Aren't machine guns wonderful things? Almost as nice as tanks.
I suppose you could argue all day over whether or not a BAR is a machine gun or not. It may be a rifle but it weighed around 16 pounds, depending on what was on it when you picked it up. Now the M249 is belt fed but used in the sale role and weighs around the same. In comparison, a Bren is around 20 lbs, an M250 around 24 lbs. The exact weight isn't so important because at the end of the day, it will feel like it weights twice as much. The important thing is that the users like the gun.
Here is an example of a good idea in a machine gun that didn't work out that well in practice. At least it was replaced with something more conventional. The Japanese first used a light machine gun that was neither belt fed nor magazine fed (It wasn't tube fed either). It was clip fed. In theory it sounds like a good idea. It took ordinary five-round clips for the standard infantry rifle. They were placed in a hopper on the left side of the gun and the cover was placed over the clips. I couldn't tell you how it worked but what I've read suggested it wasn't reliable. The next model had a box magazine. Something to think about next time you're designing a machine gun. Maybe you could get better results.
Shoot low, sheriff. They're riding Shetlands!
Underneath the starry flag, civilize 'em with a Krag,
and return us to our own beloved homes!
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