Weapons: An M-60 Machine-Gun That Really Works

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January 23, 2006: The U.S. M-60 machine-gun was developed in the 1950s, for use by infantry and vehicle crews. It fired the full size 7.62mm round, and was long criticized for its week ammo feeding system, and poor mechanical design that led to "runaway" firing, or broken firing pins (or other components.) Changing an overheated barrel was clumsy and, well, the M-60 was not missed when it was replaced by the Belgian M-240 in the late 1990s. But now the M-60 manufacturer has come back with a new model that fixes all the old problems, and adds some startling new capabilities. The M-60E4 Barrel is good for 15,000 rounds (about 50 percent more than usual for such a weapon), and in an demonstration, 850 rounds (105 seconds worth) were fired in a single burst, without the barrel overheating. That was really outstanding. Moreover, the M-60E4 weighs only 22 pounds, making it easier to haul around, and fire from the hip. The manufacturer also sells conversion kits that will turn older model M60s (over 100,00 of them out there) into E4s. This is where the company expects to clean up, although many newly manufactured M-60E4s are being sold as well. In fact, the manufacturer has put a hold on any new orders until this Summer, in order to catch up with orders it already has.

 


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