Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3558: BSA - M1914 Class III/NFA Lewis Light Machine Gun

Auction Date: September 10, 2017

Highly Desirable World War I Fully Automatic Class III/NFA Lewis Model 1914 Light Machine Gun with Two Magazines

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $13,000 - $19,000

Highly Desirable World War I Fully Automatic Class III/NFA Lewis Model 1914 Light Machine Gun with Two Magazines

Manufacturer: BSA
Model: 1914
Type: Machine gun
Gauge: 303 British
Barrel: 26 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 20580
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 218
Class: Class III

This is a very fine example of a WWI Lewis Machine gun manufactured by the Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) Manufacturing Company. Prior to WWI these were considered the premier air cooled light machine gun and was the first machine gun to actually be mounted and successfully used on an airplane in flight in 1912. The design was originally developed in 1910/11 by the Automatic Arms Company of Buffalo NY. for commercial sales by Lt. Col. Lewis using the gas-operated, bolt turning design of Samuel McLean. Later, Lt. Col. Lewis added some of his own improved designs changes, namely the jacketed cooling fin assembly on the barrel. This version was eventually produced in Belgium and in England by the BSA company during WWI. It was also used extensively by the U.S. AEF in WWI where it was highly effective. The top of the receiver is marked: "Manufactured by/The Birmingham Small Arms Co. LLC./ENGLAND/for" and "Armes Automatiques Lewis/BELGIQUE". In front of the rear sight it is marked "LEWIS AUTO GUN./MOD. 1914 PAT." It has a fixed front sight and a large tangent rear sight graduated from "1-19" (100-1900 meters). The rear end of the barrel housing is numbered A41008, and the top cover is numbered "16097", which is lined out and renumbered "A122" when it was arsenal rebuilt. Many of the various parts have their original British proof and acceptance marks. It is fitted with an original British marked front bipod and is complete with two circular magazines, with each holding 47 rounds. This rare machine gun still has a arsenal blued finish with a dark walnut stock and pistol grips. This is a very rare and historic light machine gun that certainly belongs in a high end collection.

Rating Definition:

Very fine with 95% of an arsenal type deep reblued metal finish with only minor edge and high spot wear. The markings and proofs are clear and distinct. The walnut stock and pistol grip panels are also in very fine condition with a nice hand rubbed oil finish with some small repairs on the underside of the stock next to the receiver. NOTE: This item is restricted as a National Firearms Act (NFA), fully transferable Class 3, which is registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (BATFE) that is classified as a "Curios or Relic" as defined in 27 CFR, 478.11. These weapons are still subject to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 and 27 CFR part 478.

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