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Thompson Model 1923 Autorifle

One of the very early entrants into the United States Ordnance Department’s semiauto rifle trials was the Auto-Ordnance Company, makers of the Thompson submachine gun. For the rifle trials, they designed a .30-06 rifle using the same Blish-locking principle as had been applied to the SMG. Since the Blish principle doesn’t actually work, this resulted in what was actually a delayed-blowback action which extracted at very high pressure.

The Thompson Autorifle, as it was called, used a very coarse screw to delay the bolt opening, and required oiled felt pads in the magazine to lubricate the cartridges as they fed. It was a particularly long and unwieldy rifle as a result of it’s unusually long receiver, and is known today for having ejection so forceful that it could actually stick cases into wooden planks placed close to the shooter. Needless to say, it did not fare very well in trials and was dropped from consideration not long after this, the Model 1923.

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