Bad news for M2 BMG fans.


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LaEscopeta
January 5, 2010, 01:54 PM
Iím just the messenger; I didnít make this decisionÖ

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2010/01/marines_gau21_010410w/

Corps helos to get new machine guns

By Amy McCullough - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Jan 5, 2010 10:16:50 EST

Eventually, all Marine and Navy assault support rotary wing aircraft will be equipped with the M3M FN Herstal GAU-21 .50-caliber machine gun.

For the Corps, it is now in use on the ramps of the CH-53E Super Stallion, a heavy-lift helicopter, as well as the ramp and windows of the CH-53D, the Super Stallionís predecessor. But officials at Naval Air Systems Command also are working to integrate a door-mounted GAU-21 onto the CH-53E and the UH-1Y Venom, the Corpsí newest light-utility helicopter.
The GAU-21, which remains in developmental testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., can fire more than 1,000 rounds per minute compared to the roughly 700 rounds per minute of the M2 Browning GAU-16/A machine gun it is replacing. When factoring in the jamming problems experienced by the GAU-16, the GAU-21 can offer double the rate of fire of its predecessor, said Navy Capt. Brian Corey, the program manager for direct and time-sensitive strike programs.
Engineers at Patuxent River, however, are still trying to figure out how the .50-caliber, belt-fed rounds should be fed into the gun and where the ammunition should be stored, Corey said.

In addition to putting more rounds down range, the new gun, with a maximum effective range of 21,000 feet, is more accurate due to a new recoil compensation system that also reduces the wear and tear on helicopters. When you fire the GAU-16, the shock rattles all the way down to the airframe, which causes a strong vibration and makes accuracy difficult, said Col. Harry Hewson, the program manager for Marine light/attack helicopters. The new system absorbs that shock in the mount, he said. NavAir also is working to install laser sights for night use.
The door-mounted GAU-21s are expected to enter operational testing by the end of the summer at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif. Marine Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 9 will test its accuracy and safety. Testing also will include a go at the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course in Yuma, Ariz.

Officials say they may begin fielding the weapon for door mounts on both the CH-53E and the UH-1Y in about a year. The guns cost about $60,000 each, including the mount system, and the Corps hopes to field 1,700 machine guns for the two platforms, Corey said.
The additional firepower will allow Marine helicopters to stay at their station longer and provide more close-air support to grunts.

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Shadow Man
January 5, 2010, 01:56 PM
Looks just like the M2, 'cept it's better...I don't see the problem. Yeah, you can bemoan the fact that a legendary weapon is getting replaced, but if you have any common sense or good will for the troops, it's apparant that it is for a good reason. There, I've said my piece.

Z-Michigan
January 5, 2010, 02:14 PM
In bizarroworld, this would mean lots and lots of M2s about to appear on the surplus market at great prices!

Oh, we can dream...

desidog
January 5, 2010, 02:41 PM
Isn't the M2 holding the title for longest-deployed MG in the US arsenal?

/is that necessarily a good thing?

kwelz
January 5, 2010, 03:00 PM
If it works don't fix it. If something better comes along replace it.

BushyGuy
January 5, 2010, 03:06 PM
what they gonna do with the old M2's? can we buy some :) tell them covert them to semi-auto!

Shadow Man
January 5, 2010, 03:10 PM
tell them covert them to semi-auto!

Some of the M2's are select fire. Should be pretty simple to make them semi-only.

Owen
January 5, 2010, 03:11 PM
My understanding is the M2 can be converted to the M3. the biggest part of the deal is that the M3 is fixed headspace and timing, so there is no issue with blowing guns up when the barrel is changed.

Shadow Man
January 5, 2010, 03:13 PM
M3 is fixed headspace and timing

Oooooh..nice!

rcmodel
January 5, 2010, 03:17 PM
They can call it whatever they want too.

But it is still just a Browning .50 machinegun with the GAU (Gun, Aircraft, Unit) military nomenclature name.

rc

Hatterasguy
January 5, 2010, 03:19 PM
How does the M3 work? They look similer so I wonder if its just an evolution of Brownings design.


My friend is a Lt in the Marines and loves the M2, he is like its just magic when you light them up on an enemy position.:D

Shadow Man
January 5, 2010, 03:24 PM
he is like its just magic when you light them up on an enemy position.

It's real magic when a reserve unit lights you up in a blue-on-blue incident.

gun addict
January 5, 2010, 03:26 PM
Every few years or so the military talks about replacing the Ma-duce , or the B52, or the C-130 because they're old

none of those words has came true yet

wishin
January 5, 2010, 04:03 PM
My understanding is the M2 can be converted to the M3. the biggest part of the deal is that the M3 is fixed headspace and timing, so there is no issue with blowing guns up when the barrel is changed.

The Browning .50 MG (M-2?) we had on our tanks 58-61, you screwed the barrel all the way in and then backed it out two clicks. Never had a problem. (there was a headspace go/no-go gage available).

627PCFan
January 5, 2010, 04:06 PM
I used to live 20 miles from Pax. I wanna know where they are "testing" this gun at because that base doesnt have anything larger than a pistol range that Im aware of LOL

Shadow Man
January 5, 2010, 04:08 PM
Pax is probably just working out the kinks in mounting it, and performing any trouble shooting they see right now. The live-fire tests will occur at China Lake and Yuma, like normal.

RP88
January 5, 2010, 04:53 PM
this doesn't seem like a replacement as much as it is an upgrade to dummy-proof the one problem that the M2 had (the headspace/barrel/timing thing).

RockyMtnTactical
January 5, 2010, 04:57 PM
$60,000 each

:eek:

zoom6zoom
January 5, 2010, 05:53 PM
if you have any common sense or good will for the troops, it's apparant that it is for a good reason.
Yeah, nobody's making any real money from the existing system. Some congresscritter wants more pork for his district.

CA2005
January 5, 2010, 06:01 PM
About time. The M2, although very respectable, needs to be upgraded. THe M2 served well however!

guntech59
January 5, 2010, 06:12 PM
The M3M Looks alot like the M296 or M3P that the Army has been using for years on the Avenger and on the Kiowas. The only thing that looks "new" here is the grip assembly.

The M2A1 (some are in service now) is the M2 with fixed headspace. The barrel is attached to the receiver in the same manner as the M240 series (also from FN). The barrel support has been modified to accept the handle.

M3M/GAU-21:

http://www.fnhusa.com/mil/products/firearms/model.asp?fid=FNF017&gid=FNG008&mid=FNM0046

M3P:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M2_Browning_machine_gun#GAU-21.2FA_and_M3P

guntech59
January 5, 2010, 06:19 PM
Some of the M2's are select fire. Should be pretty simple to make them semi-only.
M2s are not semi-auto. They can be fired as a single shot (the bolt locks to the rear after every shot and must be manually released) or full-auto. It fires from the closed bolt position.

If you are a good gunner, you can fire one round at a time in the fullauto mode and make SEEM like a semi-auto.

Shadow Man
January 5, 2010, 06:20 PM
Yeah, nobody's making any real money from the existing system. Some congresscritter wants more pork for his district.


Not really what I meant...and you realize that a replacement for the M2 has been in the cards for years, right? IIRC, FN made some the replacement parts for the existing M2's, they were certainly making money off the system. I'd be wary of jumping in the "congressman making money off it" bandwagon.

M2s are not semi-auto. They can be fired as a single shot (the bolt locks to the rear after every shot and must be manually released) or full-auto. It fires from the closed bolt position.

Yeah, that's what I meant, just didn't phrase it well. :D

guntech59
January 5, 2010, 06:28 PM
Shadow Man, Parts have been made by lots of different vendors for the M2. Not sure about FN but, I'll take your word for it.

Saco Defense has even been making brand new M2s, in its plant in Maine, for several years.

They leave me wholly unimpressed. As do the vendors making the new replacement parts. We have ALOT of trouble with size and finish specs being off.

devildog32713
January 5, 2010, 06:31 PM
The military will still use it a lot, front line Military will get it first, In this case the Marines, I compare this to the M16A2 and M16A4, both are used by the Military, A4 for front lines though, the National Guard Arsenals are full of M16A2's, thats what they primarily use. Eventually all branches of the Military will use the M16A4, A2's will prob be surplus, but by then they will have a new standard rifle. Except for the Navy they use that M16A3. (my favorite, semi and full auto, instead of semi and burst.)

Shadow Man
January 5, 2010, 06:45 PM
Shadow Man, Parts have been made by lots of different vendors for the M2. Not sure about FN but, I'll take your word for it.


I shouldn't have said "all," I just vaugely remember seeing some FN parts on a couple M2's. My CRS could be afflicting me, so I can't say with any certainty. I'm sadly not surprised about spec's being off, it always seems to be an issue when multiple parts for a system come from different companies.

guntech59
January 5, 2010, 07:05 PM
I shouldn't have said "all," I just vaugely remember seeing some FN parts on a couple M2's. My CRS could be afflicting me, so I can't say with any certainty. I'm sadly not surprised about spec's being off, it always seems to be an issue when multiple parts for a system come from different companies.
CRS...I hear ya! I just hit 50 so....that hits a little close to home.:)

Yes, the bad parts are a real pain. Especially when they are not in stock at the shop. When I wait a week for a prt and it doesn't fit.... :banghead:

Owen
January 5, 2010, 08:46 PM
at least FN will actually show up and try to make it right if you bitch loud enough. good look with Johnny Garage Shop

knights_armorer
January 5, 2010, 08:56 PM
its WAY FASTER than the old ma duece.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBcvKTYUFq8&NR=1

tank mechanic
January 5, 2010, 09:00 PM
The new gun... is more accurate due to a new recoil compensation system that also reduces the wear and tear on helicopters.

I thought that was interesting when I read that. Is the wear and tear from mounted heavy machine guns on helicopters bad enough that there is a problem? All of the helicopters I have flown on seemed like they were doing a fine job of being rattled to pieces from the prop.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Jeff82
January 5, 2010, 09:02 PM
"Ma Deuce." Get it right.

And helicopters don't have "props." They have "rotors."

knights_armorer
January 5, 2010, 09:02 PM
another cool video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqQ2z1D4LQc&NR=1

knights_armorer
January 5, 2010, 09:04 PM
"America" get it right.

tank mechanic
January 5, 2010, 09:04 PM
And helicopters don't have "props." They have "rotors."

Oops.

Jeff82
January 5, 2010, 09:05 PM
Not with the commies taking over.

knights_armorer
January 5, 2010, 09:09 PM
lol jeff.

im as sentimental as anyone about the MA DEUCE (j82) but that new 50 is seriously fast. they said the m2 had a possible max rate of 700 rounds per minute, but i never heard one that sounded much more than half that. the gau 21 sounds even faster than the claimed 1100 to me.

wicked firepower.

Jeff82
January 5, 2010, 09:33 PM
Ya, I've got a special place in my heart for the M2. AFAIK, it clocks around 500-550 rpm. When I was doing aircraft armament we'd get our M296's up to around 750. But that GAU-21 was sweet sounding!

ronaldo615
January 5, 2010, 09:57 PM
I believe the M2 holds the record as far as the longest gun in service period, not just the longest machinegun in service

Wes Janson
January 5, 2010, 11:33 PM
The "M2HB" or Ma Deuce is only one of a seemingly-endless number of Browning heavy machinegun designs. There have been variants of the M2, AN-M2, M3, etc on back since before WWII. The FN model in the OP isn't anything new, it's just basically an upgraded-package M3. There's enough minute differences in parts between the variants to fill a few textbooks, but on a fundamental level they're all roughly the same design. There have been QCB quick-change barrel models available for years and years, but the simple basic M2HB is still in use throughout most of the world in its standard format.


If we want to talk about interesting new high-ROF Browning derivatives, the Dragon M50 is quite sexy: http://www.dragonm50.com/

Jaws
January 6, 2010, 02:21 AM
What is impressing is the ability to shoot all 600 round of ammo in one burst!!!! :what:
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=4b6_1218058225

That's a lot of hot lead running down that barrel.:D The thing is really controlable. But it comes a bit on the heavy side tho.

I still like that Russian KORD. I don't know how the Russian can make their machine guns so light and keep them reliable. Kord is 22lbs lighter than M3 :uhoh:

MarineOne
January 6, 2010, 04:26 AM
Those M2's won't go anywhere except to the front lines mounted on top of trucks in Afghanistan. The Marines won't stop using them .... they'll just "reassign" them to ground duty instead of air ops.



-K

mcdonl
January 6, 2010, 06:14 AM
I guess that means bad news for Saco Defense down the road from me :(

But, if our forces are getting a better gun, then the better good is served!

5whiskey
January 6, 2010, 09:49 AM
I believe the M2 holds the record as far as the longest gun in service period, not just the longest machinegun in service

I'm almost positive that this is correct, and I don't see the M2 going anywhere anytime real soon. It looks as if the "replacement" (which still appears to be JMBs basic design with a few tweaks) is meant primarily for air frames right now. M2HB will still be in service for quiet some time.

BTW, I've never known that headspacing during the barrel change was a "problem". Operator error is vastly different than a design error. Now doing a quick barrel change during a firefight isn't really feasible, but you if you're in the fight for your life and burn out a barrel you can repair the gun in the field after the action as opposed to shipping it off to the armourers. At any rate, headspacing the M2 isn't rocket science. A good, experienced 0331 team can do a barrel change as it's mounted in well under a minute.

Shadow Man
January 6, 2010, 10:39 AM
I don't think the headspacing was ever an issue with 0331 teams and the like. (Good operators who trained with their weapon systems) I think it had more to do with NG and Reservists who don't get as much hands-on time with their systems.

as37692
January 6, 2010, 12:44 PM
Shadow Man,
I do have to say I take somwhat of an a fence to your comment. I myself am National Guard, and have serviced two combat tours in IRAQ from 2005/2006 and 2007/2008 both time a M2 Gunner with Rout Clarence, and PSD. I can personal brake down, and or setup, and Head-Space a M2 is less than five minutes flat, and thats on top of a M1114 by myself, and know more than a few on my friends in the Guard that can do the same.
On the other hand I seen a great number of Active Duty Army personal, that don’t know what they are doing at all when it comes to the M2. Now this is not to say that all National Guard, and Reservists are up to speed on all weapons in service. God only knows! I work full time in a BDE S1 Office now (Death by paper work, for a 12B) and the people I work with can barely even qualify on there assigned weapon. But a lot of us in the Guard are combat soldier’s, and do train a great deal with person issued, and crew served weapons.

James T Thomas
January 6, 2010, 01:06 PM
"Shadow Man or as37692:"

I had learned in Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. Lewis a makeshift
headspace gage, but now, I forgot to take my memory pill, and have forgotten.

Do either of you know what that might be?

And yes, with the standard threads on the rear; turn it to full contact, and then back it off two clicks.

In my older age cynicism, it appears to me that the $60k versus $14k has something to do with it being outmoded.

Shadow Man
January 6, 2010, 07:22 PM
as37692: You know, you're perfectly correct: many NG and Reserve units do know exactly what they are doing, and in some instances will know their stuff better than some AD units. When I typed that, I was overwhelmed by the memory of a NG unit lighting up my unit with their M2's and 240's...what a horrific two minutes that was. I couldn't help but wish that their headspacing had been off. I meant no offence to you, it was merely intended as an observation that NG and Reserve units do not have the same amount of time allotted for weapons familirization (sp?) as AD combat-oriented units do.

And Mr. Thomas, I cannot think of what you are referring to. I'm sorry.

Wes Janson
January 6, 2010, 07:33 PM
I'm almost positive that this is correct, and I don't see the M2 going anywhere anytime real soon. It looks as if the "replacement" (which still appears to be JMBs basic design with a few tweaks) is meant primarily for air frames right now. M2HB will still be in service for quiet some time.

It's not even a replacement for the M2HB. It's a replacement for other M2-derived designs which were already in use aboard rotary-wing aircraft, IIRC. I don't think anyone's ever been sticking unmodified M2 Heavy Barrel ground guns onboard of helicopters, save perhaps rare instances of necessity.

In my older age cynicism, it appears to me that the $60k versus $14k has something to do with it being outmoded.

The M3M is an upgraded, product-improved higher-ROF M3 variant package. $60k is ludicrous, but it's still quite a bit of high-quality hardware involved in one of those setups.

as37692
January 7, 2010, 01:31 PM
Thank you Shadow Man for that.
And I must say I can feel your pain on Blue on Blue, I remember in 06 when some kids from the 101 fired on one of are Buffalos coming in the ECP late at night. I said kids because, how in hell can you mistake a Buffalo for any type of IA/IP or insurgent truck?
That’s just something you can never forget or let go.

Ms Thomas, I’m with Shadow Man, I have no idea on what you would use for a makeshift headspace gage, and after 45B training (Small Arms Repair) there is no way I would attempt to do so.
The M2 is best Heavy Machine going, but you have to give her respect, and use the right tools to take care of her.

50 Shooter
January 7, 2010, 01:40 PM
What FN did was buy up all of the M3 aircraft 50's that our military wasn't using and made them better. M3's have always had a higher rate of fire then the M2's but basically used the same internals. With the higher ROF the M3's were destroying the internals.

FN redesigned the the internals and added parts to make the M3M as close to perfect as you could get it. The M3M is probably the best thing that's happened to JMB's original design. It's still a .50 BMG, so for those of you that think the .50 is going anywhere you're wrong. What you're seeing is the next evolution of one of the best machine guns every built.

Owen
January 7, 2010, 08:19 PM
the makeshift tool is part of the link, but i can't remember which part.

SharpsDressedMan
January 7, 2010, 08:29 PM
Just think! If it fires twice as fast, it will heat up twice as fast, and wear out twice as fast! $60,000ea? Really?

Wes Janson
January 7, 2010, 10:03 PM
the makeshift tool is part of the link, but i can't remember which part.

Are you thinking of using the small end of the link to hold the bolt back, in order to line up the barrel catch to allow the barrel to screw in?

Owen
January 7, 2010, 10:08 PM
man, i don't remember. A sailor showed me in an armorer's class, but I don't work on .50s often (or ever for that matter)

Shadow Man
January 8, 2010, 12:46 AM
That’s just something you can never forget or let go.

It still irks me, to this day. I would carry it heavier, but we had a bit of a ditch to hide in. Not much of one, but enough to ensure no KIA's and very minor WIA's (of which I was one, as I stayed on the comms, trying to get them to stop.) I intended no offense, so no need to thank me; it was a correction that needed to be made.

Jeff82
January 8, 2010, 01:13 AM
You're trying to think of using a nickle or dog tags as Fire/No Fire gauges. Stop now. Don't do it. Use the proper tool.

Shadow Man
January 8, 2010, 01:26 AM
Use the proper tool.

Always a good idea.

Al Thompson
January 10, 2010, 04:11 PM
Jeff82 hit the nail on the head. Each M2 should have a headspace and timing gage per weapon. Not sure how it's being done now, but when I had a M113 mech infantry company, setting the headspace and timing was a critical task.

IIRC, the Army tried putting a M2 on a UH1H for firesupport and the vibration messed up the airframe pretty badly.

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