U.S. RIFLE GARAND T31 BULLPUP
U.S. RIFLE GARAND T31 "BULLPUP" .30 (T65E1) SN# 2 Manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma. - Limited prototype experimental select-fire weapon shoulder weapon; never went into production. Lightweight, selective full and semiautomatic rifle with an in-line stock in an attempt to reduce recoil. Cyclic rate of fire 600 rpm. Weapon weighs approximately 8.7 lbs. without accessories. Handguard cooled by circulating fresh air. German FG42 rear sight. Rubber stock and handguard. This was the last model worked on by John Garand. Magazine missing. Markings: Receiver: U.S./CAL. 30 T-31/SA # 2. Weapon transferred to the Museum on 12 April 1961. At that time weapon was appraised at $100.00. HISTORICAL SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES: 1JUL1951 - 31DEC1951 - "T31 Rifle. Bay State Tool and Machine Company has delivered 200 magazine tubes, bases and followers for the T31 Rifle. New closing lever springs of two diameter wire have been received. Mathewson Tool Company has completed trigger guards and butt lock plungers. A new and simple design of grenade launcher, range control and sight is near completion and parts are being fabricated. Elimination of flash from climb compensator is expected as gas travels more than twice the distance before exit from tubes. Adjustment of the grenade sight will automatically set gas port for the same grenade range desired. At no distance will the bolt be energized beyond that of normal bullet firing regardless of grenade weight or type of propellant cartridge used." Notes: Weapon represented a novel approach to the elimination of recoil, muzzle flash and muzzle blast. The straight-in-line operating mechanism of the T31 is to the rear of the pistol grip, with the stock acting as a receptacle for the recoiling parts of the breech mechanism. This would allow for greater stability in automatic fire. However, the expended cartridge cases were ejected to the right and very close to the rifleman's face. The T31 also has a new gas system devised by Garand. In this pneumatic system, he surrounded the barrel with a sealed "tin can" or tube, which extended from the receiver to the muzzle. At the forward portion of the "can" he attached a muzzle brake. When the rifle was fired, and the projectile exited the barrel, a portion of propellant gases were deflected against the front end of the tube. The sudden entry of gases into the space between the barrel and the tube generated a shock wave of gases, which was transmitted from the muzzle to the breech end of the "tin can" where it actuated a tappet piston. The piston unlocked the breech mechanism as it moved to the rear. Garand provided a gas relief valve to prevent the pressure within the tube from reaching the point it would puncture the barrel. The problem Garand had was that there was an excessive amount of fouling or powder residue that accumulated inside the "tin can" and around the gas escape ports of the muzzle brake. After a 2,000 round test, over one pound of fouling was found inside the container, or 3 grains of residue for every shot fired. Garand would alter this gas system for a more conventional one that tapped the operating gases directly from the barrel. Garand left the Springfield Armory on April 30, 1953. At the time of his retirement the T31, this second model, was still uncompleted. The project was terminated, but Garand's ideas did have lasting value. The magazine he designed was later incorporated in the M14. The T31 magazine was fabricated by the Bay State Tool and Machine Company. The Mathewson Tool Company assisted with the fabrication of the rifle itself. Garand would work with the Mathewson Tool Company in the early fabrication of the T44 rifle. Here he would make even more improvements on his magazine. "John Garand had lost none of his innovative brilliance, and he produced a remarkable rifle that sought to eliminate the three bug bears of that .30-caliber cartridge - muzzle blast, muzzle flash, and most of all, recoil. His ingenious design may have come closest to accommodating the unattainable parameters. But by answering the design requirements with an extremely short rifle stock and an ammunition clip behind the trigger, the weapon didn't look like an army rifle, and the Ordnance Committee refused to consider it. There was no written committee record of this." William H. Hallahan References: Hallahan, William H. MISFIRE: THE HISTORY OF HOW AMERICA'S SMALL ARMS HAVE FAILED OUR MILITARY. Charles Scribner's Sons. N.Y., N.Y. 1994. Stevens, Blake. U.S. RIFLE M14 FROM JOHN GARAND TO THE M21. Collector Grade Publications Inc. Toronto, Canada. 1991.
Submitted by: Roger Desbois