Thanks to Alex C. at TheFirearmBlog, I recently had an opportunity to do some shooting with a .276 caliber Vickers-Pedersen model PB rifle. This was one of the very first rifles Vickers built when they though the Pedersen would be adopted by the US military and couple be further marketed worldwide – after only about 16 PB rifles they made some changes and started making the improved PA model instead (the two main improvements being the use of a reversible clip and the addition of a mechanism to allow ejection of a partially-full clip).
Anyway, in addition to Alex and myself, we were joined by Nathaniel F (a TFB writer) and Patrick R (from the TFBTV video channel). Between us we put about 60 rounds of original 1920s wax-lubricated Frankfort Arsenal .276 Pedersen ammo through the rifle. We both put together videos on the gun – you can see the TFBTV piece here, and mine right here:
My overall impression of the gun was very positive. I was frankly pretty surprised that the gun, the clip, and the ammunition all not only worked independently, but worked almost flawlessly together. In the 60 rounds, we had only one malfunction (aside from the trigger reset peculiarity of the gun) and that was simply the clip not fully ejecting once when empty.
The inevitably question is, should the US have chosen the Pedersen over the Garand? Hard to say, frankly, without being able to have experienced a .276 caliber Garand (and if anyone has one they would be willing to shoot, let me know!) The .276 Pedersen is a nicer gun to shoot than the .30-06 Garand, but that’s really not a fair comparison. In addition, battlefield reliability and production complexity are just as important (if not moreso) than how nice a rifle is to shoot on the square range. The Pedersen definitely seems like it would be susceptible to dirt and dust, although the Garand is too, more than most people would like to acknowledge. My gut feeling is to give the Ordnance Board the benefit of the doubt at this point (they certainly made the right decision on automatic pistols with the Browning over the Savage).