Shooting the Hotchkiss protative

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.1He did really nice work

Hotch butt 1                                                                         internet pictures

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,, I don’t feel bad if something breaks.

1                                                                                   IMA photo

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

british feed strip loader

4                                                                           internet photos

and 8×57 for the Turkish guns, this one will also work for the 7×57 guns as well.

A view of the box

DSC_8640sA complete strip loader

DSC_8642csA close up of the loader

DSC_8644csThe 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.






1 comment to Shooting the Hotchkiss protative

  • Ken

    Chuck: I used to have 3 Benet Mercies and enjoyed shooting at least one of them. Spare parts were hard to come by, especially firing pins that were typically removed and lost if the gun was demilled. Feed strips were also scarce. They used a flimsy bipod and rear elevation support that were about as bad as the Hotchkiss Portative.


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