.

In the project arr. 1911 was modified some technical and technological features of the weapon, which led to some improvement in performance. In addition, it was in the second version of the project that the main features of the new design were formed. Subsequently, they were finalized in one way or another, but the overall architecture of the product remained almost unchanged. The principles of work also remained without significant changes.

The Bang M1911 rifle was a long-barreled rifle cartridge weapon that had a certain similarity with other developments of the time. On a wooden bed of great length all the necessary units were attached. It is interesting that a significant part of the automation components was placed not in the receiver, like many other rifles, but inside the box. Also, some of the details protruded beyond the lodge.

The receiver of the weapon, the shutter is closed. Photo Forgottenweapons.com

The rifle received a barrel caliber 7,62 mm, designed for the cartridge .30-06 Springfield (7,62x63 mm). A characteristic feature of the barrel was a movable muzzle device. It was made in the form of a cap with an expanding rear part, placed in front of the muzzle cut of the trunk. When fired, the bullet had to freely pass through the choke, and the gases fell into the existing cavity and pushed it forward. The muzzle device was rigidly connected with one of the burdens of automation.

The breech of the trunk was rigidly attached to the front wall of the receiver. The latter was made in the form of an oblong unit of small height, almost completely placed inside the box. Only two gate guides, as well as part of the breech, protruded above the lodge. Inside the box there was an integral box magazine and a trigger mechanism in the small-sized receiver. Also, under the cover of a wooden part, there was located a traction control and a return spring. In front of the receiver had a swing lever automation.

Open rifle. Photo Forgottenweapons.com

On the upper guides of the receiver should move the bolt group. Its main detail was a frame made in the form of a casing with a semicircular upper surface. Also on the frame there was a groove guide for controlling the shutter, next to which there was a corresponding protrusion on the outer surface. Inside the movable frame was a cylindrical valve with a swivel head. The barrel should be locked by turning the bolt using two lugs. The rotation of the shutter was carried out by the interaction of the protrusion of the shutter and the guide frame. The bolt carrier had a handle for reloading. To automatically perform all the necessary operations, the frame could contact with the lever of automation. Behind the slide group was its own return spring.

The M1911 rifle got a firing-type impact trigger. Inside the rear of the receiver were placed the trigger and a number of other parts, and inside the gate was a spring-loaded drummer. When you press the trigger unlock occurred drummer, followed by a shot. There was also a manual fuse, which allowed to exclude a spontaneous shot.

Powder device responsible for the use of powder gases. Drawing from the patent 1922 g.

To supply ammunition rifle S.Kh. Banga received an integral box store. Inside the box, under the receiver, was placed a box-shaped body, designed to install the spring and pusher. Shop equipment should be carried out using standard clips for .30-06 cartridges. To use the clip, the slide group should have been moved to the back position, which opened access to the store.

On the upper surface of the barrel, the designer placed the front sight and an open mechanical sight. Such sights allowed firing at ranges of up to several hundred meters.

The rifle received a wooden box of great length with an upper lining of the barrel. In the back of the box was a butt with a pistol protrusion that did not have the possibility of adjustment. Wooden parts were connected with metal with screws and clamps.

Self-loading rifles S.Kh. Banga (Denmark-USA)
Details of the Bang rifle arr. 1922 using the cartridge 6,5х55 mm Crag. Photo Nps.gov

The Bang M1911 rifle magazine was equipped with a retractable shutter using a clip. The supply of cartridges manually, one by one, was also not excluded. After filling the store, the bolt group had to be delivered forward, which led to the dispatch of the upper cartridge and the locking of the barrel. The weapon was ready to fire.

The principle of operation of automation, developed by S.Kh. Bangom, by modern standards looks very unusual. During the shot, the powder gases escaping through the barrel of the barrel should have fallen into the cavity of the choke. Under the pressure of gas, the device went ahead and set in motion its cravings. The traction, in turn, interacted with one of the arms of the swinging arm, placed in front of the receiver. Turning the lever to a certain angle caused his upper shoulder to push the bolt group back. Moving back, the bolt carrier made the bolt turn and unlock the barrel. Under the influence of inertia, the slide group went back, removed and discarded the cartridge case, while simultaneously charging the trigger.

Then the work included a compressed return spring gate. She sent the moving parts ahead, in charge of completing the recharge cycle. When the bolt group was moving forward, the upper cartridge from the magazine was hooked to the dismounting line. Then the cartridge went into the chamber, and the shutter, having reached the front position, turned around its axis and locked the barrel. After that, the weapon was ready for a new shot. Prior to the use of existing ammunition, the automatics did not need the assistance of the shooter, performing all operations on their own.

Hatcher-Bang self-loading rifle arr. 1920 Photo by Forgottenweapons.com

According to various sources, S.Kh. Bang offered his rifle to several potential customers. A number of such products were sent for inspection to the United States, the United Kingdom and, possibly, to other countries. Foreign experts carried out all the necessary tests, according to the results of which certain conclusions were drawn. As it turned out, with all its advantages, the S.H. rifle Banga had certain drawbacks that prevented its mass production and operation.

One of the test cycles was conducted by experts of the Springfield Arsenal (USA). It was found that the proposed automation provides self-reloading weapons and shows a fairly high reliability. Characteristics of accuracy and accuracy of fire left a good impression. There were some technical problems, but overall the rifle proved to be a good example of weapons. Nevertheless, there were quite serious flaws that degraded the characteristics of the rifle, as well as lead to other unpleasant consequences.

One of the main problems of the Bang M1911 rifle was the small thickness of the walls of the barrel, because of which this detail was heated too quickly. Also, the inner channel of the box, which contained the trunk, was not sufficiently perfect. Due to too close arrangement of metal and wooden parts, overheating of the lodge was observed, including with charring of the upper layer of wood. Thus, prolonged shooting at first led to an unacceptable bending of the barrel and making it difficult to hit the target, and then had some chances to provoke a fire in the box. Naturally, such features of the weapon did not suit potential customers.

M1920 rifle scheme. Figure Nps.gov

In 1922, the Danish gunsmith created a new version of his weapon, which received the appropriate name. The product M1922 was based on existing principles, but differed barrel chambered for 6,5x55 mm Krag. The main parts of the weapon were recycled in connection with the use of a different ammunition. In particular, it was necessary to change the parameters of the springs and the geometry of some parts of automation. Like the predecessor rifle, the new Bang M1922 was tested not only by the authors of the project, but also by foreign experts.

The new version of the rifle was tested at several sites, but also could not interest potential customers in the face of the armies of third countries. The design of the weapon kept some problems of predecessors, and also had new lacks. For example, the use of the new cartridge could not suit the customer in the face of the US Army, who preferred the .30-06 Springfield ammunition.

The rifles of the Danish designer in the existing form did not suit the potential customers, but American designers were interested in them. In the early twenties, the construction of the authorship S.Kh. Banga has received an interesting development in the form of several projects created by experts of the Springfield arsenal. The main inspiration for this work was Col. James L. Hatcher.

M1921 Hatcher-Bang rifle. Photo Nps.gov

In 1920, Colonel Hatcher developed an improved version of the Bang rifle, distinguished by its receiver design. One of the problems of the first projects of S.Kh. Banga was an unfortunate design of the receiver, which allowed the ingress of dirt into the weapon. In order to eliminate such problems, the Hatcher-Bang M1920 received a cylindrical upper part of the receiver, which served as the casing of the bolt with a set of internal guides. The front part of the box was also shortened, due to which the thrust of the muzzle device remained without closing its details.

Next year D.L. Hatcher significantly updated the existing design. Now the receiver was the main element of the middle part of the rifle, and was also equipped with attachments for the forend and stock. The overall architecture of the automatics, despite such changes, remained the same: recharging had to be carried out with the help of a movable choke, connected with a thrust and a lever.

According to reports, in the early twenties, two experimental rifles of Colonel Hatcher, based on designs S.KH. Banga, have been tested and demonstrated their capabilities. The used modifications made it possible to get rid of some of the design flaws, but even in an improved form, the new rifles could not interest the army. Hatcher-Bang rifles still retained some flaws, and in addition, several other projects of self-loading rifles with the required parameters have appeared.

M1934 rifle - last attempt C.H. Banga modify his weapon. Forgottenweapons.com Figure

The last attempt of S.Kh. Banga to improve the existing design has become a project of the early thirties. In 1934, a new version of the rifle with “traditional” gas automatics was proposed. At this time, the designer refused from the muzzle device and equipped the weapon with a piston with a short stroke. The gas chamber was designed as a new modular device with two connected cylindrical cavities. The rifle could be equipped with 6,5 mm, 7 mm, 7,9 mm and 8 mm barrels. Offered modifications with magazines on 5 or 20 cartridges. The latter had a box construction and could be removed from the weapon. Like its predecessors, the Bang 1934 rifle of the year did not interest the customers and did not leave the testing stage of the experimental products.

Since the end of the first decade of the 20th century, Sören Hansen Bang has created several versions of a self-loading rifle with original gas automatics. In the early twenties, the American designer, Colonel James L. Hatcher, joined the development of this design. As a result, two gunsmiths created a whole range of advanced weapons, which, however, could not interest potential customers. After passing the test, all new samples faced a failure, not being able to enter mass production.

To carry out all the necessary inspections by a few companies from different countries, a relatively small number of experienced self-loading rifles of all types were manufactured. This weapon passed all the necessary checks, but failed to interest the military. As a result, all the prototypes were out of work. To this day, only a few such items have survived, which are now exhibits of museums or are kept in private collections.

In its first project, the Danish gunsmith offered an interesting and unusual design of gas automatics, but other features of his project led to a number of characteristic flaws. Serious problems of various kinds closed the way for new weapons in the army. The development of self-loading rifles continued with the use of other ideas that are still used in new projects.

There have been 10’s of threads discussing experimental rifles.

I like the idea of offering these as alternatives to players in order to drive up the customisation aspect of the game. However, I’d also like to see the lack of reliability of these weapons implemented in game as well. Stoppages or jams etc… should be abstracted into these weapons to some level of consistency with their historical notes.
Make these weapons much cheaper to obtain then regular weapons and remove the options for upgrade you basically get the single version of the weapon. Alternatively where there were some ongoing improvements allow the upgrade system for this weapon to represent those modifications which the vendor was making on the fly in order to make the weapon suitable for selection.
This would give players more choice, reduce cost and introduce a relatively innocuous abstraction to the game with all sorts of weird and wonderful weapons that were of the correct period and at least do not destroy game immersion for those who do like to see a more historically accurate side of Enlisted.

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