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SFC Dunlap 173d RVN

Yup, when it glows red the barrel is pretty much done. I watched the same thing happen with quad 50's once...now those rounds were going all manner of directions after the barrels first got red and then started to "droop." Fun times.


I saw the same thing but not from quad .50s. I was once tasked to "get rid of" 30,000 rounds of .50 cal using six guns with three barrels each. Changing barrels every 200 rounds, they were still not cooling down. Eventually, if you stood behind the gun, you saw the tracers spinning off in different directions. Alas, at 24,000 rounds gone, one knucklehead gunner decided to violate my briefing and open the feed tray on a very hot gun after a failure to fire, with resultant cookoff right under his face. His face was cut up and suffered significant powder burns but, fortunately, he had Oakleys on (back before eyepro was mandatory). Turns out that a case had ruptured inside the barrel so the next round tried to feed through the ruptured case resulting in the rearmost half-inch of it protruding from the breech of the barrel, and a stoppage. Of course, this wasn't visible underneath the feed tray, but the drill (and my briefing) are "don't open the feed tray on a hot gun. If you have a malfunction and don't know what to do, also don't open the feed tray. Period." Knucklehead opens the cover and POP! He goes flying backwards with blood all over his face.

I had to shut down range and wound up waiting forever for EOD to come to inspect the weapon. I finally gave up and went over it myself, at which time I discovered the ruptured case. (One of only two times I ever used the ruptured case extractor that comes with the BII.) On a good note, the remaining 6,000 rounds went to the 58 tanks in the battalion. On a bad note, I had to deadline all six guns until I could get them fully inspected and also replaced all of the barrels.

SFC Dunlap 173d RVN

Armorer must have loved that day Esli. Loved those "must expend" days at a range.


What could Browning do if he were alive today with modern material sciences? From wikipedia on the trials for his M1917:

"Browning arranged a test at the Springfield Armory in May 1917.[6] In the first test, the weapon fired 20,000 rounds without incident. The reliability was exceptional, so Browning fired another 20,000 rounds through the weapon without any parts failing. The Ordnance Board was impressed, but was unconvinced that the same level of performance could be achieved in a production model. Consequently, Browning used a second gun that not only duplicated the original trial, but it also fired continuously for 48 minutes and 12 seconds (over 21,000 rounds)."

There's a couple of MOH's that owe their existence to that gun. And we've got nothing even close to that kind of sustained firepower today. Lots of trashed M4s from a couple of minutes near full cyclic defending outposts in Afghanistan though.

You tell a gun team they can fire continuously for 45+ minutes without incident, I *think* they'll happily hump the 47lbs of water-cooled death machine. The 45 minutes worth of ammo may be a bit harder....

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