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Saco M60E3


Light Machine Gun (LMG) / General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) (1986)


Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

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Image from the United States Department of Defense.

Jump-to: Specifications

The M60E3 light machine gun was designed to lighten the overall weight and simplify the barrel changing process of the base M60 GPMG.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/17/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
The 1950s-era M60 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) proved a relatively effective infantry support weapon throughout the Vietnam War (1955-1975) though it was not without its inherent drawbacks. It was a cumbersome system to transport on patrol while lacking a carrying handle, was heavy by its very construction and featured a complex gas operation. The M60E3 of 1986 was, therefore, intended as a remedy variant and brought about a lighter overall weight, an integral carrying handle for transport and to facilitate barrel changing and a revised, simplified gas cylinder. Two barrel types - a light short assault and a heavy sustained fire version - were also introduced to suit varying mission roles. One key design addition of the M60E3 was its use of a forward vertical hand grip which allowed for more stable firing from the shoulder and further eased transport of the weapon (particularly when used in conjunction with a shoulder strap via sling loops). The bipod was now affixed to the receiver and a tripod mounting could still be utilized. Saco Defense of Maine was charged with the system's manufacture. Other changes included a new feed cover protecting the bolt regardless of its internal position and the trigger ring could be replaced by one with a larger opening to allow use of a gloved hand.

The M60E3 retained the original's chambering of 7.62x51mm NATO and also utilized the same gas-operated action feeding through a 100-round disintegrating belt. Overall weight was 8.8kg with a running length of 1,077mm and a standard barrel measuring 558mm. Rate-of-fire was 600 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 2,800 feet per second. Cooling of the barrel was by air and sighting was through a front and rear iron arrangement.

Despite the changes, the M60E3 was hardly a perfected solution. The use of lighter components seemed to lessen the weapon's overall reliability as components were known to fracture through prolonged use. This necessitated another M60 form to appear as the M60E4. The M60 family line as a whole was eventually superseded by the heavier, though more reliable, M240 GPMG based on the excellent Belgian FN MAG series.

The M60E3 saw limited export sales to US-friendly forces worldwide.

Specifications



Service Year
1986

Origin
United States national flag graphic
United States

Classification


Light Machine Gun (LMG) / General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG)


Saco Defense, Incorporated - USA
National flag of Egypt National flag of India National flag of Malaysia National flag of Portugal National flag of South Korea National flag of the United States Egypt; India; Malaysia; Portugal; South Korea; United States
(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.
Special Forces
Qualities of this weapon have shown its value to Special Forces elements requiring a versatile, reliable solution for the rigors of special assignments.


Overall Length
1,077 mm
42.40 in
Barrel Length
558 mm
21.97 in
Empty Wgt
19.40 lb
8.80 kg
Sights


Iron Front and Rear


Action


Air-Cooled; Gas-Operated; Disintegrating Metallic Link-Belt

Gas-Operated
Gas-operated system is featured, typically involving a gas cylinder and rear-driven piston directing energy to the bolt component.
(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)


Caliber(s)*


7.62x51mm NATO

Sample Visuals**


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


100-round disintegrating link 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
3,600 ft
(1,097 m | 1,200 yd)
Rate-of-Fire
600
rds/min
Muzzle Velocity
2,800 ft/sec
(853 m/sec)


M60 GPMG - Base Series Designation; adopted by US forces in 1957.
M60E3 - Improved lightened form of 1986.


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