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July Military Weapon of the Month - M249 SAW
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 Posted: Sat Jul 1st, 2006 07:05 PM
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Gunrunner
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During the late 1970's and early '80's the US Army conducted trials for a new squad automatic weapon.  One of the weapons entered was the minimi from the Belgian firearms manufacturer Fabrique Nationale, (FN).  The M249 is a slightly different configuration of the minimi and is produced by FNH USA. The M249 was officially adopted in February 1982. However, it had a delayed introduction with fielding not starting in earnest until the late 1980s.

The M249 is an air-cooled, gas operated, fully-automatic weapon that fires from an open-bolt position. It can accept belts of linked 5.56mm ammunition through the top-mounted feed tray or M16 magazines through the side-mounted port. Linked ammunition can be fed from either a loose belt or from a plastic box (or cloth pouch) for 200 rounds, clipped under the receiver. The M249 features a built-in bipod and a tripod-mounting lug for supported fire, as well as a quick change barrel that helps prevent overheating during sustained fire.  Weight is approximately 16 lbs, overall length is 41" with 18" barrel.  

The ammunition used is M855 ball and M856 tracer.  Cartridge belts normally have four rounds of ball followed by one round of tracer. The tracer round has an impressive 900 meter burn-out.  A SAW gunner carries a minimum of 600 rounds of linked ammo. 

Effective ranges include 600 meters for a point target, 800 meters for an area target, and 1,000 meters for suppression. The advised rates of fire are 85 rounds per minute (rpm) with no barrel changes. With a barrel change every two minutes, this increases to 200 rpm. For a barrel change every minute, the rate of fire can go up to 850 rpm, which is approximately equal to the cyclic rate of fire, at about 850 to 900 rpm.

There are a few variants of the basic SAW.  The M249E4 has a shorter barrel, Picatinny rails on the feed cover and handguard for mounting optical sights or accessories, and a retractable stock. This model does not have the magazine feed port, tripod mount or bipod.   The Mk 46 Mod 0 is similar to the E4 while having an improved rail handguard and fixed buttstock.   Both models serve well in airborne or special operations units.

Many of the standard M249's have been updated or modified, either through the Armys Product-Improvement-Project or by units in the field.  These modifications are usually to add the Picatinny rails or change the buttstock to a different style. 

Combining excellent firepower with fairly light weight the SAW has been an effective weapon in the hands of US military forces.




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 Posted: Sun Jul 2nd, 2006 06:38 PM
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Gunrunner
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Seeing as how the M249 has been in service for a while I'm sure many of our military members have put it to use.   If you'd like to share your personal experiences or opinions about this weapon please do. 



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 Posted: Mon Jul 3rd, 2006 03:52 PM
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BLACK 6
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Gunrunner wrote: Seeing as how the M249 has been in service for a while I'm sure many of our military members have put it to use.   If you'd like to share your personal experiences or opinions about this weapon please do. 
 

 

IT SUCKS!(so does the 240B)

 

The PIG will always reign supreme, LONG LIVE THE PIG!!

 



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 Posted: Tue Jul 4th, 2006 05:57 AM
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greysmoke
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Hey Black

Please tell us un-informed what the PIG might be?

Gunrunner,

From your writing i gather the M249 is fully-automatic only?

 

All the best

 



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 Posted: Tue Jul 4th, 2006 10:40 PM
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BLACK 6
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greysmoke wrote: Hey Black

Please tell us un-informed what the PIG might be?

Gunrunner,

From your writing i gather the M249 is fully-automatic only?

 

All the best

 

 

 

ROGER, it is full auto, however the cyclic rate is slow enouugh (725 on belt, 1000 on M-16 mag) to easily pop one at a time (NOT RECOMENDED- 3RND BURST MIN).

 

 

 PIG= M60 Full Auto Machine Gun with a 550 round cyclic rate of pure, 7.62x51mm, gonna mess your day up, FMJ goodness. (As opposed to the wimpy 5.56mm 249).



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 Posted: Wed Jul 5th, 2006 10:24 AM
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greysmoke
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hey Black

Does sound like a bussiness like weapon.....

 

Thanks for the info:thumbs:



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 Posted: Fri Sep 23rd, 2011 09:59 PM
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armyguy80
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Ohhh the saw, good weapon but can be finicky at times while operating, as with the m16/m4 if not well maintained will jam like a SOB. now the 240B love the lead it puts downrange never had issues either with jamming. Heavy as hell, glad I never had to hump that or the Ole pig (small perk of being the medic)



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 Posted: Sun Sep 25th, 2011 11:20 AM
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OldStuffer



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Ait Force (National Guard) Security Police/Forces, 1996 'till I retired (1988-2008). SP became SF while I was there.
Humped them all I think (except the M240).

The beloved Pig, the M249 Saw, several incarnations of M-16/M4 (with and without grenade launcher).

I had no "problems" with the Saw, I shot it "acceptably". Virtually zero recoil means I would "lighten up" on it after a bit and that would result in "spraying the range" untill I bore down on it again.
You had to "wrestle the pig" every round through it's twisting and bucking 7.62 recoil, and WE just seemed to get along much better for it.
I was a much more accurate gunner with The Pig than I was with the SAW.
Worst part of the saw was/is scraping the gilding metal out of the gas system, off the piston's recessed face. Never have I ever seen another weapon do that. Fail to scrape it clean every so often, you will go to jam-city, and be very unhappy. It is NOT EASY to scrape out of there.

My unit's SAW-gunner loadout was same as the 60-gunner's, 800 rounds and spare barrel, MAYBE an assitant gunner to help ya haul, maybe not.



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