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General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG)

Though not adopted by the Swiss Army, the SIG MG50 saw limited service with the Danish Army until the 1960s.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 5/16/2016
National Flag Graphic


Year: 1951
Manufacturer(s): Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft - Switzerland
Roles: Fire Support/Suppression/Defense;
Action: Gas-Operated; Automatic Fire Only
Caliber(s): 7.5x55mm; .30-06
Sights: Rear Aperture; Front Post; Optional Optics
Overall Length: 1,270 mm (50.00 in)
Barrel Length: 565 mm (22.24 in)
Weight (Unloaded): 37.04 lb (16.80 kg)
Muzzle Velocity: 2,591 feet-per-second (790 meters-per-second)
Rate-of-Fire: 1,000 rounds-per-minute
Operators: Denmark
SIG of Switzerland developed the MG 50 along the lines of a General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) for potential sale locally to the Swiss Army and as an export product to worldwide allies. This no-frills machine gun became an air-cooled, gas-operated system with variable chamberings offered to suit customer requirements. The feed was by way of belt and the design could be featured in a variety of applications - squad-support, base defense, vehicle mount, etc... In the end, the weapon, trialled alongside the MG 51, was only ever selected by the Danish Army in .30-06 chambering. The Swedish Army trialled the design as well but decided against it. In this guise it was designated as the MG 53.

The design shape of the MG 50 was highly conventional - a wooden stock was fitted at the rear of the metal receiver with an underslung handle covered in wooden grips. Feeding was from the right side of the receiver. A quick-change barrel feature allowed for some cooling measures to be taken by the operating team in-the-field. The barrel was fluted for this as well while capped at the muzzle by a conical compensator. A spike bipod could be featured under the forward mass of the weapon for more mobile fire support or a light-duty tripod could provide increased stability for defensive-minded fire from a fixed position. Optics could also be set over the rear section of the receiver for more accurized ranged fire.

The MG 50 was intended to supplant the Furrer Model 25 Light Machine Gun (LMG) and Maxim machine guns (both detailed elsewhere on this site) in service with the Swiss Army even prior to the Second World War. In this regard the weapon failed.

Variants / Models

• MG50 - Base Production Model Designation
• M/51 - Danish Export Model; chambered for .30-06 caliber.
• MG 53 - Swedish Army evaluation designation
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