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Bad news for M2 BMG fans.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by LaEscopeta, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. LaEscopeta

    LaEscopeta Member

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    I’m just the messenger; I didn’t make this decision…

    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 Stallion’s 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 Corps’ 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.
     
  2. Shadow Man

    Shadow Man Member

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    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.
     
  3. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Senior Member

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    In bizarroworld, this would mean lots and lots of M2s about to appear on the surplus market at great prices!

    Oh, we can dream...
     
  4. desidog

    desidog Senior Member

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    Isn't the M2 holding the title for longest-deployed MG in the US arsenal?

    /is that necessarily a good thing?
     
  5. kwelz

    kwelz Senior Member

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    If it works don't fix it. If something better comes along replace it.
     
  6. BushyGuy

    BushyGuy Member

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    at the end of the world..
    what they gonna do with the old M2's? can we buy some :) tell them covert them to semi-auto!
     
  7. Shadow Man

    Shadow Man Member

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

    Owen Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  9. Shadow Man

    Shadow Man Member

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    Oooooh..nice!
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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
     
  11. Hatterasguy

    Hatterasguy Senior Member

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    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
     
  12. Shadow Man

    Shadow Man Member

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

    gun addict Member

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    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
     
  14. wishin

    wishin Senior Member

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    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).
     
  15. 627PCFan

    627PCFan Senior Member

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    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
     
  16. Shadow Man

    Shadow Man Member

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    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.
     
  17. RP88

    RP88 Senior Member

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    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).
     
  18. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical Senior Member

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    :eek:
     
  19. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Senior Member

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    Yeah, nobody's making any real money from the existing system. Some congresscritter wants more pork for his district.
     
  20. CA2005

    CA2005 Member

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    About time. The M2, although very respectable, needs to be upgraded. THe M2 served well however!
     
  21. guntech59

    guntech59 Member

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    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
     
  22. guntech59

    guntech59 Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  23. Shadow Man

    Shadow Man Member

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    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.

    Yeah, that's what I meant, just didn't phrase it well. :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  24. guntech59

    guntech59 Member

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    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.
     
  25. devildog32713

    devildog32713 Member

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    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.)
     

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