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Remembered Today:

Vickers Machime Gun


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Hi,

just wondered if anyone has or knows of the values for the accuracy acceptance trials for army machine guns. Appart from sustainability of fire, stoppages allowed etc I would be interested to know what sort of accuracy criteria were set out in the acceptance trials that led to the adoption of the Vickers,

many thanks

Rod

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Hi,

just wondered if anyone has or knows of the values for the accuracy acceptance trials for army machine guns. Appart from sustainability of fire, stoppages allowed etc I would be interested to know what sort of accuracy criteria were set out in the acceptance trials that led to the adoption of the Vickers,

many thanks

Rod

Rod

Here's a photo of the Vickers sight gauge. This shows different ranges up to 2900 yards. Pretty precise measurement. Lateral accuracy would obviously be determined by wind etc.

John

And another

John

post-8629-1249909628.jpg

post-8629-1249909694.jpg

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I have had a quick look in the various documents I have and I cannot find the actual acceptance criteria for accuracy.

i will keep looking, but in the meantime Richard Fisher at his Vickers website might be the best person to try.

Regards

TonyE

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Hi John, 2900 yds is indeed a fair old distance. I have heard of ranges upto & over this being subjected to fire from .303

TonyE, thanks for your continued search. I had a quick look on the site you mentioned but to no avail, but then I have been known to have problems finding my way out of a phone box.

Hope your search turns something up as it would be interesting to get an idea of the percentage of hits expected on a target of dimension "X" at ranges "Y" to "Z" or however they specified it,

many thanks

Rod

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I am sure that figure is available somewhere without doing a lot of calculation, but I do not have it to hand. It is complicated because there are so many factors to consider. Leaving aside meteorological considerations, principally wind but also humidity and temperature, there are variations introduced by the stability of the mount, the condition of the barrel and the accuracy of the ammunition.

To give some indications, a 10 mph cross wind will drift the bullet 72 feet at 2,300 yards, or about 30 moa. Then there is the accuracy of the ammunition. The Figure of Merit for .303 ball is 12 inches at 500 yards, i.e. that is the mean deviation from the notional centre of impact of a group of 25 rounds, That translates to nearly six feet at 2800 yards or a twelve foot diameter circle. Add that to all the other variation and you can see that it is a complex calculation!

Regards

TonyE

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Hello,

Rod poses an interesting question and has been given lots of interesting data but which, I would like to suggest, do not answer his question. I'm afraid I can't either, but would hazard a guess that there were no acceptance tests. At least not from the point of view of the War Office stating that they required a machine gun which would put 300 rounds per minute on a 4 ft target at 1,000 yds ,or something of that ilk, and the manufacturer putting on a demonstration. I suspect that Vickers approached the War Office saying that they could make a machine gun somewhat lighter than a Maxim and that the War Office decided wether or not to buy. I wait to be shot down!

Old Tom

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I am inclined to agree with you, us Toms have to stick together. The War Office may have had some criteria, weight, calibre etc but probably not an accuracy figure. As TonyE has said too many variables.

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I thought I had already pointed out that I did not have an answer to his question, but that I was merely giving some indication of the variables.

There is a difference between the acceptance of a particular design, in this case the Vickers in 1911/12, by the War Office and the acceptance of individual guns after manufacture to ensure they are manufactured to specification and fit for service. This is the purpose of the multitude of Inspectors' and acceptance stamps on British military weapons. As part of this, along with proof, I am quite sure there were some accuracy criteria laid down for a Vickers to be accepted to service, just as there are for the rifles etc. It would be in the form of "..80% of the rounds within a X inch circle at Y hundred yards" probably.

With respect to the original tests of the Vickers against the Maxim, unfortunately the trial report does not give any absolutes. It simply states that the accuracy of the new "light gun" was superior to the service Maxim.

Regards

TonyE

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I am inclined to agree with you, us Toms have to stick together. The War Office may have had some criteria, weight, calibre etc but probably not an accuracy figure. As TonyE has said too many variables.

Also if it was TOO accurate it would actually be less useful. The Bren Mk1 was incredibly accurate and they made the MK2 less so.

John

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Hi,

just been reading the additional comments & information relating to my original question but the answer still seems elusive.

Inherent & practical accuracy are indeed complex matters, & as has been said already the influences of many factors have a bearing on the outcome. Ammunition alone accounts for more varriables than one might initially imagine from primer seating depth to the damaged nose of a bullet.

For my part I have still not been able to find the answer but one odd fact I discovered was that the price Vickers charged the Government in the mid war years was around £175.00 per unit but by 1918 they had reduced the unit cost to £80.00.

Not sure if there is anything about the acceptance trials of the Vickers in the book called "The Grand Old Lady Of Noman's Land" or not but has anyone got a copy they could have a flick through please?

cheers

Rod

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The price of all the machine guns, Vickers, Lewis and Hotchkiss, was a subject of continual negotiation between the manufacturers and the Ministry of Munitions throughout the war. Some time ago I posted an account of the amounts charged and the reductions obtained by the Ministry but could not find it on a search. Have a look though, or see the relevant part of the History of the Ministry (VOL.XI, Part 5)

Dolf's book on the Vickers contains details of the trial report comparing the Vickers with the Maxim, but as I said earlier, it does not give any absolutes, only saying where it was better or worse. I have been through my copy but could not find anything to answer your question.

Regards

TonyE

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Hello,

TonyE is quite correct, it was not my intention to be critical, merely to draw attention to the question posed.

Old Tom

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Good Evening All,

Flattered to see I was mentioned above, which has driven me to look through some more books and papers; however, Tony has already identified Goldsmith as the principal source.

Goldsmith (1994) cites a report for the Small Arms Committee of July 11, 1911, in which accuracy trials were conducted; however, as Tony has stated it doesn't give any absolutes but makes a qualitative assessment compared with the service pattern Maxim.

As the Light Pattern gun (Vickers Mk. I) was merely seen as an improvement to a service gun so is likely to have had only comparison tests rather than a set accuracy requirement which would more likely be seen as part of an output specification-based procurement competition.

It's unlikely I have any more info to add but I do have some Small Arms Committee Minutes that are not cited and will have a look through those.

Regards

Richard

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