biminimike

Owning M2HB

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Have been involved in the NFA world for over 4 years now. Own several MG's and have always wanted an M2. Besides its weight and ammo costs, what else should I consider ? Are they worth the hassle ?

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Picked one up a few years ago that was made during WWII.  If you get an older one, (some newer models have fixed headspacing) make sure you know what you're doing with headspace and timing.  Headspace (if you are not familiar and haven't fired older M2s) is the alignment of the bolt and cartridge.  If they're out of alignment, the gases that build up can cause a round to fire when you don't intend one to, or worse, when the round is in the chamber.  That can cause major damage to the gun, and seriously hurt you.  Timing also had to be right so the gun fires while recoiling.  If the timing is off, it will not operate correctly.  So it that regard, it can be kind of a pain to setup sometimes.  Don't rush it though...for the reasons previously stated. 

I'd say another consideration would be location.  If you're rural, and have lots of wide open space, no problem.  If you're urban, it might be hard to find a place to shoot it.  A lot of ranges don't like big caliber weapons like that because it is either unsafe on their range, or it just tears up their berms.  Make sure if you want to shoot it that you have a place nearby that will allow it, or be willing to take a little trip in order to do so.

Ammo is definitely pricey.  You could shoot a lot more of something else for the same price.  And you're right about the weight.  If you're young and fit, it's not as big a deal, but as you get older you definitely notice it more, and tolerate it less.

I'm a big history person, so there's that nostalgia attached to having the longest serving weapon system in the US arsenal.  That certainly says something (in my opinion) about it.  Is it one of those firearms that cooler to say you have than to actually have it?  Maybe.  Only you can decide that.  But they can be fund for cheaper than other types of FA because of how big, heavy, cumbersome and expensive to shoot it is.  If you're in the dollar range for an NFA item like that, ask yourself why you're looking at an M2.  If you have solid reasons, go for it.  It it's because it would look cool on the range because it's a .50 BMG machine gun, I'd say reconsider.  You probably won't take it out as much as your other FAs.

I'm sure others have opinions as well.  Just my two cents.

-David  

 

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Its always an event.  Its not practical at all. Its a PITA. Its only worth it, if you have the coin.

An M2 unlike other MGs takes time to setup and shoot, you also cannot just go to the range and blast off a few rounds then leave. Hell most ranges wont take them, but if you have a place to shoot at cars or 1000M+ its nice, if you have the ability shooting 1K+ in the desert it awesome.  I don't like shooting off a tripod, a vehicle or tall mount is way better.  Ammo is not that bad considering what it is. 

Its like a old car grandpa has, great to take out once in a awhile, awesome to shoot, but it spends most of the time locked away out of the elements.

I love beltfeds, but mine only comes out every couple years

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I've had a WW2 Frigidaire since 2001. Put about 6 to 8,000 rounds through it. The biggest problem isn't weight, cost of ammo, or anything with the gun. The problem is finding interesting things to shoot with it. Old cars without holes seem to be the most fun, (for me anyway). But, now you need a flatbed trailer, a winch, and probably best to drain ALL the fluids before you hit the range, so you don't leave a big mess. Bring a rake and a shovel too, to clean up all the pieces you will blow off the car. Remove the carpet and upholstery as well, because even ball ammo will set it on fire. Take the tires and rims off the car before you shoot it up, because that way it will be way easier to get it back onto the trailer to take to the landfill when you are done.

 Headspace isn't "alignment" of the cartridge, it is a measurement of distance from the breechface to a point on the shoulder of the cartridge, measured on the M-2 with a headspace gauge, which is a "Go" and "No Go" gauge slipped between the rear of the barrel and breech face of the bolt. Timing is measured with a "Fire" and "No Fire" gauge placed between the barrel extension and the trunnion, This determines whether the gun is in proper adjustment to fire slightly before the barrel extension bottoms out against the trunnion during full auto fire. There are more details how to use the gauges to make the measurements, but it's pretty simple once you are taught by a RKI. Fixed headspace guns are uncommon at best, unless you are shooting a government owned gun. Most transferables are "old school", adjustable headspace guns.

Edited by GUNBUGS

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If alignment is defined as the proper positioning or state of adjustment of parts (the bolt face and cartridge) in relation to each other (and what do ya know...it is!) than alignment is an appropriate noun.

 

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You should check the definition of "headspace" as concerns firearms. It has nothing to do with "alignment". Headspace is termed as "insufficient", "within specification", and "excessive", none of which have anything to do with "alignment". I guarantee the word "alignment" is not used in relation to headspace adjustment anywhere in FM 23-65, TM 9-1005-213-10, or TM 9-1225. All of which you should study in depth if you are an owner or user of the 50cal M-2. Headspace is a measurement of "distance". Alignment implies parts are "lined up" in a line, and does not relate to a distance measurement. As in "the planets are in alignment"(lined up). But, having threaded, chambered, headspaced, cut and crowned a couple hundred rifle barrels, perhaps I don't know what I'm talking about....My apologies for getting your feathers out of "alignment".

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Posted (edited)

You may have worked on hundreds of rifle barrels, but that doesn't mean you have good diction.  In this case, your understanding of alignment is limited.  And really, do you have to be "that guy?"  Does it really matter if I say "fires a weapon" vs "activates a weapon?"  They kinda mean the same thing, even though one is more commonly used.  But let's pretend you're not invested in 2-dimensional thinking where you have to be all correct and I have to be completely wrong.    

You're right, alignment can, and often does colloquially refer to objects in a straight line.  I think it's great you threw out a few TMs and FMs.  But see above and also consider that there is a book you forgot to mention.  It's called a a dictionary, and if you can get past that first part about straight lines, you will see that that alignment also refers to relative positioning of two or more objects.  Notice how there is a comma after some words?  Or even multiple numbers underneath a given definition?  You're supposed to read all of that.  Besides what do you do when you have a headspace that is too loose or tight on an M2?  You screw or unscrew the barrel and put the gauge in the T-slot between the face of the bolt and rear of the barrel until the GO end enters the T-slot and the and the NO-GO end doesn't.  Meaning....SURPRISE...you have just changed the position of one object relative to another (and in a single plane for that matter) which meets the definition of alignment.  Mechanically speaking, you are still aligning because you have two mechanical objects that must be in very particular positions in order for the system to work properly.  Another example is wheel alignment.  Especially thrust alignments where only the front wheels are adjusted.  In a situation where you may not be able to adjust the rear wheels, and where one may be completely straight, and the other slightly off (for example), you adjust the front wheels only and get them as close as possible to the thrust line, or the average of where the two wheels point.  Certainly, not everything is nicely "lined up" in this case, nor is that the purpose.   They are positioned relative to one another to produce a desired outcome, which meets my definition of alignment.  Oh, but the distance the doesn't change between the wheels you say, you're just changing angles....because you seem to be an individual who favors 2 dimensional thinking meaning you see yourself as only all right or all wrong.  But a synonym for angle is angular distance, or the degree of separation between two objects.  And while angles are measured in radians, which is just a ratio of the length of a circular arc to the length of the initial side of the angle....length (or distance) kinda does play a role.

How about a more complex system, such as varus alignment in the knee in medial compartment osteoarthritis?  Medial meniscus extrusion is often the result of medial meniscus posterior root tears, and medial meniscus extrusion is critical factor in progressive knee OA.  Varus alignment of the knee can be affected by factors such a ligament laxity (meaning the ligament stretches and lengthens), cartilage volume, and bone morphology which includes subclassifications such as medial meniscus extrusion.  Want to know what affects varus malalignment and OA progression in the knee significantly, especially hip-knee-ankles angle, medial proximal tibial angle, joint line convergence angle, and percentage of mechanical axis?  A medial meniscus extrusion DISTANCE of 3mm or more.  And that's one of the ways candidates for high tibial osteotomy are determined.  A great example of how alignment is affected by distance.

Wanna talk about spines next?  Cervical sagittal translation > 3.5mm (a measure of distance) OR intersegmental angle > 11 degrees meets criteria for spinal instability.  I'll spare you that one.  

So evidently distance/length IS a factor in complex systems, but you're somehow arguing that it is not in a simpler system?  That seems silly.  Or you just don't like my word choice because it's not what you would have chosen and decided to put me on blast.

But hey, apologies to the original poster.  You were asking about M2s, not trying to see me argue with some guy that got butt-hurt over my word choice.

 

Edited by Armydoc0115
re-word

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1 hour ago, Armydoc0115 said:

You may have worked on hundreds of rifle barrels, but that doesn't mean you have good diction.  In this case, your understanding of alignment is limited.  And really, do you have to be "that guy?"  Does it really matter if I say "fires a weapon" vs "activates a weapon?"  They kinda mean the same thing, even though one is more commonly used.  But let's pretend you're not invested in 2-dimensional thinking where you have to be all correct and I have to be completely wrong.    

You're right, alignment can, and often does colloquially refer to objects in a straight line.  I think it's great you threw out a few TMs and FMs.  But see above and also consider that there is a book you forgot to mention.  It's called a a dictionary, and if you can get past that first part about straight lines, you will see that that alignment also refers to relative positioning of two or more objects.  Notice how there is a comma after some words?  Or even multiple numbers underneath a given definition?  You're supposed to read all of that.  Besides what do you do when you have a headspace that is too loose or tight on an M2?  You screw or unscrew the barrel and put the gauge in the T-slot between the face of the bolt and rear of the barrel until the GO end enters the T-slot and the and the NO-GO end doesn't.  Meaning....SURPRISE...you have just changed the position of one object relative to another (and in a single plane for that matter) which meets the definition of alignment.  Mechanically speaking, you are still aligning because you have two mechanical objects that must be in very particular positions in order for the system to work properly.  Another example is wheel alignment.  Especially thrust alignments where only the front wheels are adjusted.  In a situation where you may not be able to adjust the rear wheels, and where one may be completely straight, and the other slightly off (for example), you adjust the front wheels only and get them as close as possible to the thrust line, or the average of where the two wheels point.  Certainly, not everything is nicely "lined up" in this case, nor is that the purpose.   They are positioned relative to one another to produce a desired outcome, which meets my definition of alignment.  Oh, but the distance the doesn't change between the wheels you say, you're just changing angles....because you seem to be an individual who favors 2 dimensional thinking meaning you see yourself as only all right or all wrong.  But a synonym for angle is angular distance, or the degree of separation between two objects.  And while angles are measured in radians, which is just a ratio of the length of a circular arc to the length of the initial side of the angle....length (or distance) kinda does play a role.

How about a more complex system, such as varus alignment in the knee in medial compartment osteoarthritis?  Medial meniscus extrusion is often the result of medial meniscus posterior root tears, and medial meniscus extrusion is critical factor in progressive knee OA.  Varus alignment of the knee can be affected by factors such a ligament laxity (meaning the ligament stretches and lengthens), cartilage volume, and bone morphology which includes subclassifications such as medial meniscus extrusion.  Want to know what affects varus malalignment and OA progression in the knee significantly, especially hip-knee-ankles angle, medial proximal tibial angle, joint line convergence angle, and percentage of mechanical axis?  A medial meniscus extrusion DISTANCE of 3mm or more.  And that's one of the ways candidates for high tibial osteotomy are determined.  A great example of how alignment is affected by distance.

Wanna talk about spines next?  Cervical sagittal translation > 3.5mm (a measure of distance) OR intersegmental angle > 11 degrees meets criteria for spinal instability.  I'll spare you that one.  

So evidently distance/length IS a factor in complex systems, but you're somehow arguing that it is not in a simpler system?  That seems silly.  Or you just don't like my word choice because it's not what you would have chosen and decided to put me on blast.

But hey, apologies to the original poster.  You were asking about M2s, not trying to see me argue with some guy that got butt-hurt over my word choice.

 

Except you're wrong.  Alignment should never change on the bolt relative to the barrel, they should always remain in a straight line (or you have serious problems).  Changing the spacial distance from the bolt face to the chamber/ barrel face is referred to as a "space" meaning spacial distance, not whether or not they stay in a straight perpendicular line. Headspace is a single dimension, so yes that is how you want to think about it.

Your example of wheel alignment is also wrong, you don't get the wheels as close as possible to the thrust line which theoretically would be zero to the road.  You adjust caster camber and toe for the particular conditions to get the car to steer most easily in a straight "line" (unless your are racing and always turning left).  Rarely are all three adjustments ever at zero to get a car to align correctly in a perpendicular straight down the road.  Much like a knee where nothing is in line to make you walk "aligned"  down the sidewalk.

I think the guns are worth the hassle, other than perhaps my water cooled which I don't ever foresee shooting.  The good news is once that headspace and timing are set you don't have to mess with it for the most part since the barrel really never comes out, unlike the M2HB which is removable for easy transport and cutting the load in half. QCB never caught on because there are minor variances in the .50 cartridge that an adjustable headspace gun can easily overcome with a click here or there.

"tearing up the berm" is the excuse  gun banners make to keep 50's off their range.  20 seconds with a loader and I can fluff a berm area back to normal, which should always be done on a regular basis anyhow.   The only legitimate concern is what's behind the backstop and if the guy running the gun can control the gun to not allow a situation where bullets leave the range.  There are really few experiences like shooting a M2HB which is very unique, so if you don't buy one it's worth a rental at a minimum.  Unique shooting guns are fairly rare but my list includes the M2HB, Lewis gun, minigun, Solothurn or Lahti.   All the rest are bigger, smaller, more or less recoil, but similar shooting experiences. HTH

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Once again, you're hung up on a limited definition.  Alignment is not limited to JUST straight, perpendicular lines, that's a narrow, oversimplified interpretation of the definition.  But then if all you work with is bolts and barrels, maybe that's why you see it that way.   Frankly, you're helping make my argument for my by agreeing that distance can play a role in alignment, especially when the distance of two parts is important in the operation of the system.  You can call it whatever you want.  It doesn't change the broader definition of alignment, and it definitely doesn't explain alignment in a 3-D system.

You're also wrong about wheel alignment because it's not always possible to perfectly align rear wheels.  That's the whole purpose of thrust alignment over 4 wheel alignment.  So you can't get the wheels in perfect straight lines...which is EXACTLY WHAT I SAID. You position front wheels according to the positioning of the rear wheels, in order to get the vehicle to drive straight.  Just like you position a barrel in relation to a bolt face to get the M2 to fire properly   Once again, thank you. 

And I have no idea what you're trying to say about knees, but I assure you that there is normal and abnormal alignment in the human musculoskeletal system.  But I like your approach.  When in doubt, just say "he's wrong."        

At least what you had to say about the M2 wasn't all wrong.  Although the part about "gun banners" running the ranges that won't allow .50 caliber was kind of ridiculous.  Especially when you go on to cite other reasons not to allow .50 cal shooting right after you said that. 

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Heavy sigh.....

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Can we please move on to something more relevant?

Like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

The common understanding of alignment in the case of a barrel and bolt is co-linearity.  Yes the word has additional meanings but using it to describe what a headspace gauge does is at best stretching the limits of those meanings.  If the receiver is in spec the bolt and barrel will be co-linear and therefore understood to be aligned regardless of the headspace setting.  A headspace gauge is not used detect or correct the problem if they are not.

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Posted (edited)

While I appreciate your effort to broker some peace, you're still wrong.  You can get away with it in your example because your have simplified the problems to two objects, a barrel and a bolt in a single axis.  You're not going to be "wrong" if you insist on using the definition you're promoting in the example you've been using.  But it does show a you have a very limited understanding.

I'll try again.  I bet someone on this web site has a prosthetic.  A war veteran, or someone in an accident,.....someone.  And we'll say it was an above the knee amputation and they have a trans-femoral prosthesis.  Alignment is one of the features of a prosthetic that needs to be adjusted.  Prosthetic alignment is DEFINED as the relative POSITIONAL RELATIONSHIP among the socket, knee joint, and foot, and you adjust  prosthetic alignment by altering the angle and/or the distance.  So don't be like the other guy and tell me that distance has no role in alignment, because that's just wrong.  And if he insists it is wrong, I hope he never needs a prosthetic, because it won't work right.   It's about the relationship between two or more objects in a system and not just linearity, that is an oversimplification.

If you're not trying to tell me I'm wrong (because I'm not), then what you're really doing is saying that alignment in a system with more than two reference points and angles is different than what we're talking about with a barrel and a bolt because it's a single plane and we're really just concerned with the distance.  OK.  But if you accept that in a more complex, multi-axis system that that alignment IS appropriate and IS the relationship between different points that are not all linear...then why is it all of sudden incorrect in simple system?  It's not, because you're still talking about relationships between points whether you have two points or twenty points.  Whether you have one plane or multiple planes.  There's no definition that places that limitation on alignment.

What it comes down to is you (and others) don't like where and how I used alignment.  OK.  Fine.  If the way you describe it (which I never said was wrong) is how it makes sense to you and gets you to where you can safely operate your M2, do your thing.  But that doesn't make me wrong nor is stretching the use of the word.

BOTTOM-LINE:  Learn about headspacing and timing so you don't f**k up your M2.           

Edited by Armydoc0115

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you must be a surgeon. LOL

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I don't have a dog in this fight, and don't own a .50.

But its real simple; if the TMs mention alignment, then that is the term. If the TMs mention headspacing, sans the word alignment, then alignment is the wrong word.

My 2 cents.

HTH

Okrana

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One of the C+R .50's fully aligned!  LOL

I think it's worth it, but it's not for everybody and requires a lot of space.  Can't beat cool accessories like tripods, scopes, tools, and those timing and alignment gauge sets!

Most of the fun is in collecting and hunting the accessories to me.  Probably could do a reenactment group, but I don't know that they have battleships to stage on?

IMG_8500.JPG

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Very nice! 

I will trade you a case of 9mm but I need you to pony up some cash with the deal.  I'm pretty sure my wife would adjust my headspace when I explained why I now need a trailer and forklift and why her garage parking space is full of 50 cal ammo crates....

I always wanted a 50 but came to the sad conclusion that I shouldn't play with a gun that can kill me if I screw up during disassembly or with the set up prior to operation (I have learned some of my limitations over the years). There is still nothing - to me - as sweet as watching a 50 that is running well.  Thanks for sharing!

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Posted (edited)

I've owned an m2 for 20+ years.  I can shoot it where I live on the back 40. I used to shoot it alot and have always enjoyed shooting it.  I reload my own ammo and bought all my reloading stuff back in the day. And I bought LOTS of reloading supplies.  Powder/primers/projo's.  Less than a buck a round for me so cost is not an issue.  I haven't shot the m2 in a few years now.  Last few times I did shoot it my back would be sore for some days afterwards.  The wieght of my mount/gun/ammo just puts to much strain on my back.  I'm alot older now than when I first got the machine gun.  So if you're thinking about getting one make sure your back is good because it is a bit of a job hauling all that stuff around.

 

Here's Judy getting some trigger time.

5xqQx6s.jpg

5xqQx6s

 

 

                                       R/s, Hiller........................................

Edited by Hiller
add pic

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