Belt Fed Machine Guns

Which one should a guy have if he can only have one?

The Bump Stock ruling has pointed out the need for many Americans to have machine guns, because.... well... 'Merica! Many have said "If a Bump Stock is now a machine gun, we all may as well drill that third hole in our AR lowers." I am not ready to go there.

However, I have realized that the Dealer Sample provision does not get used nearly enough by NFA types.
I am considering going down that road to acquire a modern belt fed. So, my question is: Which one to start with?  Between a M-240 and a M-249, which is the more versatile weapon?

Across a few categories of use, which would be the best fit for:

A. A squared away LE agency. What would a LE agency conceivably use a LMG or GPMG for? Is it for Over Watch from a BearCat? Over watch for high risk events? Remember, I have to plausibly demo this to somebody.

B. Rooftop Korean type work.

C. Knocking down E-types on the distance range 500-1000 yards.

D. Burning down pepper poppers during Outlaw 3 gun matches.

C. Burning down pigs from a helicopter or bait station.

 

Original Post
firemission4mortars posted:

In for a penny , in for a pound. M134 minigun

I considered including that, but the price difference even for Dealer Samples is... profound.

Plus, the two little belt feds don't need aux power and a herd of Serpas to pack around.

M240L and PKM come to mind. Both are easy to use, accurate, and stupid reliable.  For running and gunning PKM is lighter and self contained ammo source, for more traditional work with a team (AG/AB), M240L is king with the M192 tripod and much quicker barrel changes, for sustained fire, plus easier to mount optics and lasers. 

No idea what a LE Agency would want with an MG, but the "militarization of police" crowd would cream their jeans.

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Joined: 2/21/04          Location: Seattle,  WA

MK48, followed by M240L. 

I like the MK48 more due to more SOPMOD capability. You can also equip the Savit buttstock and swap out for your preference. 

It can also function in an assaulter role, though that’s almost exclusively  .mil. 

LE Use: 

Show of force - Tactical callouts, etc. 

Anti-vehicular weapon. (Think engaging a known VBIED from a rotary wing, or someone going all A-Team and uparmoring  up a vic)

I always liked having an LMG near the sniper rifles as it tended to either suppress threats or encourage them to target the LMG, allowing the long guns to finish the job. 

 

"I came here for one reason: to attack and keep coming.- Ultimate Warrior

 

"Americans don't deserve America." - Timmy

Longeye posted:

However, I have realized that the Dealer Sample provision does not get used nearly enough by NFA types.

I'm guessing you know there are many 'flavors' of dealer samples.
Best and most expensive are pre-86 no law letter keepers (you can retain after surrendering your SOT) all the way to cheap post-86, needing a law letter. The last M249 that I know of that sold (form 4, not dealer sample) was $175,000, with current FNs under $5k with a demo letter needed. It would seem getting a letter for a demo would be tough this day and age and alhough you save a lot on the front end,  paying the SOT every year you want to keep it will add up. But hey, I'm in. Between those two

 Between a M-240 and a M-249, which is the more versatile weapon?

A. A squared away LE agency. What would a LE agency conceivably use a LMG or GPMG for? Is it for Over Watch from a BearCat? Over watch for high risk events? Remember, I have to plausibly demo this to somebody. 240, if they can justify using an MG then it sounds like they need the power, range, penetration, etc of 7.62

B. Rooftop Korean type work. 249, cost to feed

C. Knocking down E-types on the distance range 500-1000 yards.  249, cost to feed

D. Burning down pepper poppers during Outlaw 3 gun matches.  240, if you are going to be an Outlaw, be a Real Outlaw

C. Burning down pigs from a helicopter or bait station. 240, if you are shooting from a helo, you can afford 7.62

If you go to something without a swappable barrel (how many belt dumps in a row can you afford requiring barrel swaps?) I would submit if you want to blast away with a rifle cartridge, I think an RPK is the hot tip. Normally you would be using 100 round belts with the 249 or 240, sure you can run longer (we did 900 round belt dumps with M-60s [dating myself], but the barrels actual soften and warp with the round starting to make new exit holes in the barrels. That is what happens when 18 year olds have no adult supervision and 18,000 rounds to 'use up'). So with a very reliable 75 round drum (I've only used the Romanian ones), you are at 75% of the belt. I have not used the larger 100 round Chinese drums. Plus cheaper ammo means more shooting or helicopter time. 

 

________________________

"It's paranoia until something happens, then it is preparedness"

"It is not whether you're paranoid, it whether you're paranoid enough"

"When did you get so paranoid?" …When they started plotting against me.

240 would NOT be my choice for LE given:

Ammo requirements for training and qualification.

Range requirements for training and qualification.

liklihood of ND on open bolt MG. (Big issue when I was on a CVN.   Sailors would want to send the bolt home to chamber a round... and there goes a burst across the Elizabeth river.  There goes SECO’s face palm.  Here comes CAPT with red face.... There goes the sitrep and call to BWC)

And finally... Liability for every round that goes down range.   

I think you would be better off with a .50 semi auto for the vbied role for LE.   

TX DPS has 6x 240B mounted on each of their TMU boats (the ones up front on the P&S sides are dual mounted!!!). They might be a resource if you want precedent for a LE Agency currently useing beltfeds.  

Joined: 13AUG2010         Location: Southern Arizona 

Don't know about other states, but Texas Department Public Safety have quite a few 240s (6x240 per boat, 6x boats in the fleet):  https://www.policemag (DOT) com/374082/texas-dps-patrol-boats-armed-for-cartel-threats

I know Tampa Police or County Sheriff had belt feds on hand for the Super Bowl during the Desert Storm era......maybe even including a .50 Cal/M2 somewhere around the stadium.

For US LEO, I think you could justify both the 249 and 240 platforms, anything bigger would be "Politically" difficult (not that the 249 and 240 would be easy).


If it's a Pain in the Ass....you're doing it WRONG

I don't make policy, only suggestions, take them as such.

 

Joined: 8/5/05    Location: 20 miles west of Gettysburg, PA

 

 

Current LE, former MG carrier. Not a trained gunner like Army or USMC, but i did the basic classes and aimed them at some very unfriendly people for a while. No combat time.

Vehicle or tripod, 240 wins. 7.62 has the range and power. If available the new L cuts down the main bitch carrying one, weight.  

CQB wise the full size 249 is unwieldy but manageable, the shorty versions I've handled were better,  but again still a 5.56.

Very, very few LE units could justify belt feds. Someplace like LAPD SWAT, NYPD ESU, maybe Miami Dade. Each bullet has a lawyer attached. A Barrett is more justifiable in the "no seriously REALLY fuck you" armored vehicle, barricaded Shithead,  or disabling anything with an engine role because LE already has snipers, a .338 or .50 is just a much bigger round. Even in short aimed bursts with an optic, a 240 is a much different proposition than a guy fucking up and putting a MP5 burst into a ceiling.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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"I could stand to hear a little more.." Jayne

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Joined: 6/14/03 1:02 PM

Very few LE agencies are going to be Ok with beltfed due to the liability incurred. There are no POST Full Auto beltfed machine gun courses that I’m aware of, at least that are recognized in CA. 

Why again does LE need a BFG? Unless every car has one, you can’t make a very good case for VBIED use as it’s a static situation or a one-off attack. Again, rounds going everywhere...

 

And yes, I know ALCO SO has a couple of HKs on their PB, but whenhave they used it..? Never. Looks cool, but how do you keep up Range certs? What about this rounds that fly right past the suicide boat and destroy that ammonia nitrate tanker in the Bay?

Know thy enemies, but be aware of thy friends...

Somehow I missed the M240 vs M249 part in the OP, ignore what I said about the PKM.

I'm not LE but have a lot of belt fed experience, I could only imagine LE could use a M240 in very specialized anti vehicle roles- like against an armored vehicle (hijacked armored car or field expedient mod) or VBIED, both with AP rounds. A M82/M107 .50 would do a better job though. 

PRAISE THE FALLEN

SSG Kevin Roberts KIA 7-May-08         SPC Peter Courcy KIA 10-Feb-09

1Lt Nick Dewhirst KIA 20-July-08          PFC Jason Watson KIA 10-Feb-09

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Joined: 2/21/04          Location: Seattle,  WA

TXDPS does have gunboats, thats a border security mission, effectively open warfare with the cartels.  Not typical LE work, but one which DOES justify them.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So low speed, i'm in Park.

"I could stand to hear a little more.." Jayne

Training is brief. Death is forever. PAY ATTENTION.

Joined: 6/14/03 1:02 PM

CCCSD posted:

You would first have to see what the State DOJ says about belt fed machine guns for LE before you try that market...

Montana takes the view point that Lethal force is Lethal force.

For precedent, Montana DOC once ordered MTNG to use a field artillery piece to fire on a uprising in the state prison. And... MTNG did, killing several prisoners and ultimately stopping the uprising. The patched hole in the prison wall is visible to this day. That was then and this is now, but MT LE doesn't do a lot of hand wringing over "police militarization".

Mea Culpa:

I was misinformed by my Sgt.  It was not a field piece, just a bazooka and the NG only fired three bazooka rounds killing no one, but they did start the assault by sticking a Thompson sub-machine gun in a cell where the riot leaders were thought to be and spraying some rounds. And a Highway Patrolman did that- I guess they do accomplish more than write speeding tickets.

https://en.wikipedia.XXXREMOVE...Montana_State_Prison

I like my Sgt's version better. He was telling me about the riot as we drove by the damaged and patched wall section after delivering a prisoner to the new MSP facilty west of town.

Some of the Wiki history reads like Shawshank Redemption.

The LE side of this has been hashed and the fun side of this... Well, both will work.

What about the Roof Korean scenario?

Which one do you want for neghborhood over watch against a perpetually probing enemy while having some sort of flank security out?

Keep in mind, all my training has been carbine employment and tactics have been for no more than a four man team with a warrant to rob drug dealers.

Is the SA .50 still a better choice for the Roof Korean job?

Hmmm.  Maybe you should talk to Ron Cheney at Battlefield Vegas.  Since he runs about 500 select fire weapons, including a lot of belt feds.  Because of cost, availability, and historical value, a lot of them are older guns rebuilt from parts kits.  From a pure cost effective basis, the MG42/MG3/M53 comes to mind.  They are basically the same gun with minor variations.  The MG42 is the WWII German gun in 7.92x57mm.  With minor changes, including a caliber change to 7.62x51, it became the MG3.  The M53 is the Yugoslav version and there are a lot available, particularly in Europe.  I know you're thinking about the rate of fire.  There are heavier bolts available that drop the cyclic rate to about 750rpm.

On the topic of Roof Koreans, I think you'd be better off with a BREN gun, RPD or RPK with drums.  Since I'm not Korean and haven't defended any roof tops, I'm trying to make a theoretical analysis as opposed to practical experience.  But it seems to me that accurate semi-auto fire would be used/useful more often, with only occasional full-auto.  That would make the smaller BREN magazine, and the fixed barrels on the other two workable, and not a draw back.

-------------------------

Mark

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Never hint at what you really feel

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Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

Ah kno Ah'm a dam furriner but...

You really should decide what you want it to do for you.  Suppressing an area from 2km?  Denying street access via beaten zone? Raging mob suppression?  Incapacitating resistant vehicles & occupants?  CQB?  Mob control?  Accurate semi use with auto as a bonus?  Something else?

Also...

Image

Will Higher or Public be freaked out (enough to worry you)  by trotting out a beltfed (mit rainbow link) while they might scarcely raise an eyebrow over something sorta normal looking?

Ammunition?

Pick something that that has good quality modern ammunition readily available at a price within budget.

That rules out, for example, 7.7x56mm (.303 Brit to you Imperialists), 7.92x57mm & 30.06.

It may mean that 7.62x54mm, 5.45x39mm & 7.62x39mm won't meet that criterion.

Sights?

Do you require optical mounting for NVS, thermal etc?  If so, some of the options discussed lack the provision or are hard to satisfactorily acquire.

Infrastructure?

Do you require factory, dealer or professional armourer support...or is it DIY?

Portability?

Is portage, vehicle compatibility, flex mount use etc a factor?

Etc etc etc

Perhaps the way to look at this is to examine what is factory available to LEO & then choose.

Nick Fury likes Mk48

I like M60E6

The current HK line might fit your requirements.

Knights Armament beltfeds?

Whatever Colt offer the old Model 750 as.

And so forth.

Late semi-serious edit: assuming someone else is paying for the purchase & ammo bill...the GD .338 NM GPHMG?

Let's see....

The bulk of my military career was with a weapons squad, and I attended the MG leaders course..that was M60's, we got 240 about a year before I got out.

"LE"...ie protecting vital assets of the US gov....M240, M249, MK46, MK48, and M2...and I've seen an HK21 that was issued before I got to that facility.

I'd go HK21 just on rep alone. Otherwise, MK46/48 for any use short of a dug in infantry defense.

----------------------------

"Good landing, good fight, and good luck" James M. Gavin 09Jul43

 "they say if it works, it's a good tactic...I say anything can work once" 

The best bang for the buck MG on the LE/ Civ side is still the HK21 (7.62) or HK23 (5.56) Belt  fed systems as far as I am concerned. Added bonus as a SOT is that you can paper a separate trigger pack as the MG and still have the "belt fed rifle" as a semi auto gun, much like you can do with the HK9x series rifles.

This allows you to have a select fire belt fed system that can do both full auto, burst and semi auto by selector lever on the trigger pack itself. they have a quick change barrel system and some of the more modern builds have the accessory rails required for mounting optics, lasers, lights and other stuff.   

Every time I think about doing the SOT thing this is the first MG I think about doing, even before the 3rd hole AR builds.

 

"If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism."         - Thomas Sowell

"A Republic, if you can keep it" - Ben Franklin

 

LOCATION: Jacksonville NC

JOINED:  Feb 2012

     

 

I would question why belt fed is the best answer.

Dorsai posted:

...On the topic of Roof Koreans, I think you'd be better off with a BREN gun, RPD or RPK with drums.  Since I'm not Korean and haven't defended any roof tops, I'm trying to make a theoretical analysis as opposed to practical experience.  But it seems to me that accurate semi-auto fire would be used/useful more often, with only occasional full-auto.  That would make the smaller BREN magazine, and the fixed barrels on the other two workable, and not a draw back.

Such a different platform, that I wouldn't trust a former mil MGer just a few years after he's out. You need regular range time, just for safe administrative handling, not to mention dumping bursts with the liability issues. Forget cities and suburbs, bullets go a long ways. Even if there are terrorists attacking the nuke plant, are you gonna be happy dumping .30 caliber bullets across the landscape for miles? 

I can imagine very bad days where full auto could be used, but would think getting that into the normal carbines would be more overall beneficial. Or more likely for the paperwork, a couple heavier/bipoded versions that have fun switches, and are secured in vehicles with tactical teams, or actually back in the arms room all the time. Just have a C-mag or two, Magpul D60s or whatever to feed out of. 

 

MrMurphy posted:

...A Barrett is more justifiable in the "no seriously REALLY fuck you" armored vehicle, barricaded Shithead,  or disabling anything with an engine role because LE already has snipers, a .338 or .50 is just a much bigger round. 

 From my recollection of times that LE firepower has not been enough, more bullets wouldn't solve the issue as much as more effective bullets. I'd choose a handful of .338 or .50s with a variety of good ammo (and range time to make sure you can hit with them!) not for the range so much as the penetration and post-barrier damage. 

Hell, if it wasn't miles past something you can get authorized, and the worst PR disaster ever if used, I can see greater justification for 40 mm HEDP than belt fed. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

RCB - Is the trigger group on the HK21 the same as some of the HK sear/trigger packs that come up transferrable from time-to-time? That is, could I hypothetically buy a sear pack and build a HK21 the same way as I could have 1 MG, but build an MP5 or MP5K around it just by swapping other parts?

Joined: 30 May 2003                  Location: SE PA

The hk 23 pack /5.56 is the same as the 9mm one. Single pin hole. The 21/. 308 pack is a two pin hole. The transferable sears can move from pack to pack so it would not be an issue with tranferable guns. For a SOT the advantage of registering the packs is that they become the serialized device, not the gun itself. Making it  reasonably low entry price point for new mg manufacture. All the transferable stuff is expensive due to the fact that not a lot is available on the legal market already registered prior to 1986. An SOT can just buy parts and then file the registation as a post sample after building the gun. A surplus G3  trigger pack complete is around 200 dollars...

"If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism."         - Thomas Sowell

"A Republic, if you can keep it" - Ben Franklin

 

LOCATION: Jacksonville NC

JOINED:  Feb 2012

     

So, I am getting two messages. 

One, that a simple dealer sample select fire M4 or 416 with several D60 mags is all I need for my stated purpose of Roof Korean style neghborhood watch.

Two, that a HK 23 or 21 is the preferred belt fed if a guy is buying his own.

Do the HK guns use standard NATO links? What sort of spares should a guy have around for a beltfed machine gun that will see 5-10 belts per year? What breaks? What parts should a guy have with the gun, vs. back at the armory?

Does someone make nutsacks for the HK guns?

Never seen soft box, but it may exist. They do make a clanky big metal box with a handle to carry spares around.

The .308 guns are designed for the German army so work with the non-disintegrating steel DM1 belt. They can do others including disintegrating link, best US solution I have seen is a custom star that times the system to the M60 belt spacing, but the guys who made it seem to not exist so... there's that. HK may make other feed stars so maybe ask them about it if serious.  

No idea what the 5.56 guns use as a belt. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

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Here's a sprocket wheel for M13 links 

https://www.robertrtg.com/stor...OR-M-13-357p5431.htm

FYI ammo boxes are hard to find and spendy as well, like every other HK product...

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Joined: 2/21/04          Location: Seattle,  WA

Longeye posted:

One, that a simple dealer sample select fire M4 or 416 with several D60 mags is all I need for my stated purpose of Roof Korean style neghborhood watch.

So we - my office - is having the same conversation about our support-by-fire capability.  Granted, we have some very unique requirements and constraints, but at the end of the day it boils down to the same question you highlighted above.

In my mind - as a former general purpose Infantry guy who's had more time running MG's than most other non-MG specific specialties - a belt fed versus a M4 with big mags is NOT a one-for-one swap.  Barrel integrity and heat is the most immediate concern.

Looking only at your Korean Roof scenario means that you can probably get away with the M4/D60's, but your ability to maintain a sustained rate of fire (mag changes) and the duration you can do so (hold the position) is drastically different - i.e. less - than a proper belt fed.  It simply depends on how much hate you feel is sufficient to dole out for each of your envisioned scenarios.  You did say "against a perpetually probing enemy," so those factors are a consideration.  I'd say it is probably insufficient for pigs from the helo - you'd need a true area weapon for that one.

I have recently been down this same path outside of work as well, and arrived at a solution I'm very happy with.  We can get into specifics in a PM if you'd like, but the bottom line was a beltfed answer.  There is simply no true substitute.  That said, a 7.62 belt gun is really a crew supported weapon due to ammo weight.  I can't see managing anything beyond a 5.56 (except the PKM, as Kaltersherz mentioned, which is a brilliant platform) as a one man show.  YMMV.

Also, as has been pointed out, ability to use available surplus linked ammo is a huge consideration.  And since the HK platforms don't feed the NATO standard links without some tinkering...

--Dave

 

"Do not touch anything unnecessarily. Beware of pretty girls in dance halls and parks who may be spies, as well as bicycles, revolvers, uniforms, arms, dead horses, and men lying on roads -- they are not there accidentally."

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