Beardmore-Farquhar light machine gun


Beardmore-Farquhar light machine gun


Beardmore-Farquhar 0.5-inch caliber machine gun


Beardmore-Farquhar light machine gun, diagram of its gas-operated action



.303 British (7.7x57R) and others


1210 mm

Barrel length

660 mm


7,3 kg

Rate of fire

~ 450 rounds per minute


Magazine, drum 77 rounds


The Beardmore-Farquhar light machine gun has its roots in the Fraquhar-Hill self-loading rifle, developed by 1917 by Mobray G. Farquhar and Arthur Hill. This rifle got as far as being formally adopted by British Army in 1918, but the Armistice put this process to an end before mass production could be started. This was a gas-operated, rotary bolt rifle which used an interesting and unusual action, in which gas piston first compressed a powerful operating spring, which then transferred its energy to the bolt group. In theory, this permitted for relatively gentle action and mild recoil, but the weapon was not developed enough when war ended. The same action was then used for light machine gun, which was initially developed in around 1919. The Beardmore-Farquhar name comes from the names of designer (Farquhar) and manufacturer (Beardmore Engineering Co.), although the weapon was patented to same gentlemen Fraquhar and Hill. The weapon had unusually “skinny” appearance and weighted noticeably less than contemporary light machine guns such as Lewis or Madsen. Beardmore-Farquhar light machine guns were tried several times by British Small Arms Committee and certain other European armies during late 1920s and early 1930s, and each time turned down for various reasons.

The Beardmore Engineering Co. also offered a scaled-up version of the Beardmore-Farquhar machine gun, chambered for .5 Vickers (12.7×81 mm) ammunition. It was similar in external appearance and design to the rifle-caliber weapon of the same name, but was appropriately bigger and heavier. A .50 caliber Beardmore-Farquhar machine gun used 52- or 29-round flat pan magazines (with two or single layer design, respectively), or 10-round box magazines. Mounted on lightweight tripod, .50 caliber Beardmore-Farquhar machine gun weighted just short of 20 kg (less ammunition) and was 152 cm long. It was widely promoted during 1930s as a “lightweight anti-tank machine gun”, but found no buyers.

Beardmore-Farquhar light machine gun used same gas-operated, rotary bolt action with intermediate spring buffer as the Fraquhar-Hill self-loading rifle, with major changes being relocation of the hammer unit from the bottom to the top of receiver, selective fire trigger (with semi- and full-auto modes of fire)  and position of the feed unit. Air-cooled barrel was of quick detachable type. Feed was from top-mounted flat pan magazines. Alternate (possibly back-up) feed option was to use specially designed detachable box magazines with 5-round capacity, which were installed horizontally above and to the left of the receiver. Beardmore-Farquhar light machine gun was provided with wooden pistol grip and shoulder stock. Lightweight bipod was fitted below the barrel.