You are on page 1of 23

Browning M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun Gary's U.S.

Infantry Weapons Reference Guide

TECHNICAL DATA M2HB Country of Origin Date Of Introduction Crew Caliber Cartridge System of Operation Cooling Weight Length Barrel Weight Barrel Length Barrel Rifling USA 1938 1-4 (crew leader, gunner, assistant gunner, ammunition bearer) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) .50 Caliber Browning (12.7 x 99 mm) Recoil Air 84 lb (38.1 kg) 65.13 in (1,654.3 mm) 24 lb (10.9 kg) 45 in (1,143.0 mm) R.H., eight grooves, pitch 1 in 15 inches (381 mm)

Basic Load (vehicle mount) Ammunition Weight

400 rounds 100 rounds in ammo can: 35 lb (16 kg) Performance Single shot Sustained: Less than 40 rds/min, in bursts of five to seven rounds Rapid: More than 40 rds/min, fired in bursts of five to seven rounds Cyclic: 450-550 rds/min 7,440 yd (6,800 m) Area Target: 2,000 yd (1,830 m) Point Target (single shot): 1,640 yd (1,500 m) M3 Tripod

Rate of Fire

Maximum Range Maximum Effective Range

Weight With T&E Mechanism and 44 lb (20 kg) Pintle Height of M2 on Tripod 12 in (304 mm) M63 Anti-aircraft Mount Weight Height Maximum Elevation Maximum Depression Maximum Traverse 144 lb (65 kg) 42 in (1,067 mm) 85° 29° 360°

DESCRIPTION
The M2 .50 caliber machine gun is an automatic, belt-fed, recoil-operated, air-cooled, crewoperated machine gun. This gun may be mounted on ground mounts and most vehicles as an anti-personnel and anti-aircraft weapon. The gun is capable of single-shot (ground version M2), as well as automatic fire and was used to a very limited degree as a sniper weapon during the Vietnam war. The weapon provides automatic weapon suppressive fire for offensive and defensive purposes. This weapon can be used effectively against personnel, light armored vehicles; low, slow flying aircraft; and small boats. The M2 machine gun uses the M3 Tripod. The principal night vision sight used with the M2 is the AN/TVS-5. By repositioning some of the components, the M2 is capable of alternate feed. Ammunition can be fed into the weapon from the right or left side of the receiver; however the U.S. Army uses

M3 TRIPOD MOUNT .only left-hand feed. GROUND MOUNT .

The two trail legs are joined together by the traversing bar. The traversing bar serves as a support for the traversing and elevating mechanism.The M3 tripod is the standard ground mount of the M2 machine gun. the adjustable front leg should form an angle of about 60° with the ground. When the tripod is emplaced on flat terrain with all extensions closed. This places the gun on a low mount about 12 inches (304 mm) above the ground. tubular legs connected at the tripod head. Each leg ends in a metal shoe that can be stamped into the ground for greater stability. To raise the tripod farther off the ground. which in turn supports the rear of the gun. extend the . It is a folding tripod with three. telescopic. The tripod head furnishes a front support for the mounted gun that is further supported by the short front leg.

. Direction and elevation readings constitute the data necessary to engage preselected target areas during limited visibility. the T&E must be first zeroed with all measurements recorded in mils. The traversing and elevating (T&E) mechanism is used to engage preselected target areas at night or during limited visibility conditions. The T&E mechanism is attached to the traversing bar of the M3 bipod. The T&E mechanism consists of a traversing handwheel. scale. To obtain accurate readings.telescopic front and trail legs enough to keep the tripod level and maintain the stability of the mount. and yoke. locking nut. These readings are measured by and recorded from the traversing bar and the T&E mechanism.

VEHICULAR MOUNT . raise the pintle lock.M36 TRUCK RING MOUNT .The gun is connected to the M3 tripod mount by a pintle. portable mount used for antiaircraft fire. To release the pintle. It is held secure by a pintle lock and spring. This pintle is semipermanently attached to the machine gun by a pintle bolt through the front mounting hole in the receiver. GROUND MOUNT . releasing the cam.M63 ANTI-AIRCRAFT MOUNT The M63 anti-aircraft mount is a four-legged. The tapered stem of the pintle seats in the tripod head. Its use against ground targets is limited because the mount tends to be unstable when the gun is fired at low angles. low silhouette.

This mount consists of a cradle with a roller carriage on a circular track.MK64 GUN CRADLE MOUNT This vehicle mount was primarily designed for the M2. VEHICULAR MOUNT . M24A2. and braces. M31C PEDESTAL MOUNTS Pedestal mounts are component assemblies designed for installation on the 1/4-ton vehicles to support a machine gun mount. The carriage is guided on the track by rollers. pintle clamping screw column. The track is secured to the vehicle by supports. . the MK64 will accept the MK 19 also (using the M2 mounting adapter assembly). However. The cradle can be rotated in the pintle sleeve of the carriage and can be adjusted for elevation. The MK64 can be mounted on the following vehicles: M151 series. They are composed of a pintle socket. because of its versatility. VEHICULAR MOUNT . and the M113 series. M966 HMMWV armament carrier.M4.

50. A belt-fed. M2. M2HB. Heavy Barrel. recoil attention of the M2 machine gun and capability for range card preparation. recoil operated. M2. Ground version of the M2HB. M2. air-cooled. 16. Flexible (NSN 1005-00-322-9715) "Machine Gun. Cal . crew-served machine guns mounted on the U. Fixed Type (Right hand: NSN 1005-00-122-9339. automatic. crew-served machine gun mounted on the U. M2HB (Enhanced) .VEHICULAR MOUNT . M2. See data above. Cal . recoil operated. alternate-feed. Flexible". Heavy Barrel. and 17 gun mounts. Soft Mount (NSN 1005-01-343-0747) "Machine Gun. An air-cooled. Heavy Barrel. Heavy Barrel. Left hand: NSN 1005-00-122-9368) "Machine Gun. air-cooled.S. Cal . Browning.50. Belt-fed. Fixed Type Right Hand Feed".MK93 DUAL MOUNT A dual purpose cradle mount that replaces the MK64 mount. VARIANTS M2HB.50. Browning. M2. M2HB. Navy's MK 26 Mod 15. M48 Turret Type". Cal .50 Caliber Machine Gun (E50) . Cal . recoil operated.S. Browning. Browning. They are primarily fired by solenoid and requires a 24-28 Volts DC power source.50. Allows for quick and accurate traverse and elevation. "Machine Gun. further range (elevation) for the MK 19. Fixed Type Left Hand Feed". Browning. M48 Turret Type (NSN 1005-00-957-3893) "Machine Gun. crew-served weapon mounted on the Abrams main battle tank commander's station. Soft Mount". Navy's MK 56 Mod 0 and 4 gun mounts. Heavy Barrel. M2HB.50.

Positive barrel engagement: Patented J-slot barrel retention system assures that the barrel is securely locked and aligned. Common barrel thread: Interchanges with existing HB barrels. . eliminates logistics concerns during fielding.The E50 machine gun kit adds new features and design improvements to the M2HB: y y y y y y y Closed bolt system with a manual trigger block safety: Allows movement of the weapon with a chambered round. Fixed headspace and timing: Eliminates safety concerns based on exposure time associated with barrel changing. Robust removable barrel handle: Simplifies hot-barrel changing. making the M2 night-vision friendly. Picatinny Optics rail: Quickly adaptable to existing sighting systems. and simplifies conversion of existing barrels to the Quick Change Barrel (QCB) configuration. Flash hider: Reduces muzzle flash.

50 gun mounts on CH-21 Shawnee. . 99K. Experimental twin .850x370.50 caliber M2 machine gun modified for use as an aircraft gun that can be fired remotely by the pilot or gunner of a helicopter or light fixedwing aircraft. JPEG M2 Aircraft Gun A . The M2 aircraft gun is classified Standard A. The M2 aircraft gun has a rate of fire of 750-850 rounds per minute. The M3 machine gun has a rate of fire of 1150-1250 rounds per minute. M3 Aircraft Gun The Browning M3 aircraft gun is a .50 caliber M2 machine gun that is modified for use as an aircraft gun that can be fired remotely by the pilot or gunner of a helicopter or light fixed-wing aircraft. The M3 aircraft gun is classified Standard A.

recoil-operated. automatic.M3 mounted in XM14 gun pod. air-cooled machine gun used on the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter. link-belt fed. OPERATION . The XM296 machine gun functions in the same manner as the M2 machine gun. XM296 Machine Gun The XM296 is a pod mounted. except it is fired remotely using an electrical solenoid and does not contain the bolt latch which allows for single-shot operation. The weapon has a maximum rate of fire from 750-800 rounds per minute.

Feeding. holding the first round in place. unlocking. ready for chambering. extracting. . approximately in back of the barrel. the belted ammunition is moved over and then held in a stationary position by the belt-holding pawl. When the bolt is all the way to the rear. As the bolt is moved to the rear. locking. the belt-holding pawl will snap into place behind the second linked cartridge. The extractor will then grasp the rim of the first cartridge.The cycle of functioning is broken down into basic steps: feeding. When the bolt reaches the fully forward position. At the same time. the ammunition belt is held in the feedway by the belt-holding pawl. chambering. Cycle of functioning 1. the belt-feed slide moves out far enough to allow the belt-feed pawl spring to force the pawl up between the first and second rounds. Feeding is the act of placing a cartridge in the receiver. holding it in place. 1. the beltfeed pawl rides up and over the link. As the bolt moves forward. firing. and cocking. Some of these steps may occur at the same time. the belt-feed slide is moved back into the receiver. pulling with it the next linked cartridge. When the bolt is fully forward and the top is closed. 2. ejecting. preparing to release it from the belt on the next rearward motion.

releasing it from the belt. It is connected under the extractor switch on the side of the receiver until it is repositioned by the forward movement of the bolt. 3. and pressure of the cover extractor spring forces it over the next round. the lower rear projection of the bolt strikes the tips of the accelerator. As the bolt then moves to the rear. The bolt is locked to the barrel and barrel extension. causing the cartridge to be moved into the T-slot in the bolt face. At the same time. the extractor will pull the cartridge with it. 2. Initially. Chambering. the barrel extension and barrel are also forced forward by the action of the . the extractor is forced down by the extractor cam. 2. At the start of counterrecoil. This unlocks the barrel extension from the barrel buffer body group and releases the barrel buffer spring. carrying the cartridge in the T-slot in a direct route to the chamber of the weapon. Locking. The barrel buffer spring expands. After the bolt travels forward about 5 inches. the bolt is forced forward in counter-recoil by the energy stored in the driving spring assembly and the compressed buffer disks. forcing the piston rod forward. the barrel buffer body tube lock keeps the accelerator tips from bounding up too soon and catching in the breech lock recess in the bolt. Since the cross groove in the piston rod engages the notch on the barrel extension shank. preparing the cartridge to be chambered. the extractor rides up the extractor cam and when the bolt is fully forward. the bolt moves forward. Chambering is placing the cartridge into the chamber of the weapon. During this cycle. As it moves to the rear.3. turning the accelerator forward. 1. the extractor grasps the next linked cartridge 4.

The breech lock in the barrel extension rides up the breech lock cam in the bottom of the receiver into the breech lock recess in the bottom of the bolt. so that the bolt latch will not engage the notches in top of the bolt. the bolt-latch release must be locked or held depressed. The firing pin and firing pin extension are driven forward by the firing pin spring. the trigger lever depresses the sear. The sear is forced down until the hooked notch of the firing pin extension is disengaged from the sear notch. The gun fires automatically as long as the trigger and bolt latch are held down and ammunition is fed into the gun. The gun should fire about one-sixteenth of an inch before the recoiling groups are fully forward. As the trigger impressed down. firing the round. the accelerator tips slow down the bolt. The firing pin is released. barrel extension. For automatic firing. 2. releasing the firing pin extension assembly and the firing pin. Some of the forward motion of the bolt is transmitted to the barrel extension through the accelerator. The recoiling groups are completely locked together three-fourths of an inch before the groups are fully forward 5. This automatically fires the next round when the forward movement of the recoiling groups is nearly completed. This in turn pivots on the trigger lever pin assembly. and barrel) are fully forward. holding the bolt to the rear as in single-shot firing. Each time the bolt travels forward in counter-recoil. at the same time. the front of the accelerator speeds up the barrel extension. it pivots on the trigger pin. igniting the primer of the cartridge. . Locking begins 1 1/8 inches before the recoiling groups (bolt. the striker of the firing pin hits the primer of the cartridge. The trigger is pressed and held down. causing the front end of the trigger lever to press down on the top of the sear stud. so that the trigger cam on the inside of the backplate engages and raises the rear end of the trigger lever. Firing. 3. As the accelerator rotates forward. locking the recoiling groups together. 1.barrel buffer spring. Only the first round should be fired with the parts fully forward.

the bullet travels out of the barrel. The bolt is unlocked from the barrel and barrel extension. The accelerator tips strike the lower rear projection of the bolt. During the first three-fourths of an inch. accelerating the movement of the bolt to the rear. the bolt is unlocked. The barrel and barrel extension continue to travel to the rear an additional three-eighths of an inch. the force of recoil drives the recoiling groups rearward. As the recoiling groups move to the rear. When the cartridge explodes. which is on top of the breech lock cam and in the breech lock recess in the bottom of the bolt. free to move to the rear independent of the barrel and barrel extension. allowing the breech lock depressors (acting on the breech lock pin) to force the breech lock down. the breech lock is moved off the breech lock cam stop. 1. At the instant of firing. out of its recess from the bottom of the bolt. 2. the barrel extension causes the tips of the accelerator to rotate rearward. As this movement takes place. Unlocking. the bolt is locked to the barrel extension and against the rear end of the barrel by the breech lock. the recoiling groups are locked together. At the end of the first three-fourths of an inch of recoil. or an approximate total distance of 1 1/8 inches until they are stopped by the .6.

the top forward edge of the breech lock and the forward edge of the lock recess in the bolt are beveled. therefore. it fits snugly in the chamber. the bolt travels an additional 6 3/8 inches to the rear. 7. The empty cartridge case is pulled from the chamber. During this movement. After its initial travel of three-fourths of an inch. since the notch on the shank is engaged in the cross groove in the piston rod head. The leverage of the accelerator tips on the bolt speeds extraction after it is started by kicking the bolt to the rear to extract the empty case from the chamber. has been expanded by the force of the explosion. and to ensure slow initial extraction of the case. As the breech lock is unlocked. 1. for a total of 7 1/8 inches. the driving springs are compressed. Part of the recoil energy of the bolt is stored by the driving spring rod assembly. The slope of the locking faces facilitates locking and unlocking and prevents sticking. The rearward movement of the bolt is stopped as the bolt strikes the buffer plate. it may be torn. If the case is withdrawn from the chamber too rapidly. 3. which engage the shoulders of the barrel extension shank. the barrel buffer spring is compressed by the barrel extension shank. and part is absorbed by the buffer disks in the backplate. the initial movement of the bolt away from the barrel and barrel extension is gradual. held by the T-slot. The spring is locked in the compressed position by the claws of the accelerator. after it is unlocked from the barrel and barrel extension. Extracting. To prevent this. The empty case. . During the recoil of 1 1/8 inches. 2.barrel buffer assembly.

. As the firing pin extension is pressed to the rear. and is caromed toward the rear. M2 ammunition is packaged in a metal box containing 100 linked rounds. which fits through the slot in the firing pin extension. Ejecting. compressing the firing pin spring against the sear stop pin (accelerator stop). The preferred combat ammunition mix for the M2 machine gun is four API (M8) to one API-T (M20) with M9 link. The lower end pivots to the rear on the cocking lever pin. the extractor lug rides below the extractor switch. The sear spring forces the sear back up after the hooked notch of the firing pin extension has entered the sear notch. When the recoiling groups are fully forward. forcing the extractor assembly farther down until the round is in the center of the T-slot of the bolt. As the bolt starts its forward movement (counter-recoil). The empty cartridge case is expelled from the receiver. The last empty case of an ammunition belt is pushed out by the ejector. AMMUNITION Ammunition is issued in a disintegrating metallic split-linked belt (M2 or M9 links). 9. the top of the cocking lever rests on the rear half of the V-slot in the top plate bracket. The pressure of the sear and firing pin springs holds the two notches locked together. still gripped by the extractor. Each box of 100 rounds weighs approximately 35 pounds (16 kg). the hooked notch of the extension rides over the sear notch. forces the extension to the rear. As the bolt moves to the rear. Cocking. Click here for more information. The rounded nose of the cocking lever. 1. the top of the cocking lever is forced forward. forcing the sear down. the overtravel is taken up and completed when the cocking lever enters the V-slot of the top plate bracket.8. 2. pressure on the cocking lever is relieved as the bolt starts forward. As the bolt starts forward. The round. The firing pin is withdrawn into the cocked position. There is a slight overtravel of the firing pin extension in its movement to the rear to ensure proper engagement with the sear. 1. ejects the empty case from the T-slot. 2.

M8 Armor-Piercing Incendiary (API). Lined barrel only. M23 Incendiary. The position of his body can then be adjusted to position his firing eye in alignment with the sights of the weapon. The gunner then spreads his legs a comfortable distance apart with his toes turned outward. It is assumed by lying on the ground directly behind the gun. M2. sitting. M962 Saboted Light Armor Penetrator Tracer (SLAP-T). FIRING POSITIONS The tripod firing positions are prone. M17. M10. M21 Tracer. M33 Ball. M1. M903 Saboted Light Armor Penetrator (SLAP). They are assumed in the following manner: 1. M1. The prone position is used when firing from the tripod that is set in a low position. M2 Dummy. Lined barrel only. M2 Armor-Piercing (AP).y y y y y y y y y y y M1 High Pressure Test. and his left hand grasps the elevating handwheel of the T&E. His right hand lightly grasps the right spade grip with his right thumb in a position to press the trigger. M20 Armor-Piercing Incendiary Tracer (API-T). . M1A1 Blank. His left elbow rests on the ground. and standing.

He must ensure that the right thumb is in position to press the trigger 3.2. and lightly grasps the right spade grip with his right hand. This position is assumed by standing directly behind the gun with the feet spread a comfortable distance apart. He grasps the elevating handwheel of the T&E with the left hand. The gunner sits directly behind the gun between the legs of the tripod. The standing position is used when the gunner is firing from a fighting position. Adjustment of the body is allowed in order to align the firing eye with the sights on the weapon . ensuring that the right thumb is in a position to press the trigger. He lightly grasps the right spade grip with the right hand. depending on his physique. The sitting position can be used when the tripod is set in a high or low position. The gunner grasps the elevating handwheel of the T&E with the left hand. The gunner then places both elbows on the inside of his thighs to get the best support. He may extend his legs under the tripod or cross them.

WEAPON CAPABILITIES . using the commander's seat. It is assumed by constructing a solid platform to stand on. he grasps the upper extension handles with both hands. The gunner holds the gun tightly to his chest for stabilization. or. he grasps the lower extension handles with both hands.The vehicular firing position for the M2 is standing. in the case of the M113 APC. using sandbags or ammunition boxes. When the gunner is engaging aerial targets. it has the advantage of presenting a lower profile of the gunner and also aligns the gunner's eye closer to the axis of the barrel. He grasps the spade grips with both hands and places both thumbs in a position to press the trigger. the gunner stands with his feet spread comfortably apart with his shoulders squarely behind the gun. The anti-aircraft firing position uses a standing position when firing from the M63 mount. The kneeling position may be used. The gunner must then ensure that his platform is high enough to place the spade grips of the gun about chest high. He sights over the weapon and adjusts his position by flexing his knees and leaning forward to absorb any recoil. his elbows should be locked tightly to his sides. When engaging low-level aircraft or ground targets. To assume the position.

Tracers are likely to start fires. JPEG . and troops can be suppressed with a heavy volume of fire until a force can destroy or bypass the opposition. Enemy ATGM gunners.S.In the urban environment. long bursts of fire are walked into the target. the M2 machine gun can be used as an accurate. the gun is fired in bursts of 9 to 15 rounds. If necessary.Click on image sample to see full size image. 66K. The M2 machine gun is often employed on its vehicular mount during both offensive and defensive operations. When firing on the move. JPEG M2 Photos . More M2 Art . long-range. automatic fires for the suppression or destruction of targets. long-range weapon and can supplement sniper fires. Army Photo 1130x330. the M2 machine gun provides high-volume. When mounted on a tripod. M2HB U. U.Click on image sample to see full size image. a continuous burst is used rather than several short bursts. it can be mounted on the M3 tripod for use in the ground role or in the upper levels of buildings. Air Force Photo 18-MAR-2004 2100x854. When firing at aircraft. 312K.S. The M2 provides final protective fire along fixed lines and can be used to penetrate light structures. lightlyarmored vehicles. When shooting at ground targets from a stationary position.

Hoke 23-SEP-2005 1024x683. 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Firing range. Cobra Gold Live fire practice. 360K. Karim D. Afghanistan Operation Enduring Freedom U. JPEG Marine Aircraft Group 39. Combined Marine Forces. JPEG MP stands guard near village of Haji Raza Kalacha. JPEG 12th Marine Regiment. 240K. JPEG . James B. Thailand U. 157K.S. Delgado 05-MAY-2005 1024x683. Army Photo by PFC Hugo A Baray-Vasquez 30-SEP-2003 1024x746.S.S.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. DoD Photo by CPL Gregory A. Russell 18-MAR-2004 1500x1000.Vehicle mounted M2HB Amphibious Ready Group Exercise 2004 (ARGEX 04) U. Camp Pendleton U. 149K.

Sources: FM 3-06.S. U. U. Army TACOM-RI Small Arms Group website. JPEG Last updated: 29-DEC-2006 Copyright ©2006 Gary W. U. Air Force "Airman: The Book" web edition.S. FM 21-75 Combat Skills of the Soldier. and approved for public release.S.S. Cooke To the best of my knowledge all military data and images presented in these pages are UNCLASSIFIED. M2. U. TRADOC PAM 600-4 Initial Entry Training (IET) Soldier's Handbook. Army website. U.S. MCWP 3-15. Marine Corps website. FM 7-7 The Mechanized Infantry Platoon and Squad (APC).M2HB loaded with M8 API and M20 API-T Exercise Tandem Thrust U. Army Cannon Caliber Ammunition Branch website. U. U.50 HB. Army Picatinny Arsenal website. 586K.1 Machine Guns and Machine Gun Gunnery. . Winter 2006. DoD Photo by SSGT Jeremy Lock 08-MAY-2001 1024x1540.S. FM 23-65 Browning Machine Gun Caliber .11 Combined Arms Operations in Urban Terrain. NON-SENSITIVE.S. Army PEO Soldier website. FM 17-12-8 Light Cavalry Gunnery.S.