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The Lewis Gun

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This video by C&Rsenal shows footage of live fire from a Lewis Gun. The Lewis Gun is a light machine gun of U.S. design, but was perfected and produced in the United Kingdom by the Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited (BSA). This gun was widely used during World War I.

The Lewis Gun was designed by U.S. Army colonel Isaac Newton Lewis in 1911. The U.S. Military did not adopt the Lewis Gun, which frustrated its designer who left the army and went to Europe to establish his own firearm company.

The Lewis Gun is gas operated. A portion of expanding propellant gas is tapped off from the barrel, which drives the piston to the rear against a spring. The piston is fitted with a vertical post at the rear, which rides in a helical cam track in the bolt. The vertical post also carries a firing pin that protrudes through an aperture in the front of the bolt. This is responsible for firing the next round.

This gun uses a pan magazine that can hold either 47 or 97 rounds. Unlike drum magazines that hold rounds parallel to the axis, pan magazines hold the rounds inwards toward the center.

One interesting feature of the Lewis Gun is that it does not use a traditional helical recoil spring. Instead, it uses a spiral spring that is similar to a large clock spring.

The rate of fire of the Lewis Gun is approximately 500 to 600 rounds per minute. The gun weighs 28 lbs (12.7 kg) – only about half as much as other medium machine guns of the World War era. It is for this reason that the Lewis Gun was chosen by the British Army. The Lewis Gun was more portable than heavy machine guns, plus it could be operated by just one solider. The BSA produced at least one model of the Lewis Gun that was specifically designed as an assault weapon.

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