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During WW1, the US military wanted to increase its fire power of the average soldier who was using the standard bolt action single shot rifles, such as the M1917 Enfield and M1903 Springfield. While accurate, they only fired as fast as the user could operate them. The US Military developed a way to convert the M1903 rifle into a semi-auto rifle that fired a .30 caliber pistol round. This whole operation was done in secret as to be a big surprise for the Germans, however the war ended before they could be fielded. The M1903 rifle had to be modified slightly by making an ejection port for the pistol round and mods to the sear, trigger, and magazine cut-off were also made. This rifle was designated the M1903, Mk 1. 

The magazine held 40 rounds and sat in a 45 degree angle to the right on the rifle, and it also had a cut-out to allow the shooter to see how many rounds were left. Supposedly the soldier could remove the standard M1903 bolt and replace it with the Pedersen in 15 seconds. This device was supposed to be the game changer as the US forces could simple overpower the Germans with firepower. The US forces requested that for each device, they would have 40 magazines and 5000 rounds of munitions. By 1919, the contract to make the devices had been cancelled and 65,000 were made, along with 1.6 million cartridges, and over 100,000 rifles modified. All of these were placed into storage after the war and were deemed obsolete in the 1930s and most were destroyed. The canvas pouches for the magazines and bolt carrier are still fairly common today, the ammunition is fairly scarce though. It is unknown how many of the devices themselves survived but those that do command a very high price. I don't have the device yet, but it's on my wishlist along with the scabbard and magazines. I do however have the rifle and other accessories, some are shown below. 


Period image of the Pedersen device itself. 


Individual box of 40 rounds, still unopened


Full box of 200 rounds still unopened, these came in wooden crates. 


Magazine pouches, these held 5 magazines for a total of 200 rounds per pouch


Bolt carrier bags, this is where the standard M1903 bolt went while the Pedersen device was being used. 


Combo tool for use on the Pedersen device


M1903 Mk 1 rifle


Ejection port for the cartridges. 





Barrel dated 7-18, most of these rifles modified 1918 dated rifles. 


Period image of how the device looked with the magazine present.


This was to be the standard layout of the Pedersen device infantry set. On top is a bandolier and the combo wrench. 

On the belt from L-R is the bolt carrier pouch, metal scabbard with the device, M1910 canteen, first aid pouch, magazine pouch.

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In addition to the Mk 1, the Mk II was planned for use in the M1917 Enfield rifle, however these were not produced with only a few being made for testing, these are even more rare than then M1903 versions. Below is an image of this device on the M1917 rifle, image is from an auction site. 


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I did some checking online, a Pedersen device was listed for sale a few years ago, at $59,000. An auction site had another one listed, estimated bid range was $40,000-$60,000, no word on final price. Safe to say I won't be getting ones of these anytime soon. 

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