Object Title

Maxim Pulemyot Maxima 1910 machine gun

Maxim Pulemyot Maxima 1910 machine gun


The 1904-5 Russo-Japanese War came as a wakeup call for many in Europe in terms of the realities of modern warfare and the potential of the machine gun. Russia was pleased with the performance of its commercially purchased British and German Maxim machine guns, and so commissioned the state arsenal at Tula to produce the PM 1905. A copy of Maxim's 1887-vintage World Standard gun with its blued steel receiver and brass water jacket, it was mounted on either a wheeled artillery-style carriage or a static tripod. This was followed in 1910 by the definitive Russian Maxim, the PM 1910. Painted in green, it was little changed, with one major distinguishing feature; a unique wheeled sledge mount invented by army Colonel A. A. Sokolov. This included a large armoured shield that slotted over the gun's jacketed barrel and protected the gunner from incoming small arms fire and artillery fragmentation. It had a view-port to allow use of the front sight. Hiram Maxim's original designs had provided for similar armour plates to be fitted, but only Russia adopted one of this size. Armour for guns was useful in the defence of fixed positions. However, as machine guns saw greater offensive use, gunners found themselves magnets for enemy fire that might come in from above. As the big shield was another 11 kg to carry, and might actually make them more visible to the enemy, gunners often removed it. Second World War examples were fitted with a snow cap on the water jacket, an idea borrowed from their Finnish enemy that allowed the use of snow and ice in environments where liquid water was scarce. Water jackets were also reduced in weight by corrugation, as per the early British Vickers gun.

Use and effect

Like all Maxim guns, the PM 1910 was a success. The powerful 7.62x54mmR round lent itself especially well to use in weapons that had to fire at long ranges and maintain lethality. In a gun that operated on the recoil of the cartridge, it was a case of the more, the better. The rimmed design of the cartridge also functioned well in Maxim type guns. The Maxim lock and belt feed design involved pulling rounds backwards out of the belt prior to pushing them forwards again into the chamber, so a pronounced rim, usually a cause of jams in automatic weapons, was a useful feature. The gun's wheeled mount, whilst heavy, was much more mobile than the tripod or four-legged sledge of its rivals. Given solid enough ground, one man could move the gun into a new position by grabbing the rear trail and pulling the gun along like a trolley. The PM 1910, complete with armour shield and sledge mount, has even appeared in the 2014 unrest in eastern Ukraine in the hands of pro-Russian separatists. Though it is unknown whether these examples have actually seen use, they were in superficially complete and good condition, and ammunition is readily available in the region as it is shared with the more modern PKM machine gun and SVD sniper rifle.


Action / Operating system Recoil
Barrel length 72 cm (28.3 in)
Calibre / Bore 7.62x54mmR (.312 in)
Capacity (rounds) 250
Country of manufacture Russia
Crew 3
Date entered service 1910
Effective range 1500 m (1640 yd)
Feed Belt
Manufacturer Izhevsk
Manufacturer Tula
Maximum range 3500 m (3828 yd)
Muzzle velocity 869 m/s (2850 fps)
Other operators Austria-Hungary
Overall length 1.07 m (42.1 in)
Primary operator Russia
Rate of fire (rounds per minute) 600
Weight 67.5 kg (149 lb) (with mount, shield, and water)


Jonathan Ferguson