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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
so they made a good number of Lewis gun, are there a bunch of rifles in a warehouse just wanting to be found and become our parts kits . what's the dope on these , I mean we have part kits of all types (Vickers,1928 colts, mg15s 34 42, 1919, 1971a1s fn37 on and on ) why all there and little to no Lewis guns
 

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The British made a lot of Lewis guns in WWI and used them again for air defense during the Battle of Britain and on ships. They were declared obsolete in 1946 and in those days american surplus gun importers were not interested in machine guns as they were illegal in many states and where the were not it cost $200.00 for the license alone. Apparently they did not see a market for DEWAT machine guns until the 1950s and most of the Lewis guns had been melted down for scrap by that time. I believe most of the surplus DEWAT guns that did come into the country came from Ireland in the 1950s and early 60s. A friend of mine and I both bought one back then for $29.95 each. At that time that was about what a nice M1903 Springfield was going for. Machine guns were seldom seen at gun shows back then because heck, you couldn't even shoot them and people who were interested in them were considered to be a little odd.

My friend eventually sold his Lewis to another friend and that guy got a license to restore it to firing condition and yes I did get to fire it one time. I still have mine and plan to do the same thing with it but just have not got around to it. By the way they now sell for a little more than what they did back then.
 

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I did some gun dealing with a gentleman on CalGuns a couple of years back and he mentioned that he was fortunate enough to have an officer friend in the British Army who back in the 80's shipped him three demilled Lewis guns (all saw cut receivers) along with a butt load of spare parts, barrels, pan magazines and magazine loaders. The last time I talked with him he said that he had sold one of the kits and with the funds had a builder in Texas put together a semi auto conversion for him. Lucky Guy!
He has since fled the oppressive regime here in California and is enjoying retirement (and his guns!) in the Lone star state.
 

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The larger of the gun importer/retailers in the mid fifties such as Hy Hunter, Golden State Arms, etc offered Brit Lewis DEWATs as I recall a I obtained their catalogs as a teenager and bought a couple DEWAT sub guns from Cadmus Industries in 1956. The most recent quantity of Lewis guns to be retrieved from far flung places are the guns that came form Nepal bought by IMA and a co-contributor, Georgia Cutlery I believe, but the majority went to England dimly because the destruction requirement are far less invasive and values much higher there than here. Select parts were brought in, but I don't recall that any kit were imported by IMA into the US.
The NFRTR is not lacking Brit Lewis guns and there are still lots of registered DEWATs in the woodwork. I have reactivated about twenty in the last ten years and I know other smiths have also reactivated a lot of them.
The Irish connection has been reported over the years and I believe it is true, as the source of a lot of the Lewis guns that came into the US in the fifties. They would have stayed here simply because they would not be of any interest to other countries for arming their militias and forces.
 

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I found a Lewis gun parts kit at Sarco about a year ago. It's was Dutch? And in some odd caliber. It also didn't have any of the receiver parts. Being there isn't a semi conversion and no receiver available, I ended up selling it.
 

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I remember some parts kits coming in years ago, IRAC made a dummy receiver for awhile. I had a dewat .30 caliber aircraft gun many years ago.
 

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One is hiding in my gun safe.
 

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I have one as well.

FOIA reveals it was registered in 1968 as a DEWAT and later re activated by........somebody. I suspect it was one of the guns Bob refers to that was imported DEWAT in the fifties.
 
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