T161 (development designation)
T57 (Taiwanese service)
Late 1940s - 1957
1957 - 1980's
United States - Saco Defense
United States - U.S. Ordnance
- UNIT COST
$ 11.175 per unit in 2008
Limited weight for a 7.62mm machine gun
Controllable due to low rate of fire
Easy to use and maintain
Mediocre reliability in arid and wet conditions
The M60 is an early Cold War era machine gun of US origin. It was designed after World War 2 to replace the BAR and M1919. The design is based on the Nazi German FG-42 and MG42 machine guns, although it has very different characteristics than both weapons. Due to its widespread use during the Vietnam war the M60 has become an iconic firearm.
The M60 is a belt fed gas operated weapon that fires from the open bolt position. The gas tube is located below the barrel and the flow of gas cannot be adjusted. The belt cover hinged forward for reloading and the belt is fed from left to right. The M60 features a quick change barrel with a bipod that is placed very far forward. Iron sights are fitted, including a ladder type rear sight. The M60 can be mounted onto a light tripod.
The M60 fires the 7.62x51mm NATO round from 50, 100 and 200 round disintegrating link belts. With a rate of fire of only 500 to 650 rpm the M60 is very controllable despite its limited weight. The maximum range is quoted as 1.1 km. The location of the bipod aids accuracy but makes it more difficult to transition to a different target.
The M60 was extensively used by US forces in the early Cold War era, most notably during the Vietnam war. It has been exported to various US allies. Use with other NATO nations was limited due to the availability of the more rugged but heavier Belgian MAG. In US service the M60 was replaced by the M240 (MAG). Quantities of the more modern M60-E3 and M60-E4 have been acquired as well. The M60 remains in widespread use today, mainly in Asia and South America.
M60: Original production version for infantry use. By far the most common version.
M60D: Model for use on flexible mount on vehicles and helicopters. It features spade grips.
M60-E2: Solenoid fired model for use as a coaxial machine gun. Fitted with a heavy barrel and gas evacuator.
|Magazine||Belt fed, 50, 100 rounds|
|Operation||Gas operated, rotating bolt, fires from open bolt|
|Rate of fire||500 - 650 rpm|
|Barrel length||560 mm|
|Rifling||4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist|
|Muzzle velocity||853 m/s|
|Sights||Iron sights, 540 mm sight radius|