Historic Machine Gun Shoot 2014
The Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association was founded in 1973 to encourage the preservation of breech-loading firearms and to protect the interests of collectors and those who shoot historic breech-loading arms. The association is the main UK organisation for the collection, study and research coupled with the shooting of historic and heritage arms. It also promotes the study of all forms of historic breechloading arms, including pistols, shotguns, military, target and sporting firearms from the 18th century onwards covering developments in small arms technology, ammunition, sights and associated equipment.
At the National Shooting Centre at Bisley, in Surrey on Friday 26 September the HBSA held a demonstration to mark the Centenary of the First World War with a live fire demonstration of historic First World War type machine guns.
The demonstration was viewed by a large crowd of HBSA members and invited guests. Due to the restricted ownership and use of live firing weapons of this type, special Home Office approval is required before a demonstration such as this can be carried out.
The machine guns demonstrated included two .303 Vickers Machine guns, an 7.62x57R calibre Russian Maxim, a .303 calibre Lewis gun, a French 8mm Lebel Calibre Mle 1915 Chauchat light machine gun and an American .30-06 calibre Browning Automatic Rifle. The demonstration also included shooting a British Short Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle and a German Gewehr 98 to allow the comparison in the rate of fire between the two rifles to be observed. A rifle trench mount, designed to allow a rifle to be remotely fired from the parapet of a trench was also demonstrated and functioned perfectly!
Also present was an extremely rare First War War Clyno machine gun sidecar motor cycle combination. These were operated by the Machine Gun Corps. As part of the demonstration a Vickers machine gun was mounted and fired from the motor cycle combination. A historic occasion as this was probably the first time this has happened for several decades in this country.
The demonstration proved to be not only extremely interesting but in relation to the current focus on commemorations of The First World War also very thought provoking. With the guns firing live ammunition, rather than being simply inert de-activated examples, the ruthless efficiency of the machine gun was clearly demonstrated. This was not lost on those that were present and the opening comments of HBSA Chairman Derek Stimpson, reminded all those present to think of what it must have been like to advance into the fire of these deadly weapons, The HBSA are producing a DVD of the event. For more details of the HBSA and the forthcoming DVD please visit the HBSA Website: sites.google.com/site/hbsauk/
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