An evolution of an Austrian design, the French-made Hotchkiss gun was a significant deviation from the Maxim and its copies and imitators, using a quick-detachable air-cooled barrel, a piston-driven gas operation and firing from an open bolt, all of which would go on to be common features in medium and light machine guns. Additionally, the feed mechanism used rigid brass plates instead of the canvas belts that became the de-facto standard until the disintegrating belt was introduced; a lone operator could feed in these plates on their own, with the bolt locking back automatically when the plate was empty, a loading team could link plates together as they were fired for continuous discharge, or a series of hinged, linked plates could be used for vehicle gunners. As well as being an inspiration for the next wave of machine guns, the Hotchkiss itself would be licensed or copied by the Americans, Chinese and Japanese. Blade front and tangent rear sights, with the former having a sighting hole bored through it and the latter graduated to 2,000 yards and marked as being for the Model "1886D" cartridge. The barrel is fitted with a set of 5 thick cooling fins at the breech and a hand-adjustable gas port assembly at the underside. The right side of the frame bears the serial number and "1917" production date, and the left is marked with the French nomenclature and patent markings. A brass pistol grip is fitted to the underside and a steel maneuvering spade grip on the rear. Included with the gun is an American-made Standard Parts Company tripod, a spare barrel marked "MLS-1939" and a cased kit for plate loading.
Very good as refurbished with 70% of the arsenal blue finish showing some light handling marks and areas of brown patina overall. Numbers are mixed on some components, including the barrels and feed mechanism. The tripod shows mild wear and paint loss, and the loading kit looks good but has not been assembled or tested. Mechanically excellent. NOTE: This item is registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco. Firearms and Explosives as a Machine Gun. It is the sole responsibility of the bidder to understand and comply with relevant federal, state and local laws that regulate or forbid ownership of this item.
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