Springfield Armory

M85 Machine Gun

7.62mm M73 and Calibre .50 M85 Machine Guns


The M73 Machine Gun was designed as a co-axially mounted gun specifically to fit between the breech ring of the 105mm cannon and the mantlet of the M60 tank. The space dictated the size and shape of the gun mechanism. Richard Colby of the U.S. Springfield Armory designed the mechanism.

The military characteristics tor this gun were established at a conference held at Fort Knox, Kentucky, in October 1950. The Research and Development work was begun in February 1951, stopped in June 1953, and resumed in May 1956.

This new machine gun was to meet the following considerations:

a. Recoil operated.

b. Air cooled.

c. Contain a short receiver.

d. Cyclic rate to be 350-600 rounds per minute.

e. Have a right or left-handed feed.

f. Quick-change barrel with fixed head space.

g. Of approximately .30 calibre.

Four designs, T197, T198, T199 and T200, were considered with the T197 being selected for further development and refinement resulting in the T197E2 in February 1958. In May 1959 the T197E2 was type classified standard "A" and designated the M73 Machine Gun.

Initial delivery scheduled for June 1960 was delayed until October 1960 because of low recoil energy and separated cartridge cases. In 1960-62 Springfield Armory developed the booster modification to the M73. It consisted of new case carrier grips,

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