Zone #70 - Great Firearms - The Johnson
Rifle - Page 1
my friend Boyd asked me, "Do you think
the guys would be interested in seeing my
I said, "I'm sure they would. I sure
know that I'd like to shoot it."
So, he met me at the range with his rifle.
Here it is.
Johnson rifle was designed by Melvin Johnson
and offered in competition with the M-1 Garand
for acceptance by the U. S. Army in 1941.
Long story short, it was rejected and the
M-1 Garand was accepted. But there is much
more to the story.
The Netherlands ordered 70,000 for use by
their forces in the East Indies, and Mr. Johnson
set up a plant and started manufacturing them
in Cranston, Rhode Island under the name "Cranston
Arms Co. Inc."
But before the rifles could be sent to the
East Indies, the Japanese army overran the
area. The U.S. Marines were looking for a
suitable semi-automatic rifle and ordered
some of these rifles from the Dutch. The rifles
were carried into combat by the Marine Paratroopers
and served well.
The Marines reported that they especially
liked the rifle's accuracy, low recoil (about
2/3 the recoil of the Garand), removable barrel
for parachute jumps, and the ability to top
off the magazine with one round at a time
with the bolt closed.
Between 10 and 20 thousand of these rifles
were eventually made, and some were even issued
to the Cubans that landed at the Bay of Pigs.
The rifle is interesting in that it is a short-recoil
operated semi-automatic rifle. The barrel
actually moves backwards slightly to cycle
take a close look at this unique rifle.
This one is marked, "Cranston Arms, Cal.
30-06, Semi-Auto Johnson, Model 1941, Made
in Providence, Rhode Island".
It was designed to have its rotary magazine
loaded with 5 round stripper clips.
will hold a total of 10 rounds.
You can also single load the magazine, one
round at a time when the bolt is closed.
rear sight is an unusual looking aperture