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 Post subject: Lewis Guns
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 23:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 20:59 pm
Posts: 22
Location: UK/USA
The Lewis Gun - A Brief Introduction

The Lewis gun was one of the first compact and portable support weapons available at the time and was used by a number of different nations, over a long period.

It is a gas operated weapon with a 48 round (97 on aircraft types) drum magazine. Most versions have forced air cooling which is done by drawing air from behind the gun, along the cooling fins of the radiator, over the barrel and out of the muzzle casing. The air is drawn through by the muzzle blast leaving the barrel, very simple and needing no extra moving parts or bulky water containers.

The gas piston is attached to the bolt carrier that also locks the bolt in its closed position by rotating it on a cam ( part of the striker post.) through 45 degrees on it's axis.

The main spring of the gun is a clock type coil example, inside of a pinion that engages on a toothed rack, on the underside of the bolt carrier. When the bolt is drawn rearward, it tensions the spring, storing up energy, which then propels the entire bolt group forward, closes the breech on the chambered round and fires it.

As with any gas operated weapon, it is cycled open again by spent gases from the fired round being directed from a port in the barrel into the gas cylinder containing the piston. The gases push the piston back, cycling the action after each discharge. Upon moving rearward, the bolt engages upon the feed arm that rotates the magazine around its post, to deliver the next bullet into the feed way and ready for the bolt to chamber it on its next forward movement.

The magazine contains a spiral central core that directs the rounds downwards to the feed way, fixed still on the magazine post of the gun. The magazine outer body rotates and
carries the rounds with it in a clockwise direction, guided down the spiral, as mentioned, in a helter-skelter fashion. The magazine is quickly detachable for instant changes when empty.

The Lewis was used by British and U.S. forces in the Great War and was highly prized by the Germans, if captured, as a useful addition to their armoury. Examples exist that were converted to 7.92 so that German issue ammunition would be useable. It also saw much use during World War II by the British Home Guard and for defence on board Naval and Merchant ships against air attack.

The manufacturer of the British Lewis Guns was B.S.A. (Birmingham Small Arms). For US guns, Savage arms of Utica were the manufacturers. France produced a limited quantity, mainly for aircraft use by Darne, a relatively small but high quality manufacturer.

The Guns produced by B.S.A. acknowledge a patent to "Armes Automatique Lewis" of Belgium, who held the original rights and B.S.A. obtained license to manufacture for British issue weapons. When Belgium was over-run in 1914, B.S.A. was then the main supplier for World War I Allied use.

As a quick introduction, this will hopefully prompt you to look at the Lewis Gun in more detail, as it is a well deserved subject for further reading.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2005 9:12 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 17:50 pm
Posts: 691
Real Name: Steve
Group: Second Battle Group
I saw a live Lewis gun firing blanks from the back of a WW1 plane last weekend. It was strafing the WW1 germans as they fought off WW1 NZ troops.

Gurowski


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