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The Vickers Muzzle Attachment...

 A boring treatise on an obscure topic... my specialty.  You can blame Sezageoff for this - he's the one who didn't know about the early-style cones.

These are the three basic common muzzle attachments found with Vickers machineguns. There are a plethora of developmental examples as the gun evolved.  From left to right - the early, flat-faced cone, the armored cone, and the blank adaptor.  Like the Browining M1919-series, MG34 and MG42, the Vickers trapped gas at the muzzle to act on the barrel to start the action cycle. The Vickers, being the earliest of the designs, used the most complex approach - attaching a cup to the end of the barrel for the gas to act against, as this excellent Australian cut-away shows.  The picture is courtesy the Australian government and scanned from Dolf Goldsmith's seminal work on the Vickers, The Grand Old Lady of No-Man's Land.  If you are serious about the Vickers, this is the reference you need.  T'ain't cheap (especially on Amazon!), but it's a treasure.

Needless to say, this produced a prodigious muzzle flash, especially at night. Here we see the first model of parabolic flash hider, with the early flat-faced cone nestled comfortably inside.  A problem with the flat-faced cone is that the people you were shooting at generally got annoyed and shot back. And if they hit that attachment, your machinegun stopped working. Which made the other guy happy, and he oft times ran up with something sharp and pointy and tried to stick you with it. Understandable, as you pissed him off by shooting at him with your machinegun, so it's really your fault.  So, the armored cone was born.  And promptly hidden in the later-model flash hider.

To make the blank adaptor work, you removed the muzzle cup from the end of the barrel. You then installed the adaptor, and adjusted the rod in the middle to obtain the proper distance so that the gases would push the barrel back, but when the barrel returned to battery it did *not* contact the adaptor, as that would damage the barrel, though oft times worn barrels were used for blank firing. Since the path of the gases is entirely blocked, the small holes in the front of the adaptor allowed for gases to escape to the front, reducing the amount of flash escaping radially through the large holes.

While I recently scored the blank adaptor, I've not managed to score the muzzle cup that went with it.  If you have one laying about, or know someone who does... lemme know!


I believe there is also a 4th style Flash Hider/Muzzle Booster for the US Model 1915 Vickers in .30US. It looks generally like the flat face but seems to have heavy reinforcing.
 Yes, as I noted there are several others - but they aren't *common*.  It is'nt reinforced so much as it has larger gas-escape openings on the side.  But I didn't feel right just copying Goldsmith's book in-toto...  ;^ )

 If you're in the KC area, the National World War I museum has a Colt-built US Vickers machinegun in 30.06  in their holdings.  I don't know if it is currently on display, but they do have one.
 Thanks for that info, John.    And I do promise to come through the square states next time!  I did find my Vickers belt tool the other day, so I can help load some belts.