At the last machine gun shoot I spent a great deal of time playing with my Hotchkiss light machine gun. I enjoy it like I enjoy my Lewis gun. That is to say a lot of things are going on to make the gun work. It is just a fun gun. There are a few quirks about this machine gun.
The first is you really need to be careful when loading the feed strip.
Both of these strips were damaged when I tried to load them without looking at the position of the feed strip in relation to the stripping bar. They would go in but it jammed the gun and damaged the feed strips. Effectively making it a two man weapon or a very slowly loading one man weapon.
The next major concern is the tri-pod that was used with the gun. While shooting it off the table if you were not holding the tri-pod while firing the weapon it would tip over. I tried shooting it with the tri-pod in the forward position as well as the rear position and the same problem occurred.
The stock was the next issue that I had. There is no check weld of any kind. There was a weapon used by the light horse in WW1 that had a wooden stock. This one was hand made by the owner of this weapon.He did really nice work
This stock at least attempted to solve this problem. The two stocks that I have are the metal types. With and with out a wood wrap and should support.
Another thing that you will have to get used to while shooting the Hotchkiss is the weight of a full feed strip hanging off the right side of the gun.
With all this said I really enjoy shooting it. It is just a fun gun to shoot and with the availability of spare parts, http://www.ima-usa.com/original-british-wwi-303-cal-hotchkiss-portable-machine-gun-mk-i-parts-set.html, I don’t feel bad if something breaks.
As if anything could break. Now that there are spare barrels and bolts people are doing conversions to 7.62x54r.
This also one of those weapons that has really cool accessories.
There are Strip loaders in both 303 for the British guns
and 8×57 for the Turkish guns, this one will also work for the 7×57 guns as well.
A view of the box
A complete strip loader
A close up of the loader
The fun is in the shooting. Here is a slow motion video that we took at the last shoot.
Here are a couple of interesting drawings of the gun as well.