The first Maxim machine gun, which caliber?


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DoD
August 11, 2004, 06:34 AM
Which cartridge did the original Maxim machine gun fire? Some sources speak of the .577/.450 Martini-Henry round, but others mention a mysterious .45 Maxim aka 11.5x62R. Does anyone have some really reliable information?

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Frank Exchange Of Views
August 11, 2004, 11:53 PM
Looking at my copy of Goldsmith's excellent The Devil's Paintbrush the original "Prototype" was chambered in the solid-drawn .45 Gatling-Gardner cartridge, page 20 of the first edition.

On page 346 in the Ammunition chapter there is an illustration of the original .45 G.G. as well as the improved Gatling-Gardner round introduced in 1885 for the Nordenfeldts and Maxims.

Even neater on that page is the (unfortunately B&W) illo and caption for the .450/577 Martini Henry cartridge for use in the 1889 British Army Maxims - says that the MG version of the cartridge "was often identified by an orange paper patch to distinguish it for use in the Maxim."

DoD
August 12, 2004, 04:30 AM
Thank you, this is just what I wanted to know. Could you upload a scan of the .45 GG cartridge and tell me some ballistic data?
Btw, I've heard the first Maxim MG was made in 1883, is this correct?

Frank Exchange Of Views
August 12, 2004, 09:45 AM
Unfortunately, I do not have a scanning capability at this moment to help you there.

I am uncertain what the ballistics for the .45 G.G. were off the top of my head - when I get home I will see if I have anything in one of my other books.

Again - going from memory the first "Prototype" gun was built in 1883, I do not know if the "Forerunner" was built in 1883 or 1884 - just know that both were shown at an exhibition in 1884 where I think Maxim won a prize for the gun (don't you just hate it when the details elude you and the book is at home?)

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