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M-60 General Purpose Machine Gun

The M-60 general purpose machine gun was designed in 1952 and in service in 1957, replacing the M1916 Browning Automatic Rifle and M1919 Browning medium machine gun. It is a gas operated, belt fed, disintegrating link automatic rifle chambered in 7.62 x 51 mm NATO. The weapon was patterned after the German Mauser MG-42 machine gun used by the Nazi German Army in WWII.

The maximum Effective Range is 1100 meters on a bipod, 800 meters on an area target, 600 meters at a point target and 200 meters at a moving target.

The M-60 began phasing out in the 1990's in favor of the M-249 SAW in 5.56 x 45 mm NATO and M-240 B in 7.62 x 51mm NATO. The later 2 split between individual then crew served weapons.

The M-60 remains in service with some Special Operations elements as well as the US Navy and Coast Guard.

I worked as a unit armorer for 1 year in Germany. I serviced and repaired 21 M-60's. I hated them. The feed mechanism had too many moving parts, prone to breaking and bending and constantly jammed. The M-240 series has far less parts, is very robust and reliable.

There were two main performance areas comparing the M-240 and M-60: mean rounds between stoppages (MRBS-jams) and mean rounds between failures (MRBF-parts breaking). In acceptance trials 50,000 rounds were fired through both guns. The M240 had 2,962 MRBS and 6,442 MRBF, compared to the M60's 846 MRBS and 1,669 MRBF.

In the Gulf War, each M3 Bradley had one M-60 stored in a mount in the crew compartment outside the turret shield. I was assigned the M-60 as well as whatever other firearm was lying about since I stayed with the vehicle. Although A-25's driver dismounted with the M-60 in overwatch during EPW capture.

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