Originally developed by Hiram Maxim in the 1880s, the Maxim Gun is credited as the first true automatic weapon, using the energy generated by firing the round to cycle the weapon, and was one of the most influential weapons of the 20th century, as it was the first self-sustaining, heavy machine gun used by any country on the battlefield. Predating the idea of the air-cooled quick-change barrel, Maxim dealt with the technical challenge of the massive heat generated by automatic fire by installing a water-filled jacket around the barrel, an innovation that would continue to be used for decades afterwards. It was adopted by the British Army in 1895, with the Imperial German Army following suit in 1899, and then the Russian Army in 1905. It was used heavily by all three of the aforementioned users throughout World War I as a ground mounted version in trench warfare. It earned the nickname the "Devils Paintbrush" due to its ability to mow down hundreds of men during the large scale assaults from the trenches. The large distinctive steel water jacket held seven quarts of water to cool the barrel which allowed it to have long sustained bursts of fire of up to 500 rounds before the water started to boil. At around 2,000 rounds of sustained fire the water would all boil off and the jacket had to be refilled. This was quite an astonishing feat in 1915. This "1918" dated World War I Imperial German Army Model 1908/15 Maxim heavy machine gun was manufactured by the Spandau Arsenal. Features include the large steel water jacket, blade front sight, tangent rear sight graduated from 400-2,000 meters, crank-adjusted spring tension regulator on the left side of the frame, pistol grip mounted safety, and a solid hardwood buttstock. Matching serial number marked on various components.
Very good (as incomplete), with 80% of the blue finish, showing areas of brown patina, scattered handling marks and mild edge wear. The water jacket has been painted green during period of usage, and retains about 70% of the paint, with dents present on the jacket and the tension mechanism. The wood is fair, with a broken off toe, chipping and dents overall and significant play in the buttstock. The bolt is absent from the receiver; while not a "DEWAT" on paper, it is not fireable as currently configured. NOTE: This weapon is 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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