Experimental Reising 7.62mm Full-Auto Battle Rifle

In the late 1950s or early 1960s, Eugene Reising experimented with adapting the mechanism of his submachine guns to a locked-breech 7.62mm NATO military pattern rifle. The resulting rifle used an M14 gas piston and a bolt that was fully locked into the top of the receiver (instead of being a delayed blowback like the SMGs). It was assembled into the stock from an H&R .22 caliber M!4 simulator, which was another rifle also designed by Reising.

Ultimately the design was not successful, although I have no specific data on why.

66 Comments

  1. Very interesting post – I was not aware of any such thing, although in retrospect the locked breech of the SMG (while perhaps overkill for the .45 ACP) makes a lot of sense in a full power battle rifle, in the mid 50s. I mean, how many other SMGs could be upgraded to .308?

    Many thanks for the unusual and interesting presentation!

    CG

    • “other SMGs could be upgraded to .308”
      Does this count: https://www.forgottenweapons.com/british-308-sterling-prototype/
      or it is too far from progenitor?

      “locked breech of the SMG (while perhaps overkill for the .45 ACP)”
      Is Reising SMG locked breech design? I always though it is delayed-blow-back.

      “overkill for the .45 ACP”
      Query in Russian wikipedia, https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reising_M50_/_M55
      described it as nearer to self-loading rifle, with ability to fire full-auto, than to sub-machine gun in that aspect. It is also noted that Reising, despite using non simplest principle was cheaper than Thompson SMG (~$50 vs ~$225 for example, but without specifying Thompson variant). It should be also noted that it was lighter than Thompson sub-machine gun.

      • 7.62x25mm is the best calibre for smgs I think, with a high fire rate. Slower fire rates might be better for 9mm at range in order to hit, at extended smg range. But most smg range is closer, I think. So shred the bugger, guaranteed hit… One or two will do the enemy no good- Lesser trained troops, or, well trained troops die. Then run off and do it again, and so on. The Mp40 wasn’t semi auto so nobody wanted it as a carbine.

        • Walking fire… Smgs… The enemy fires back, you won’t walk then, particularly if hit. Better spray, duck. Spray etc. 9mm slow rate guns are perhaps ideal on ranges.

          • You could even close your eyes, and still hit a kraut.

            Alot of conscripts are squeamish, and rightly so, obviously.

          • Meh, war is a numbers game. If you don’t hit, it doesn’t count.

            Ze Kaisers War machine was wiped out killing untrained… Well, inexperienced troops, who died in droves clearly, which is unfortunate. But the point is, being Rambo trained in such circumstances meant nothing. Slaughterhouse, and that damaged the German Army in WW1 they’d made a great Army that was eviscerated for half the economic cost.

          • you have no idea what youre even talking about…the ppsh while ok wasnt te best nor was it close id stick to shoving your head up your ass if i were you as youre not very smart………russia lost as hey had no freedom and over 40 million russians were killed by russians…while all the stuff germany is accused of is allegedat best with little to no proof

        • “Mp40 wasn’t semi auto”
          MP40 has low Rate-Of-Fire (for sub-machine gun of that era), which allowed to make single shots quite easily, despite lack of selector.

        • “Some U.S. infantry officers ranked the PPSh as the best combat weapon of the war: while lacking the accuracy of the U.S. M1 Garand and M1 carbine, it provided more firepower at short distances.[19] As infantry Captain (later General) Hal Moore, stated: “on full automatic it sprayed a lot of bullets and most of the killing in Korea was done at very close ranges and it was done quickly – a matter of who responded faster.” That’s an extract from Wikipedia, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/PPSh-41
          which I hadn’t even read. Clever aren’t I.

          • Korean War, was tactic-wise somewhat similar to First World War, as in both several trenches were dig. So, it is not surprise that weapon belonging to class of (let’s call it that) “1st generation” sub-machine guns, that is class created exactly for usage in such environment, was successful.
            Crucial here is that: at very close ranges
            With introducing of intermediate cartridge and avtomat for firing it, PPSh-like sub-machine guns, not because they fail in their intended role, but because avtomats can do it with similar effectiveness and also allow engaging targets from further distance, thus this is specialized vs general-purpose issue.
            Notice that after Second World War PPSh-like don’t attained high-scale production, instead sub-machine gun evolved into smaller (more compact) and lighter weapons.

          • Well, I think we are missing out on a true gem of Military technology. I’ve fired a Romanian Akm in full auto at 100 metres, from the shoulder and I may have hit the target. But it wasn’t obvious… Aksu 5.45mm was much better admittedly, it was very obvious every round probably hit.

            But at range, the 5.45mm isn’t much better than the 5.56mm out of short barrels. So I inclined to think 7.62x39mm is better in semi auto and 7.62x25mm in full.

            Which leads me to the conclusion, SKS and Ppsh as oppose Ak, because nobody fires full auto unless they are at close range.

          • Essentially I’d make L86’s in 7.62x39mm and strip them down a bit. Then make a whole load of Ppsh’s. I am not convinced one gun can do all, it like planes the F35 for example it doesn’t really do either job so well enough to justify it- But it exists because on paper a one size fits all solution is good for politicians writing cheques.

          • “SKS and Ppsh as oppose Ak”
            But then you need two weapons instead of one, taking SKS and PPSh would be more cumbersome that one AK.

      • Well, let’s see:

        1) The Reising SMG, as I understand it, fires from a closed and locked bolt. But let’s presume that I’m wrong and it is delayed blowback. It is still overkill (in terms of complexity) for a relatively low pressure round like .45 ACP. The evolution of SMGs in that caliber trended towards slam fire weapons with heavy bolts, low rates of fire, and actions that fired from an open bolt. The M3A1, which was used through the 1980s, is a good example.

        2) Being cheaper to produce than a Thompson isn’t exactly hard to do, either now or then. None of the Thompson variants were even really delayed blowback, unless you subscribe to belief in the effectiveness of perhaps the ultimate firearms act of faith, the Blish lock.

        3) While the Reising deservedly gets some consolation points for being something along the lines of a “bad SMG for battle conditions, but a good design for (say) police work”, it doesn’t change the fact that there were better, cheaper, contemporaneous weapons out there at the time that weren’t as complicated and prone to malfunction in the conditions in which they were actually being used (for them most part battle in the Pacific theater). Most of them also had magazine capacities of more than a lousy 12 rounds as well.

        4) If you are going to flatter me by quoting what I write in these posts, I would be grateful if you would do it accurately. My comment “I mean, how many other SMGs could be upgraded to .308?” was intended to be what is known in some circles as a rhetorical question, and my point was that the general principals of the action of the original Reising SMG (closed bolt operation, and either delayed blowback or locked breech, depending on how many hairs we all feel like splitting today) could be applied to a full power battle rifle. I could probably have made my point better by asking (rhetorically) “How many full power battle rifles fired from an open bolt?”

        An interesting post.

        CG

    • IIRC, There was one Thompson prototype in .30-06 made as a potential alternative to the BAR. It required lubrication pads for the cartridges, and in the end mass production of the BAR was able to more or less keep up with requirements.

      The Thompason and Reising guns had an advantage in such experiments, in that their bolt heads were sized for .45 ACP, which has roughly the same casehead dimensions as .30-06 and 7.62 x 51mm NATO.

      By comparison, 5.56 x 45mm has approximately the same casehead dimensions as 9 x 19mm. Which is why Colt’s 9mm SMG version of the AR-15 family was fairly easy for them to engineer.

      cheers

      eon

  2. “Reising experimented with adapting the mechanism of his submachine guns to a locked-breech 7.62mm NATO military pattern rifle.”
    Interestingly, at similar time, Winchester was working on scaling down WAR (Winchester Automatic Rifle) for new .22 caliber center-fire round and result was called
    WINCHESTER LIGHTWEIGHT MILITARY RIFLE CALIBER .224
    http://www.replicaplans.com/Firearms%20Manuals/Winchester%20224%20rifle.pdf
    Now I am wondering if Reising design, either in “smg” or “rifle” variant could be scaled to size of cartridge used in said Winchester weapon?

    • .224 as oppose .223 is said lightweight rifle not .556mm then? No. Is it better than 5.56/5.45? Long or short barrel, or any?

      Having some way, to link… Weapon “Features” might be an idea for this site. The layout has changed from the previous version, which I can vaguely remember in a blur. But this new layout makes it harder to find weapons previously covered, and even if you could remember the weapon itself you might forget certain aspects which might be found in other weapons. Just thinking it might be an idea to try and link specific features of individual weapons together.

      • “(…)20″ barrel, below maximum efficiency of 25″ (…)”
        Please point source which claim that optimal barrel length for .224 Winchester cartridge is 25″.
        Also, why to change barrel length if requirement created by Conarc that is caliber .22 centerfire capable of firing a 50 to 55 grain bullet at a muzzle velocity approximately 3300 ft/sec. was satisfied?

  3. This is refreshing concept and shame it did not materialize. What I like specifically is streamlined and more integral operating rod as opposed to “dog leg” found on M14 (I am also not big fan of M14 bolt camming).

    To evaluate amount of locking contact I’d have to see total contact area, but as far as visible bolt drop, it looks fairly pronounced. Overall, this action resembles heavily auto shotguns.

    • I agree with you about the operating rod. And I can also see that there is less likeliness of mud getting into the receiver area than that on the M14.

    • I agree.

      I think H&R missed a trick by not making this rifle semi-auto and putting it on sale to the public.

      In the late 50s/early 60s civilians could not buy M14s, and I doubt many M1s had been released for sale. A civilian who wanted a .30 or 7.62mm semi-auto rifle was pretty much out of luck. This piece might have sold like hot cakes!

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