Firearms / Machine guns / M60

M60

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Machine gun

  • ORIGIN
    United States

  • NICKNAMES
    T161 (development designation)
    T57 (Taiwanese service)

  • DESIGNED
    Late 1940’s - 1957

  • DESIGNER
    Unknown

  • PRODUCTION
    1957 - 1980's

  • PRODUCERS
    South Korea
    Taiwan
    United States - Saco Defense
    United States - U.S. Ordnance

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    $ 11.175 per unit in 2008

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Limited weight for a 7.62mm machine gun
    Controllable due to low rate of fire
    Easy to use and maintain
    Mediocre reliability in arid and wet conditions

Introduction

The M60 is an early Cold War era machine gun of US origin. It was designed after World War 2 to replace the BAR and M1919. The design is based on the Nazi German FG-42 and MG42 machine guns, although it has very different characteristics than both weapons. Due to its widespread use during the Vietnam war the M60 has become an iconic firearm.

Design

The M60 is a belt fed gas operated weapon that fires from the open bolt position. The gas tube is located below the barrel and the flow of gas cannot be adjusted. The belt cover hinged forward for reloading and the belt is fed from left to right. The M60 features a quick change barrel with a bipod that is placed very far forward. Iron sights are fitted, including a ladder type rear sight. The M60 can be mounted onto a light tripod.

Firepower

The M60 fires the 7.62x51mm NATO round from 50, 100 and 200 round disintegrating link belts. With a rate of fire of only 500 to 650 rpm the M60 is very controllable despite its limited weight. The maximum range is quoted as 1.1 km. The location of the bipod aids accuracy but makes it more difficult to transition to a different target.

Users

The M60 was extensively used by US forces in the early Cold War era, most notably during the Vietnam war. It has been exported to various US allies. Use with other NATO nations was limited due to the availability of the more rugged but heavier Belgian MAG. In US service the M60 was replaced by the M240 (MAG). Quantities of the more modern M60-E3 and M60-E4 have been acquired as well. The M60 remains in widespread use today, mainly in Asia and South America.

Variants

M60

M60: Original production version for infantry use. By far the most common version.
M60D: Model for use on flexible mount on vehicles and helicopters. It features spade grips.
M60-E2: Solenoid fired model for use as a coaxial machine gun. Fitted with a heavy barrel and gas evacuator.

  • Specifications:
  • M60
TypeMachine gun
Caliber7.62x51mm NATO
MagazineBelt fed, 50, 100 rounds
OperationGas operated, rotating bolt, fires from open bolt
Fire selector0-F
Rate of fire500 - 650 rpm
Barrel length560 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity853 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.105 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight11.1 kg
SightsIron sights, 540 mm sight radius
RemarksBipod

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