Breaking: USMC and SOCOM want General Dynamics Lightweight Medium Machine Gun

Last month the United States Special Operations Command along with the United States Marine Corps posted a Sources Sought Solicitation to FedBizOpps (FBO) for 5,000, belt-fed, medium, machineguns in .338 Norma Magnum (NM).

Before you get too excited, a Sources Sought Solicitation is not an actual bid solicitation or proposal solicitation for the machineguns, but it’s a solicitation of interest. A Sources Sought is best described as SOCOM and the USMC conducting research to figure out the capabilities and the interests of the industry or industries involved. Basically they are asking everyone, “Who can do this thing and how much will it cost in time and money?”

LWMMG specifics: The LWMMG should fire the belted .338NM round of ammunition with a polymer case. The LWMMG should weigh less than 24 pounds unloaded with a barrel length of 24in. The LWMMG should have a rate of fire of between 500-600 rounds per minute. Weapon shall be compatible with current rail mounted aiming systems with the ability to incorporate more advanced fire control technology. The system should include both a suppressed barrel and an unsuppressed barrel that can be rapidly changed. The LWMMG should include a tripod that is lightweight and provides the stability and accuracy required to engage targets at extreme ranges. The LWMMG should be able to mount in current machinegun mounts designed for the M240B/C. The weapon should have sufficient accuracy to engage area targets and vehicles at 2,000m.

The solicitation does not mention any particular company or product by name, but the above quote from the body of the solicitation pretty much describes the General Dynamics (GD) Armament and Technical Products Lightweight Medium Machine Gun (LWMMG). As TFB reported back in 2012 the now 22 pound, belt-fed, short-recoil machinegun outperforms the current military machine guns in both 7.62 NATO and .50 BMG at greater ranges when it comes to hitting point targets.

The .338 NM was originally designed as a long-range sport shooting cartridge and seems right at home in the LWMMG, allowing operators to hit point targets well beyond 2000 yards with the 300 grain bullets.

A source close to the matter indicated to TFB that the LWMMG will almost certainly happen. The .338 NM belt-fed will be slated to replace the M2HB for vehicle and watercraft applications. This is attributed directly to the platforms superior accuracy capability and the fact that .338 NM ammunition is lighter and takes up less room then the .50 BMG ammo. The polymer-cased ammo will have even greater weight savings. Observations that the LWMMG platform offers superior optics mounting, a more familiar manual of arms and the capability for dismounted use when compared to the M2 was also pointed out. The same source hinted that a .338 NM machinegun would open the door for a .338 NM Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR).

Scott is a firearms enthusiast and gun hobbyist whose primary interest is the practical application of gun ownership. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he hosts and blogs for The Firearms Podcast, a podcast and blog about gun stuff by gun people. Scott is a 20-year veteran of the USAF and been a member of his base, state and the All Guard marksmanship teams. He can be reached via email at


  • USMC03Vet

    Anonymous source?
    Firearms not BS.

    • Doesn’t mean we don’t know it means we can’t say. Our policy is a minimum of two dependable sources.

    • What do you think this is, TTAB? They’re not gonna run an article based on stuff they over heard Jim Bob brag about at the shootin’ pit.

  • Tormund Giantsbane

    And the first one now will later be last
    But the rounds they are a-changin’

  • Haulin’ Oats

    Why norma magnum? Why not use 338 Lapua instead and streamline your ammo supply with the same rounds already used by many snipers?

    • No one

      .338 NM had better barrel life in testing and the case taper makes it easier to feed in a belt fed style weapon.

    • Get over it fanbois

      .338 is a bit smaller than .338 Lapua . So the automatic rifleman/ squad machine gunner(those MOS names are too long. DOD should shorten them). So they can carry more ammo.

      .338 Lapua isn’t standard issue in the US military. .300 Winchester Magnum would perform poorly in a machine gun.

      • Anonymoose

        You’re not going to save much weight going from Lapua to Norma. You get better ballistics from the Norma, though, because you can use longer, heavier bullets in the same action.

        • Form Factor

          Yes, even tough in therms of “heavier” often a no brainer is done. Ive seen many .338 NM projectiles that had the same ogive lenght than LM and was just heavier, slightly increasing G7BC but really slowing it for no good reason.

          With more place for the Ogive, an actually full and aerodynamic ogive should also be used (much better form factor). That increases G7BC better while also flattening trajectory, decreasing winddrift, etc.

    • SGT Fish

      because it fit better. seriously, its shorter and took a lot less engineering to get it into a M240 receiver

    • Jim Slade

      Feed issue. Norma feeds better in automatics vs. Lapua, with ~nearly~ identical performance characteristics.

    • Renato H M de Oliveira

      To add to the benefits our forum buddies already stated, changing a sniper rifle from Lapua to Norma can be as simple as a barrel swap.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        I love fantasy world where snipers are picking up crates of machine gun ammo to run through their guns.

        Doesn’t happen.

        • Renato H M de Oliveira

          I love fantasy world where snipers are picking up crates of machine gun ammo to run through their guns.
          Doesn’t happen.

          You’re correct, it’s not like the sniper/DM rifle ever was the same caliber as the GPMG.
          7.62×51 NATO, .30-06, 7.92×57 (aka 8mm Mauser), 7.5×55 Swiss, .303 British, 7.7×58 Arisaka, 7.62x54R Russian… All of them exist only in fantasy land.
          Oh wait…

          • HSR47

            His point is that, while calibers are often the same between precision rifles and GPMGs, the ammo used in them is typically different.

            Sure, this would theoretically allow MGs and precision rifles to share ammo, but that’s unlikely to happen in practice.

            Still, this move to replace both 7.62×51 and .50 BMG with an MG chambered for a .338 round is probably a good one, and it would make sense to investigate re-barreling precision rifles in that caliber: Even though sharing ammo is unlikely, it’s always good to have the option.

          • Renato H M de Oliveira

            His point is that, while calibers are often the same between precision rifles and GPMGs, the ammo used in them is typically different.
            Sure, this would theoretically allow MGs and precision rifles to share ammo, but that’s unlikely to happen in practice.

            I suspected so, but he should have explained his point better.

            Still, this move to replace both 7.62×51 and .50 BMG with an MG chambered for a .338 round is probably a good one, and it would make sense to investigate re-barreling precision rifles in that caliber: Even though sharing ammo is unlikely, it’s always good to have the option.

            Agree 120%. Given the fact that snipers/DM use quite a lot less ammo than machine gunners (but usually in the same caliber), and that performance of 338NM and 338LM is virtually the same for sniper purposes, there is no rational justification to keep the MG and precision rifles in different calibers.

    • Vitor Roma

      Also Norma performs better with 300gr projectiles than Lapua.

      • Aono

        Now let’s see if they go with 6.5CM over .260 for exactly the same reason.

    • Marcus Toroian

      .338 Lapua with the required 300 grain projectile did not meet the OAL requirements. Simple as that.

    • BDub

      The snipers would switch over too. Because of the shorter case length and more taper, the Norma is easier to design smaller receivers for and has longer barrel life, apperantly. Generally considered to be an inprovment on the Lapua catridge

  • aka_mythos

    For what they do I think this is a great choice. I think the only downsides are system costs and higher maintenance costs that come with a lightweight weapon in this caliber.

  • Darren Hruska

    The LWMMG always sounded quite promising to me, but then there’s been seemingly complete silence about it for like the last four or five years. As far as replacing the M2? That was kind of the intention with the XM806, but that project is apparently long dead at this point.

    • Uniform223

      The XM806 was a scaled down predecessor of the XM312. Both systems were significantly lighter than the Ma’Deuce. I remember reading way back that one of the big draw backs of the two were their significantly reduced rate of fire. Interestingly the XM312 could be made into a automatic 25mm grenade launcher.

      • Major Tom

        Apart from cost, the diminished capabilities of the XM-312 as a .50 vs the M2 were evident as well. The Browning can be configured for anti-aircraft use and anti-ground use in the same mission. The XM312 only really had provisions for anti-ground. Even then the alleged increased accuracy was far outweighed by the poor rate of fire. 260 is good for an AGL, but abysmal for an HMG.

      • iksnilol

        Literally any .50 MG made the last 50 years is significantly lighter than the M2.

        • No one

          To be fair, not many people grasp the idea that an HMG designed all the way back during the ritght at the end-post WWI period is going to be really heavy compared to pretty much any modern offering, It’s easy to forget just how old the gun actually is sometimes.

          (Granted, the OG M2’s were water cooled and the M2HB didn’t appear until somewhere around….1933? but that’s still senior citizen status of the gun world.)

  • Giolli Joker

    Polymer case? Interesting.

    • Haulin’ Oats

      I wonder if Magpul has a hand in that.

      • PK

        None whatsoever, no.

      • Look up “MAC, LLC”.

  • Bulldogdriver

    The US military is finally looking at US designed and made machine guns again. Lighter, more accurate and longer range, whats not great about it.

    • Form Factor

      And still in an extremly unperfected cartridge, and projectile…

      Step in the right direction but still not “great” about it.

    • some other joe

      General Dynamics is scaling up the M240L, which is the American lightening project of the Belgian FN MAG. American made, but not designed, and a horrible use of space to boot. There’s at least 2 pounds to be shaved off this thing by looking at the M60 and MG3 for how to configure a man-portable machinegun.

      • LCON

        actually the GDLS LWMMG has more incommon with the XM307/312 and XM806 then the FN MAG 58. It externally resembles the FN MAG but the operation is based of the Recoil system GD was using in the XM307

        • some other joe

          So they had the opportunity to fix the one, glaring drawback of the MAG 58 (form/wasted space) and chose not to? Are you kidding me?

          • LCON

            Barrett Rifles is the one you want to look at for Mag 58 redesigns.
            GDLS was using a system they had on hand.

          • LCON

            Barrett rifle are the ones tweaking the M240, GDLS was trying to leverage their XM307 recoil system.

          • some other joe

            It still looks like a 240, which implies the parts are laid out similarly. Which is a stupid layout that makes the gun longer, and thus heavier, than needed. Compare to where the trigger/sear mechanisms are on the MG3 and M60 and their weight compared to the 240. I’m not saying the M60 is a superior design, but this is one consideration where the balance goes to it.
            I’ve carried both guns and I’ve carried an M60 as a Bradley crewman and seen the goodness of a common platform. But if we can optimize the 240 for a solenoid mount, why can’t we do the same for a flex mount? And why can’t GD recognize this and address it when they have the opportunity?

          • LCON

            They were probably looking to leverage the accessories of the M240L for the new weapon. like the M192 tripod, the M240 Telescopic stock set and other parts to make it more budget friendly and maybe try to leverage some of the existing Training.

            GDLS was though I think not interested in the M240 as the Army had just contracted to FN for the M240L. now seeing the M240L package hitting the Decade mark it might be time to look at a farther update and the best package for that is again Barrett Rifles M240LW.
            Since the LWMMG has not entered a serious production yet who knows what the prototypes they will show off next or offer the Marines and Socom will be like. I mean they seem to be continuously tinkering on it.

  • Aono

    I’m curious whether this spells the end for all 300NM in service.

    • G

      The ASR is supposed to have barrels for both 300 and 338 Norma Magnum.

  • Uniform223

    Polymer casing is interesting to me.

    I wonder what this will do to CT ammo designs for the LSAT

    • hikerguy

      My thoughts exactly.

    • Form Factor

      Not a lot… It lightens it, (but still needs brass end) It often decreases chamber volume.
      And does by far not what CT offers (simpler mechanism, completly new projectile configuration, extremly reliable, far better sealed to mud and dust than a large side ejection port, much more space efficient mechanism with longer barrel, less recoil due to no large bolt carrier moving around anymore, extremly simple complete injection molding, etc etc)

      • Patriot Gunner

        Almost all of your claims are highly dubious. Extremely reliable? The prototypes themselves don’t work and it’s never been field tested. Far better sealed? I would say marginally better sealed. The LSAT belt fed had a case overall length marginally shorter than a .308. You’d need to get out your calipers and measure the ejection ports to notice a difference. Much more space efficient? How? The LSAT LMG was wider because it had a rotating chamber. Less recoil? I’ll give you that, but it was marginal at best. Open bolt MG’s already have very little felt recoil. Extremely simple injection molding? The process is simple, but not cheaper. Read the interview Nathan F. did with the project manager and she even admit that the cost of the “medical grade” polymer was very expensive. Add to that that they will need all new loading machinery and cost jumps even higher. Hard to make a case for CT when all of the current infrastructure is paid for 10 times over and the gov. budget is half a trillion in deficit and 20+ trillion in debt. No private company has any interest in CT, this is all driven by .gov money while at the same time NATO nations are investing more money into buying new conventional rifles which they will use for another 30 years.

        • Form Factor

          -Prototypes fired ten thousands of rounds.
          -The LSAT has a diffrent chamber than the carbine and what is generally possible with tilting/rising chambers, and therefore not the barrel lenght increase.
          -The ejection port is a cylindrical hole, where everything trying to enter will get pushed away by the case anyways, ..its not a large window where cases fly out and the mechanism is open.

          In therms of simpler i mean than Poly/Brass mix ofcourse, because with that you need the brass end and the polymer, compared to simply molding one case.

          Privat companies have interest in CT (dont mean producing but current development).
          Also as soon as CT becomes the next big thing with large advantages, commercial production will come too by time.

          • Patriot Gunner

            +1 for replying in a cogent manner, I tip my hat to you sir. However, grand scheme of things tens of thousands of rounds doesn’t constitute a drop in the bucket and so much further development is required. Yes you are correct in that it is much simpler than the polymer brass combo, which is a terrible idea.

            What private companies are doing self funded research? I’m genuinely curious because I’ve been in the firearms and defense industry for over a decade and have never ran across a firm that is doing self funded research. It is literally always gov funded.

            Lastly, if we look historically the military has always adopted an innovation (in the small arms area) set forth by the private sector done by private research, take for example rifle optics. And lest we forget the many many many inventions and innovations by John Moses Browning and other engineering giants in this field.

        • MSG1000

          To be fair on two points, most NATO countries are in heavy debt and haven’t been spending hardly a thing on defense.

          As for private industry there’s so much risk involved the market has become adverse to heavy R&D. A lot of products have failed in the last decade, whether they deserved to do so or not, and the limited market for some products doesn’t help.

          The AA-12, combat practical or not, would have sold like hotcakes if civilians could buy it. But because it was open bolt not even a semi-auto could be sold if they wanted to keep the reduced recoil.

          These restrictions kill a lot of incentive for private innovation.

          • Patriot Gunner

            Yeah you’re right about NATO, but that proves my point further. Which is that all gov budgets are tight around the world, making it less likely that any new system platform will be adopted. If you were a gov bean counter the choice is pretty simple. Go with what has worked for the last 80+ years with machinery that has been amortized 50+ times over or spend billions of dollars building a new manufacturing infrastructure at a time when gov budgets cannot bear it, nor is there any political incentive to do so.

            Yes, the risk is high for a private firm, but so is the reward. The AA-12 is a fantastic firearm, they tried to make a closed bolt semi auto variant for civilian use, but the ATF stated that it “had no sporting purpose.”

            “These restrictions kill a lot of incentive for private innovation.” YES! State invention in to the free markets kills innovation. It’s no surprise that almost all quantum leaps forward in small arms were in an era of before anti-gun legislation.

            When I talk about publicly funded projects vs private the point I am trying to make is that the publicly funded projects are wild goose chases. The brass who come up with these requirements are in la la land. They have no engineering background and set the bar so high that you’re guaranteed failure. It always ends up being a gov boondoggle.

          • MSG1000

            Really, I don’t think a non short barreled non-open bolt weapon has to have a sporting purpose…

            Oh wait, shotguns have a bore over .5″ so they can… bastards.

            Still, without at least the recoil reduction I wouldn’t see it selling without at least being adopted by a major military.

            A lot of “such a shame”s going on the last few years.

  • Jeremy


    • noob


  • Get over it Fanbois

    But the internet morons told me that 7.62×51, the M60 and the M240 were “good enough” and those complaining about overmatch were just exaggerating. Also told me that it would be better to adopt .300 BLK instead. /snark

    Seriously though. The adoption of the LWMMG and .338 Norma is long overdue.

    • Anonymoose

      We should rebarrel the M249 to .300 Blackout. :^)

      • iksnilol

        Nah, 6.8 SPC because it increases stopping power.

        • Logic

          And hilarious aerodynamics haha.

        • Anonymoose

          6.8 is old hat. Now it’s all about the .277 Wolverine, bruh.

          • iksnilol

            But SPC is .003 larger…. bigger holes = more surface area to bleed out from.

        • USMC_grunt2009-2013

          6.5 Creedmoor.

      • Get over it Fanbois

        Even in jest, not gonna happen. It’s range is rather pitiful to work in place of 5.56. 6.5mm is pretty much going to replace 5.56. While .338 NM is going to be the same for 7.62×51.

        • MSG1000

          Out of curiosity, what makes you think a 6.5mm projectile will replace the 5.56?

          • Form Factor

            Certain totally overweight, stupid recoiling, extremly unperfected aerodynamic 6.5 rounds, that still people think are made out of fairy dust.
            99,9% of them underperform.

        • Anonymoose

          I want a SCAR in .338 Norma then.

        • Jon

          Continuing with which would replace what, 14,5mm should replace .50

        • USMC_grunt2009-2013

          Whether 6.5 ends up replacing 5.56 or not is still in question.

          • lostintranslation

            Noticed the following Article recently.
            The comment regarding; ‘wounding,’ is highly questionable, but this is, after all, a Newspaper Article.

            The Article probably does not add greatly to the discussion, but, just for info:

            Deborah Haynes, Defence Editor
            May 11 2017, 12:01am,
            The Times

            The US army is likely to adopt an assault rifle with more killing power after concluding that bigger-calibre bullets are needed for modern conflicts against unconventional enemies.

            The new weapon would replace the M16 and M4 rifles, which have undergone many upgrades since they first were used by US forces in the 1960s, but are now considered to lack momentum, especially at longer ranges.

            Researchers are testing six ammunition variants in “intermediate calibres” between the 5.56mm rounds used in the M16 and the 7.62mm rounds that are standard in some other rifles, including the Kalashnikov, according to the Army Times.
            The 5.56mm round was developed with the intention of wounding an enemy combatant, the idea being that this would occupy at least one or two other opposition soldiers as they treated their injured colleague.

            This logic is not as relevant for soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan who often have to deal with suicide attacks. Soldiers have found at times in battle that they have needed to fire at an enemy several times to bring him down. “You just need to stop a suicide bomber,” one former British officer said.
            A larger round, such as the 7.62mm bullet used in Kalashnikovs, is much more likely to kill with a single hit, but it does limit how many rounds a soldier can carry.

            A study on small arms, which began at least three years ago, is due to be concluded in the next three months and will inform decisions about a possible change in the size of bullets.

            It is considering a larger round, possibly with a plastic casing, enabling soldiers to carry the same number of rounds as before but be armed with a weapon that can fire longer distances, with greater accuracy and with greater killing capability. Another option is an “unconventional” light machine gun that would not be available commercially, officials said.

            US soldiers could begin trying a prototype assault rifle firing larger rounds by 2020, according to the Small Arms Ammunition Configuration study.

            Any shift away from the 5.56mm rounds used in the M16 or its derivatives, including the standard issue M4 rifle, would put pressure on Britain and other Nato member states to follow suit. Members of the alliance tend to use the same size of ammunition.

    • Form Factor

      7.62×51 has a G7BC of …0,2… thats hilarious. But actually with a perfected Form Factor it would have far far far far more performance.

      Does a MMG/LHMG .338 NM makes any sence to use? Really debatable… The only thing you get is more cover penetration – BUT with a smaller round you just shoot 2 bullets with – less recoil, double the ammo, much lighter MMG for the same effect….

      Maybe it range too, BUT… again a highly aerodynamic 7.62×51 already flys extremly far, for far less weight, recoil, lighter MMG.

      I think mounting it, or using it as specific tool against Light-Armoured-Vehicles is its only actual sencefull area. In anything else it totally underperforms.

      • The Dude

        You don’t have much sense.

        • Form Factor

          Yeah, your verry sencefull 5 word text full of sencefull arguments , makes much more sence…

          • The Dude

            I can’t take you seriously. You should go back to elementary school and stop huffing glue.

          • Form Factor

            I just had a simple conversation with him about the “good enough” and use of the System.
            If you want to annoy people, try something else than TFB.

          • The Dude

            Try hooked on phonics, and quit making up words.

          • USMC_grunt2009-2013


          • USMC_grunt2009-2013

            Dude, you seriously need to learn how to spell.

      • Form Factor

        (This text was only meant in relation to mobile MMG use, for static use or anti light armor .50 replacement its perfectly well suited)

      • iksnilol

        I think it is meant to supplant/replace 50 bmg MGs.

        • Form Factor

          Yes, and its good for that, just refered to the 7.62×51 therms.

        • Haulin’ Oats

          I dont think ma deuce is going anywhere any time soon. The 338 norma MG is a special mission supplement. If anything, it might replace the 30 cal mg in certain roles.

          • LCON

            A little from column A a little from Column B
            The Weak point of the M240 is the the reduced range vs the PKM
            The weak point of the M2 is the weight.
            for Afghanistan the range. LWMMG offers the Range of the M2 the weight package for infantry.

          • Form Factor

            Its not the slightest an efficient anti infantery round, in the area of use like a PKM…..
            Extremly increased case weight, far more recoil, extremly less rounds to carry, increased weapon weight. The exacpt opposite you want for Infantery use.
            Its against light armored vehicles, and as a mounted gun, its the right weapon to replace the .50 , nothing else.

            For Infantery MMG’s against Infantery, you can eighter use 7.62×51 with better aerodynamics (done with ease), or projectiles in the area of 6.5 (with better technology LMG’s – thinner projectiles but even better performance). Which is much more suited for lobbing a ton of bullets trying to hit something (and aerodynamic 7.62×51 flys pretty good).

      • Get over it Fanbois

        Not really. 7.62 has reached the lifetime point it can be improved. “Perfected form factor”, sounds like typical business slang from one of those executive idiots with a BD.(the know nothings that are mocked by every other department)

        It’s rather stupid to downplay Cover penetration. Especially when 7.62×54 does that and range better than 7.62 NATO.
        This aerodynamic 7.62 x 51 you talk about doesn’t exist.

        With the exception of weight. There are very few advantages that the M240 and M60 over the LWMMG. Weight also isn’t a problem with the right training (i.e. Europe and Israeli have fixed this) along with caseless/polymer rounds and military exoskeletons right around the comer.

        • Form Factor

          You seem to have no idea about aerodynamics…. but whatever. Im not saying at all to keep 7.62×51. Just that the so called “good enough” is actually far far far less than it could be capable of with good aerodynamics.

          “doesnt exist” … yeah right almighty god. Why then does it stand infront of me on my desk…

          • Get over it Fanbois

            Because your a COD fanboi, making claims about your favorite 7.62 NATO rifle. While your “desk” in your parents basement has an Xbone on it. “Noo my bullet, those noobs need stop talking down about my favorite round”.

            Since your just seem to be stupid teenager or a nostalgia ninja. You have no idea what your talking about when you copy and paste big words like “aerodynamics”. When the performance of .338 is superior in all aspects.

          • Form Factor

            I have no time to play videogames, i usually tend to really hate 7.62×51. Just saying that its current form is bs, and far better is possible with ease.

            .338 is a diameter, you mean .338 NM, and it absolutly is (even tough highly unperfected in many aspects) for its area of use. Its not the slightest for the use in the area of 7.62×51 which i refered to in my first text.

            Is it good for what it is intended – absolutly. Always set things in context.

        • Well, heck, by that logic we should just issue everyone 30mm autocannons.

          “Weight isn’t a problem with the right training” – OK, how? This is one of those claims that deserves a little elaboration, don’t you think?

          Remember, polymer cases are not a panacea. .338 NM has a bullet weight of 300 grams , which means the projectile alone has 80% of the mass of an entire 7.62mm round. Now, that’s a good thing downrange, but it means that .338 polymer cased ammo is going to be considerably heavier than 7.62mm. Mass for .338 NM is about 45 grams, and if we can expect a savings of 22% or so for the polymer case, then that still gives us a round weight of 35 grams. Pretty hefty. Loads better than a .50 (which is about 120 grams), so no joke there, but quite a bit heavier than anyone would want for a dismounted round.

          • Jeremy

            I think you mean 300 grains.

          • I do, thank you.

          • noob

            hmm speaking of huge guns how much can a lockheed martin HULC suit lift? a 30mm autocannon? a 338NM machine gun and a bunch of ammo?

          • noob

            “It exhausts users instead of supercharging them” – interesting. Well it seems like they’re making progress. I guess the HULC is the weird penny farthing bicycle of the iron man suit world.

          • No one

            “”Weight isn’t a problem with the right training” – OK, how? This is one
            of those claims that deserves a little elaboration, don’t you think?”

            Well, you see, clearly “Europe” (no paticular European country of course, just Europe) and “Israeli” have worked for decades on training their soldiers to handle countless treatments like genetic therapy, twice a day steroid injections, nano enhanced muscular fibers and other subdermal implants to make all their soldiers superman that can lift and carry more then any non “Europe” or “Israeli” soldier before they’re even allowed to use a weapon and this also lets them have abilities like the ability to sprint endlessly at speeds that allow them to run on water and leap over mountains to kill 5 jihadists with a single punch that are entrenched in a machine gun nest up top!

            I also love how he thinks exosuits are going to be here just anyday now. Let’s see if he can figure out the problems with minuturized power sources, current battery and capacitor tech being absolutely terrible, and why this is related to the development of exo suits or other “It will appear just anyday now!” military tech like handheld energy based weapons.

    • CavScout

      Mil doesn’t want M60’s or the 300BO.

      As far as the M240B and L, GREAT guns, and troops LOVE them.

      As far as the .338NM, the max pressure is 63k psi, whereas the 7.62×51 is 50k psi. Not sure how much faster that burns up barrels, internal parts, and recoil buffers… but I’m sure it’s much faster.

  • Form Factor

    The cartridge is rather unoptimized but THANK GOD that they atleast use polymer cases! Brass would be an absolute insane waste of potential expecally in .338NM.

  • This is actually a lot less derp then I had feared.

    When I had first read about the .338 GPMG, I was worried that this was being proposed as a weapon to carry in the field instead of the M240 – which even with polymer ammo would have been ridiculously heavy (the 300grain bullet by itself weighs almost as much as a loaded 7.62 brass case round.)

    However, supplementing the M2 .50 with a more accurate, higher cap vehicle mount gun that can be used when dismounted actually makes sense.

    • LCON

      the system weights are comparable but Ammo Weights are night and day. M240L is 22 pounds the .338NM LWMMG is also 22 pounds.

  • FarmerB

    I can think of one major reason why this is a poor substitute for an M2 – Raufoss Mk211.

    • That would be one of my objections. However, we don’t know what sorts of bullets might be in development for the .338. It’s possible that something as good or better could be had in that caliber, too.

      Ultimately, the .338 is attractive because you can stuff loads more ammo onto space limited vehicles, of the sort commonly used by the USMC and SOCOM, without giving up much range and power over .50. That makes it a “win” for those applications. Whether it can replace .50 completely remains to be seen – but a lot of people think it can.

      • FarmerB

        Maybe, but on the bullet design, my understanding is that The Hague restrictions kick in when the weapon is clearly for anti-personnel use; which will restrict you from doing anything too fancy.

        • CommonSense23

          Nobody really cares about the Hague when it comes to bullet use. Every one pays lip service to it. Price of rounds, ability to feed have always been the main factor of rounds.

  • Joe

    Wheres Valorious ranting that suppressors are worthless, and the 60 works just fine when you need him? Or pointing out that the lack of a top handguard means the Dog faces will burn their hands? Lol, I have to stop the irony is so sweet.

    • Joshua Graham

      Dude’s a troll who needs to be banned.

    • DIR911911 .

      Did you mean: Valorous ? and why capitalize it in the middle of a sentence? your 2nd grade English teacher would be so disappointed in you.

      • Joe

        No, Valorious. It is a Disqus user name that belongs to a frequent poster here at TFB. But good try with the second grade English teacher joke.

    • Form Factor

      Well having a few Supressed Rifles, but than earsplitting LMG’s firing that give away your position anyways again…. +Grenade launchers/ Mortars

      Doesnt make sence in a lot of cases, expecally with a supressor causing – weight added to the absolute worst possible spot, making a carbine long and unhandy all over again, costing a lot.

  • john huscio

    They also seem to have sent out a solicitation for American made PKMs

  • Patriot Gunner

    Why am I not surprised that the gov wants a gun with a non existent polymer cased .338 NM ammo. Because the pcp ammo in 308 worked so well, ask Alex C.! So now let’s make one for a cartridge with higher chamber pressures! Throat erosion is going to be an issue as well.

    The 50 BMG is more than capable, the problem is with the projectiles themselves, not the cartridge. If they want to reach out further there are plenty of commercial options available for a better projectile.

  • Joe Schmo

    Listening to the Primary & Secondary Modcast #97, the Chuck Roland fella said that the cost per round of .338 Norma was about eight dollars. If that’s the case, I don’t see this procurement going to anyone but SOCOM in the next few years. But I’m not an expert in anything other than talking out of my ass.

    • That would be for match ammo. Issue ammo for an MG would be much cheaper, especially since it would be made in large quantities at Lake City.


    Long overdue. At this point it makes less and less sense to update a design that is 100 years old. The M2A1s that my unit fielded had serious reliability issues. The MAG 58 is a solid design that can be updated, the M2A1 has hit the end of what can reasonably be expected from the M2.

    • MSG1000

      Reliability issues sound like yours just needs replacement parts, something I’ve read the military to be very bad at lately.

      Whether it’s with a fresh M2 or not, I don’t think the issue is iherent to the design itself.


        These M2A1s were brand new, still in the cosmoline from sabre defense. The legacy M2 design is not well sealed against the elements and requires much more detailed care than a 240. The recoil operation of the M2 provides too many failure points where things can impinge upon the normal cycling of the weapon. M2s really do require a thorough break in while 240s do not. The most reliable M2 I ever used was made by General Electric Sparkplug Co circa 1950 and only had the barrel replaced.

        However you’re very much correct about the lack of round counts on firearms or components of firearms. This mainly seemed to affect the fleet of M4s more than any of the various machine guns for whatever reason.

        • MSG1000

          Well, while the DI gas system offers many advantages one weakness it is that it’s sensitive to barrel length changes. Design aspects can be tweaked to accommodate this but since Colt was told to have as much commonality with the M16 as possible they did not.

          The M4A1 is suppsed to have several tweaks that help with the increase in gas pressure and higher cyclic rate. A different feed ramp geometry, a different ejector spring and o-ring in the bolt carrier as well as a heavier buffer weight.

          Otherwise the base M4 suffers from increased pressure and fire rate causing higher rates of wear than it should experience.

          • SGTSCHMEGMA

            Good point

  • LCON

    Adopting the LWMMG I think would be a good idea, it would allow Infantry Units deploying to Afghanistan that extra reach out and touch someone. It seems a no Brainer.
    I don’t think we will see it replace the conventional 7.62mm but added to the mix of infantry and light armor especially for units that favor expeditionary mission sets. Rangers, Marines, Airborne.

    • .338 NM ammo is just about double the weight of 7.62mm. It would be real tough to hump that on a dismount. There are some people looking to replace the M240 in the WS with the LWMMG, but that isn’t gonna happen. Not until they start breeding bigger Marines.

      • LCON

        or Start issuing full body Exoskeletons,

        in the more practical term my money would be on issuing at a Platoon or company level assuming they do get fielded.

      • MichaelZWilliamson

        It’s lighter than .50 BMG.

  • Vitor Roma

    This reminds me that I don’t find the M80A1 much of an upgrade. I know it has improved lethality over the mediocre M80, But since i’s only a 130gr round, it means not a very good BC and long range perfomance, making it far ideal for long range supressive fire. I mean, if they want to range pour 130gr bullets down range, 6.5 would make way more sense. No x51 should be under 155gr, imho.

    • Form Factor

      I know what you mean, but to be technical, you wont be able to fit 130grain into a 6.5 EPR (6,7mm).

      • Vitor Roma

        Ahm, why not? You mean it won’t be ideal, sacrifcing powder capacity. 6.5 Creedmoor that is compatible with x51 actions has the sweet spot of 140gr.

        • Form Factor

          123grain is max weight for 6.5 (6,7mm) EPR projectiles, and this already has a really stubby nose ogive with bad aerodynamics.

          As soon as you use lead, your penetration goes way down, it just spreads like water.

  • LazyReader

    Rate of fire: 5 dollars per second

  • MichaelZWilliamson

    Plastic cased ammo seems unlikely, but you always ask for more and hope to get it.

  • ConradCA

    338 bullets have a much higher sectional density than 308 and for that reason have a much longer effective range.

  • Justin Bailey

    Did they fix the heat issue?

  • Eric B.

    This new General Dynamics machine gun has a substantial recoil reduction mechanism (similar to their 50 BMG version) and is only a bit heavier than the M240. The .338 NM is FAR better ballistically (range and terminal energy) than the 7.62 x 51 NATO round. The added ammunition weight is about 20%. But the added range is amazing, We’re talking 2,000 meters easy.

    It is NOT meant to replace the 50 BMG Ma Deuce but instead replace the M240.

  • Greg Kelemen

    Riding around in jeeps it’s like nobodies ever gonna shoot back at ya.