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M60 Machine Gun, 7.62mm

The M60 7.62mm machine gun has been the U.S. Army's general purpose medium machine gun since the late 1950s. The M60 fires standard NATO 7.62mm ammunition and is used as a general support crew-served weapon.

M-60 being inspected by Thai officer and USAF Sgt. at U-Tapao Air Field, Thailand, March 1969.  The vehicle is an M151 jeep.
M-60 being inspected by Thai officer and USAF Sgt. at U-Tapao Air Field, Thailand, March 1969. The vehicle is an M-151 jeep.

More photos and videos of the M60 Machine Gun, 7.62mm are available at the linked page. At this link you can download TM 9-1005-224-10 M60 Machine Gun Operators Manual.

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M60 Machine Gun, 7.62mm

The Machine Gun, 7.62mm, M60 series (Medium Machine Gun) was type classified in 1957 as a companion to the 7.62mm M14 rifle. The M60 is lighter than the .30 cal. M-1919A6 and only slightly heavier than the .30 cal. M-1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) it replaced.

The M60 has a removable barrel which can be easily changed to prevent overheating. The weapon has an integral, folding bipod and can also be mounted on a folding tripod. The M60 has a rate of fire of 600 spm. The M60C and M60D are aircraft versions of the basic M60 machine gun. The M60 series is being replaced by the M240B 7.62mm medium machine gun.

Machinegun, 7.62MM, M60
Machinegun, 7.62MM, M60.

USMC M60E3 7.62mm machine gun

The M60E3 7.62mm machine gun is a lightweight, air-cooled, disintegrating metallic link-belt fed, portable or tripod mounted machine gun designed for USMC ground operations like its predecessor, the M60. It is gas operated with fixed headspace and timing which permits rapid changing of barrels. (Associated components: mount, tripod, machine gun, 7.62mm, M122).

Slightly different from its "parent," the M60, the M60E3 has a receiver-attached bipod which easily deploys for stability. It has an ambidextrous safety, universal sling attachments, a carrying handle on the barrel, and a simplified gas system that does not require safety wire to prevent loosening. However, the light weight barrel is not safe for overhead fire and is not capable of sustaining a rapid rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute without catastrophic failure of the barrel.

The M60E3 was fielded with the intention to reduce the load carried by the gunner. However, the reduction in weight resulted in firing limitations and a loss of reliability that severely restricts the use of the weapon in the Fleet Marine Force. Consequently, troop acceptance of the E3 has been very poor. This gun will be replaced by the M240G.

Marine Cpl. Felipe Torres, wearing a borrowed Vietnamese beret in 1968. (Now Col. Torres, awarded Silver Star in 1968.)
Marine Cpl. Felipe Torres, wearing a borrowed Vietnamese beret in 1968. (Now Col. Torres, awarded Silver Star in 1968.)

M60E4 7.62mm machine gun

The M60E4 (also called MK 43 Mod 0/1) machine gun continues the evolution of improvements over earlier M60 versions. Externally, the M60E4 resembles the M60E3, with internal and external changes and improvements that modernize the weapon:

  • More reliable
  • Different forward grip
  • Iron sights
  • Butt stock
  • Bipod

The M60E4, and a variant called the Mk 43, were developed in the mid to late 1990s. By the mid-2000s the M60E4 and the Mk 43 had merged to become the same weapon, described by the manufacturer as:

The 7.62mm NATO Mk43 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) features the latest improvements to the M60 Series Machine Guns. It is a gas-operated, disintegrating-link, belt-fed, air-cooled machine gun. It fires from an open bolt and features a quick-change barrel. The Mk43 Mod 1 features a machined aluminum feed cover with an integrated M1913 Picatinny rail for mounting optics. An aluminum M1913 rail handguard affords mounting of infrared laser aiming devices and other sensors, giving the weapon 24-hour capability. The Mk43 Mod 0 features an injection-molded, composite handguard and typically is used as an infantry machine gun. (U.S. Ordnance)

Older M60 weapons can be converted to Mk43 system using a conversion kit by an armorer on-site in less than 30 minutes per weapon, using standard tools. The Operator's Manual for the weapon is available at this link.

Recommended Books about the M60 7.62MM Machine Gun

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