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Ma Deuce Replacement Stumbles
Strategypage ^ | 7-31-07 | Jim Dunnigan

Posted on 08/06/2007 5:37:38 PM PDT by Renfield

July 31, 2007: Two years ago, field testing of the XM-312, the replacement for the eighty year old, .50 caliber (12.7mm) M-2 ("Ma Deuce") machine-gun, began, in the United States and overseas. Then, nothing. That's because the test results were not encouraging, the biggest shortcoming being the low rate of fire (about 260 rounds per minute). This is about half the rate of the M2, and was believed adequate for the 25mm smart shells the XM312 was originally designed for (as the XM307). But for 12.7mm bullets, it didn't impress the troops. There were some reliability problems, which could be fixed. The rate-of-fire issue, however, has proved to be more difficult. Meanwhile, a new upgrade for the M2 has been fielded, and Ma Deuce still rules the battlefield. The new M2E2 has a quick change barrel, flash hider and lot of small improvements. It is much in demand.

Originally, the M2 replacement was going to be the M-307, which was designed so it could fire either the computer controlled 25mm "smart shell" of the XM-25, or (by changing the barrel and receiver), .50 caliber ammo. But it was felt that a straight replacement for the M-2 was needed quickly. The original plan was for the troops to begin getting the XM312 in 2008, or sooner.

The M-2, nicknamed "Ma Deuce" by the troops, has been around so long because it was very good at what it did. Accurate, reliable, rugged and easy to use, many of the M-2s currently in use are decades old, and finally wearing out. The army doesn't want to build new ones, and wasn't sure it could do without the venerable, and very useful, Ma Deuce. So it ended up going ahead with the plan to build a new .50 caliber machine-gun (the XM312). Actually, the new Ma Deuce is basically the XM307, but without the ability to fire 25mm rounds. The XM312 weighs 36 pounds (compared to 50 for the M-2), even with the addition of the electronic fire control stuff from the XM307.

The fire control system, especially the range finder, makes the XM312 much more accurate with first shot hits, than the M-2. American troops have been testing the XM312 in the United States and Germany, and have also reacted favorably to the lighter weight of the XM-312. The lighter XM312 will be easier for infantry to manhandle into position (along with its tripod mount.) But the lower rate-of-fire on the XM-312 was particularly disappointing to the many troops who had used the M2 in combat recently.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: 50cal; 50mg; bang; banglist; browning; infantry; weapon
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1 posted on 08/06/2007 5:37:40 PM PDT by Renfield
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To: Renfield

It would be hard to improve on the near perfect designs of Moses Browning.


2 posted on 08/06/2007 5:48:46 PM PDT by The Great RJ ("Mir we bleiwen wat mir sin" or "We want to remain what we are." ..Luxembourg motto)
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To: Renfield

I got to use the M-2 in theater, but this new monster is something I have yet to see.


3 posted on 08/06/2007 5:49:54 PM PDT by Old Sarge (This tagline in memory of FReeper 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub)
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To: Renfield
The XM312 weighs 36 pounds (compared to 50 for the M-2)

The only thing that wasn't fun about the M-2 was carrying it. ;-)

4 posted on 08/06/2007 5:50:05 PM PDT by glorgau
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To: Renfield

I saw the test firing of the M2 on a cable show and that thing is steak and fire. I can only imagine what the new model will do once our guys accept it.


5 posted on 08/06/2007 5:51:14 PM PDT by Thebaddog (My dogs are tired)
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To: Renfield

I sometimes wonder why the rush to scifi type weapon systems for infantry.

The more geewhizery applied to a weapon system, the more potential for disruption of function for that system.

If it’s to be carried on foot, then lighter is always good, but will that overly reduce its stability while firing?

If the current MG systems carried by foot infantry aren’t powerful enough then a lighter weight heavy gun system would be appropriate. But if this is to be a vehicle mounted system, then heavier might mean more tolerance to long sustained use.

A bad day and/or an inexperienced gunner can run a MG real hot, real fast. A heavy gun system that can stand up well to abuse and remain reliable would seem to be of more importance.

But, then again, I hated it when MRE replaced C-rats. The idea that I’d have to carry even more water, just to be able to eat chow, really seemed counter competent. I guess I was wrong then. Might be wrong now too.


6 posted on 08/06/2007 5:52:06 PM PDT by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: Renfield; All

7 posted on 08/06/2007 5:57:00 PM PDT by alpha-8-25-02 ("SAVED BY GRACE AND GRACE ALONE")
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To: Renfield

One of the most dramatic “pucker factor” sounds in combat is the M-2. It is a morale booster on the firing end of it and a morale breaker on the other. Will the new 50 have that same distinctive tsook, tsook, tsook? And, in spite of what John Kerry says - you know he served in Vietnam - I never saw anyone “wounded” by a .50 cal.


8 posted on 08/06/2007 6:10:13 PM PDT by caisson71
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To: Renfield

Hmmm....over 4 rounds a second is inadequate?

Seems to me like a good idea. If you aren’t hitting it with 4.3 rounds/second, you just aren’t hitting it. And if you are, wouldn’t that be enough?


9 posted on 08/06/2007 6:12:32 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (I'm agnostic on evolution, but sit ups are from Hell!)
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To: Renfield
If it ain't broke don't fix it.
10 posted on 08/06/2007 6:12:49 PM PDT by Brad from Tennessee ("A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.")
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11 posted on 08/06/2007 6:16:14 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: caisson71
I never saw anyone “wounded” by a .50 cal.

I have.... oh that's right. He was hit and wounded in the forearm..and his hip got blown out after the bullet went through his arm and out the other end...

You're right, he died. Nevermind.

12 posted on 08/06/2007 6:20:31 PM PDT by Dick Vomer (liberals suck....... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.,)
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To: Renfield
Image hosted by Photobucket.com The fire control system, especially the range finder, makes the XM312 much more accurate with first shot hits, than the M-2.

bullsh!t...

13 posted on 08/06/2007 6:20:53 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist)
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To: A.A. Cunningham
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
14 posted on 08/06/2007 6:21:54 PM PDT by Dick Vomer (liberals suck....... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.,)
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To: caisson71
I never saw anyone “wounded” by a .50 cal.

A father of a friend of mine was hit with six rounds and lived to tell the tale. He spent several months in VA hospitals learning to walk again, years of surgery, and then years more kicking the painkillers that allowed him to survive the above. .

He was a Marine hitching a ride on an Army Huey. One of his fellow passengers was a VC colonel being taken for interrogation. The prisoner, his hands still shackled, managed to seize the wait gun and turn it to the inside of the chopper.

The VC colonel wasn't ever interrogated. From what I hear, it wasn't the fall that killed him so much as the abrupt stop at the end of it.

15 posted on 08/06/2007 6:22:55 PM PDT by ReignOfError (`)
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To: Brad from Tennessee

Ah geez, I’m a 58 year old reservist and I fired the M2 in May at Ft McCoy WS for the first time in 15 years. WTF do they mean the “replacement” is slower than good ol’ Ma Deuce? She just chugs along at 400 rpm or so as it is.

But, I now like my cars and my heavy weapons the way I like my women:

Built for comfort, not speed.

;^)


16 posted on 08/06/2007 6:25:51 PM PDT by elcid1970
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To: Grimmy
I brought MRE’s (are they still called “meals rejected by Ethiopians?”) home and tried to feed them to my Akita. Here wouldn’t eat them either.
17 posted on 08/06/2007 6:25:52 PM PDT by ASA Vet (http://www.rinorepublic.com)
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To: Renfield

Simple rule - it has to be better than its replacement. That’s setting the bar incredibly high, which is just where it ought to be.


18 posted on 08/06/2007 6:26:03 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Mr Rogers
Yes, it is inadequate. Often one has only a snapshot for a second or two at most, and frequently at range, as in up to 1000 yards away. Half the bullets fired in the brief time window when an enemy is exposed means half the likelihood of hitting, pretty nearly. Halving the ROF is not acceptable. (If the gunner wants it, he just uses short bursts).
19 posted on 08/06/2007 6:26:28 PM PDT by JasonC
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To: Billthedrill

That is, it has to be better than what it’s replacing. Sheesh.


20 posted on 08/06/2007 6:26:35 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Renfield; Liberty Valance
One of the coolest things for me was when I became a Platoon Sergeant and took over the M-2 on an M-113. I blew thousands of rounds through Ma Deuce. If you could see a target, you could usually hit it.

I watch the television sometimes, and I realize that one of the few things that hasn’t changed since my time as a grunt is the old M-2 .50 caliber.

Long ago, and far away....

21 posted on 08/06/2007 6:33:49 PM PDT by Brucifer (G. W. Bush "The dog ate my copy of the Constitution.")
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To: caisson71

Put 4 of those bad boys together in VN and you had
a quad 50,if you had a brave man in the seat it was
astounding what it`d do when there was incoming.

The `45 Colt,Ma Deuce ,B-52,some things just seem to work


22 posted on 08/06/2007 6:43:28 PM PDT by 31M20RedDevil (Fred Thompson for President)
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To: ReignOfError
A father of a friend of mine was hit with six rounds and lived to tell the tale.

He was a Marine hitching a ride on an Army Huey. One of his fellow passengers was a VC colonel being taken for interrogation. The prisoner, his hands still shackled, managed to seize the wait gun and turn it to the inside of the chopper.

You sure that wasn't a M-60? I never saw a .50 cal on any Army bird, of any size. The Marine CH-46 was the only bird I saw (and used) it carried on. And there was no way it could be turned to shoot inside the helo. An M-60 on a bungee certainly could be turned around.

23 posted on 08/06/2007 6:43:47 PM PDT by doorgunner69
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To: Renfield

CMOH recipient(posth.) SFC Paul R. Smith used a Ma Deuce to single handedly smoke 50 sandgoblins during the Iraq Invasion.


24 posted on 08/06/2007 6:57:15 PM PDT by Ajnin (Neca Eos Omnes. Deus Suos Agnoset.)
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To: ReignOfError

Six hits with .50 and he lived? I’m sorry to doubt. but I don’t beleive that for a second.


25 posted on 08/06/2007 6:58:56 PM PDT by mazza
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To: mazza

See #23. I’d say it was a M-60, 7.62mm.


26 posted on 08/06/2007 7:05:15 PM PDT by doorgunner69
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To: elcid1970
I got to fire a quad-fifty one time in Vietnam. It was sitting on the highest point of a hill in the center of a combat base so it could be directed at any part of the perimeter that might be breached by the dinks. It was mounted on a towed trailer. They would preregister the thing to fire H&I at different points on the map at night. I was part of a reactionary squad one night. It was good duty because you got to sleep all night. Our position was next to the quad-fifty. One of the crew that manned it let me fire a burst. That was done by depressing a button on a switch box. It was a rush.
27 posted on 08/06/2007 7:31:31 PM PDT by Brad from Tennessee ("A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.")
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To: Ajnin

Nope...probably a M-60 on a bungi.


28 posted on 08/06/2007 7:35:04 PM PDT by bikerMD (Beware, the light at the end of the tunnel may be a muzzle flash.)
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To: mazza

Yup. NFW.


29 posted on 08/06/2007 7:36:00 PM PDT by NewRomeTacitus
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To: ASA Vet

LOL. My golden will eat anything - except mcdonalds hamburgers.

Never tried to feed her an MRE.


30 posted on 08/06/2007 7:40:42 PM PDT by patton (Get the H$LL off of my ROOF!)
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To: Brad from Tennessee

One of my favorite stories is how Carlos Hathcock modified a .50 in order to take out a particularly loathsome sniper. Hence the Barrett was developed, winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever legs need to be running without their torsos.


31 posted on 08/06/2007 7:41:06 PM PDT by NewRomeTacitus
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To: ReignOfError

Hueys used the .30 cal M60, rather than the .50 M2.


32 posted on 08/06/2007 7:43:39 PM PDT by Justa (Politically Correct is morally wrong.)
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To: Dick Vomer
#14

Cool, where can I get one of those? It would go good with my 81mm mortar, and 105 howitzer. Talk about a great 4th of July...

[Sidebar: And no you richard heads reading this, I don't have an 81mm mortar]

5.56mm

33 posted on 08/06/2007 7:44:33 PM PDT by M Kehoe
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To: Renfield

During the blitzkrieg on Baghdad I was glued to the tv watching the live footage.

There was a shot taken from about half a mile of a Bradley moving along the river bank. You could just barely see a few troglodytes about 100 yards in front of it. A chaingun tracer made a perfect line to one of the ‘targets’ and he just ceased to exist. Just a white stripe and then a small flash and that dink was a fine mist. It was almost as if he was hit by lightning.


34 posted on 08/06/2007 7:53:04 PM PDT by Spruce
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To: NewRomeTacitus
I saw them used from time to time to snipe. The gun has a selector to switch from auto to semi-auto. This sniping was done from a base or a fortified outpost using the iron sights. The thing was just too heavy to carry into the bush. The only one I ever saw with a scope was in a picture and a story in Leatherneck magazine sometime in 1967. I’m sure a lot of people saw that article and began putting scopes on them.
35 posted on 08/06/2007 7:54:58 PM PDT by Brad from Tennessee ("A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.")
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To: NewRomeTacitus

Yes, White Feather bump; the accuracy of the .50 is astounding.

BTW, my dad was injured by a M-2. Hot shell casing rolled up his arm.


36 posted on 08/06/2007 7:56:46 PM PDT by Unknowing (Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.)
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To: Justa; Ajnin; mazza; doorgunner69
Hueys used the .30 cal M60, rather than the .50 M2.

Very likely I was wrong on that. I heard the story third-hand and wasn't taking notes. That does seem more plausible, and someone who survives six .30 hits is still a tough old bird.

37 posted on 08/06/2007 8:02:51 PM PDT by ReignOfError (`)
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To: Dick Vomer
....needs more barrels. :D
38 posted on 08/06/2007 8:11:36 PM PDT by skinkinthegrass (just b/c your paranoid, doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you....run, Fred, run. :^)
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To: Renfield

I am not sure why it took the army so long to adopt the .50 cal. Browning and Colt had it ready in 1917.


39 posted on 08/06/2007 8:20:01 PM PDT by yarddog (`)
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To: Renfield
That being the case, I'm not about to create a stir by exercising my right. I do have common sense...

If a new design for a heavy machine gun is needed, somebody needs to dig up John Moses Browning. Fortunately it appears as if one isn't really needed. A little updating and the old girl is still good to go. New builds rather than a bunch of weapons that have been through the arsenal to be rebuilt so many times they have more seniority than any of the employees might be nice though. The arsenal *claims* they are as good as new... but I saw the same "claim" 30+ years ago for J-57 turbojets. It was about as far from the truth as "The check is in the mail", or "We're from the BATFE and are here to help you." Same now goes for the J-57's replacement (in non fighter applications) the TF-33.

40 posted on 08/06/2007 8:20:30 PM PDT by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: Mr Rogers
Seems to me like a good idea. If you aren’t hitting it with 4.3 rounds/second, you just aren’t hitting it. And if you are, wouldn’t that be enough? Fine for the anti-material role or other discrete target situation. But the M-2 is often used , perhaps most often, for the area suppression role. For that you want lots of metal downrange, fast.
41 posted on 08/06/2007 8:23:20 PM PDT by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: elcid1970
She just chugs along at 400 rpm or so as it is.

Advertised ROF is 550 rpm. Happened to have needed to know that at work in the past couple of months. But of course it varies from weapon to weapon, and between types and lots of ammunition. One source says 450-600 RPM.

42 posted on 08/06/2007 8:27:53 PM PDT by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: Unknowing
Hot shell casing rolled up his arm.

Youch! Had a casing brush my cheek once. Saved on razor blades for quite a while.

Carlos passed a few years back but the Marines set up a shrine so people will never forget. My stint in the Army was all about trying to get into sniper school, but the need for corrective lenses nixed that despite outshooting everyone while wearing them. Nowadays a service person gets lasik surgery upon request. I'm glad for that...snipers make the difference when a commander utilizes them.

43 posted on 08/06/2007 8:27:56 PM PDT by NewRomeTacitus
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To: yarddog
We have plenty of nasty stuff right now that we can design but just can’t stuff into a platform; Lasers...Elecromagnetics...Kinetic energy....
44 posted on 08/06/2007 8:33:26 PM PDT by endthematrix (He was shouting 'Allah!' but I didn't hear that. It just sounded like a lot of crap to me.)
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To: Mr Rogers
over 4 rounds a second is inadequate?

As heavy machine guns go, the 550 rpm of the M-2 is considered slow, half that would be glacial. Remember these things are often mounted on vehicles, to be used for suppressive fire, anti-material fire (against light skinned vehicles, like Jihadi car or truck bombs) and even in an anti-aircraft role. In the area suppression role, they are fired in a very short burst, traversed, fired again, and repeat as needed to cover the area of responsiblity.

They were once used as defensive armament for the B-17, B-24, B-29 and even the B-52, in a quad mount in the tail on all but the -H models. They also armed most US fighter aircraft up through the Korean war. The F-86, some models anyway, had 6 of 'em in the nose, to get a high enough rate of fire. (i.e. 3,300 rpm, still only about 1/2 that of the M-61 Vulcan which replaced the M-2 in both the -H model BUFF and many fighters, including today's F-22 and F-35. Although of course the M-2 doesn't throw explosive rounds.

45 posted on 08/06/2007 8:44:43 PM PDT by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: NewRomeTacitus

Bless you for your service to our free republic, Sir.

I would gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.


46 posted on 08/06/2007 8:49:38 PM PDT by Unknowing (Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.)
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To: Dick Vomer

Does anyone know it there is a powered Gatling type weapon which fires the .50 BMG cartridge?


47 posted on 08/06/2007 8:54:03 PM PDT by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: ReignOfError

we tried to mount a momma deuce on a UH1H, developed cracks in the tail boom, offed it quick after that.
Prolly the m60 is what he was hit with. Still, six rounds of 7.62 gotta hurt.


48 posted on 08/06/2007 8:55:36 PM PDT by going hot (Happiness is a momma deuce)
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To: El Gato

It’s the spring.


49 posted on 08/06/2007 8:56:52 PM PDT by Domangart (editor and publisher)
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To: patton

Huh! My red lab will not only eat a macdonalds burger, she’ll eat the box and the sack it came in and the salt and catsup packets too. Maybe not the straw wrapper though. Although I’m not positive about that.


50 posted on 08/06/2007 9:06:11 PM PDT by mamelukesabre
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