|In 1908 a Major M. G. Farquhar produced an automatic
rifle which he had invented in conjunction with Mr. Hill. There was at
that time some military interest in automatic rifles and
the weapon was tested by the Automatic Rifle Committee which the British Army had set
up for the express purpose of investigating weapons of this type.
The Farquhar-Hill, although well made by the Beardmore Company, turned out to be an extremely complex weapon. It utilized the system of long recoil, but faulty design kept the barrel and breech locked together long after the bullet had left the muzzle; this and other complications led to problems of feed and the gun was rejected. Nothing more was heard of it until 1917 when a second version appeared; this was described, very accurately, as a light machine gun with some potential as an anti-aircraft gun, but was in fact an improved version of the earlier gun: its main difference was in its unusual magazine which was in the shape of a truncated cone, motive power being provided by a clockwork spring.
This version was also tested and rejected, being very liable to fouling and prone to a variety of complex stoppages. It was in any case somewhat late, since it appeared at a time when the Lewis gun was giving good service. The inventors were extremely persistent and as late as 1924 they submitted the weapon illustrated. This had a similar but much smaller magazine with a capacity of ten rounds (as compared with up to sixty-five in the earlier versions) but again it was unsatisfactory (still mainly because of its defective magazine) and was not therefore adopted.