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MAG58s and MG42s forever?


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#1 Ariete!

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 1344 PM

We always read about the latest gee-whizz assault rifle or sniper rifle. However, while these have gone through several generations since the immediate post-0war period (not counting the numberless failed attempts), most modern armies in the west use derivatives of thee MAG 58 and MG42 that the original designers would have easily recognized and known how to use.

Has medium machine-gun technology peaked? Or are there advances on the way?

My (extremely) limited exposure to what we called (in Italy) the MG42/59 (known as MG3 in Deutschland, I think) was that it was everything I'd read about it. A really murderous brute of a gun (but then I've never had to lug it about the countryside, let alone take it into combat).
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#2 Ssnake

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 1403 PM

About the only things one can really complain about the MG3 is the weight (which seems to be of biggest concern to light, unmotorized infantry, and still it's acceptable at 12.7kg) and that the barrel needs frequent changes in heavy shooting. Then again, barrel changes are a matter of few seconds, so it's only a dramatic disadvantage in remote weapon stations should they ever be confronted with a situation where you need to shoot more than 300 rounds within a minute or two without a chance to break contact for a short moment.

Well, the MAG58/M240 doesn't seem to have that problem, thanks to the reduced cyclic speed. To which extent that makes it an overall better design, I don't know.

The even bigger problem with both MGs is the weight and volume of the ammunition, but none of these issues have stopped successful employment of these medium machine guns in the past decades, so it seems like the technology has reached a plateau of maturity beyond which only marginal improvements can be achieved. Until, of course, pulsed plasma rifle technology will arrive in the stores. Has the Cyberdyne Corp. been founded already?
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#3 Xavier

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 1412 PM

only new thing in the West I know of is the FN Minimi in 7,62 x 51 mm weighing only 8 kg instead of the ~12 of the MAG or MG3, only supposed to be used by dismounted troops and special forces who want 7,62mm firepower without the weight of a MAG
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#4 rmgill

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 1417 PM

I thought the FN Minimi did the 5.56 caliber and not 7.62.

Funny thing was an article in Small Arms Review inquiring on the utility of belt fed water cooled guns in places like Iraq for their longer sustained fire capability.

RE the MG3. Is there not a heavy barrel for them for use on vehicle mounts where humping the bastard isn't an issue?
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#5 shep854

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 1424 PM

only new thing in the West I know of is the FN Minimi in 7,62 x 51 mm weighing only 8 kg instead of the ~12 of the MAG or MG3, only supposed to be used by dismounted troops and special forces who want 7,62mm firepower without the weight of a MAG


Whoops! FACT CHECK!!

Are you sure about the caliber? The only "Minimi" I know of is 5.56x45.

Until there is a MAJOR breakthrough in ammo tech., these guns are likely about as good as it's going to get.

EDIT: RATS! rmgill beat me to it! :lol:

Edited by shep854, 18 December 2007 - 1426 PM.

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#6 Josh

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 1459 PM

I think both for MGs and for rifles in general that technology matured in WWII. Outside of making weapons lighter, and the more prolific state of automatics vice semi and bolt action, little has changed. And keeping bolt actions and semi auto rifles in WWII seems to have more to do with demand and doctrine than their being a lack of technology to produce automatic weapons. I think firearms are largely as good as they are going to get short of perhaps getting lighter, and even on that end recoil puts practical limits on how far that can be pushed regardless of materials or engineering.
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#7 BansheeOne

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 1538 PM

Whoops! FACT CHECK!!

Are you sure about the caliber? The only "Minimi" I know of is 5.56x45.

Until there is a MAJOR breakthrough in ammo tech., these guns are likely about as good as it's going to get.

EDIT: RATS! rmgill beat me to it! :lol:


I believe he means the beefed-up Mk 48 variant that indeed fires the 7.62 mm.

The MG 3 is no longer supported by spare parts produced in Germany. The Bundeswehr is basically using up its stock, but with the gun's ruggedness, it may well take quite a while for it to go away. There are diffuse plans for a follow-up that is meant to replace both the MG 3 and the HK 40 mm AGL, so will probably be something along the lines of the XM307 ACSW. No date has been set for it to manifest yet, though.

OTOH, rumors persist that HK is also scaling up the MG 4 from 5.56 to 7.62 mm la the Mk 48. Though I'd hesistate to call either a true GPMG (FN sure doesn't advertise the Mk 48 as such, and they'd logically quit the MAG otherwise).
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#8 Xavier

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 1610 PM

I believe he means the beefed-up Mk 48 variant that indeed fires the 7.62 mm.

The MG 3 is no longer supported by spare parts produced in Germany. The Bundeswehr is basically using up its stock, but with the gun's ruggedness, it may well take quite a while for it to go away. There are diffuse plans for a follow-up that is meant to replace both the MG 3 and the HK 40 mm AGL, so will probably be something along the lines of the XM307 ACSW. No date has been set for it to manifest yet, though.

OTOH, rumors persist that HK is also scaling up the MG 4 from 5.56 to 7.62 mm la the Mk 48. Though I'd hesistate to call either a true GPMG (FN sure doesn't advertise the Mk 48 as such, and they'd logically quit the MAG otherwise).

sort of, it's a real standard Minimi in 7,62mm just take a look at FN Herstal
and they defenitely don't intend the 7,62mm Minimi to replace the MAG on vehicles or tripods, but more as a LMG with more serious firepower without as much of a weight penalty as a GPMG.
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#9 Lampshade111

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 2041 PM

Well the LSAT program might provide some new developments in the area of medium machine guns.

http://www.defense-u...ucts/l/LSAT.htm
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#10 rmgill

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 2113 PM

sort of, it's a real standard Minimi in 7,62mm just take a look at FN Herstal
and they defenitely don't intend the 7,62mm Minimi to replace the MAG on vehicles or tripods, but more as a LMG with more serious firepower without as much of a weight penalty as a GPMG.


MINIMI weight firing full auto 7.62. :blink: How controllable is that?
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#11 hammerlock

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 2139 PM

"I believe he means the beefed-up Mk 48 variant that indeed fires the 7.62 mm.

The MG 3 is no longer supported by spare parts produced in Germany. The Bundeswehr is basically using up its stock, but with the gun's ruggedness, it may well take quite a while for it to go away"

So is replacing the MG-3 with the MK 48 because its better, or doesn't have the Nazis look? Germany seems to go out its way to look PC.
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#12 HANS

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 0319 AM

So is replacing the MG-3 with the MK 48 because its better, or doesn't have the Nazis look? Germany seems to go out its way to look PC.


What an ignorant insinuation. The Bundeswehr has been using "Nazi look" machine guns from the 1950s til today. The MG3 is not on its way out, to the best of my knowledge -- but production of the gun ceased in 1979. All the MG3s in use now are old, even after refurbishment and fitting with new H&K barrels. At some point in the future, there will be no more guns to be pulled out of storage. Then they'll need to find a new weapon -- and it is by no means clear what that will look like or even what calibre it will have. After all, they decided for some reason to put the 5.56x45mm MG4 on the new Puma infantry fighting vehicle.

Cheers

HANS

Edited by HANS, 19 December 2007 - 0319 AM.

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#13 Simon Tan

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 0413 AM

You can buy new production MG3s from Pakistan and Turkey or get parts to assemble them. Not a real issue at all. The only reason for changing would be to underwrite a new HK product.

MAGs set to Adverse sound and act like MG42s. They also fall apart faster.....but hey.......

Mk48s are LMGs first and last. They're not built to take the hammering that MAGs can.

There's a little part on M240s that is proprietary and makes a shedload of difference in performance of the weapon. Feel free to speculate.

Simon
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#14 BansheeOne

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 0551 AM

All the MG3s in use now are old, even after refurbishment and fitting with new H&K barrels. At some point in the future, there will be no more guns to be pulled out of storage. Then they'll need to find a new weapon -- and it is by no means clear what that will look like or even what calibre it will have.


Yeah, that about sums it up. I don't see the MG 3 going away before 2020 or so (as that is the point until which current equipment planning appears to go), and maybe soldiering on well beyond that.

I had registered some time back that FN was offering the 7.62 mm Minimi, but somehow kept it filed under "Mk 48" when they're really slightly different guns. Obviously controllabilty won't be the same as for the MAG, but there have been 7.62 mm MGs of that weight before (original HK 11/21, PKM, etc.).
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#15 HANS

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 1149 AM

You can buy new production MG3s from Pakistan and Turkey or get parts to assemble them. Not a real issue at all.


The Norwegians tried that. After they couldn't get any new guns from Germany (as I said, production ceased already in 1979, that's almost 30 years ago), they went to MKE. They bought more than 4,000 MG3s from them in 1992. All I heard of that deal was negative, they are apparently not very happy with the Turkish product.

Also, why SHOULD the Bundeswehr stick with the MG3? You can't mount any of the modern accessories on it, at least not on the basic gun, and the mods (such as used by the Danes) are pretty awkward. Anyway, there is NO talk of replacing it yet . . .

Cheers

HANS
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#16 Xavier

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 1241 PM

The Norwegians tried that. After they couldn't get any new guns from Germany (as I said, production ceased already in 1979, that's almost 30 years ago), they went to MKE. They bought more than 4,000 MG3s from them in 1992. All I heard of that deal was negative, they are apparently not very happy with the Turkish product.

Also, why SHOULD the Bundeswehr stick with the MG3? You can't mount any of the modern accessories on it, at least not on the basic gun, and the mods (such as used by the Danes) are pretty awkward. Anyway, there is NO talk of replacing it yet . . .

Cheers

HANS

just accept FN's superiority and buy the MAG when the last batch of MG3 is clapped out :P
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#17 Tomas Hoting

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 1350 PM

just accept FN's superiority and buy the MAG when the last batch of MG3 is clapped out :P


Naw, just stick with solid German engineering and wait for a 7.62x51mm variant of the brand-new MG4. ;)
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#18 pdoktar

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 1916 PM

PKM also for forever.... <_<
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#19 Simon Tan

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 2236 PM

Not seen quality on MKE MG3s but their G3s and MP5s were the worst I have ever seen. And these were guns taken to a defence show! Nasty........

Pak MG3s, G3s and MP5s are now excellent. They really improved quality from 20 years ago.

pdoktar...surely you mean 7.62x54mm forever! The oldest cartridge still in general service. Gotta dig that Semi-rimmed coolness.

HANS.....The Swedes went retrograde by ditching the 6.5x55 as the standard round.
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#20 Colin

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 2304 PM

Not seen quality on MKE MG3s but their G3s and MP5s were the worst I have ever seen. And these were guns taken to a defence show! Nasty........

Pak MG3s, G3s and MP5s are now excellent. They really improved quality from 20 years ago.

pdoktar...surely you mean 7.62x54mm forever! The oldest cartridge still in general service. Gotta dig that Semi-rimmed coolness.

HANS.....The Swedes went retrograde by ditching the 6.5x55 as the standard round.



You would think the Turks would have the edge on QC?
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