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H.B.S.A. 
Annual Bisley Lecture 
Tony Edwards 
25 August 2012
The Lewis Gun 
The Game Changer
Isaac Newton Lewis 
1858 -
Crozier
The Lewis Range Finder
Samuel Neal McClean 
1857 - 1930
McClean Automatic Musket
McClean Magazine
Modified McClean with condensing tubes
McClean with Lewis Air-cooling modification
U.S. Benet-Mercier Model of 1909
Savage first prototype
First ever firing of a machine gun from the air 
7 July 1912
Bisley November 1913 
Stickledown Range
Bisley 1913 
Examining the target from Stickledown
Bisley November 1913 
Short Century Range
B.S.A and the Lewis 
Agreement 1912 
50 guns in 7 calibres made by mid -1913 
2 were for War Office and 1 for Admiralty 
£...
Following the Bisley Demonstration B.S.A made 
the following changes: 
Magazine reduced to 47 rounds to reduce 
drag and w...
Early British orders: 
31.7.1914 5 guns W.O.* £175 ea. 
Plus 5 guns Admiralty. £175 
1.8.1914 5 guns W.O. £165 
16.8.1914 ...
Total Production: 
1914 8 
1915 3,650 
1916 21,615 
1917 45,528 
1918 62,303 
1919 Planned 62,020 
30% of all British MG p...
Price: 
1914 £175 
1915 £165 
1916 £85/£80* 
1917 £85/£80* 
1918 £25/£24.10s* 
*Air Service guns
Sectioned Drawing 
from “The Machine Gun” 
Longstaff and Atteridge
Early Mark I
Mid War Mark I
Oil bottle
Late War Mark I with AA sights
Why a “Game Changer”?
German Musketoon Company 
With Madsens
Captured Lewis guns
Mauser made 7.92mm drum
SS143
SS143 
1917 edition
SS143 1918 edition
SS143 1918 edition
Air Service
Scarff Ring
Twin Lewis guns on Scarff ring
Stripped Mark I with 97 round magazine
Mark II
97 round drum on stripped Mark I
From Admiralty Technical History
Case catcher bag
Norman Vane foresights
Lewis AA Mounting
Tools and accessories 
Cleaning kit
Combination Tool
Clearing Plug
Gas regulator cleaners
Spanner
Luminous sights
Magazine Box
Magazine pouch
Mark III* 
WW2 conversion of Aircraft gun to ground role
Mark III for Defensively Equipped 
Merchant Ships (DEMS)
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
Lewis machine gun   a game changer
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Lewis machine gun a game changer

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This is a presentation delivered by Tony Edwards to a monthly meeting of the Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association (HBSA) of Great Britain in London, UK. Website: www.hbsa-uk.org
Illustration from the development, promotion, adoption and use of this iconic machine gun

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Lewis machine gun a game changer

  1. 1. H.B.S.A. Annual Bisley Lecture Tony Edwards 25 August 2012
  2. 2. The Lewis Gun The Game Changer
  3. 3. Isaac Newton Lewis 1858 -
  4. 4. Crozier
  5. 5. The Lewis Range Finder
  6. 6. Samuel Neal McClean 1857 - 1930
  7. 7. McClean Automatic Musket
  8. 8. McClean Magazine
  9. 9. Modified McClean with condensing tubes
  10. 10. McClean with Lewis Air-cooling modification
  11. 11. U.S. Benet-Mercier Model of 1909
  12. 12. Savage first prototype
  13. 13. First ever firing of a machine gun from the air 7 July 1912
  14. 14. Bisley November 1913 Stickledown Range
  15. 15. Bisley 1913 Examining the target from Stickledown
  16. 16. Bisley November 1913 Short Century Range
  17. 17. B.S.A and the Lewis Agreement 1912 50 guns in 7 calibres made by mid -1913 2 were for War Office and 1 for Admiralty £135. 0. 0. each Delivered December 1913 These were all the Model 1913 firing from closed bolt 50 round magazines
  18. 18. Following the Bisley Demonstration B.S.A made the following changes: Magazine reduced to 47 rounds to reduce drag and weight Diameter of radiator and jacket reduced Rear sight folded from back Most importantly Fired from open bolt
  19. 19. Early British orders: 31.7.1914 5 guns W.O.* £175 ea. Plus 5 guns Admiralty. £175 1.8.1914 5 guns W.O. £165 16.8.1914 15 guns W.O.* £165 19.8.1914 30 guns W.O.* £165 27.8.1914 100 guns W.O. £165 7.9.1914 100 guns W.O. £165 12.9.1914 2 guns W.O.* £165 11.2.1915 400 guns W.O. £165 12.3.1915 400 guns W.O. £165 21.5.1915 2,000 guns W.O. £165 23.6.1915 3,000 guns W.O. £155 * For use in aeroplanes
  20. 20. Total Production: 1914 8 1915 3,650 1916 21,615 1917 45,528 1918 62,303 1919 Planned 62,020 30% of all British MG production
  21. 21. Price: 1914 £175 1915 £165 1916 £85/£80* 1917 £85/£80* 1918 £25/£24.10s* *Air Service guns
  22. 22. Sectioned Drawing from “The Machine Gun” Longstaff and Atteridge
  23. 23. Early Mark I
  24. 24. Mid War Mark I
  25. 25. Oil bottle
  26. 26. Late War Mark I with AA sights
  27. 27. Why a “Game Changer”?
  28. 28. German Musketoon Company With Madsens
  29. 29. Captured Lewis guns
  30. 30. Mauser made 7.92mm drum
  31. 31. SS143
  32. 32. SS143 1917 edition
  33. 33. SS143 1918 edition
  34. 34. SS143 1918 edition
  35. 35. Air Service
  36. 36. Scarff Ring
  37. 37. Twin Lewis guns on Scarff ring
  38. 38. Stripped Mark I with 97 round magazine
  39. 39. Mark II
  40. 40. 97 round drum on stripped Mark I
  41. 41. From Admiralty Technical History
  42. 42. Case catcher bag
  43. 43. Norman Vane foresights
  44. 44. Lewis AA Mounting
  45. 45. Tools and accessories Cleaning kit
  46. 46. Combination Tool
  47. 47. Clearing Plug
  48. 48. Gas regulator cleaners
  49. 49. Spanner
  50. 50. Luminous sights
  51. 51. Magazine Box
  52. 52. Magazine pouch
  53. 53. Mark III* WW2 conversion of Aircraft gun to ground role
  54. 54. Mark III for Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships (DEMS)

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