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Lewis machine gun video


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For those who may not have seen anything like this before, this is a great video, although very long.  It has everything!  LOTS of history, detailed explanations, excellent animation, field demonstration, slow motion.

I looked this up because I wasn't quite sure exactly how the Lewis drum actually worked and fed rounds into the gun, and man did I learn a lot.  :)



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Yeah this is of course not specific to the aircraft version, but it obviously shows all the inner workings which are the same I assume. Basically you just eliminate the heat sink and outer shield, put on a different sight, and you have the aircraft version, I guess. I was surprised to hear in the video that even on the ground versions some users claimed the whole cooling assembly wasn't needed and that the gun operated just fine without it. Anyway I would have liked to see the 97 round drum in action.

One other thing I found the answer to is why they call it (and the Vickers) a .303 cal, yet the round is actually 7.7 - 7.9 mm (in other words bigger than your standard 7.62 mm round).  Turns out that back then they used the antiquated method of measuring the bore (defined as the highest point, or "lands" of the rifling... the minimum diameter, in other words), instead of the bullet diameter.  So the bullet is actually a bit larger diameter, and is squished or scored upon entering the rifling. Therefore it really is the same size as the German rounds.

I also wanted to see what they said the rate of fire was....450-600 RPM.  But one of the few things they didn't make clear was how that would be adjusted.... and they didn't actually measure that rate in their test firing. But their test was more subjective than objective.

One other thing I still have a question about is why the gun couldn't be adapted for synchronizer use. Of course they said it was because it was an open bolt design as opposed to a closed bolt design. But I don't really understand how that prevents it.

In any case, the drum would have disqualified it regardless.  The difficulty of that aspect really was driven home in the video. It was obvious that it was hard to align and attach the drum, and when you see how it actually works, you understand why.... the way the inner part locks in place and the outer part rotates. So imagine trying to do that while standing up in the cockpit with the stick between your legs, in a 100 mph wind, in the middle of a dogfight.  Umm....no.  My theory is that they shot off their 97 rounds and then got the hell out out of there.

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I think he said the rate of fire was adjusted via the gas port and tuning the recoil spring but I'm not going to try to fish that out of the video.  I really liked the animation.  It's amazing how something that looks so incredibly complicated is in fact a series of very simple and ingenious mechanisms.  

I certainly would not be inclined to reload a magazine on a Lewis gun during a dogfight.  Would be interesting to see this implemented in FC by either disallowing stick inputs during reload or losing the magazine overboard if you start throwing the plane around in the middle of a reload.  Not sure how well that would be received by Entente pilots, but I've always found it fascinating to be in the middle of a violent turn fight in RoF while reloading the overwing gun thinking, "this could never happen."

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