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1904 Colt Maxim Questions

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#1 koz5614



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Posted 31 March 2017 - 09:34 PM

Our agency is fortunate enough to have a 1904 Colt in its reference collection. The gun, one of a pair, was used by a seaside NJ town for "coastal defense" during WW1. The second weapon spent time at the Cape May, NJ coast Guard Station before being donated to the USMC Museum at Quantico, Va. around 1977. It is believed the tripods on the two guns were switched; the tripod s/n on ours does not match the weapon. The gun is complete, with the exception of the water condenser and ammunition belt. I would like to know if the is belt specific to the 1904, or can another cloth ammunition belt be used? It would be great to put a few through rounds through it one day. Thank you for your help.
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#2 ron_brock


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Posted 01 April 2017 - 05:50 AM

The tripods were not numbered to the guns as they were manufactured and purchased independently.  Here's a good article on them.  http://www.sadefense...l.com/wp/?p=265  I am sure the Mills belt is rare as hensteeth, but I would think that some Maxim belts would work.  Hopefully someone else will chime in.  





Edited by ron_brock, 01 April 2017 - 05:50 AM.

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#3 Black River Militaria CII

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 07:59 PM

The original caliber of the US 1904 Maxims was the .30-03 round and the standard Maxim belt with the aligning fingers every fourth round were used for these guns. The "tabbed" Maxim belts were standard for the design, and the first US guns supplied were from Viskcers Sons and Maxim, the Brit arms company. The .30-06 round was adopted in 1906 and the 1904 Maxims converted to that round some years later, which had different specs than the '03 round. The belts were the same and used in the later 1915 Colt Vickers MMG after the decommissioning of the '04 Maxims. So, a number of different Maxim belts can be used wit the US guns. Vintage US Vickers and Maxim belts are quite scarce now and expensive, being collector's items.
The length of the fingers on the Maxim belts conform to the length of the cartridges used and the rounds are loaded into the loops so that the tip of the bullet aligns with the tips of the fingers. Shorter cartridges have shorter fingers, so the 7.92 German Maxim belts are closest to the .30-06 cartridge length. However, Maims generally will feed any fabric Maxim belt if loaded properly into the loops. There are a number of Maxim belts offered on Gunbroker using the search word "Maxim" and being sold by Bob Bowman. These belts will handle the .30-06 round. Check out Gunbroker.
Belt loaders for the US Maxims are very expensive now, and are desIgned to load belts with the tabs. There are aftermarket plate loaders made for the Vickers .303 belts with tabes, and if you contact a plate loader maker it is likely that they can make a loader for you to load .30-06 rounds to the proper depth.
The 1904 Maxims can be converted to fire the 7.62x54r cartridge using 1910 Russian Maxim parts, and I have made one set of conversion parts for a 1904 owner. I have made many conversions for other Maxims to this caliber as well. Drawback is that the 19-0 parts are now very expensive. The conversion allows use of continuous steel belts used in the WWII SG43 MG and the current issue PK series of MGs. There are loaders for these belts making them very easy to load.
The water boxes show up now and then for sale. Capt. Max who is active on the www.1919a4.com site has a US 1904 water box that he was considering selling, so you can ask on that site. I don't know. If he still has it.
Hope this helps.
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