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Woodhull carbine

This rifle was submitted to the Light Rifle trials by the Woodhull Corporation of Millington New Jersey. It was largely copies from the Winchester model 1905 self-loader, and used the same received, bolt, and trigger assembly. It was a straight blowback design, and did not fare well in the trials.

The rifle weighed in at 5.5 pounds with a sling and 5-round magazine. It had a 17.25 inch barrel and an OAL of 29.8 inches. Despite the simple operating principle, it was a fairly complex in design, and suffered numerous ruptured cases and failures to extract. The examiners found it to have poor accuracy, heavy recoil, poor reliability, and difficult to operate manually or disassemble.

Woodhull made several improvements to the gun and resubmitted it for further testing in August 1941. It functioned much more reliably with these changes, which consisted mainly of hardening the barrel to allow a finer polish to the chamber. This solved most of the reliability problems, but the testers feared that once the chamber became worn the rifle would start malfunctioning again. It was dropped from the program after the primary trials.

5 comments to Woodhull carbine


    F.W. WOODHULL was my father and I still have the prototype for the light 30.

    I am looking for at least photos of some of his other designs such as his 45acp machine gun and his 22 machine pistol.

    I have contacted every source I could find but can find nothing. I did fire al of these weapons as a boy.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


    • Nat

      Awesome that you found this site and commented on your father’s design! It reminds me of a Mini B.A.R. Definitely one of the more aesthetically pleasing designs for the .30 Carbine cartridge. Have you ever thought of developing the design, and making working reproductions?

  • Some time ago, I contacted you regarding the complete history of the development of the Woodhull. My father in law, Leslie A Freer, wrote all of the history. This includes names of all parties involved, from attorneys, bankers, patent attorney, and etc. Also is the timeline of development, testing, patent umbers and other interesting information. This narrative is about his personal involvement. Do you know of any way that this information can be made available for the future? As time allows, would you please advise?

    Sincerely, Annette Freer

    • Hi Annette,

      I apologize for not replying to your previous email or comment. I would be very happy to publish the information your father in law wrote down on the Woodhull on Forgotten Weapons – can you send me scanned copies of if? I tried sending you an email, but it bounced.


      • Tad Woodhull

        Please keep me in the loop. I would like to see this info as all I really have is an 82 year old memory, the prototype and the Patents as found on the internet.

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