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Rheinmetall MG3


Beretta MG42/59


Overview


MG3

German army MG3 machine gun on public display.
Source: KrisfromGermany - © Public domain

Origin
Germany
Type
Machine gun
Entered service
1959 (MG1)
1968 (MG3)
Status
In service
Development
Mid 1950's
Developer
Germany - Rheinmetall
Production
1958 - 1979 (German production)
1960's - present (license production)
Producer
Germany - Rheinmetall
Germany - Heckler & Koch
Austria - Steyr (MG42/59)
Greece - EBO (MG3)
Iran - DIO (MG1A3)
Italy - Beretta (MG42/59)
Italy - Franchi (MG42/59)
Italy - Whitehead Moto-Fides (MG42/59)
Myanmar - Ka Pa Sa
Pakistan - POF (MG1A3)
Spain - Santa Barbara (MG42/59, MG1A3, MG3S)
Turkey - MKEK (MG3)
Number produced
Over 1 million
Designations
MG 74 (Austrian production)
MA 15 (Myanmar production)
Karar (Sudan)
M/62 (Danish service)
m/960 (Portuguese service)

Description


Introduction

The MG3 is an early Cold War era machine gun of German origin. The MG3 is a designation for various machine guns developed when Germany entered NATO. These are basically is a conversion of the MG42 machine gun which was widely used by Nazi Germany during World War 2. Besides the Belgian MAG the MG3 was the most common type of Western machine gun during the Cold War.

Design

The MG3 essentially is a conversion of the MG42 to 7.62x51mm NATO. Early versions were simply conversions but later versions feature a multitude of minor upgrades in various areas. The MG3 retains the short recoil operation and roller locking mechanism. It is belt fed only and feeds from left to right. The square slotted forearm is open on the right hand side to allow the quick change barrel to be replaced. The MG3 can be used from the attached bipod, from a tripod mount and as a pintle mounted or coaxial machine gun.

Firepower

The MG3 fires the 7.62x51mm NATO round from 50 round DM1 continuous belts or M13 or DM6 linked belts, mostly of 120 round length. The cyclic rate of fire is about 1.200 rpm. This results in a high ammunition consumption and rapid overheating. The barrel should be changed every 150 rounds fired in rapid succession. The MG1A2 and MG42/59 versions have a lower rate of fire of 900 rpm. The maximum effective range is 600 m from the bipod and 1 km when used from a tripod. The slant range is much longer.

Users

The first user of the MG3 family was the West German military, who adopted the MG3 for infantry, flexible and coaxial use. Various European nations adopted versions of the MG3 and produced them under license. The MG3 was also widely exported to Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The MG3 remains in use today, but in the infantry role it has often been replaced by light machine guns.

Variants


MG42/59

Italian soldier in prone position firing his MG42/59 machine gun in 2013.
Source: Fdchirico - © GNU Attribution - Share Alike license

MG1
The MG1 is the first 7.62mm NATO development and is little more than a MG42 produced in 7.62x51mm.
MG2
The designation MG2 applies to stocks of World War 2 era MG42 converted 7.62x51mm NATO. These are practically similar to the original MG1.
MG1A1
Production of the MG1 soon switched to the MG1A1 with the sights calibrated for the new caliber. All existing MG1 were refitted with these sights. The MG1A1 is also known as the MG42/58.
MG1A2 & MG42/59
The MG1A2 features a heavier bolt for a reduced rate of fire of 700 to 900 rpm. First variant able to use both non-disintegrating DM1 belt and disintegrating M13 belt. The MG1A2 is better known as the MG42/59 for export and was widely produced under license.
MG1A3
Update introduced in 1965. The MG1A3 is quite similar to the MG1A2, but features an improved bipod and uses the standard bolt with associated higher rate of fire.
MG3
The is the latest German development and was introduced in 1968. The MG3 uses an improved feed mechanism and is fitted with flip-up anti-aircraft sights.
MG3A1
The MG3A1 is the armor machine gun version of the MG3. The earlier MG1A4 and MG1A5 are armor machine guns based on MG1 and MG1A3 respectively.

Details


Facts MG3 MG42/59 MG3A1
General
Origin
Germany
Type
Machine gun
Caliber
Caliber
7.62x51mm NATO
Feed system
Belt feed
50 round non-disintegrating DM1 belt
100 round disintegrating M13 belt
Barrel length
565 mm
Rifling
4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity
820 m/s
Operation
Action
Short recoil
Locking
Roller locking
Fire selector
0 - F
Rate of fire
1.200 rpm
Quick change barrel
Yes
Dimensions
Stock type
Fixed
Length
1.225 mm
Weight
11.05 kg empty
Sights
Mechanical
Iron sights, barleycorn front and notch rear
Range adjustment
200 to 1.200 m
Sight radius
430 mm
Optics
None
Accessories
Bipod
Fixed stowable bipod
Tripod
Optional with optical sight

Media