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St Etienne 1907

The St Étienne machine gun of 1907 was developed by the French Government and saw action during WW1. For political reasons,the French did not want to rely on machine guns developed by private firms e.g. Hotchkiss, and by 1905 had developed the Puteaux APX MG. This design avoided, as far as possible, mechanisms patented by Hotchkiss, Maxim and Vickers. The Puteaux was not a success, and was then refined at the St. Étienne Arsenal to become the Model 1907. The Model 1907 fired the standard French 8mm Lebel cartridge.
The most distinguishing feature of this Gas Operated gun was that the gas piston was driven forwards on discharge, which necessitated a rack and pinion system to operate the loading cycle.
The gun incorporated a rate control allowing the firing rate to be varied between about 8 per minute to 600. In 1907 the tactical use of mass fire seen during WW1 had not been developed and this concept (originated by Maxim in his earliest designs) suited the need for conservation of ammunition supplies and the 25-round metallic cartridge strip. The gun also has a mechanism to adjust the foresight during sustained fire, when the air-cooled heavy barrel and brass casing would expand and so alter the geometry of the sights. The Model 1907 was manufactured until 1917, but was phased out by the superior Hotchkiss Model 1914 heavy machine gun.

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