The unusual M1895 Colt–Browning “potato digger”, an air-cooled, belt-fed, gas-operated machine gun that fires from a closed bolt with a cyclic rate of 450 rounds per minute, the first successful gas-operated machine gun to see service. 

Nicknamed as such for her unusual operating mechanism, similar to a lever-action rifle, in which the rear-hinged lever, located under the barrel, was actuated by the muzzle blast operating upon it, making it operate the action by swing downwards and rearwards, cycling the weapon.

Produced during the First World War, the Russian military model of the Winchester 1895 was chambered for 7.62x54mmR, and is rather unique in the world of lever-action rifles in that it can be loaded with a clip. Several hundred thousand were build, before the contract came to an end due to the Russian Revolution.


An M1895/14 Colt-Browning machine gun, built by Marlin in 7.62x54R as part of a Russian contract for arms during World War I. Delivery was interrupted in 1917 however as revolution swept the country and dragged Russia out of the war.

(Cowan’s Auctions)