Project Lightening Episode 01: Introduction

I am excited to introduce Project Lightening! This is a collaborative 8-part series with Othais and Mae of C&Rsenal in which we test all seven light machine guns and automatic rifles of World War One and put them through a series of tests and evaluations. Each week we will be posting one video on Forgotten Weapons and one on C&Rsenal. Today we have the introduction here, and the 100 yard accuracy testing over on C&Rsenal:

Don;’t want to wait for the next 6 episodes? You can purchase early download of the whole series right now at:


  1. Othais is not an American exceptionalist? No problem, as long as you are S.C. exceptionalist. They are great folks, I know that for fact.

    Seriously, this is damn good working group with lost of potential. All the best into future projects!

  2. That bit about the Lewis LMG adjustable spring was revelatory. Many more modern weapons use adjustment of the gas system to tune operation, yet seemingly with less success than that Lewis spring adjustment.

    • Othais tells the story that the spring was moved because of heat issues with an around the barrel spring. I’ve felt that the rack and pinion used to wind the spring had recoil mitigation properties in it’s own right, but tunable makes even more sense.

  3. The recoil difference between the Chauchats could be the result of differences in the pressure curves acting on the recoil booster. While nominally similar external ballistics are had by the 8mm Lebel and the .30-06, and also 7.62 NATO, their pressure curves vary. M1 Garands converted to fire 7.62 NATO require opening up the gas port to function correctly. I was unable to find data on the French round, but more than likely it varies from the American round. As best I can tell both gas trap/sight base/flash hiders are the same.

  4. My best guess as to why the Lewis gun wasn’t adopted by the US army apart from personality cult was the less-than-spectacular performance of Lewis’s prototype batch during a competition against the Hotchkiss guns and the Vickers heavy. The Lewis guns tested by Ordnance apparently broke beyond repair after suffering lots of fatigue induced by dumping five or more full pan magazines per gun into a target without letting the guns rest for even one minute. I could be wrong.

  5. My only suggestion would be to put the commentators on a half round or triangle shaped table, as the center commentator is constantly looking over his or her shoulder from left to right and it looks like they are ignoring one or the other on the table

  6. Great project. But…with only one example of some of the subject guns, a lemon could spoil the result. The work involved in getting the Chauchat magazines functioning, the status of the only Madsen, cliff hangers all around.

  7. Othais talks about American ergonomics. It’s not American ergonomics, it’s Browning ergonomics — he was a vastly experienced shooter and his designs always originated as live shooting models, not drawing board blueprints. Thus the BAR, the 1911, and the M1917 MG were ergonomic. I suppose the Springfield rifle and the US revolvers could be said to be “American-ly ergonomic” but of course the Springfield ergonomics descended from Mauser, no?

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