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Denel MG4

Belt-Fed, Air-Cooled Machine Gun [ 1960 ]

The MG4 is nothing more than a South African re-imagining of the classic American World War 2-era Browning M1919A4 air-cooled, belt-fed machine gun.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/21/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Browning M1919 became a classic machine gun after its introduction following World War 1 (1914-1918). It was eventually featured as a dedicated infantry machine gun and an aircraft machine gun and went on to see combat action in a myriad of conflicts spanning the "Banana Wars" and the modern Syrian Civil War. Over 5 million of the type, in one form or another, have been made by various manufacturers. The prolific reach of the M1919 series inevitably meant that the machine gun found its way into the inventories of many national armies, among those the South African Army where it continues in service as the "M4".

The M4, born from the M1919A4 production model, is a modernized version of the same gun forged through work handled by Lyttleton Engineering Works of Pretoria. A major portion of the work was in rechambering the original weapon, which fired the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge, to the ubiquitous Cold War-era 7.62x51mm NATO rifle cartridge. During this time, components of the weapon received reinforcement to better serve the Army in its expected fighting environments. The feed was also reworked at this time to incorporate an open bolt function and the gun could now support disintegrating link belts common to modern machine guns.

The machine gun is cooled via air-cooling with the barrel jacket being perforated with many holes for air circulation. The operation is recoil-based (short-recoil).

In both form and function, the MG4 is the M1919A4 with a modern flair. Typically showcased on a durable tripod assembly for stabilized firing from fixed positions, the MG4 can also be used as a trainable vehicle machine gun (pintle mounting) or a stationary Anti-Aircraft (AA) machine gun.

The gun now falls under the Denel Land Systems brand label.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

South Africa national flag graphic
South Africa


Belt-Fed, Air-Cooled Machine Gun

Lyttleton Engineering Works (Denel Land Systems) - South Africa
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of South Africa South Africa
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Fire Support
Capable of suppressing enemy elements at range through direct or in-direct fire.

Overall Length
1,015 mm
39.96 in
Barrel Length
594 mm
23.39 in
Empty Wgt
28.66 lb
13.00 kg

Iron; Optional Optics


Short-Recoil; Belt-Fed; Open Bolt

Open Bolt
System utilizes internal mechanism where bolt and associated working components are set to the rear of the receiver with no cartridge chambered; trigger actuation moves bolt forward, chambers cartridge, and fires bullet in single action - ultimately resetting during the complete cycle by way of the generated energy.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


7.62x51mm NATO

Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a 7.62x51mm / .308 Winchester rifle cartridge
Rounds / Feed

250-round disintegrating belt
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
655 ft
(200 m | 218 yd)
Muzzle Velocity
2,755 ft/sec
(840 m/sec)

MG4 - Base Series Designation
7.62mm MG - Alternative Designation

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Images Gallery

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Official image from the South African Army website.


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