Military Gear & Army Surplus Gear Blog

Hudson Machine Gun

Hudson Machine Gun

Hey guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on Forgotten Weapons dot com. I’m Ian. I am here today at the Cody Firearms Museum (part of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West), and I’m taking a look at some of the guns in their collection — and some of the gun-shaped objects in their collection, like this one. This is a tool room model of a Hudson machine gun. This was developed by a guy named Robert F. Hudson, and I believe his son, Robert F. Hudson Jr., also contributed to this, eventually. Apparently Hudson was basically a travelling salesman, and when World War One broke out, he was too old for military service, but he wanted to do something towards the war effort; so he decided to invent his own machine gun. Apparently, he had never really had any familiarity with machine guns until he started working on his own. Interestingly, by the mid-to-late 1930s, he actually had a gun that the US navy tested, and (according to one account) sort of adopted, or at least got a couple guns for actual field trials. Hudson has a number of patents that he filed throughout the 1920s (and I’ll list the numbers) that have a number of different features to them. None of those patents quite match up exactly with this gun, although this gun looks very much like a picture that does survive of one of a couple Navy guns that were tested. So this gun is in .30 caliber (.30-06); it is magazine-fed; it would have had the magazine here; whether it was a proprietary magazine or a BAR magazine — I don’t know. Again, this is a tool room model, so
it doesn’t necessarily bear a perfect representation of what the Navy actually got. The Navy did test them in .30 caliber, in .50 caliber, and a 1.1 inch version, which would be something like 28 – 29 mm. Ultimately, the 1.1″ was deemed too complicated (which makes sense, looking at this thing) and the 20 mm Oerlikon and 40 mm Bofors were used instead. This particular gun, I can’t really
show you a whole lot on it, because the whole thing pretty much is frozen up. We can’t get any of the bits to move here. However, there are a couple of things I can point out. One interesting one: the barrel’s on the top here, with the gas system underneath; the grip, yes indeed, comes up this way, and then this is the trigger – so you would fire it like that. In most of the patents, Hudson has suppressors on his guns. I expect the reason this gas tube comes out in front is because this gun would have originally had about a 12″ long suppressor threaded to it. The focus of Hudson’s patents is on
a couple different things, but primarily a constant recoil system. What he was trying to do is develop a system where a piece of machinery would be moving in opposite to the projectile going forward, or in opposite to the bolt going backward, to balance out the recoil impulse of the firing. So this is actually very much like one of the developmental guns that has come out of Russia very recently — one of the ‘counter-balanced’ guns. How well this worked, I really can’t tell. There are no existing trials reports that we can find, beyond a mention in one book, that it was deemed too complicated; that a well-trained crew in an easy, peacetime situation could operate the gun, but a quickly trained crew in a simulated combat situation couldn’t, that it didn’t work for them. So I’ll tell you what, I do have a fair amount of correspondence from Hudson. A lot of it is basically business griping and financial wrangling back-and-forth, but there are some other interesting documents in there. I will publish all of that, everything I have, on Forgotten Weapons dot com, and I’ll also publish the patents that are associated with Hudson. So if you take a look at the link in the description below, that will take you to my website, where I can actually post that sort of data (which isn’t in video format). So if you’re interested, take a look at that and I will let you guys dig through the patents and see what you can figure out about how this thing worked, and if there was actually anything
useful to be gained from it. You know, you can get a patent on something that’s totally bogus — they no longer require you to prove that what you’re patenting is actually useful, just that it’s novel and different from what
anyone else has patented. So you never know, this could have been something of genius that was squashed by financial wrangling and politics, or could have been just a goofy idea in the first place. I don’t know. I hope you enjoy the video. I
would like to thank the Cody Museum for letting me take a look at this thing. If you enjoy this type of content, please consider subscribing to my Patreon account; it’s what gives me the funds to come to places like Cody, Wyoming and bring this sort of interesting tool room prototype to you guys — who for some reason are also interested in it like I am. Of course if you’re in the Cody area, absolutely make sure to stop in; check out the Cody Museum, it’s a fantastic collection. Thanks for watching.

Reader Comments

  1. Hey Ian, you probably already know this, but you're in the credits of Battlefield 1! Right under "Special Thanks" 🙂 Are you going to be producing some video content about the game or is it not your thing?

  2. Hey Ian, I was wondering if you think it's likely you'll ever get the chance to do more videos on mystery pistols and other arms.
    I first found your channel after watching you do videos on those chinese mystery pistols. Have you ever seen any Eurpoean examples?

  3. would the recoil counterbalance system you mentioned be similar to what browning attempted to do with a trap shot gun in the mid 90s with their recoilles trap model?

  4. Next time you get out there, you should see if you can get that gun over to an x-ray center and see if they can get a look at what's inside there. As a piece of metal it'd obviously not be so easy but I'm sure they could figure out a bit about what pieces may be inside and what might be stuck.

  5. Ey Forgotten Weapons. will it be possible to make another travel project like you did with the Jackhammer Shotgun?.. But much bigger! Like traveling to Firearms Museum in nations like Great Britain, Russia, Denmark or Germany. 🙂

  6. How much would the device to reduce/remove felt recoil help when it's an, I assume, mounted weapon?
    Also would a reverse piston work for something like this? one to cycle the action and another moving the reverse direction? In my mind it'd make sense if all of this was inside an over sized suppressor of sorts, using the gas to your benefit while it slows and cools.

  7. This thing would not look out of place on a drawing of futuristic was machine on the cover of an old science fiction magazine

  8. Hmm, isn't the 1.1" the same shell that's used for the later WWII AA emplacements on US ships? aka "The Chicago Piano"?

  9. Publishing all the letters and the patents? Ian, you are a national treasure. I shall petition Congress at once to entomb you in the vaults under the Library of Congress upon your passing.

  10. Just seems to be an odd mount pivot point on it – that seems like it would be really out of balance if the only mount was that rear lower flange area.

  11. Do you think the counter balance recoil system is a good idea? Do you think the Russians will adopt it? Are there better ideas of managing recoil out there like the ultimax 100 machine gun's spring system. Also, why hasn't the ultimax rifle been made available for civilians yet?

  12. I do not see much use in a recoil counter balanced mounted machine gun. It makes sense for a crew serviced weapon but why would I care about reducing recoil for a machine gun that does not even have a stock?

  13. Interesting as always! Do you know if there are any working ShKAS machine guns that you could get your hands on? That would make for a very nice video.

  14. Very ambitious concept. I've always thought two barrels w. two rounds discharged simultaneously in opposite directions would solve the recoil problem- it requires the construction of a hole in the shoulder and I haven't found a work around for that yet. Test pilots don't seem to queing up for first flights for some reason.

  15. Did this have anything to do with the design of the type 11 or 12 machine gun japan had that fired from 5 round clips I see some similarity to it in the receiver though may just be incidental.

  16. So this weapon is the predecesor of thr 1.1"/75 caliber navy gun. Also called "Chicago Piano". Around a thousand of these were made. The USS Enterprise and USS Hornet used these guns during the Battle of Midway.

  17. Hmm…

    I wonder how many IJN fighter pilots would have survived if this gun had been chosen over the Oerlikon 20mm and the Bofors 40mm.

  18. For those wondering: the Russian gun Ian alluded to at 3:18 is the AEK-971. Kinda funny actually, since an updated version of that — the A-545 — got adopted alongside the AK-12 to be used for the Russian military's Ratnik combat system.

  19. The idea of counter balance clearly has merit. As you mentioned, it is an idea being visited by more than one developer now. As for the practicality, or this particular execution, who knows.

  20. Hey Ian, I've been browsing through your channel, and I've gotta say, you can portray knowledge in such a way that you never get boring. You've earned another sub, sir!

  21. Ian can you please make a playlist on your channel on guns featured in battlefield one, and it would be amazing if you would make a video discussing the battlefield guns and if the game does them justice?

  22. Speaking of suppressors, I have always been curious why they were never adopted in large numbers for troops or at least on machine guns such as the maxim during WW1.

    Seems to me like putting a heavy duty suppressor on a maxim would have been desirable.

  23. I looked over the patent diagrams and it looks like an upside-down counterbalance system for sure. The trigger mechanism appears to make use of a sear with ramps, and it reminds me of how the 1919A4 trigger works in full auto.


  25. Good to see that you showed how it was meant to be fired. I am only saying because with this gun, when I first saw it it didn't look right, in that you had the bottom side up, and I thought the way you had it sitting there, the area that I though was the bottom was damage or prone to be damage.

  26. What does the US military do with the small samples of test guns like the Hudson's? Return them? Destroy them? Museum/warehouse? Or does depend on each circumstance?

  27. If you look up "Balanced-action Machine gun" there's an All4Shooters page with a picture of a .50cal, suppressed experimental Hudson MG that's got a more trad. pistol grip down below but it's certainly from the same mind that built this… very interesting

  28. I would like to get into the gunsmithing and or the weapons industry. what advice could you give, being someone of such a large amount of experience and knowledge?


  30. This gun is really cool, The "constant recoil" system is very interesting, do you think you will ever see an Ultimax 100?

  31. I feel like this Machinegun would have funny ammounts of recoil instead of reduced recoil, without modern technology to make that system work

  32. Hey, do you know if there any any working original maxim prototypes? The first and second prototypes were built in early 1880s, each had wildly different mechanisms. I believe one of them had a rate of fire regulator on it.

  33. Ha "recently," the AEK 971 was designed in 1978. The counterbalance system has been out there for a very long time buddy.

  34. Looks like an interesting historical footnote. That 1.1" ammo must have been huge. I would think 50 cal or 20mm would be sufficient for an MG. Kudos to Mr. Hudson for trying something new. Great video as always. Thank you

  35. Its an intriguing gun concept, I'm not sure that trigger system would have worked out though and the giant rod system at the bottom definitely wouldnt win any favors in the Army camp… Also, why have a suppressor? (its a damn .30 MG!)

  36. So Hudson went from making machine guns to pistols today, the Hudson H9, lol. The H9 is a great handgun and I satisfied with my purchase!!!

  37. Would of been nice for some close ups of the gun so we could see a bit better how it may of worked. I will save looking at the website until insomnia strikes and I don't want a wasted night. ThankQ. TkEZ>UK

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