Original U.S. Vietnam War M60 Display Machine Gun - Built from Original Parts
The M60 machine gun began development in the late 1940s as a program for a new, lighter 7.62 mm machine gun. It was derived from German machine guns of World War II (most notably the FG 42 and to a lesser extent the MG 42), but it contained American innovations as well. Early prototypes, notably the T52 and T161 bore a close resemblance to both the M1941 Johnson machine gun and the FG-42. It was intended to replace the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle and M1919A6 Browning machine gun in the squad automatic weapon role, and in the medium machine gun role.
The U.S. Army officially adopted the M60 in 1957. It later served in the Vietnam War as a squad automatic weapon with many U.S. units. Every soldier in the rifle squad would carry an additional 200 linked rounds of ammunition for the M60, a spare barrel, or both. The up-gunned M113 armored personnel carrier ACAV added two M60 gunners beside the main .50 caliber machine gun, and the Patrol Boat, River had one in addition to two .50 cal mounts.
During the Vietnam War, the M60 received the nickname "The Pig" due to its size.
The M60 is a belt-fed machine gun that fires the 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge (similar to .308 Winchester), which is commonly used in larger rifles. It is generally used as a crew-served weapon and operated by a team of two or three individuals. The team consists of the gunner, the assistant gunner (AG), and the ammunition bearer. The gun's weight and the amount of ammunition it can consume when fired make it difficult for a single soldier to carry and operate. The gunner carries the weapon and, depending on his strength and stamina, anywhere from 200 to 1,000 rounds of ammunition. The assistant carries a spare barrel and extra ammunition, and reloads and spots targets for the gunner. The ammunition bearer carries additional ammunition and the tripod with associated traversing and elevation mechanism, if issued, and fetches more ammunition as needed during firing.
The M60 can be accurately fired at short ranges from the shoulder thanks to its design. This was an initial requirement for the design and a hold-over in concept from the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle. It may also be fired from the integral bipod, M122 tripod, and some other mounts.
M60 ammunition comes in a cloth bandolier containing a cardboard box of 100 pre-linked rounds. The M60 uses the M13 ammunition link, a change from the older M1 link system with which it was not compatible. The cloth bandolier is reinforced to allow it to be hung from the current version of the feed tray. Historically, units in Vietnam used B3A cans from C-rations packs locked into the ammunition box attachment system to roll the ammunition belts over for a straighter and smoother feed to the loading port to enhance reliability of feed. The later models changed the ammunition box attachment point and made this adaptation unnecessary.
The M60 machine gun began development in the late 1940s as a program for a new, lighter 7.62 mm machine gun. It was partly derived from German guns of World War II (most notably the FG 42 and the MG 42), but it contained American innovations as well. Early prototypes, notably the T52 and T161 bore a close resemblance to both the M1941 Johnson machine gun and the FG 42. The final evaluation version was designated the T161E3. It was intended to replace the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle and M1919A6 Browning machine gun in the squad automatic weapon role, and in the medium machine gun role. One of the weapons tested against it during its procurement process was the FN MAG.
The U.S. Army officially adopted the T161E3 as the M60 in 1957. The decision to adopt the M60 instead of foreign designs, like modified versions of the proven German MG 42 or the still-unproven FN MAG, was largely due to strict Congressional restrictions requiring preference be given to the designs of United States arms manufacturers (even if a superior design was available from foreign sources) primarily out of desire to avoid paying licensing fees, but also out of a strong bias in favor of domestic products.
An M60 machine gun being used during the Vietnam War in 1966.
The M60 later served in the Vietnam War as a squad automatic weapon with many United States units. Every soldier in the rifle squad would carry an additional 200 linked rounds of ammunition for the M60, a spare barrel, or both. The up-gunned M113 armored personnel carrier ACAV added two M60 gunners beside the main .50 caliber machine gun, and the Patrol Boat, River had one in addition to two .50 cal mounts.
During the Vietnam War, the M60 received the nickname "The Pig" due to its bulky size. Vietnam's tropical climate harshly affected weapons, and the M60 was no exception. Its light weight led to it being easily damaged and critical parts like the bolt and operating rod wore out quickly. Even so, soldiers appreciated the gun's handling, mechanical simplicity, and effective operation from a variety of firing positions. United States Navy SEALs used M60s with shorter barrels and no front sights to reduce weight. Some SEALs had feed chutes from backpacks to have a belt of thousands of rounds ready to fire without needing to reload.
In the 1980s, the M60 was partially replaced by the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon within Army infantry squads. Their new doctrine with the weapon reduced the general-purpose machine gun role in favor of portability and a greater volume of fire. Soldiers disliked the new strategy, as even though the lighter SAW made movement faster, in firefights the larger 7.62 mm round is preferred. In defensive roles, the M60 has better accuracy and a longer range to keep the enemy at bay. The M60 was retained in the vehicle mounted role and the general-purpose role due to its greater power and range, compared to the 5.56 mm M249.
In United States Marine Corps service, concerns about the M60's reliability, weight, and the high round counts of many M60s in service prompted the adoption of the M60E3 to replace most original M60s in infantry units. The M60E3 was five pounds lighter than the original M60. It included a forward pistol grip and had the bipod mounted to the receiver rather than the barrel. The weapon still was not durable and its performance was reduced.
In the early 1990s, Saco addressed Navy Special Warfare requirements to develop a retrofit parts package for the machine gun. Called the M60E4, it was more reliable and durable than the M60E3, had a "duckbill" flash suppressor, and a shorter and thicker positive lock gas cylinder extension. NAVSPECWAR units began to receive it in late 1994, when it was designated the Mk 43 Mod 0.
In January 1994, the U.S. Army began the Medium Machine Gun Upgrade Kit program. The only two competitors were M60 and M240 versions. Saco offered an "enhanced" M60E3 with product improved parts and FN offered the M240 variant of its MAG. As such, both weapons were upgrade kits of weapons already in service. Eighteen guns of each were tested until December 1995. There were two main performance areas: mean rounds between stoppages (MRBS-jams) and mean rounds between failures (MRBF-parts breaking). 50,000 rounds were fired through both guns. The M240 had 2,962 MRBS and 6,442 MRBF, compared to the M60's 846 MRBS and 1,669 MRBF. As a result, the M240 was declared the winner and accepted into infantry service. Although the M60 was lighter, had better balance, was more controllable, and there were many in the inventory, it did not work reliably enough.
Starting with Ranger battalions, the U.S. Army began adopting and modifying M240 variants to replace their remaining M60s in the early 1990s.
The M60 continues to used in the 21st century by U.S. Navy SEALs . It was the main 7.62 mm machine gun by some U.S. special operations forces to the late 1990s. As of 2005, it is used by the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and some reserve units. The M60 has largely been phased out.
The M60 is a gas-operated, air-cooled, belt-fed, automatic machine gun that fires from the open-bolt position and is chambered in 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge. It has a cyclic rate of fire of around 500–650 rounds per minute (RPM). Ammunition is usually fed into the weapon from a 100-round bandolier containing a disintegrating, metallic split-link belt.
A British air force officer handles an M60 during a demonstration for Combined Joint Task Force Exercise (CJTFEX) in 2004.
The design drew on many common concepts in firearms manufacture of the period, such as stamped sheet metal construction, belt feed (a modified mechanism for belt feed from the MG42 with a single pawl), quick barrel replacement, a pistol grip and stock, and a Semi bullpup design similar to the FG 42 (much of the action occupies the weapon's stock). The M60's operating system of an operating rod turning a rotating bolt was inspired by the FG 42, which was based on the much earlier Lewis Gun. The M60 was even constructed with a secondary assisting firing pin spring that is used in the FG 42 in semi-automatic mode even though it is actually unnecessary in the M60, which operates only in full automatic mode. The M60's gas operation is unique, and drew on technical advances of the period, particularly the White "gas expansion and cutoff" principle also exploited by the M14 rifle. The M60's gas system was simpler than other gas systems and easier to clean.
The M60 was designed for mass production, just like the MG42 it was based on. While the M1919 required much machining for its large, recoil operated internal mechanisms, the M60's stamped sheet receiver had a gas operated, carrier-cammed bolt mechanism; the same type of mechanism was used on the Lewis machine gun. The straight-line layout allowed the operating rod and buffer to run directly back into the buttstock and reduce the overall length of the weapon.
As with all such weapons, it can be fired from the shoulder, hip, or underarm position. However, to achieve the maximum effective range, it is recommended that a bipod-steadied position or a tripod-mounted position be used and fired in bursts of 3–5 rounds. The weapon is heavy and difficult to aim when firing without support, though the weight helps reduce the felt recoil. The large grip also allowed the weapon to be conveniently carried at the hip. The gun can be stripped using a live round of ammunition as a tool.
The M60 is often used with its own integrated bipod or with the M122 tripod. The M60 is considered effective up to 1,100 meters when firing at an area target and mounted on a tripod; up to 800 meters when firing at an area target using the integral bipod; up to 600 meters when firing at a point target; and up to 200 meters when firing at a moving point target. United States Marine Corps doctrine holds that the M60 and other weapons in its class are capable of suppressive fire on area targets out to 1,500 meters if the gunner is sufficiently skilled.
Originally an experimental M91 tripod was developed for the M60, but an updated M2 tripod design was selected over it which became the M122. The M122 would be itself replaced in the 2000s (decade) by a new mount, in time for the M60 to also be used with it.
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- This item is completely legal within the USA. International Military Antiques, Inc observes all Federal, State and Local laws. Everything for sale on ima-usa.com is completely legal to own, trade, transport and sell within the United States of America. Every display machinegun and machine gun parts set and gun sold by IMA, Inc is engineered to be inoperable according to guidelines provided by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF).
Muzzle of barrel has RED PLUG as required by US LAW. Not available for export or in some US locations. This is a replica display gun that can never be engineered to fire a live round therefore no license of any kind is required to purchase this item.
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