A Brief Introduction to the M240 Golf

The FN MAG was adopted by the United States military to replace its aging inventory of M60 machine guns. It was designated the M240 in US parlance, and first used as a vehicle-mounted machine gun. Subsequently both the US Army and US Marine Corps adopted ground mount versions for infantry use; the Army chose the B model with a handguard and the Marines chose the G model without the handguard. Today we are going to do a bit of shooting with a 240G…

Thanks to the Institute of Military Technology for giving me the opportunity to bring this 240 Golf on camera for you!


  1. The early Marine M240Gs were actually surplused M240C evaluation guns. The Marines snapped them up at scrap prices, then bought the GPMG bits from FN and were able to field the guns ahead of the Army, who wer still evaluaeting their Bravo variant.

    • Nope. Not what happened, at all. You are repeating a BS “Old Marine’s Tale”, here. The f**king Marines pulled a fast one, and got the brand-new war stock M240 coax guns declared surplus by Congress, because “…the Army doesn’t need them anymore, with the Clinton-era post-Cold War drawdown…”, stripped the war reserve for replacement guns that the Army then had to pay to replace, and happily went on their merry way.

      The logisticians are still livid over it. You listen to some of them who were around when that was going on, and you will get an earful. The Marines are assholes when it comes to a lot of this sort of thing–They delight in “getting one over” on the Army, and operate in complete obliviousness to the fact that the system they just robbed is also supporting them. The coax MG support program was set back on its ass, financially, for over a decade because of the Marine shenanigans, and the assholes a.) never paid for the guns they’d gotten from that joint-service system, and, b.) had the balls to go bitching back to Congress about the Army not supporting them when they tried getting replacement guns for their worn-out coax guns in their M1 tanks and other applications… Yeah, no shit, dumbasses–You zeroed out the war stock physically, and never paid back to replace what you took!

      Source? One of the managing officers for the M240 program who was around the issue when it was going on. The Marines created a huge problem for everyone with the way they handled this deal, and left it for the grown-ups in the room to clean up.

      I love the Marines as individuals, but as a service? They are a bunch of assholes that refuse to “play well with others”. Logistically, they behave like spoiled three-year olds. There is this myth they have about virtuously having to rip off basic supplies and equipment from the Army and Navy just to survive, but the reality is that what they are stealing was already allocated, and if they had participated like adults from the beginnings, things wouldn’t have gotten to the point where they needed to steal.

      Ironically, the Marines supposedly had to have the M240 forced on them, as a coax. They had wanted the coax version of the M60, for parts and support commonality.

      • Why are you not more angry at Congress or the Army? From your narrative, it seems like the USMC saw a deal and snatched it.

        • Considering that we’re talking about an Army vet angry at his superiors for letting someone else “get away with theft” while ignoring their subordinates’ troubles (which include getting filled with lead after being told they were FORBIDDEN from retaliating against insurgents who ambushed relatively unarmed supply trucks), I can’t really blame him.

      • It’s not that the Marines “delight in getting one over the Army” It’s that the Marines budget is so small. The Marine Corps is nearly a branch of the Navy. The Army, Navy, and Air force all receive their yearly budgets, the Navy takes what they need and then passes along some extra cash down to the Marines. Marine bases are the ghettos of the Military for this reason. The Marine Corps has to think outside the box, penny-pinch, and even scam their way into getting their supplies.

  2. M240 G were guns taken up from war-stock coaxial weapons, which had the FN ground kit applied. M240 B guns were new, purpose-built guns that came from the factory with all the ground trimmings already applied. If I remember correctly, the G did not have the Picatinny rail applied to them until much later in the program, so that gun Ian is shooting isn’t quite a true G model–It is from later in the development/fielding cycle than when the actual G guns came in. Rangers also issued and used the G model, until Big Army turned on the support taps for the B version.

    They are all the same basic guns, no matter what accessory kit is applied–Reputedly, FN had the foresight not to build a US-specific version at its plant in South Carolina, which was a possibility. One that would have meant the entire G and B thing would never have happened the way it did, because the simplified M240 receivers wouldn’t have been capable of having the dismount kits applied to them.

      • Thanks for explanation, I know about that phonetic alphabet thingy, but I was sure G turned into George.

          • Which came from the RAF. Their phonetic alphabet was different. This is the 1942-56 version;


            British civil aviation (i.e., airlines including British Airways) continued to use this version into the early 1980s.



        • Different organizations may have unique phonetic alphabets. Some US police agencies do; it’s just what they came up with.
          Before NATO, the US had their own phonetic alphabet, in which ‘George’ was indeed used for the letter G.

        • The NATO standard phonetic alphabet replaced the US & UK phonetic alphabets decades ago. The NATO alphabet was *specifically* designed to make pronunciations understandable across the board, regardless of the speaker’s native (West European) language — “George”, for example, *won’t* work, because of the “soft G”/”hard G” split (English “jorj” vs. German “GEE-orG”). (Likewise, multilingual pronunciation is why the NATO code for “A” is spelled “ALFA”, not “ALPHA”.)

          Even where the various native language speakers will have pronunciation differences, the NATO phonetic alphabet is designed (as far as possible) to be as mutually understandable across language barriers as typical accent shifts would be within native speakers of the same language.

    • Phonetic alphabet–G is “Golf”, B is “Bravo”. Originally, the letters came in to denote the role the gun was filling–C for co-axial, G for ground, and the B for… Wait a minute… No, I got nothing. The geniuses behind all this abandoned common sense and logical continuity/consistency before I was born. I presume that the B came in because it was the second variant of the gun we adopted, but since there was never an A variant, and the B version was actually adopted after the C variant…?

      Yeah, f**k it. This is why trainers in this field drink. Inebriation helps when you’re trying to explain all this illogical bullshit to the troops. There is no logic or consistency, and trying to find any will break your mind.

      • “geniuses behind all this abandoned common sense and logical continuity/consistency”
        It is reassuring for me than when new variant of Kalashnikov machine gun was developed:
        it was simply named PKP, with last P being first letter of adjective(infantry).

        “trying to find any will break your mind.”
        Keep calm I already noted that – if consistency would be kept, English name for (any) M240 would be just “Columbia”, taking in account that MG 08 was “Spandau”.

        • No surprise. I’d be surprised if Army Ordnance managed to survive a tactical platoon-level wargame along the lines of Valkyria Chronicles (Ordnance would probably demand constant artillery or static machine gunning on foes they couldn’t see and then accuse the programmers of stupidity for not allowing radio calls for artillery in the first place).

    • ‘Golf’ is the NATO phonetic alphabet word for the letter ‘G’. This is to minimize the risk of garbling and confusion when using radios. ‘M240 Golf’ is simply a semi-slang way to say ‘M240G’.

      • Why not then call it Mike 240 Golf ? hahahaha, if everyone is so hellbent on this phonetic alphabet in guns (where it has no place)

        • In a formal radio transmission, that is how the gun would be named. People are always tending toward informal shorthand; that’s human nature. In the context of an M240 discussion, the different configurations could simply be called ‘Bravos’, ‘Golfs’, ‘Charlies’ or ‘Limas’, it being understood that M240s are being talked about.

          • Exactly. And slang usage DOES NOT correspond to formal rules (by definition). That’s why, for example, I say “Em one one three” in a formal speech, “MIKE ONE ONE TREE” on the radio, and “Mike one-thirteen” when discussing the M113 APC. But I’ve never called an M16 a “Mike sixteen”.

  3. My recollection is that my USMC infantry unit (3/7) was the first to get the M-240 as a replacement for the M-60 with the gangster grip. Our 0331s disliked the M-240 at first, because they had to manipulate them more to actually provide suppressive fire – the old M-60s were so worn out that they provided a nice beaten zone with little effort. 240s were also heavier and had more infrastructure – there was a whole extra little black rucksack that came with the 240, not just a spare barrel.

    I was an 0311, but I don’t recall problems with them, they just ran. We trained up with them in 1995 in 29 Palms and took them to Qatar late that year when we had to flex for Iraq’s latest shenanigans.

    All that said, it was a fantastic weapon system! I was in the 0311 Lance Corporal mafia at the time, so please don’t hate me for the procurement process. We were simply presented with it and said “This is stupid” (again – Lance Corporals) but we accepted it and marched on.

    Years later, working in Afghanistan, I encountered the PKM. We used them and issued them to our indigenous forces. That thing, in my limited experience, is better than the M-240.

  4. Was this gun manufactured in Belgium or South Carolina? Ian is usually particular about place and time of origin, not this time. South Carolina plant started production of M240 (first ‘C’ then ‘B’) in early 1980s. However, this gun has Pic rail on it, which were implemented at around 2000. A bit of mystery here 🙂

  5. Let me spell this out for you: They robbed war stock, and then didn’t pay for it. It was the logistical equivalent of grabbing the communal fire extinguisher to put out your barbecue grill, and then not bothering to get the extinguisher recharged down at the fire station. Then, when there was a real fire, looking around and blaming everyone else for the extinguisher being empty.

    What the Marines did led to Congress telling the Army “Hey, why do you need money to replace those…? The Marines told us they were excess, and what a wonderful thing they did, saving money by using excess equipment…”.

    It wasn’t until around 2004-ish that the system got back into a positive balance, and that only happened because they directed a goodly chunk of the “War on a Noun” funding into that account.

    • It still isn’t clear to me how the USMC (who fight wars) robbed war stock (to fight wars) is a bad thing.

      Adapt and overcome.

      • Guys, let’s stop the inter-service bashing already! What we can ALL agree upon is that the Armed Services were triply screwed over by bureaucrats who could not visually tell the difference between a Nerf revolver and an Express rifle unless they were literally beaten half to death with both first. Can we now stop the arguments!?

      • “Adapt and overcome” is sometimes (frequently) used as an excuse for planning things badly. Early on the branch was small enough that planning was done for them, but they are big boys now & need to 1) determine what they need to fight, just like Army & Navy & Air, 2) get congress to pay for it like the other branches.

        There is a certain culture of fatalism in the historic mindset of the Marines (“we’re awesome and the best, so we’ll just make do when thrown into any conflict & figure the particulars later”). When they were small & subject to the whims of Navy & the allied war commanders, this mindset is good. But they are large enough now they need to drive the changes they need. And to so competently (burning 50 years’ good will on the F35 variant for your own niche desires, is a great way to guarantee you’ll be stuck “making do” yet again in the future). We’ll see if the M27 works out being a good idea, but it’s another example of the Marines coming into their own & driving the procurement conversation, which is what should have been happening for decades but wasn’t.

        • i am the sort of juvenile personality that likes it when the marines job the other services, or, steal from them.

          i understand the complaints against them. i also understand that there is a history of shorting them on weapons, especially during war. why did the marines like the 1903 springfield during the majority of wwii …. because no one bothered to give them m-1’s until pretty late. and, why did they steal every b.a.r. they could get their mitts on, because the weapons people wouldn’t give them the b.a.r.s in the numbers they wanted for their rifle platoons. the army said, o.k., you get one for this many marines, and the marines said no, we want 3 or 4, and the bean counters said nope, you get 1. so, the marines stole what they needed.

          i like the marines. vera etling, a fat little old lady, taught us the marine corps hymn in the 2nd grade, and i’ve been humming ever since.

          and, if the marines couldn’t steal it from the army, they made it themselves. always, a way to survive.

      • “War stocks” are your EMERGENCY BACKUP SUPPLIES.

        At the time the Marines stripped the war stocks, WE WERE NOT AT WAR.

        When we DID go to war, and suddenly needed those war stocks, the guns were GONE.

  6. does the infantry gun and the vehicle model have a different gas block ?
    On the subject why does the gun have such a complex gas system with lots of little parts to loose, had they never seen a Bren gun?

    • I guess it’s a thing with Browning’s designs, considering that the FN MAG was more or less a Browning M1918 turned into a belt-fed machine gun. Work with what you know, not what you don’t know. Did Mr. Holek EVER offer his original machine gun design to FN? Did the British supply exiled Belgian troops with Bren guns, and if so, did they allow FN to license-produce them?

  7. The big difference between the M240B and M240G is the presence of a hydraulic recoil buffer in the buttstock of the M240B. The Marine M240G required a spring buffered interface to the tripod (https://gunandsurplus.com/Gun-Parts-Accessories/M249-Saw-Shrike-M240-M60-Mag58/MAG-58-M240B-M249-SAW-USGI-Buffered-Tripod-Cradle-Mount-With-TE) that the US Army M240B did not. The USMC eventually adopted the M240B to replace the M240G during the mid 2000s. There are no more M240Gs in service, the USMC also took the opportunity to adopt the US Army’s single position gas regulator at this point (the M249 SAW’s three position gas regulator also disappeared around this time, to be replaced by the fixed regulator used by the US Army). The guns in USMC service (much like the US Army’s guns) are universally fitted with a tri-rail instead of a plastic handguard for mounting IR lasers.

    • I’d have to check, but that thing with the hydraulic buffer was something that was totally different than the “G” vs. “B” deal–The initial issue of Army guns came with the Belleville washer buffer, and required the hydraulic interface between the tripod and the gun as well. The receivers were completely the same–The difference was, as I remember it, the application of the accessory items like the bipod, the handguards, and the rest of the so-called “ground kit”. Marines didn’t opt for the handguards, initially, the Army did, and that was the essential difference. At some point in the early 2000s, a Modification Work Order went through, and all the guns were converted over to the hydraulic buffer, which obviated the need for the hydraulic buffer cradle, and… There ya go. The Corps may have nomenclatured everything differently, and the Army… Well, it was never clear: The Rangers described their initial lot of guns as being M240 G models, as well. The “B” came in later, when Big Army glommed on to them.

      As I said, the nomenclature and the actual history of it isn’t actually all that clear; and, to be honest, I blame Ordnance. They should have had a program going in the late 1980s to replace the M60, and when they did nothing, well… Yeah. People took matters into their own hands, and that didn’t work out so well in terms of the “Big Picture ™”. I like the M240, but I have to tell you, that thing is WAAAAY too heavy to be serving in the dismount role as a de facto LMG. It is really nice, and all, that it is so damn reliable, and always goes “bang” when you need it to, but… Weight-wise? Holy crap… I’d wager there are more than a few bad backs, heat injuries, and God alone knows what else associated with carrying that thing in Afghanistan.

      Proper testing and fielding would have told us we needed something lighter. Hell, a survey of the extant literature would have told us the M240 was too damn heavy, but that took everyone by “surprise!”, for some damn reason. I could point to dozens of places where the Brits, the Israelis, and the South Africans all universally said “This bitch is too heavy…”, but nobody in a decision-making capacity in the US Army or Marines apparently bothered to do the reading.

      Frankly, the gun we should have procured was probably the PK. Per the test reports I’ve seen, the captured PKT that they ran as a control back when the competition was held for the M240 in the coax role? That was the actual winner of the competition. No factory support, captured war-trophy gun, captured ammo, and the gun basically whomped everything else, including the M240.

      That’s what I’d call a “clue”, ya know?

      • Here’s a potential irrational snag: Producing copies of the PK machine gun could cause Kalashnikov Concern to sue us for “intellectual property theft” or demand that the Pentagon immediately pay the Kremlin billions of Rubles in royalty fees!!

        • Hell, we should have just bought Kalishnikov when the Soviet Union collapsed…

          The Russians have a definite genius for small arms design, but then again, they’re the only people who ever bothered to really study it and establish education programs in the subject. All the major designers and engineers working this stuff in the West were either self-taught, or laterally came into the field by accident. I would love to have access to the Soviet-era design studies and data that they developed, but most of it isn’t accessible to the West, at all.

          • “(…)Kalishnikov(…)”
            Keep in mind that M.T.Kalashnikov, before starting gun designing was tank commander. That is why AK and derivatives are relatively small (short) – to easier fit into (cramped) interior of tanks.

            “(…)Russians have a definite genius for small arms design(…)”
            In first place Soviet and later Russian forces seems to actually plan, what they would do, when need for more modern machine gun emerge.
            Secondly keep in mind that during Cold War service was compulsory in Soviet Union, that means that Soviet guns are generally designed as fool-proof as possible.

            “(…)major designers and engineers working this stuff in the West were either self-taught, or laterally came into the field by accident.(…)”
            Well, looking at results I am inclined to believe that Soviets give more attention to actually test their machine gun designs.

            “(…)bothered to really study it and establish education programs(…)”
            Such is legacy of V.G.Fyodorov.

            For me it is quite mind boggling, why in U.S.A. there was not at least few competing designs for new machine gun, while in USSR both in case of PK and PKM – yes. If I would be vicious I would ask: where is your competition-based-free-market now?

          • @Kirk: If America had a genius or wise man who established a weapons development education program for ALL branches of the armed forces, we wouldn’t have this bureaucratic crap with the Marines more or less forced (whether by political stupidity or their own top brass’s stupidity) to swipe the Army’s toys (as stated above, the Marine Corps was once small enough to be dismissed as a unit of hero-wannabes and they were condescendingly treated like a bunch of little kids when they asked for new weapons, even before the F-35 debacle). I’m surprised that the Pentagon didn’t dissolve Army Ordnance or allow it to be privatized just to take a burden off civilian tax-payers (me included, and I agree that the old establishment should “conveniently disappear” since they’re responsible for so much crap since before the world wars started, especially the rod-bayonet disaster). If actual combat veterans had run the show, we wouldn’t have wasted over $4-BILLION on giving FOREST-GREEN uniforms to the Afghan Army (James Mattis YELLED at the Pentagon for that two years ago).


            Fyodorov left a good legacy, as his pupils made lots of wonderful toys for future generations to play with in the fields. And yes, I agree, America should have adopted a competition-based-free-market for service weapons procurement and a REALISTIC testing program for machine guns (including endurance tests that simulated REAL combat conditions). As Kirk once said, Army Ordnance is always prepared to face dreaded plywood targets in mortal combat, targets that don’t SHOOT BACK. I’m beginning to wonder if a target that shoots back with a paintball gun should be crafted just to get rookie grunts to stop playing Hollywood action hero!

            Yes, I could be wrong on all counts.

          • D;

            AFAIK, even with all the reams of stuff about “wound ballistics” and “stopping power” churned out by everybody from gun writers to various LEO and military establishments since WW2 (and I had to wade through a lot of it in my professional capacity), the Russian Army was the only “entity” in the business to do actual research to learn how much of what sort of energy was needed to either kill a soldier, or at least make him stop doing whatever he was doing that caused you to conclude that you needed to stop him to begin with. And they got it done in the 1930s.

            Their conclusion? Kinetic energy was what got the job done, and it took 400J, or about 295 FPE, to inflict a killing or at least crippling wound with a hit in the vitals.

            Accordingly, the 7.62 x 39mm M1943 cartridge was designed to deliver at least that much energy to the target out to 400 meters.

            In The Ultimate Sniper, John Plaster relates that in 1969 during a cross-border op in Laos, an M43 round probably from an SKS hit him in the protective vest just over the center of his breastbone. Even without penetrating, the shock knocked the breath out of him, and left him with a painful bruise over the impact point. He later calculated the shooter was about 350 meters away and he had been hit purely by chance.

            Elmer Keith once related that a friend of his had once come under fire from some unfriendly types, and had been hit in his large, cast-brass belt buckle by a slug that had ricocheted off his saddle horn. It tore the leather cover off the horn, put a thumb-sized dent in the thick belt buckle, and made him so sick he literally fell off the horse. The recovered slug was from a .44-40 Winchester, 210-grain bullet, MV about 1300 F/S, and at that range (about 200 yards) would still have had about 350 FPE remaining.

            So, I’d say the Russian Army arrived at the correct conclusion scientifically that everybody else was groping for anecdotally. The fact that today, the 7.62 x 39mm is probably the most widely-used rifle cartridge on Earth is a testament to the fact that they got it right the first time.



          • @Daweo
            “If I would be vicious I would ask: where is your competition-based-free-market now?”
            You hit nail on its head. They (the USA) have a merit system of ‘established and trusted’ sources. It is basically a work-share between Colt and FN. No others with small exceptions (SIG or Barrett) have a chance. So where the “competition” so much inherent to capitalist system is supposed to come from? Answer is rather easy.

            In core it is protectionism, not capitalism which procurement relies on. Of course, they pretend competition, but it does not apply in technical matters.

          • “Russians have a definite genius for small arms design”
            Keep in mind that Soviet designers active in that area have one serious pole-position in relation to “West” counter-parts.
            Namely they were informed that they could use any solution encountered in earlier fire-arms pattern – both domestic and foreign – if they found it fit for purpose, without caring about any intellectual property/patent problems [for example: note similarity AK selector vs Remington Model 8 safety or barrel change method in SGM vs PK], which prevented “we must do workaround because we do not want to pay patent royalties”-induced complications.

          • “7.62 x 39mm is probably the most widely-used rifle cartridge on Earth is a testament to the fact that they got it right the first time.”
            Well, in fact in 1940s Soviet ammunition designers created few new cartridges, which could become new standard: http://otvaga2004.ru/kaleydoskop/kaleydoskop-ammo/glavnyj-kalibr/
            Two calibers (in sense of internal barrel diameter (lands)) were used: 7,62 mm and 6,75 mm. That in 6,75 mm in were found ballistic-wise superior (flatter trajectory) in comparison, however were turned down as smaller bullet would result in less effective tracer and incendiary variants (which even for 7,62 mm proved to be challenge for Soviet industry).

    • Yeah, while an adjustable gas regulator is a “common sense no-brainer” on paper, the simple fact is when it’s on a machinegun (the place where it actually makes the *most* sense) PVT Snuffy will *invariably* turn that bitch to the “adverse” setting right off the bat and beat the gun to death running max gas (even on a clean gun in normal conditions) because PVT Snuffy likes high ROF, even when it’s the wrong tool for the job at hand.

      • But if such situation happens it means most probably flaw in training rather than machine gun design and also should cast some doubts about abilities of people for training of said PVT taking in account history – either that British were able to learn BREN gunners to use high/low setting accordingly to situation in wartime conditions (limited time for training) or that of RPD used by various Soviet-aligned entities.

  8. I encountered the M240 and M240C in the flesh first at Fort Riley’s Unit Armorers Course in August 1984 and my last hands-on with the M240 series was during 2009 at the Nevada Army National Guard headquarters in Carson City. Designed around the same time as the M60 machine gun, the M240 cost Uncle Sam less per gun than did the M60. I never got to fire the M240 but qualified on both the M60 and M249 regularly and was the machine gun instructor for my battalions.

    The M60 could be made to work, given a well-trained crew, spare parts, and a gun that wasn’t worn out. The early MAG 58 (FN’s designation) had initial teething problems including shearing rivets, and many people grumble that the gun is really heavy–it’s heavier than the M60. In US service the M240/M240C replaced the M73 and M213 tank machine guns–and perhaps the few M37 machine guns still held by National Guard units, Navy and Coast Guard units, and in reserve stocks. Even the vehicle-mounted M60 was more reliable than the M213.

    Lewis Gun (M60) versus Browning Automatic Rifle (M240) systems? Merged with the MG-42 feed system, these two Cold War machine guns competed with an updated series of MG-42 machine guns on the NATO military market. The M60 came in third place.

    Today the United States Air Force still has the M60 on hand. I’ve heard rumors that the SpecOps community still uses them occasionally but rumors is rumors.

  9. Btw. one detail thought I save for long time. This is regarding feed mechanism used on MAG58. As we all know it was lifted from MG42 which is known for very high RoF. For this application, it was apparently necessary to design a feed system, which would advance cartridge at both up and down-stroke of action. As other designs demonstrate (e.g. PKM, UK-59), this is for most MGs not necessary (but not faulty) measure.

    The flipside is complexity, cost and the fact that entire top portion of receiver has to be lifted in order to load ammo belt which reveals gun position. The main issue however is difficulty in securing optical sight base while maintaining its zero. In addition, repeated slamming the feed cover back into received probably does not add to sights service life.

    • “lifted in order to load ammo belt which reveals gun position.”
      I would say it is arguable, look at 0:57 of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cSpzueitt4
      I would say that opening this, does not increase significantly height, if you take in account top of operator helmet.

      Anyway, before you try to invent solution for that problem, I want to inform that Polish Air Force in 1930s have similar problem – how to mount (fixed*) machine gun in confined space, yet let fitter to service it without need to remove-install it every time? And engineer Jurek (this is man also responsible for later Webley-Jurek automatic pistol) found simple solution, that is: a side-opening feed cover, pivoting to the right. For more data see chapter THE RECOIL-OPERATED BROWNINGS of http://www.quarryhs.co.uk/Polish%20Guns.htm

      * or using Polish terminology pilot’s machine gun as opposed to observer’s machine gun.

  10. Interesting comments indeed! Lets cut through all the “fluff”: The U.S. military needed to find a replacement for the old M60. No domestic manufacturer had a firearm in 7.62×51 Nato to get the job done – so we looked elsewhere. Allied nations had been using the MAG58 for decades and worked all the bugs out of that system, so it was either this or the evolution of the MG42(MG3) to choose from…. I would have voted for the MG3, but they don’t listen to me anyway!

    • The adoption of the M240 in the ground role happened in a complete absence of forethought or concern; there was no officially-sanctioned replacement program. What happened was that the Marines and Rangers noticed that there were all these “excess” M240 coaxial guns in war stocks, and that they could be easily adapted to ground use via the FN-supplied “Ground Kit”. If I remember right, the Ranger officer that told me about how it all went down said that the initial idea came from when FN tried offering the Marines the same ground adaptation kit they’d been trying to sell the Army since forever, and the Marines in their Armor element didn’t bite–But, the Infantry did. About the same time, the Rangers got wind of the idea, and one thing led to another, resulting in the M240B.

      As an adoption/fielding process, this whole thing went from the wrong end–It started in the field, and then because the “system” had no replacement program planned or even identified for the M60, it became the solution. Had they actually done their damn jobs, something like the Knight’s Armament LMG might have won the day–It was in development back then, and could have been brought online a lot sooner, with more development money.

      The whole M240B program is a testament to dysfunction and piss-poor management across the board. To my sure and certain personal knowledge, the idiots supposedly running the 7.62mm MG program at DA and DOD level had precisely zero plans for what to do when the M60 finally reached the point of unaffordability, nor had they ever even identified the M60 as being a problem needing solutions. They were fat and happy, and completely oblivious to any and all of the issues we were having keeping those POS running out in the field. Hell, they never even allocated enough money to keep us in spare parts, let alone replace worn-out weapons. A major problem that I had during the late 1980s was that Fort Lewis had X amount of money budgeted to replace guns, and we really needed like 3X in order to keep ahead of normal wear-and-tear. You’d turn in a gun at the beginning of the fiscal year, it would get replaced. By about the end of second quarter, you’d turn in the gun, and they’d do their best at Department of Logistics to get it running again, but odds were, you’d be taking it back after the staking and all the rest worked loose again. Once those blind rivets start loosening, the receiver is done on the M60. You can stake ’em, but they won’t hold. Replacing the receiver is pretty much the only way, and since actually fixing that “minor” little issue would require a complete redesign of the gun, well… Yeah.

      • The rivets I’m talking about being the worst part of the issue are shown here:


        This is actually a later-production gun, with more substantial rivets used. The originals were stamped in and ground smooth, which did not provide enough “head” on the rivet to make them capable of really holding. Coupled with the differential materials responding differently to heating, and the gun’s receiver simply could not hold up to extensive firing. These are the rivets that Stan Goff refers to as having failed on his gun under fire, when it “came apart” on him, in his oral history “Bloods”. Once these start to go, that rear bridge loosens up and the retention key for the buffer you see in place there will pop out, because the only thing holding the two side rails in place is that bridge, and those four rivets.

        The design is fundamentally flawed, period.

        • The M60 and the M240 are just symptoms of incompetence in a broken and overly political procurement system where dissent is quelled by rank, death threats, and blackmail. Let’s don’t even get into why the V-22 Ospreys were such turkeys early on, as a Navy veteran told me Congress personally messed with the blueprints and engine sources just because the parties doing so could collect lots more tax credits after the changes were made!

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