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  1. #1
    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    Theoretical exercise

    Having a chat with a few fellow ex-armourers a while back.

    The subject of "product-improving" various weapons came up, as usual, but the main topic was the M-60 GPMG.

    The U.S. military seems to be keeping the old girl alive to a limited extent, but, over the years, has anybody in the "freelance" field done anything creative?

    General thoughts run to adapting a Mag-58 / M-240 or MG-3 feed system to the top and the FN-style, disconnector-equipped trigger mech. to the bottom end.

    PKM- or M-240 style adjustable front-sight assembly?

    And a Mk 1 Bren bipod "somewhere" in the mix.

    Stuff we can only dream about here.

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    Advisory Panel Lee Enfield's Avatar
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    The aluminum top cover was just stupid.

    The bipod on the barrel (of the originals) was just stupidity illustrating a lack of end user input.

    The bolts and firing pin issues...need i say more?...

    Ingenius theory, impractical design...

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    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    In a military system, there is a huge logistical tail . Every battalion has some sort of workshop element, to handle weapons, vehicles, radios, generators, etc.

    In an operational environment, damaged or faulty equipment, including weapons are usually dealt with, initially, by the simple practice of "one-for-one", i.e., "New guns for old". Then the broken toy is properly assessed in the workshop and either repaired in situ or booted up the food-chain to a higher-level facility.

    In "civilian" situations, this is not always possible, to say the least.

    I spent a bit of time with the old M-60, both as a "consumer" and as n armourer. Kept clean and CORRECTLY lubricated and with ALL parts up to spec, they would run quite happily. When we used them in a sustained-fire role off tripods, barrel-changes were done at appropriate intervals and guns were periodically taken "off-line" for a quick clean and re-lube. Burning through thousands of rounds with the trigger held back was absolutely not on the dance-card.

    Fired off the bipod, bursts of five to ten rounds are the way to go. In "fire and movement", the machine-gun will lay down several of these bursts (suppressive fire) as the other "fire-team", the "rifle-group" tries to maneuver to a better tactical position. Then as they take up that position, they start applying fire to the objective and the MG group will re-deploy. This "leap-frogging" continues until the objective is overwhelmed or Murphy steps in.

    NEVER "dry-fire" an M-60 because doing so risks damaging both the bolt locking lugs AND the locking collar at the rear of the barrel. The act of feeding in a brass-cased cartridge actually "buffers" the closing of the breech. If you are into "blank firing" NEVER use any of the plastic blanks. These cause two problems, long term: As the bolt shoves the plastic blank into the chamber, it compresses it and the bolt lugs will engage the locking collar more violently than usual. Secondly, unlike brass cases, plastic ones do not carry away as much heat from the chamber as brass ones, this the gun runs "hotter".

    Finally, the extractor and ejector must always be CLEAN and lightly lubed. Firing residue accumulates in the inner spaces occupied by these two components. That alone will make their function sluggish. the accumulated crud seems to attract and retain moisture. Regular (every few thousand rounds, more if you live in a "dry" place) stripping and cleaning of these parts is advised. If you prefer to NOT strip these parts out regularly, at least stand a fired bolt nose-down in a container of solvent for a while, then "work" the extractor and ejector manually until nasty stuff stops running out. Repeat until the "drainage" runs clean, then re-oil.

    If springs are below nominal length and / or corroded / pitted, replace them immediately. This applies to ALL the springs, from the main return spring to the tiny ones in the feed mechanism. It was our normal practice before a live shoot, to do a total strip and examination and any part looking slightly shabby was replaced. We also went to the shoot with lots of spares, most of which came home unused, because the guns were almost like new before the fun started.


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    Really Senior Member RCS's Avatar
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    M60 m/g

    Long time ago when i was an armorer in the US Army and later in the reserve, I worked with the Model 1919A6 which was very well liked. As the M60 started to replace the old BMG, we received new examples that had the R stamped indicating the feed ramp was altered to prevent a live round from striking a chambered round as I remember.

    When a firing pin broke in the field, the weapon was very difficult to take apart and had to be returned for repair. I saved a broken firing and spring as a reminder. Also the spring that held the trigger group to the receiver would come off and get lost too

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    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
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    So in other words: not soldier proof or reliable. But on the other hand it was "invented there" (at least superficially)
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    I was issued an M60 for two months in Australiaicon in 1977 and used it every day there both live and blank...
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce_in_Oz View Post
    NEVER use any of the plastic blanks.
    We had nothing but problems with the then issued plastic blanks and even then I knew I wanted brass blanks for use. We had double feeds at times once the gun got hot, except once it was five that came out when I removed the barrel. They were all crammed side by side into a hot chamber. Nice to carry, crap to use. Worked OK in the SLRs I guess, I didn't have one. Shooting live gave no trouble, my gun had an early number and for sure went to RVN with RAR as they'd just come back. I used to have the number here...?

    Quote Originally Posted by RCS View Post
    Also the spring that held the trigger group to the receiver would come off and get lost too
    The Australians had us put that flat spring on from the top to eliminate losing it and having a full time auto with no shut off...fire a belt at a time...

    No machine gun is soldier proof, the MAG/C6 when new was about closest thing I saw. Once they were worn, they still required savvy to keep them in top shape in action. You can't always get maintenance you see. I also used the 1919A4 guns and they were old, you had to be very mechanical to keep some running. Once you understood how they worked, it was key to keeping them going.
    Regards, Jim

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    Really Senior Member RCS's Avatar
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    modified M60 in Viet Nam

    Navy Seals did use a modified M60 during the Viet Nam war. Note the shorter barrel and
    front sight removed in this photo. The Stoner weapons were well used too.

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    Senior Member pocketshaver's Avatar
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    actually just go back to MG40. fully chromed and melonited barrels would be the only change

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