After World War II, the British began serious development of a replacement for the Sten and Enfield. A selfloading rifle was an obvious necessity, and they British took a lesson from German arms development and looked towards an intermediate caliber and a bullpup style design. The two initial prototype designs were the EM-1 and EM-2 – two rifles similar in appearance, but quite different in design.
The EM-1 was a gas operated, roller locked design clearly inspired by the German work on the Gerat 06 and similar rifles. It used 20-round magazines, and fired the .280 British cartridge, which pushed a 139gr bullet at approximately 2500fps – a better automatic rifle cartridge than the 7.62×51.
During testing, the EM-2 was chosen as the better of the two rifles (we will cover the EM-2 in more detail later), and the EM-1 was not developed further. However, it was in trials long enough for a manual to be written on its use and operation – and that’s what I have for you today. Published in 1950, this manual has some excellent diagrams of the EM-1’s bolt and trigger mechanisms, plus tidbits on proper use of the sling, bayonet, grenade launcher, and more. As a bonus, the last couple pages tacked on after publication show several other experimental designs, including the .280 version of the eventual L1A1.
You can download it here, and also find it archived on the Original Manuals page in the Vault.