The Browning machine gun caliber .50 HB, M2 (Figure 1-2) is a belt-fed, recoil-operated, air-cooled, crew-served machine gun. The gun is capable of single shot, as well as automatic fire, and operates on the short recoil principle.





Browning Machine Gun
Figure 1-2. Browning machine gun.

a. The machine gun is capable of being fed from either the right or left by repositioning certain parts. The weapon has nonfixed headspace that must be set. Timing must also be adjusted to cause the gun to fire slightly out of battery to prevent damage to moving parts. The force for recoil operation is furnished by expanding powder gases, which are controlled by various springs, cams, and levers. Maximum surface of the barrel and receiver are exposed to permit air cooling. Perforations in the barrel support allow air to circulate around the breach end of the barrel and help in cooling the parts. A heavy barrel is used to retard early overheating.

b. The gun has a leaf-type rear sight (Figure 1-3), graduated in both yards and roils. The scale ranges from 100 to 2,600 in yards, and from 0 to 62 in mils. The windage knob-permits deflection changes to right or left of center. The front sight is a fixed blade type with cover (Figure 1-4).

Leaf Type Sight
Figure 1-3. Leaf type rear sight.
92mm Browning Machine Guns
Figure 1-4. Front sight, cover, and blade.
c. Table 1-1 provides the general data on the caliber .50 MG.

Weight (approx)

84 pounds

Weight of barrel

24 pounds

Length of gun

65.13 inches

Length of barrel

45 inches

Length of rifling (approx)

41.88 inches

Number of lands and grooves


Twist, right-hand

one turn in 15 inches







Muzzle velocity (approx)

3,050 feet per second

Rate of fire (cyclic)

450 to 550 rounds per minute

Maximum range (approx)

7,440 yards or 6,764 meters

Maximum effective range (approx)

2,000 yards or 1,830 meters

• Area targets

1,830 meters

• Point targets, single shot

1,500 meters

Table 1-1. General data.

Table 1-1. General data.


The major components of the caliber .50 MG and their purposes are shown in Table 1-2 and Figure 1-5.

Assembly Cal Machine Gun
Figure 1-5. Components of the caliber .50 MG.



l. Barrel Group

Houses cartridges for firing; directs projectile.

2. Carrier Assembly

Provides handle to carry barrel and to remove the barrel from the receiver.

3. Backplate Group

Houses the trigger, bolt latch release, buffer tube sleeve, and the left and right spade grips.

4. Receiver Group

Serves as a support for all major components; houses action of weapon, which controls functioning of weapon.

5. Bolt Group

Provides feeding, chambering, firing, and extracting, using the propellant gases and recoil spring for power.

6. Cover Group

Feeds linked belt ammunition; positions and holds cartridges in position for extracting, feeding, and chambering.

7. Bolt Stud

Provides a means to move the bolt to the rear with the retracting slide handle.

8. Barrel Extension Group

Secures the barrel to the recoiling parts.

9. Barrel Buffer Body

Assists in recoil and counterrecoil of the bolt group.

10. Driving Spring Rod Assembly

Drives the bolt forward when the bolt latch release is depressed.

Table 1-2. Components and their purposes.

Table 1-2. Components and their purposes.


The two principal ground mounts used with the caliber .50 machine gun are the tripod mount, M3, and the antiaircraft mount, M63. The tripod mount, M3, is a ground mount designed for use against ground targets. The antiaircraft mount,

M63, is a ground mount principally designed for use against aerial targets. Its use against ground targets is limited because the mount tends to be unstable when the gun is fired at low angles.

a. Tripod Mount, M3. The M3 mount is the standard ground mount of the caliber .50 machine gun (Figure 1-6). It is a folding tripod with three, telescopic, tubular legs connected at the tripod head. Each leg ends in a metal shoe that can be stamped into the ground for greater stability. The two trail legs are joined together by the traversing bar. The traversing bar serves as a support for the traversing and elevating mechanism, which in turn supports the rear of the gun. The tripod head furnishes a front support for the mounted gun that is further supported by the short front leg. When the tripod is emplaced on flat terrain with all extensions closed, the adjustable front leg should form an angle of about 60 degrees with the ground. This places the gun on a low mount about 12 inches above the ground. To raise the tripod farther off the ground, extend the telescopic front and trail legs enough to keep the tripod level and maintain the stability of the mount.

Cal Description
Figure 1-6. M3 tripod mount.

(1) To set the tripod trail legs--

(a) Unscrew the leg-clamping handle, press down on the indexing lever, and extend the leg to the desired length.

(b) Align the indexing lever stud with one of the holes in the tripod leg extension.

(c) Release the pressure on the indexing lever, allowing the stud to fit the desired hole. Tighten the leg-clamping handle.

(2) To set the front leg of the tripod-

(a) Turn the front leg clamp handle counterclockwise to loosen the front leg.

(b) Adjust the leg to the desired angle and tighten the front leg clamp.

(3) To secure the tripod legs, stamp the metal shoe on each tripod leg into the ground. Sandbag each leg to stabilize the M2 for firing.

b. Antiaircraft Mount, M63. The antiaircraft mount (Figure 1-7) is a four-legged, low silhouette, portable mount used for antiaircraft fire. Table 1-3 lists the general data pertaining to the M63.

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