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Keeping machine gun barrels cool

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  • Keeping machine gun barrels cool

    In the 130+ years of machine gun use there have been several methods of cooling machine gun barrels:


    Early on water jackets were used. This was effective but heavy.

    French Hotchkiss machine gun used large cooling rings around the barrel.

    The Lewis gun had an aluminum barrel shroud. The design was supposed to pull air across the barrel to increase cooling.

    Heavy barrels were used.

    How effective the last three methods were is debatable. None of these methods seems to have much use today.

    The multi barrel guns are not really machine guns since they use external power so are not part of this discussion.

    Was the barrel shroud on the U.S. M1919 series supposed to aid in cooling?

    Modern machine guns tend to emphasize weight reduction. But for vehicle mounted guns this is not so important. They could have any of these systems added if they were truly worth while.
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
    Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

  • #2
    Have you considered having easily replaced barrels? Just about any option would have a problem.

    Pruitt
    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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    • #3
      I believe the barrel shroud on the M1919 was mainly for carrying purposes. If you wanted to change positions during a battle, it would be hard to carry it if the barrel was hot without the shroud.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by johns624 View Post
        I believe the barrel shroud on the M1919 was mainly for carrying purposes. If you wanted to change positions during a battle, it would be hard to carry it if the barrel was hot without the shroud.
        I wonder what kind metal the shroud was made of? On the old pot belly stoves there was a handle . It was made of a metal that didn't seem to get hot. This type of metal would be handy to cover the barrels . It would help prevent burns to the gunners and would promote heat removal.
        "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
        Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
          Have you considered having easily replaced barrels?

          Pruitt
          Quick change barrels of course would remove much of the heat. But for gunners in vehicles in the middle of a fire fight no matter how easy a barrel change it is still going to take time. Imagine a humvee machine gunner during the Black Hawk Down gun fight. Having a barrel you don't have to change would be handy.
          "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
          Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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          • #6
            Barrels can and do burn out on vehicles. A Humvee can carry several back up barrels. One of the reasons there is a carrying handle on a Machinegun is to help make a quick change. I imagine a Gunner has seen or at least heard of barrels that have turned white hot and melted down a bit. In Black Hawk Down the Gunners could have changed the barrels at base or on the way back. Dan Bolger in one of his books talked about getting an IG inspection right after he transferred to a new Company. His First Sergeant was bragging that HE was not going to jail! The Dude had fifty extra 50 caliber Machinegun barrels that were not on the books! They could not find an M 113 and finally "found" it at the local vehicle dump. It had to be rebuilt to get inspected. Bolger eventually was able to get the extra barrels traded for items he could not find. Outstanding author/officer if you can find "The Battle of Hunger Hill" these days.

            Pruitt
            Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

            Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

            by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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            • #7
              I happen to think that the Germans got it right with the MG34 (NOT the 42).
              It would withstand tremendous heating/abuse in combat conditions and the barrel change procedure was also rather simple.
              The stamped metal MG42 was an altogether different beast.
              That said? It was still a step ahead of the crew-served (field mobile/man portable) weapons that the Wallied armies issued for tactical use.
              Thus it remains in service to this day in it's original role although it (MG3) has gone back closer to the MG34 philosophy in terms of construction.

              Dumping a **** ton of lead down range (4-600M) and making people keep their heads down.
              48 trips 'round the sun on this sh*tball we call home...and still learning...
              __________________________________________________ __________________

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                Barrels can and do burn out on vehicles. A Humvee can carry several back up barrels. One of the reasons there is a carrying handle on a Machinegun is to help make a quick change. I imagine a Gunner has seen or at least heard of barrels that have turned white hot and melted down a bit. In Black Hawk Down the Gunners could have changed the barrels at base or on the way back. Dan Bolger in one of his books talked about getting an IG inspection right after he transferred to a new Company. His First Sergeant was bragging that HE was not going to jail! The Dude had fifty extra 50 caliber Machinegun barrels that were not on the books! They could not find an M 113 and finally "found" it at the local vehicle dump. It had to be rebuilt to get inspected. Bolger eventually was able to get the extra barrels traded for items he could not find. Outstanding author/officer if you can find "The Battle of Hunger Hill" these days.

                Pruitt
                Bolger is just OK- take everything he writes with a grain of salt, because he always comes out smelling like a rose while everyone around him is a complete doofus. His book about his company command and NTC rotation with 24th Mech is "Dragons at War," "The Batle for Hunger Hill is about battalion command in the 101st and JRTC. I've been wrong before, but I think the incident you're remembering about .50cal barrels and a 113 is from Michael Lee Lanning in "The Battles of Peace," about his company command I Germany in the mid-70s.

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                • #9
                  It could have been Michael Lee Lanning. I have read just about all of both author's books. I have only one Bolger book with me now, the rest and Lanning's tomes are in storage.I will admit that I ran into several Doofuses while in the Army. I am still in awe of the First Sergeants after all these years.

                  Pruitt
                  Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                  Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                  by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                  • #10
                    At some point in the near future (say a few decades) the ceramic or ceramic lined, gun barrel will become a common thing. This eliminates many of the cooling problems by simply being able to ignore them. A ceramic gun barrel can get incredibly hot and not fail, melt, warp, or anything else. Ceramic liners would have wear properties allowing tens of thousands of rounds to be fired without losing much, if any, accuracy. Right now, this is being looked at very seriously by the military as an R&D effort.

                    https://www.sbir.gov/sbirsearch/detail/333848

                    https://sbirsource.com/sbir/awards/2...ht-gun-barrels

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                      At some point in the near future (say a few decades) the ceramic or ceramic lined, gun barrel will become a common thing. This eliminates many of the cooling problems by simply being able to ignore them. A ceramic gun barrel can get incredibly hot and not fail, melt, warp, or anything else. Ceramic liners would have wear properties allowing tens of thousands of rounds to be fired without losing much, if any, accuracy. Right now, this is being looked at very seriously by the military as an R&D effort.

                      https://www.sbir.gov/sbirsearch/detail/333848

                      https://sbirsource.com/sbir/awards/2...ht-gun-barrels
                      An incredibly hot barrel is going to give its position away very quickly - even without heat sensing equipment the volumes of rising hot air will create a shimmer and possibly even rising dust - daft idea
                      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                      • #12
                        I don't believe you have much time to scan for heat waves when there's a concealed machine gun shooting at you...

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                          I don't believe you have much time to scan for heat waves when there's a concealed machine gun shooting at you...
                          Agreed, coming from people that know all about something that they had never experienced!
                          Got my hands burned plenty of times, and never looked for heat waves, only where the tracers were coming from.
                          Last edited by Trung Si; 02 Nov 19, 21:34.
                          Trying hard to be the Man, that my Dog believes I am!

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