When Pigs Fly: An 850 Round Burst From An M60

    Though I’m spending most of my time this Saturday hitting a stack of thick books as part of my ongoing research, I wouldn’t want to leave our readers hanging. So, today we’ll take a look at an older – but still extremely impressive – video from back in the dawn of YouTube. That is, an excruciatingly brutal 2006 test of an M60E4 of firing 850 rounds with a single pull of the trigger:

    Despite having been replaced in US service by the less ambitious M240 design, the M60 still soldiers on; and indeed has achieved further success recently with the Danish adoption of the improved M60E6 variant. Since the Vietnam-era Pig is still in production, it’s unlikely that we’ll see the end of its service life any time soon; and with a demonstration like that video above, it’s easy to see why.

    The video can also be seen as something of a microcosm of how far automatic weapons have come since Maxim’s invention; that string of fire is something one might expect from a water-cooled medium machine gun of the Great War era, but to see a twenty pound air-cooled machine gun pull it off is really something. The Stellite-lined barrel performs well above what is required of it in the test.

    What more could you ask for from an air-cooled machine gun? Well, you could do the same test twice on the same gun, then string sixteen hundred rounds together and do it again, until the barrel gives out:

    Based on the timestamp and the vanishing rows of linked ammunition, I’d say the gun failed between rounds 1100 and 1400 in the megabelt. Astounding!

    Nathaniel F

    Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at [email protected]