1. The Johnston was made to be a lightweight, high-capacity, high volume lead slinger, and the “radiator” is just a really huge heat sink to keep the tiny barrel from burning anything/anyone. Another novel idea was incorporating the muzzle device as part of the barrel shroud, making the rifle bark loudly at the enemy, but keeping noise down aft of the muzzle.

  2. There is a picture of Melvin Johnson and Isaac Newton Lewis, shooting a Lewis machine gun together in the book Johnson Rifles and Machine Guns by Bruce N. Canfield. Is it possible that this is an attempt to simplify the original Lewis machine gun.

  3. For those of you looking for information on this gun,Im the only surving person that knows about this one of a kind machine gun! The rest of the I see people say know nothing about this gun but me.I have photos and documentation to back up my statement and only me! Bruce Johnston in Whitesboro New York

    • Bruce
      I was also interested in more information about your great grandfather’s gun. I found some of his patents for it and must say it has many interesting design features.

      Please email me at dstohl@hotmail.com

  4. Dear Bruce;
    I would like to know more about this weapon. Details such as weight length, width, magazine capacity and weight, BBL Length, etc…
    815-404-3299 afternoons.

  5. Johnston or Johnson? If this really is a Melvin Johnson design, why do the captions on the photos read Johnston?

    • Its not Melvin Johnson! My Great grandfather designed and built the gun and my father ended up with the gun and used it to pay off a DEBT he had with his partner years ago! BRUCE JOHNSTON from Whitesboro NY

      • Hi Bruce Johnston! I am the current holder of this gun. Growing up the story we heard was my Grandfather, Boyd A. Howe Sr., received this gun as payment on a debt owed to him which was amazing to read your statement above that it was used to settle a debt. The gun has been well cared for. It is in its original case and all parts accounted for. It would be cool to connect and learn more about the history of our family’s dealing and the gun itself.

        • Hi Lindsay, I’m amazed to see your post about the gun on January 22 which was my fathers birth date god rest his sole! I have been trying to find Where it is to possibly get it back in the family! I was 14 years old when your grand father drove his car to my fathers house and put it in the trunk and drove away! My heart was broken to see it leave like that. My dad & your grand father were partners in dealing with military surplus that’s how they knew each other! My father was not a wealthy man back then and so the two of agreed to clear a debt for the gun. I have the full documentation and photos of my dad holding the gun in his basement just before your your grand father came to our house in upstate New York! I would hope you can understand the history that this gun has to my family. Can you please contact me back to see if we can possibly work some thing out where both of us would benefit! It’s was about 52 years ago when I met your grand father at my dads home! Hope to hear from you soon! Take care !

          • I own multiple letters & blueprints that belonged to your grandfather along with letters to government, the Internal revenue over a seized model D by customs, stock letters from the 1920’s a contract between him Powell Hitchcock & Moore. An agreement from 1919 between him and Utica New York. A letter to major Hoffstellar, etc.. If you are interested in them I am willing to sell them.

  6. So when was it made? The photos are dated 1937.

    There’s something strange here, but was it a 1918 weapon (and so presumably designed by the earlier Johnston) being re-photographed twenty years on, or was it a 1930s weapon (and so “rotary magazine” Johnson) with yet another confusing number allocated to it.

  7. Fwiw, the receiver of the bare barrel version shows “Model D. 1918”, and Pat’s Pend.

    The lead image in the Wikipedia article shows a shrouded gun (same one?) with the same receiver markings. A label plate in the image shows an ordinance number, and a 1937 date.

    • It was never patented because the govt. felt it was to large for service men because of the large capacity clips that this gun would need in the field! This gun could fire between 450-1500 rounds a minute. Front trigger semi- rear trigger full auto. That’s the kind of fire power I want in BATTLE!

  8. Hello there Bruce , my name is David , and I work for a woman , and I happen to come across this gun , in a case , and she told me a story , that her grandfather was paid this gun , for a debt that was owed to him . I took some pictures of the gun , to attach , and to have my story have merit . If you wanna talk further , you can email me , at dwilliamson403@gmail.com and then we can go from there .

  9. Great info folks and a cool story to go with but could you share more pictures of this weapon for the rest of us please.
    Thank you.
    The story in Lincoln Rhode Island has morphed with residents here to say it was tested here in the woods of Cumberland Rhode Island near a 500 acre state park where an incredible giant built stone wall that it rested on was the beginning of the firing range in the area. A life long resident and Army soldier told that story as we walked into the wooded area and he showed me the wall and the cut out area of the top of the wall where some the was purposely set for some reason. There are a number of guys in their 90’s here that say the same thing.

  10. Hey buddy , this sure would have been a good topic of conversation when we out fishing with your father . Your family has got an everlasting heritage .

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