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John Gass




Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Joined: 28 Oct 2012

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun 28 Oct, 2012 9:56 am    Post subject: MG42 Barrel         Reply with quote

Hi Folks: I am a brand new member and not sure of procedure here but would like to start off with a query. The MG 42 German machine gun required a barrel change after about 250 rounds rapid fire and up to 400 rounds when pushed. Can anyone tell me the actual barrel life ? ie How many times could a cooled used barrel be used ? If the barrel was scrap after a few uses the logistical support of these guns must have been a nightmare. Thanks.
JGass
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Graham Shearlaw





Joined: 24 Oct 2011
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 90

PostPosted: Sun 28 Oct, 2012 10:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

a machine gun barrel can shoot thousands of rounds with out wearing out.
but if the barrel gets too hot is will warp and be good for scrap.

the German army of ww2 was based around there machine guns every one in the squad carried spare ammo or a barrels.
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Chris Parkes




Location: Durham, England
Joined: 13 Apr 2012
Likes: 3 pages

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun 28 Oct, 2012 11:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many machine gun barrels (like those of the GPMG and FN-LMG) can be stretched to tens of thousands of rounds.
I put belt after belt through mine back in 2009.

I doubt the old '42 had a weak barrel and I imagine the Jerries did the same.
A belt of link is approximately 100 rounds, fired in 4-6 rounds bursts with 1-2 second intervals is enough to glow a barrel bright red.

Forced to fire long enough and some gun barrels will visibly droop but still shoot until it comes down.

Properly made but with no set lifespan, they could crack at 500 rounds or still be pushing them out after 5-10,000
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Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Sun 28 Oct, 2012 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Barrel life is quite variable. If you fire 100 rounds and then let it cool completely before repeating, you will get a significantly longer barrel life than if you tried to fire continuously until the barrel gave out. Hotter barrels lead to worse accuracy and greater wear, so the more it is fired hot, the faster the barrel will be shot out.

Did manufacturing techniques and materials remain constant throughout the service period of the MG42? If they did not, then the rated life should vary - different barrel materials, barrel liners and types of rifling can effect barrel lifespan.

That being said, a googling turned up 3500-4000 rounds for an MG42 barrel, total lifespan - this is probably assuming 'proper use'. Proper use of a machine gun involves firing bursts with a short pause in between, not 'rapid fire' like many assume, in which Rambo may fire off an entire belt without taking his finger off the trigger. Whether it is or is not used 'the right way' will probably determine whether it really reaches 4000 rounds or not.
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