These Pedersen-Designed Slide-Action Rifles
Were Very Popular With Hunters For Decades.
Associated with Remington from 1903 to 1941, John D. Pedersen was one of the worlds most prolific and revered gun designers. Pedersen held 52 firearm patents by the end of his long and memorable career. As an inventor, he is probably best known in the popular press for his “Pedersen Device” of 1915, which converted the Springfield 1903 or Enfield 1917 into an autoloading rifle with a capacity of 40 pistol-size cartridges.
However, his most significant designs were sporting firearms. For Remington, he designed the Model 10 pump shotgun, Model 12 pump .22, Models 14 and 14-1/2 pump high-power rifles, Model 17 pump shotgun, Model 25 pump rifle and the Model 51 autoloading pistol.
Pedersen liked pumps, although he would refer to them more properly as “slide-actions.” Two of his finest were the sleek and elegant Model 14 and Model 14-1/2 centerfire rifles. It’s no surprise at turn of the century that Remington was trying to catch up with Winchester’s expansive lineup of big-game cartridges and their variety of popular lever-action rifles chambered for them. Winchester had fielded the .38-40, .44-40, .25-35, .30-30, .32 Special and the .33 Winchester and had a stable of Model 92s, 94s and 1886s to handle them.
In 1906, Remington met the challenge and rolled out their own big game lineup: the .25 Remington, .30 Remington, .32 Remington and the .35 Remington and a radical, new rifle to shoot them in, the Model 8 autoloader, designed by none other than John M. Browning.
While Remington’s new cartridges were viewed as mere ballistic clones of Winchester’s offerings, there were two important differences. The Remington cartridges were rimless and could be had loaded with spitzer, rather than round or flatnose bullets. The Remington Model 8 autoloader and the succeeding Remington rifle models, the Model 81 autoloader, Model 14/14A pump, Model 141 pump and the Model 30 bolt-action sporters by design could handle pointy bullets just fine and thrived on rimless cases. Sporting sharper shoulders and less taper cases, the Remington cartridges also simply looked more modern than Winchester’s 19th century creations.
Pedersen began work on the Model 14 slide-action rifle in 1908. It was introduced to the shooting public in August 1912. Chambered for the .25, .30, .32 and .35 Remington cartridges, the Model 14 was offered in six grades, ranging from the “No. 14A Standard Grade” pictured here with a 1913 catalogued price of $20 to a finely checkered and engraved “No. 14F Premier Grade” priced at the then princely sum of $105. A saddle ring carbine with an 18-1/2-inch barrel and straight grip was also offered and catalogued as the No. 14R.
A year later Remington introduced the No. 14-1/2A rifle and the No. 14-1/2R carbine, both chambered in .38-40 and .44-40.
Pedersen had a fine eye for design. For its day, the Models 14 and 14-1/2 were light, trim, compact, streamlined and well balanced. With a hammerless, tilting bolt action and solid rear receiver, the design provided a snappy lock time, protection from gas blowback and resistance to inclement weather and dirt afield. Actually, the caliber-indicating cartridge case head imbedded in the left side of the receiver right at the end of the chamber is the primary gas vent.
Both models are takedowns with the simple removal of the one, large thumbscrew. You could pack them in your suitcase and hop the train to your hunting destination. Being streamlined, the models proved to be ideal saddle guns. I once owned a Model 14R carbine in .35 Rem, and it was the slickest saddle gun I ever owned. Why, oh why, did I trade it off? Stupid question.
Pedersen’s solution to eliminating the possibility of detonations in a magazine tube caused by pointed bullets in contact with the primer of the cartridge ahead was ingenious. He shaped the Model 14 magazine tube with a spiraling flute. The effect was threefold. First, it tipped the cartridges so that the point of one cartridge was not in contact with the primer of another. Second, it prevented cartridges from rattling in the magazine tube and warning game. Third, it prevented the setback of bullets in the neck of the case and the deformation of softpoints under the forces of recoil.
The magazine tube actually cycles back and forth with the operation of the fore-end. Speaking about cycling, slide-actions are noted for their lack of extraction power. Pedersen incorporated a camming design with a leverage of 15-to-1, which kicks into play at the beginning of the rearward movement of the fore-end. His designs really do flick out the empties.
In addition to the cross-bolt safety at the rear of the triggerguard, the models can’t be fired until the action is completely closed because until it is, the trigger is not in contact with the sear, the sear is locked into a firing pin notch and the firing pin cannot move forward.
The Models 14 and 14-1/2 were beautifully machined, hand fitted and finished. Mechanically, they’re not simple designs. In fact, Pedersen was noted for his “engineering complexity,” however, they were robust, reliable and long-lived.
The Model 14A pictured here is chambered for the .25 Remington and mounted with a vintage 2.25X Boone scope. If you’ve ever heard of a Boone scope, you’re dated! Introduced in 1951 by Tingsley Laboratories, this petite optical gem is only 2-3/4 inches long and weighs only 4 ounces. In my opinion, all scopes should be that small. They are way too big these days. According to the Boone ads, “the hard-coated, non-prismatic optical system (designed around perfectly ground front surface mirrors) loses no light, provides brilliant images… Small enough to fit in your inside pocket… slips securely on mount in less than 2 seconds… zeros automatically every time.”
As you can glean from the photos, the ocular incorporates a diopter adjustment. The screw at the 12 o’clock position is the elevation adjustment while the matching screw at 3 o’clock controls windage. Each click equals 1 inch at 100 yards, and the cross-hair reticle moves in the field-of-vision as adjustments are made.
My Boone is slightly dim, optically speaking, but it’s still usable. Frankly, I get a kick every time I look at the little bugger. The original owner who mounted the minimal Boone scope on his sleek Model 14A was a marksman! It cost $34 with a leather case in 1952.
The .25 Remington cartridge is as dead as a dodo. (Well, I shouldn’t say that. Remington recently took the basic case and morphed it into 6.8mm Special Purpose Cartridge.) ’Tis a shame it’s obsolete. It’s a superior cartridge to the .25-35, velocity speaking. It’s easily formed in one pass through a .25 Rem full-length die from .30 Remington brass. It’s easy and forgiving to load. My deer/varmint load consists of a 100-grain Sierra Pro-Hunter over 26 grains of IMR 3031, giving a velocity of 2,403 fps and averaging 1-1/2 inches for 3-shots at 100 yards. It’s a load drawn directly from Ken Waters’ excellent series of articles from Handloader magazine.
The Model 14-1/2 pictured here is in .44-40. Look at that finish! I stored it in a poly sleeve with a piece of rust preventing, vapor emitting, preservative paper for a recent move. The vapors reacted with the brass caliber indicator and ruined some of the blue finish. Fortunately, the lubricated bore was untouched. Notice that the magazine tube is straight without the spiral flute. No need to accommodate spitzer bullets in a .44-40. For me, the 14-1/2 is simply a fun gun. Shooting Winchester’s 200-grain SuperX loading, the 14-1/2 is prairie dog MOA at 50 yards and effective on jackrabbits and coyotes out to 100 yards. The load generates 1,045 fps. It just lopes along out there and then slams down hard.
From 1912 to 1934, Remington produced 125,020 Model 14 and Model 14-1/2 rifles and carbines. The machining and workmanship lavished on Remington’s early slide-action models will never again be seen. Don’t pass them up, and if you ever come across a Boone scope, cuddle it!
By Holt Bodinson
Remington Model 14 owner’s manual reprints
Cornell Publications, P.O. Box 214
Brighton, MI 48116
Old Rifle Scopes, by Nick Stroebel, softcover, 397 pages © 2000, F+W Publications, 700 East State Street, Iola, WI 54990, (800) 258-0929, www.gundigeststore.com
Remington—America’s Oldest Gunmaker—The Official History by Roy Marcot, Hardcover, ©2008, 324 pages, 11”x8.5” landscape format, Remington Country, USA, Remington Arms Company, LLC, P.O. Box 700, Madison, NC 27025, (877) 387-6691, www.shopremingtoncountry.com
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