Lewis Gun at the Range

We’re back at the range again today, this time with a 1914 Lewis Gun. The Lewis is a fairly distinctive gun, with a its large radiator shroud for air cooling. These guns were used primarily by the US and British forces in .303 British and .30-06 calibers (some were also sold to Russia in 7.62×54, and other countries copied the gun as well).

Despite some shortcomings (to be expected, for such an early design), the Lewis was an effective and successful gun. And very enjoyable to shoot (if not to strip and reassemble).

We do also have a 1918 Lewis manual available, and I will have more Lewis documentation in our next post.


  1. Thanks for this video! It was nice!
    You put many of our (readers’) suggestions in that video…that’s great !
    It would be good if you make hi-res pics 🙂

  2. These videos are GREAT! I love seeing and hearing these old guns in action. You guys are finding your stride with what to video when presenting a given piece! Some slow motion would be nice so that you can actually see the motions of the exterior parts.

    How about a Hotchkiss Portative for an upcoming video…When I fired one I was caught off guard when that feed strip launched itself once empty and it’s that kind of detail that your videos will bring to interested students of these old guns.

    A comment to the man behind the curtain…please save the Maxim for when I head out there.


  3. That’s great to be able to see a Lewis gun, both the field stripping, and the firing and results. The display shows it to be as reliable as its reputation has put it, very impressive. Kind of makes me want to have one.

  4. 1) No Lewis guns were built in Belgium. Armes Automaique Lewis was chartered in Belgium but the guns were made by BSA in Britain and Savage in the US.
    When BSA approached the War Office about selling them Lewis guns, they were told, “Don’t be silly, you make bicycles”. BSA responding by reminding them that BSA stood for “Birmingham Small Arms”. They got the contract.
    2)The Lewis guns entirely replaced the Vivkers at battalion level. The establishment was two per platoon (4 platoons per company times 4 companies per battalion for a total of 32 guns)and four in a battalion level detachment deployed to reinforce vital sectors. The Maxims were first consolidated into companies of three platoons of four guns each at brigade level, then the three companies were consolidated into a divisional battalion with an estalishment of 36 guns. Then a fourth company was added bring the total to 48. A entirely new Machine Gun Corps was formed to operate them (there was even a Guards Machine Gun Regiment)- this was disbanded post-Great War, but the MG battalion remained part of the divisional TOE until after WWII.
    3) The Germans were so impressed by the Lewis that they issues=d all the ones they had captured to their troops and even reprinted the manual in German. IIRC, some were rechambered for 7.92mm Mauser.
    4) The forced air cooling was found to have no effect and many guns were employed in WWII as “stripped” guns without the barrel shroud
    5) The US Navy liked its Lewis guns and employed them into WW2. Here is Douglas Monro, earning the USCG’s only Medal of Honor
    6) The US Army and Col Lewis eventually made up – during WW@, Battery Isaac Newton Lewis’s casemated 16 inch guns guarded the southern approach to New York from the New Jersey Highlands
    7) Check out this neato Lewis Loading Machine from BSA

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