Collected Works of John Pedersen

John Pedersen was one of the more prolific and successful gun designers in American history, having even been described by John Moses Browning as “the greatest gun designer in the world”. And yet, many people only know about Pedersen from his unsuccessful toggle-locked rifle or his WWI Pedersen Device that never saw action. In truth, Pedersen’s work included a number of very successful sporting rifles and shotguns that many shooters would still recognize today. While looking through the guns at Rock Island on my most recent trip there, I realized that they had examples of virtually every one of Pedersen’s guns – so I figured I should do an overview of the man’s work:

The guns in this video that are coming up for sale at RIA at the end of this month are:

Pedersen Device
Model 10 shotgun
Model 14 1/2 carbine
Remington 51 pistol in .32ACP
Vickers-Pedersen rifle
Pedersen GY rifle

7 Comments

  1. Is there something always funny about who gets a Government contract, and who never does?
    There are soldiers who take care of their issued arms, and conscripts who never will.
    Who should judge a design?

  2. Handled a model 12 a couple of years ago. Although it was old and abused the bolt locked up tight with authority. Like Ian said, a lot of them went to shooting galleries and they had to be tough to put up with that kind of use. The rifling is usually very poor after decades of use, but it seems like someone made a batch of octagonal barrels (some were round) a while back, and being 22 a gunsmith can reline the bore. Nice, fun shooters.

    On the model 51, its big brother the 45 model 53 was found by the Navy dept to be superior (less recoil, more accuracy) than the 1911. So the Marines were on the verge of adopting it, then WWI was over so there went the demand. Like a lot of things, few things can substitute for being at the right place the right time.

    Had no idea that Saginaw took up the M1 carbine contact. I think that same plant (it would have been plant number 2) also made 30 caliber machine guns. Saginaw normally made steering gears so they had a lot of machining capacity. I was working in one of the other plants in town in the late 1990’s and some work on the building revealed a couple of carbines that some WWII worker had apparently stashed but never retrieved. The police were called, and I hope that the pristine arms went to a museum, but who knows.

    • “model 12”
      Notice that Remington Model 12 and Model 121 are able to fire different .22 rim-fire cartridge (you can fire .22 short, .22 long, .22 long rifle from this same rifle), for example competing Winchester .22 pump-action: the model 1890 were designed to fire only one cartridge type (stamped on gun)
      When considering Model 12 and Model 121 together it has longest production time from all Pedersen’s pump-action design (45 years; Model 14 + Model 141: 37 years, Model 10: 21 years; Model 25: 12 years)
      BTW: Who designed the Remington Model 572?

  3. My only shotgun is a Remington Model 10. It is a wonderful gun. I never knew Mr. Pederson designed it. Thanks for posting this.

  4. One friend has a near original condition Remington 14 1/2 in 44-40, its a joy to shoot. One thing I find funny is the loading gate, but the gun still works flawlessly and is pretty accurate too!

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