The Ma Deuce Lives

Steve from the Firearm Blog notes that the military is killing its program to replace the 50 caliber M2 machine gun, designed by John M. Browning in 1918. Think about how much more sophisticated our engineering tools are today, and our knowledge of materials. Yet all the king’s men can’t beat a gun designed by Browning in 1918.

17 thoughts on “The Ma Deuce Lives”

  1. But Sugarmann keeps telling me how today’s technology makes guns deadlier and deadlier. I’m confused.

  2. Sure, the 50BMG is still a wonderfully useful round. It can hit hard accurately at distance.

    Don’t forget that it has been augmented by everything from gatling guns firing thousands of rounds of .30cal per minute to crew served fully automatic grenade launchers to plane-mounted cannons firing explosive shells to 25mm guns on Bradleys, and so on.

    One could say either, “It’s ALL good!”
    Or even, “The right tool for a given job.”

  3. On a different technology vein, when you find mouse poop in your kitchen still the best solution is the Spring Snap mouse trap. patented in the late 1890s.

    Sometimes you just get something right, so attempting to improve on it has diminishing returns.

    1. Weer’d Beard;
      I am so happy that you did not say in your second sentence that a Ma Deuce is good piece to take care of a mouse problem.
      We all know that mouses are within the provenance of .32 acp’s, .25 acp’s, .22 LRs, & some .380 acp’s. All of which are the result of John Moses Browning’s (PBUH) genius.
      .50 BMGs should be reserved for more “dificult” targets such as rabbits, squirrels, moose, grizzley bears and the occasional muslim.
      (Snickering as he goes off to grab a cold beer after a hot hot day at the range.)

  4. Why hasn’t there been a .50 gatling gun? Or has there and I’ve just never seen it…

  5. I’m just piling on, but this is probably analogous to why, if you’re going hunting in a scenario where your rifle HAS TO work, and you can take only one, and “depot” repairs are not going to be available for days or weeks, you pick a gun based on the c. 1890s bolt action Mausers. It can be an updated design, but it will basically have all the features of those Mausers, little changed.

  6. harold, GE makes 9or made) a three barrel .50 gat. It was one of their Gau series; I don’t remember the number.

  7. As a former operator of the MA DEUCE, I can testify that the reason that the M2 is so successful is that it is made of AWESOME!

    1. Here here. I’ve qualified on most small arms and crew-served weapons currently in the US Army’s inventory and Ma Deuce is, by far, my favourite. The newest update removes the need to set headspace and timing so it’s easy-peasy to run now.

      There’s nothing quite like lobbing API-T (armor-piercing incendiary tracer) .50 rounds at someone that is trying to ruin your day.

  8. Okay, they did make a .50 cal Gatling, I wish I’d got a chance on one. My first intro to M2 was whan I was driving a deuce and one of my buds popped of a few rounds right over my head.
    My, that was loud.

    1. You’re lucky at that. Our maintenance battalion had exactly one M2, mounted on our one APC. And nothing but blanks for it, with no blank adapter to make it function. So my Active Duty memory of the M2 is, one of our nerd lieutenants shouting and screaming and cranking it by hand, shooting blanks in response to an “aggressor” attack, which by then, none of gave a crap about.

  9. Son’s spent a lot of time with the M2 and M240B. Says the 240 is an excellent weapon, but notes that when you really need it perforated and knocked down…

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