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May 05, 2005

A crying shame.

This little movie is going to make Sergeant B break into tears.

Click here for the horror.

Update: Due to extreme bandwidth theft, I have blocked the videos. Please drop me a line at the Armorer's contact email, and I will be happy to provide this video.

The attached note made *me* grind my teeth.

All,

Please take a moment to look at this short video clip and feel free to use it for training, etc...it was put together by one of our Senior TACOM Small Arms Equipment Specialists at Rock Island who operated our Small Arms Support Center(SASC)in Balad, Iraq; essentially a "mini Depot" repair facility for all Small Arms...his comments are below.

This was done at the Ware Lab here at Rock Island to re-create the mistakes that continue to occur in Iraq. The troops screw the barrel into the 50 without pulling the bolt back to release the locking spring.

They then loosen the barrel up 3 to 4 clicks and attempt to fire it.

I would see between 5 to 8 of these guns a week at the SASC in Balad.

It destroys the gun, and can injure the soldier.

Dammit, it *ain't* rocket science. It's a failure of leadership. There is simply *no excuse* for blowing up a Ma Deuce because you don't follow proper headspace procedures.

Argghhh!!!

Sergeant B sez (pulled up from the comments):

There are horror stories of M2s blowing up because of a failure to set proper headspace... Headspace is the "gap" between the face of the bolt, and the beginning of the chamber. The case of the round (the brass part that holds the gunpowder) is supported by the walls of the chamber (located in the barrel)... To comply with the laws of explosive force, the pressure of the gas created by the burning gunpowder in the round after firing will attempt to escape using the path of least resistance, normally down the barrel, pushing the actual bullet before it. This is the way it is supposed to work... Unfortunately, if the headspace has not been set, that force will blow out of the side of the cartridge.

As each round contains the equivalent of a quarter stick of dynamite, this causes devestating damage to the gun, and normally to the gunner and team leader as well.

I have seen guns where the receiver walls have been blown out, or severely deformed, cooling blocks shredded, and Marines flat on their backs as the Corpsman tried to disengage the backplate assembly from their chests...
In one instance, we were firing a "mad minute" also called a "Final Protective Fire" at 29 Palms. We were firing our M2s from tripods, and had our supporting AAVs beside us, with their turret mounted M2s. In the midst of the firing, I heard an explosion in the turret of the nearest AAV, and saw a three foot long bar go spinning down range. I grabbed the Corpsman, and ran into the back of the AAV, where I saw the track commander (who happened to be the brother of one of our platoon sergeants, sliding out of the turret. The track was filled with smoke. The turret M2 had exploded, and the bar that we had seen was the barrel of the gun. We grabbed the sergeant and dragged him out of the vehicle, and began checking him for wounds... He got lucky, and had minor burns, but no new holes.

Turns out that during the movement over rough terrain, the locking lug on the barrel extention (that holds the barrel into place) had broken off, and the vibration of the vehicle had unscrewed the barrel from the gun. The sergeant hadn't checked it before firing, and derned near blew his head off. This was one of the few times when a sergeant got his butt chewed by a corporal.

The very first thing you do after screwing the barrel into the receiver is check headspace and timing... This is Gunner's Law... Not perfroming this is a failure in leadership, and is almost criminal negligence, especially with the M2...

Thanks for the word, John.