In this episode of Forgotten Weapons, Ian features one of the guns in the collection of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, also known as the Cody Firearms Museum: a model of a machine gun developed by Robert F. Hudson, whose son contributed to it eventually.
Hudson was basically a travelling salesman. Apparently, when World War I broke out, he was too old for military service, but he wanted to do something to help the war effort. He had never really had any familiarity with machine guns until he made his own. According to one account, he developed a series of machine guns for the US Navy during the 1920s and 1930s.
Hudson has a number of patents that he filed throughout the 1920s. They have a number of different features to them and none of them match up quite exactly to the gun on Ian’s table. The focus of Hudson’s patents is primarily a constant recoil system. He tried to develop a system where a piece of machinery would be moving in opposite direction the projectile going forward or the bolt going backward, to balance out the recoil impulse of the firearm. It’s one of the developmental guns that’s come out of Russia recently.
An interesting thing about the gun is that the barrel is on top with the gas system underneath. The grip comes up the back and the trigger sits on top at the back of the gun. In most of the patents, Hudson has suppressors on his guns. The gun may have originally had a 12-inch suppressor. It is in .30 caliber and is magazine-fed. The navy tested them in .30 caliber, in .50 caliber, and in 1.1 inch version. Ultimately, the 1.1 inch was deemed too complicated.
What makes the Hudson machine gun unusual is both the attempted use of a counter-balanced system to eliminate felt recoil and also the standard use of suppressors on the guns.