The Swiss-designed Rychiger was a promising rifle submitted to US Army Ordnance testing. It was a recoil-operated gun based on the straight-pull Schmidt-Rubin, and had a barrel which recoiled backwards unlocking the bolt. The bolt would then continue to travel rearward under its momentum. The rifle was later modified by one Major Elder, a Savage Arms designer commissioned in the Ordnance Department, to use a box magazine as well as being made simpler and stronger.

For more history on the early development of a semiauto military rifle in the US, I recommend Major Julian Hatcher’s excellent work, Hatcher’s Book of the Garand.



  1. I always thought that the Schmidt-Rubin design was an ideal candidate for a semi-auto conversion. I wonder why the Swiss didn’t pursue the concept further.

  2. Selbstladegewehr System Richiger
    Designer: Richiger
    Producer: Eidgenössische Konstruktionswerkstätten,Thun
    Caliber: 7.5mm VP 08
    Function: Short recoil
    Type of fire: Single shot fire from closed bolt
    Weight unloaded: 4300g
    OAL: 1340mm
    Barrel lenght: 780mm
    Number of grooves: 4
    Rifling twist direction and lenght: Right, 270mm
    Type of feed mechanism: box magazine scheme II
    Capacity: 6

    Barrel is connected in a fixed manner to the reciever; After firing a shot they recoil back for about 15mm.
    Built in 1910-1912.
    Modified by the US Ordonnance Department in 1918 under Major Elder for the 30-06 cartridge.

    Source: Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung der Schweizer Armee seit 1817: Maschinenpistolen, Selbstladegewehre
    ISBN: 3 7276 7014 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.