Bira Gun
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Basic Information

The Bira Gun was an early, machine-gun like object, derived from the Martini-Henry rifle … something of an achievement given that the rifle in question was a lever action repeater with no magazine.

Strictly, this was not a machinegun, given that it was hand operated rather than automatic and, being made in a pre-industrial society, was not series produced, each piece being hand made to a general design and its parts far from interchangable with those from other examples.

Apart from these details, it is known that these weapons were double barrelled, crank driven and fed from an overhead drum. Production occured in the late 1890s and very few were made - not least because the design was obsolete before it was finished in the face of the automatic machine guns already on the market. It is not known if any ever saw action - the consensus is that they didn't, but a small number may have used by Afghan troops in the 1918 Anglo-Afghan war. Given the impossibility of obtaining spares it's entirely possible that most, if not all, examples were scrapped after their first significant failure.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Probably an amusing curiosity for a pulp-era campaign in central Asia - anywhere else this is nothing but a museum piece or a collector's item.
  • For characters used to proper machine guns, these things are likely a nightmare: tempramental, very reliant on a familiar operator and nearly impossible to fix when broken (and break they will, given sufficient sustained firing).
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