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Silly question perhaps?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by NOLAEMT, Mar 24, 2010.

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    NOLAEMT Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I was watching "the pacific" tonight, and I had a question that perhaps someone on here can answer for me.

    In the movie they used browning 1917 (i think) .30 caliber machine guns that were water cooled. I know that they were fazed out in favor of lighter and handier air cooled guns later in the war. Now i don't believe we use any water cooled weapons.

    Now that we use vehicle mounted weapons on a regular basis (think mounted M2 on a humvee or armored truck). Wouldn't it make sense to bring back the water cooled guns? I mean weight isn't a concern, on a 10 ton vehicle a couple extra points will not even be noticed. Wouldn't it allow for less overheating, longer barrel life, etc?

    I'm not saying they should, as I'm sure the military knows what they need better than I. It just seems like it makes sense to me.
  2. LaserSpot

    LaserSpot Member

    May 11, 2009
    You do have a good point; a vehicle-mounted gun could carry enough ammo to melt the barrel in an ambush situation.

    I hope the military has this figured out. Some machine gun barrels are partially lined with a cobalt-chromium alloy to withstand the heat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellite
  3. Warpt762x39

    Warpt762x39 Member

    Mar 14, 2010
    The 1917 Water Cooled Browning was designed during WW1 for trench fighting as a sustained fire weapon. Much like the other water cooled machine guns of that war like the Maxim and the Vickers.

    It was mounted on a much heavier T&E (traverse and elevation) tripod. The gun was mounted and pointed in the general direction it was needed.

    Once it was in place, the gunner would use knobs on the T&E mechanism to adjust the fire of the gun much the same way you adjust the scope on your hunting rifle.

    It made for very precise (for a "heavy" machine gun) fire.

    The lighter 1919 Air Cooled Browning was meant to be mobile and lightweight. The T&E mechanism on the tripod was deleted on the new models though the gun itself would still mount to the older T&E tripods.

    To make things even lighter and easier to transport, the A6 version of the 1919 was designed. It didn't use a tripod. It instead had a buttstock attached to it along with a bipod on the end of the barrel jacket.

    The problem with using watercooled machine guns today is that while they are mounted on top of a vehicle, they don't always stay there. The guns are swapped out depending on the need.

    They can mount an M249, M240, Mk19 or M2 on the same mount. Different missions require different tools. You wouldn't mount an M2 or Mk19 if your mission took you through mostly narrow streets in a city or town.

    And you wouldn't mount an M249 if there was a good chance you would run into vehicles of any kind or had to really reach out and touch someone.

    And modern machine guns are designed to be air cooled. The barrels are generally a bit heavier and are quick change. If the barrel gets too hot or is shot out you just swap it out for a new one.

    With modern warfare being highly mobile, a heavier, more cumbersome water cooled machine gun made mostly for fixed positions just won't cut it.
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