In what is probably one of the coolest historical recreations to happen at a national machine gun shoot in recent years, the folks from the Bomber Camp program out of Stockton Aviation Field Museum actually got a Sperry Ball Turret (as used on the prolific B17 and B24 Heavy Bombers of the Second World) working with live ammunition at the recent Big Sandy Machine Gun Shoot in Arizona. What appears to be twin .50 BMG M3 aircraft machine guns were fed from several hundreds rounds of linked ammunition and as the saying goes, “Money was turned into smoke” on the plains of an Arizona desert. Perhaps the only thing cooler than shooting from the ball turret on the ground, is shooting live rounds from it in the air. Legally that would be near-impossible to accomplish anywhere in the United States as a private enterprise.
Videos of the twin M3s shooting at the Big Sandy can be viewed on the Facebook profile of Taigh Ramey, one of the organizers at Bomber Camp. During the course of the shoot there was both a night and day shoot of the turret. In addition to the machine guns being in perfect working condition, the turret itself was in complete operation as well, with the ability to rotate in position to aim and adjust the guns towards the targets on the line. It also appeared that they used the turret to shoot at RC aircraft targets that were flying downrange.
To see one of their earlier videos of the turret working in live fire, this is a Youtube video showing it-
For those interested in the operation, Bomber Camp is a living history service/group in California where for a fee, folks can go through the motions of working around and being in a B17 or B24 Bomber during the Second World War. Loading the 500 lb bombs into the bomb bay, getting mission briefings, and finally actually riding on the planes during a simulated mission where members get to work the different positions.