Military Factory logo

M252, 81mm Mortar Medium Weight Extended Range Mortar (United States)

The M252, 81mm mortar replaced the aging M29 series of 81mm mortars in service with the US Army and USMC.

 Entry last updated on 10/19/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  M252, 81mm Mortar  
Picture of M252, 81mm Mortar Medium Weight Extended Range Mortar (United States)

The smoothbore, muzzle-loading M252 medium weight mortar system offers up accurate long-range indirect fire support to American ground forces. It is an 81mm high-angle-of-fire system that is crew-served, entering US Army service in 1987. The American M252 is based on the standard British L16 81mm mortar.

The M252 consists of several key components making up the whole. These include the M253 Cannon (firing tube), the M177 Mortar Mount, the M3A1 Baseplate and the M64A1 Sight Unit. The M253 Cannon is 50 inches long and accepts a variety of munitions type for fire including high-explosive (HE), red phosphorous and smoke, illumination and other NATO-accepted rounds. The barrel is capped with the Blast Attenuation Device (BAD) for crew protection. Elevation is accomplished through the use of a screw-type elevation and traverse system. A crew of three is recommended for maximum firing efficiency.

The M252 has capable ranges of 83 meters minimum and 5,935 meters maximum. The entire unit weighs 91lbs. A maximum rate-of-fire of 30 rounds-per-minute is attainable for up to 2 minutes. Sustained firing falls between eight and sixteen rounds-per-minute. The M252 replaced the aged M29 81mm mortar and is in service with the United States Army and United States Marine Corps.

M252, 81mm Mortar

Service Year: 1987
Type: Medium Weight Extended Range Mortar
National Origin: United States
Manufacturer(s): Watervliet Arsenals among others - USA

Design (Internal, Dimensions and Weights)

Firing Action: Smooth Bore, Muzzle Loading, High-Angle-of-Fire Weapon
Available Caliber(s): 81mm
Ammunition Count / Feed: 1
Overall Length: 1,270 mm (50.00 inches)
Barrel Length: 838 mm (32.99 inches)
Weight (Empty): 90.83 lb (41.20 kg)
Sighting Assist: M64A1 Sight Unit


Rate-of-Fire (RoF): 30 rounds-per-minute (rpm)
Typical Range: 18,618 feet (5,675 meters; 6,206 yards)

Global Operators / Customers / Users

Canada; Egypt; Estonia; Iraq; United Kingdom; United States

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

M252, 81mm - Base Series Designation

M252, 81mm Mortar Images