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Justin Pasternak




Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 1:19 am    Post subject: Pro's & con's of belt fed firearms?         Reply with quote

I was curious to know what the pro's & con's of belt fed firearms (such as machine guns) are? Question
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In the general abstract,

Pro=volume

Con=logistics

Any specific may have had mechanical issues or benefits.

Cheers

GC
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Nick Trueman





Joined: 27 Mar 2006

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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 5:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi

Well in the world wars...ye olde days, cooling of the barrel was a problem. Some methods employed to over come this was water cooling ( Vickers, maxim machine guns) Air cooling. A weapon such as the the MG42 with such a high rate of fire suffered badly from overheating. So MG42 teams carried spare barrels. Very simple the barrel is designed to unlock and be taken off....even easier with the cool new barrel. Lock it in place and its ready to go.

High rate of fixed fire and suppression of enemy troop movement, holding hard points etc....very good!!!

Even magazine fed LMG's suffered from over heating....Bren gun teams also carried spare barrels.


Cheers

N
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 5:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Belt fed firearms are built around the need to lay down a large amount of fire, and are generally LMGs or crew-served weapons.

The pro is rate of fire (including reload time). Simply put you don't have to waste time reloading. A crew member can even sit there and link in belts while your gunner lays down fire. Then your only limitation on firing is keeping the weapon cool, which is the Con. Belt fed weapons are prone to overheating, and most modern belt fed weapon systems need to have barrels changed out periodically or they can literally melt.

I can remember one time at NTC in California my driver fired so may rounds through his 249 that the barrel was visibly orange....in September...in Death Valley. That's hot.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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R D Moore




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin said it all. Heat builds very quickly and degrades accuracy. Machine guns aren't shotguns, you have to know where the bullets are impacting. In fact, just a few 3-5 round bursts will generate enough heat to make the barrel too hot to hold.
"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 12:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its great that people could answer the question but why not ask at a firearm forum?
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
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"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 12:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

R D Moore wrote:
Gavin said it all. Heat builds very quickly and degrades accuracy. Machine guns aren't shotguns, you have to know where the bullets are impacting. In fact, just a few 3-5 round bursts will generate enough heat to make the barrel too hot to hold.


Only some belt fed "machine guns" are problematic in regard to cooling.

Cheers

GC
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 12:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
Its great that people could answer the question but why not ask at a firearm forum?


This forum could be a great resource for firearms. We haven't limited our scope to edged weapons or armour.

People should feel free to discuss that stuff here. Good discussion breeds more good discussion.

Happy

ChadA

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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 12:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
Its great that people could answer the question but why not ask at a firearm forum?

You are absolutley correct Joe.

Cheers

GC
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 12:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All weapons are welcome here, though.

M.

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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
This forum could be a great resource for firearms. We haven't limited our scope to edged weapons or armour.

People should feel free to discuss that stuff here. Good discussion breeds more good discussion.


Not suggesting it couldn't (or shouldn't), this is just not the resource I use for gun questions. In all honesty I usually just call Dean or Clint (another guy I grew up with who has no sword interest) since firearms are their big passions. Guess I just don't think of asking about firearms here. Out of habit, if I want an online answer, I go to one of many firearms forums; search and lurk. Happy

That's where I figure the highest concentration of domain expertise should be.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy


Last edited by Joe Fults on Sun 02 Nov, 2008 4:33 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Kimon Andreou




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 3:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would agree with Joe.

Though I'm a newly registered user, I've been lurking for a while and would hate to see this forum become another gun forum. There are a LOT of gun forums out there (heck, I've got accounts on a dozen or so and lurk another dozen more) while this forum fills a niche covering historical arms.

That's not to say that the topic shouldn't be discussed here but, I would post questions on swords, daggers, shields, and maybe muzzle loaders, etc. here while go to, say, 1911forum.com to post on a holster recommendation for a gov't size 1911 with a rail and light.

My 2 cents at least
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R D Moore




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 3:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Glen A Cleeton wrote:
R D Moore wrote:
Gavin said it all. Heat builds very quickly and degrades accuracy. Machine guns aren't shotguns, you have to know where the bullets are impacting. In fact, just a few 3-5 round bursts will generate enough heat to make the barrel too hot to hold.


Only some belt fed "machine guns" are problematic in regard to cooling.

Cheers

GC


Possibly true. I can only express my own personal experiences here. And those would be the M240 in the M60 tank, the M85, also in the M60 tank, and the M60 machine gun. All from the 60's and early 70's.

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur


Last edited by R D Moore on Sun 02 Nov, 2008 3:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Please bear in mind that we have put no restrictions on the weapons to be discussed on this site other than that they be historic arms. So while some may prefer other things be discussed, those of us who run this site have made no such limitation.

It is not for readers to decide what other readers should and should not post. Let the moderators and administrators steer topics and the site in general. It's our job.

Any further discussion in this thread about the place of firearms on this forum will be trashed.

Back to the topic, please.

Happy

ChadA

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Curt Cummins




Location: Portland, OR
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 4:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Joe Fults wrote:
Its great that people could answer the question but why not ask at a firearm forum?


This forum could be a great resource for firearms. We haven't limited our scope to edged weapons or armour.

People should feel free to discuss that stuff here. Good discussion breeds more good discussion.


Thank you Chad. That's exactly why I feel so at home at this site.


Curt

Ye braggarts and awe be a'skeered and awa, frae Brandoch Daha
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 5:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

R D Moore wrote:
Glen A Cleeton wrote:
R D Moore wrote:
Gavin said it all. Heat builds very quickly and degrades accuracy. Machine guns aren't shotguns, you have to know where the bullets are impacting. In fact, just a few 3-5 round bursts will generate enough heat to make the barrel too hot to hold.


Only some belt fed "machine guns" are problematic in regard to cooling.

Cheers

GC


Possibly true. I can only express my own personal experiences here. And those would be the M240 in the M60 tank, the M85, also in the M60 tank, and the M60 machine gun. All from the 60's and early 70's.

Well, I guess water cooled jackets suited their goal and then you have several 1960 belt fed guns that laugh at what is rate of fire. From very early methods to what still fields effective rates of fire. How on earth would gatlings have been left unaware in the '60s and '70s?

I'll leave it as that and probably should have simply left it to others. There are lots of notes, experience and reference out here.

Cheers

GC

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Joel Minturn





Joined: 10 Dec 2007

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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 5:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For belt fed weapons -
pro - Don't have to reload as soon, great for vehicle mount guns. Don't want to have to crawl out onto the airplane wing to switch clips. If properly cooled can lay down some real suppressing fire. Some of the water cooled MMG's of WW1 and WW2 were know to have been fired all day with out a real break.

Con - maneuverability. Carrying the belt slows the gunner down. usually there is a helper to carry more ammo and feed the belt. Sure some of the modern machine guns, like the SAW, carry the ammo in a bag but it is still heavy. Some clip fed machine guns, like the RPK, have clips that are interchangeable with an assault rifle , in this case the AK-47 and AKM. I believe the theory was that the RPK would go into battle with a 40 round clip or 70 round drum then grab standard 30 round AK clips to reload, so the machine gunner could reload from any found gun.

On a side note about the Bren gun. I read somewhere that one minor complaint about the Bren gun was that it could be too accurate. The Bren gunner would have to deliberately swing the gun around when providing suppressing fire otherwise all the round would hit in one area.
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Justin Pasternak




Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 5:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for info so far. The reason that I asked the question in this forum is because a lot of members have a vast/expanded knowledge of weapons and armor that were used from the distant past up to the present day!
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 5:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joel Minturn wrote:

On a side note about the Bren gun. I read somewhere that one minor complaint about the Bren gun was that it could be too accurate. The Bren gunner would have to deliberately swing the gun around when providing suppressing fire otherwise all the round would hit in one area.


One thing I read ( Can't remember where or when ) is that Bren Gun users would fire single shots and snipe at the enemy who assuming they where dealing with a rifle would rush the gunner who would then " surprise " them with burst fire.

Accuracy can be a plus with short 2 or 3 shot burst and this is the way a Bren would be normally used.
For more fire power a loader would be ready with extra mags in place to do quick reloads but the role of the Bren is closer to that of a BAR than a belt fed medium machine gun.

Oh, firing a Bren or a BAR is very light in recoil compared to a Lee Enfield or an M1 Garand so those 2 or 3 shot bursts wouldn't have excessive muzzle climb.

Oh, an old worn out barrel with washed out rifling might be a good option if one wanted that extra dispersion of shots ?
Don't know if some gunners kept an old one for this and a nice brand new barrel for those cases where accuracy was more useful ???

At extended range over 600 yards even a tight burst should be grouping in feet and not inches increasing the probability of a hasty burst having at least one bullet hitting the target.

Even a belt fed machinegun is best used in short 2 to 5 shot bursts I think and the heavy suppressive fire reserved to repel those human wave attacks that might happen or for more of suppressive fire than actually hitting many targets ?

Fired both in ( Legal for Canada ) semi-auto modified versions in the 1980's and it was lots of fun.

Fanning the trigger could give one almost the same rate of fire as full auto with a BAR set on slow ( 350/400 RPM ).

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 6:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin Pasternak wrote:
Thanks for info so far. The reason that I asked the question in this forum is because a lot of members have a vast/expanded knowledge of weapons and armor that were used from the distant past up to the present day!


Typically we're pre-19th century in focus. It's probably best to keep that as a general guideline, but as Chad mentions, we in no way have a specific focus other than to be a "resource for historic arms and armour collectors."

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