Friday, August 26, 2011

M1895 Colt-Browning Machine Gun

  • Also known as: Rapid-Fire Machine Gun, Colt Automatic Gun, Potato Digger
  • Weight: 36 lbs (69 lbs w/ Tripod)
  • Barrel length: 28"
  • Overall Length: 41 3/8"
  • Cartridge Caliber: 6mm Lee Navy, .30-40 Krag, .30.06 Springfield, .303 British, 7.62x54mm
  • Range: 2000 yards
  • Operating system: Gas Operated Swing Lever
  • Feeding system: Belt Fed
  • Rate fire: 400-450 rounds per minute
  • Service: US Military 1895 - 1917

The M1895 Colt Machine Gun was the brainchild of legendary firearms designer John M. Browning. It would be one of the first true fully automatic guns ever invented and the first true machine gun to be adopted by the US Army and US Navy. It was referred to many service men as the Potato Digger due its unique operating system located underneath the weapon, known as the gas operated swinging lever, which resembled the farming equipment used as a potato digger. These early models would be gas operated, in that the gas energy from the blast of a spent cartridge would be used to operate a swinging lever located underneath the barrel. This swinging lever action would then load the next cartridge. The swinging lever design is very much similar to that of the lever action rifles of the time. This unique gas operating system should not be confused as a recoil operating system, which would be later used in the M1917 and later Colt Browning Machine Guns.

The Potato Digger would be used extensively during the Spanish-American War in Cuba and during the Philippine-American War(1899-1902) and the Philippine Campaign(1902-1914). The early models issued to the US military were chambered in 6mm Lee Navy.

Internal mechanics of the weapon.

Chief of Artillery Major Richard Young reports on the Malolos Campaign(March 1899). Listed are the field pieces used on the assault; including one Colt's automatic gun in caliber 6mm Lee Navy.

Model 1895 Colt-Browning Machine Gun with creator John Moses Browning.

Model 1895 Potato Digger featured in History Channels Mail Call:

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