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This is a Model 1923 Thompson Autoloading Rifle, one of a batch of 20 made by Colt for US military testing in 1924. The system is designed on the same basic Blish principle as the Thompsons submachine gun; the idea that two sliding surfaces will lock solidly together under enough pressure, and not begin to slide until the pressure drops below a certain level. In reality, both guns are simply delayed blowback, and the rifle (in .30-06) suffered from very high extraction pressures. So high, that ejected cases were reportedly sticking in a wood board at the 1924 trial.
Versions of the Thompson rifle would continue to receive military testing until 1929, and one broke a bolt in an endurance test and was pulled out for the final time. This particular rifle is a bit of an interesting anomaly in that it has a lightweight rifle barrel and a detachable magazine. In theory, the Model 1923 included a rifle version with a fixed internal magazine and a light machine gun versions with this rifle’s type of detachable magazine but also a heavy barrel and a folding bipod.
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At Forgotten Weapons I think the most interesting guns out there are the most obscure ones. I try to search out experimental and prototype weapons and show you how they work, in addition to more conventional guns that you may not have heard of before. You’re much more likely to find a video on the Cei Rigotti or Webley-Fosbery here than an AR or Glock. So, do you want to learn about something new today? Then stick around!