The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > NFA Guns and Gear

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old July 7, 2013, 10:47 PM   #1
Machineguntony
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 22, 2013
Posts: 541
Belt fed ammo questions

I must confess that I know absolutely nothing about belt fed ammo. A google search yields nothing.

I am thinking of buying a belt fed upper for my HK machine gun lower. I was told the mr566 would fit onto a MP5 lower. I'm just playing with my soon to be new toys.

Questions...

Specifically, is the belt reloadable or does the belt disintegrate? I don't want to shoot factory ammo, so can I make my own reloads then buy the belts? Can I buy noncloth belts that don't disintegrate and can be reloaded?

Where do I buy the belts? I searched every conceivable term, and no place that sells ammo belts comes up.

I can imagine that if the belt disintegrates, so that it can't be used again, I am going to abandon my plan to buy the belt fed upper. That'd be way too expensive to shoot it, plus, it'd be a pain to buy, as it can't be found anywhere.
Machineguntony is offline  
Old July 7, 2013, 11:20 PM   #2
Theohazard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2012
Location: Western WA
Posts: 2,312
Quote:
Machineguntony posted
Specifically, is the belt reloadable or does the belt disintegrate?
Yes and yes. The ammo is held together by links that come apart when fired but can be re-used, often referred to as "distintegrating links".

I was a Marine machine gunner from '97 - '01. On our main weapon, the M240, the brass ejects straight down and the links eject to the right off the feed tray. The links are reusable as long as they're not too bent up, and you can make belts as long or as short as you want. Sometimes during night shoots we would take all the tracers out of a belt (one in five are usually tracers) and make one belt of only tracers, which looks pretty cool when fired at night.

The term you want to search for is "links". A quick search of both "5.56 links" and "7.62 links" turned up a bunch of sellers, both private and commercial.
__________________
0331: "Accuracy by volume."
Theohazard is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 12:07 AM   #3
Machineguntony
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 22, 2013
Posts: 541
Thanks Theo!

My next question...

Do the links work with all machine guns? Meaning are links universal or do specific guns use specific links? Are links specific to caliber?

For example, these links, will they shoot in the gun I mentioned?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/100-X-5-56-L...item3f0fdf6123
Machineguntony is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 12:33 AM   #4
Theohazard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2012
Location: Western WA
Posts: 2,312
No problem, my friend.

I don't know the specific specs, but as far as I know all links used by the American military (and most NATO countries) in the last several decades have been the same.

Those links look EXACTLY like the links we used in the 5.56 M249 SAW. I'd be very surprised if they didn't work in a modern 5.56 belt-fed upper.
__________________
0331: "Accuracy by volume."
Theohazard is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 12:59 AM   #5
Machineguntony
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 22, 2013
Posts: 541
Much appreciated, Theo.

I just placed an order online.

Today I learned something new.

For some reason, I really like the word, 'links'. Now I wanna go to IHop and have me some sausage links. Midnight craving triggered by TFL. Lol.

Btw, thanks for serving. I have a high admiration for military, as I have a close relative in Afghanistan. We worry about him every day.

Last edited by Machineguntony; July 8, 2013 at 01:05 AM.
Machineguntony is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 01:30 AM   #6
Theohazard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2012
Location: Western WA
Posts: 2,312
Whoa boy! Now you've got ME wanting IHOP. And there's one right down the street from me...

I hope your relative stays safe in Afghanistan. Nothing makes a long overseas deployment bearable like friends and family supporting you back home.

And I like all the threads you're making here in the NFA section. Until recently, this has been one of the least active sub-forums on TFL. I've been trying to answer as many questions as I can and you're making a lot of good threads about your new NFA items, maybe this will start being a more active part of the forums.
__________________
0331: "Accuracy by volume."
Theohazard is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 11:20 AM   #7
Theohazard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2012
Location: Western WA
Posts: 2,312
Quote:
Machineguntony posted
Are links specific to caliber?
Oops, it looks like I missed this question. Yes, the links are specific to caliber; there are 5.56 links and 7.62 links.
__________________
0331: "Accuracy by volume."
Theohazard is offline  
Old July 8, 2013, 07:03 PM   #8
Machineguntony
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 22, 2013
Posts: 541
I know very little about NFA items. So I am using this forum as a source of knowledge and I am absorbing all info like a sponge. So far, I am getting golden information, and I much appreciate it.

Up until a few months ago, I didn't even know that a civilian could own a machine gun. Like most people, I thought they were illegal to own. I previously lived in another state that didn't allow NFA items, so this is all new to me.

I can't wait until January. I'm gonna start getting expectation jitters around the end of December.
Machineguntony is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 03:30 AM   #9
Tejicano
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 2013
Posts: 163
You might want to know that some links are specific not just to caliber but to the machinegun as well.

Current US General Purpose machineguns use links which allow the round to be stripped off as the bolt pushes the round forward. However, the M2 (50 caliber Browning) and the earlier M1917 & M1919 pulled the bullet out through the rear of the belt.

In addition, for the M1917/M1919 series there are three different types of internals for the top cover - 1) for only cloth belts, 2) for only "disintegrating" metal links, and 3) for either of these two.

There is a lot to learn and understand about the technology - particularly if you will be looking at any of the older "legacy" designs. A trip out to a Knob Creek machinegun shoot might be a good investment for you to meet some of the more knowledgeable people in the field.
Tejicano is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 09:03 AM   #10
Theohazard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2012
Location: Western WA
Posts: 2,312
Tejicano, am I correct that all 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm links in the past several decades have been the same? My belt-fed machine gun knowledge is limited mostly to US military designs and is outdated by over a decade.
__________________
0331: "Accuracy by volume."
Theohazard is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 04:57 PM   #11
Machineguntony
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 22, 2013
Posts: 541
I just read this thread again. I am going to ask a very noobie question.

Is there a difference between a machine gun and a full auto? I noticed you referred to the belt fed as a machine gun, and then made an exclusionary statement. Is one category broader than the other meaning, are all machine guns full autos, but not all full autos are machine guns (kinda like how all apples are fruits, but not all fruits are apples)?

Are machine guns just referring to belt feds, but have maybe been bastardized to refer to all FA guns?

Is a magazine fed gun like an M16 a machine gun, or is it simply a full auto rifle?

Also, an MP5 is a submachine gun, so obviously it's a full auto. BUT is it also a machine gun?
Machineguntony is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 07:26 PM   #12
Theohazard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2012
Location: Western WA
Posts: 2,312
Theres obviously some overlap, but in general I would use these definitions:

-Machine-pistol: A select-fire handgun

-Sub-machine gun: A shoulder-fired, select-fire carbine firing a pistol round

-Assault rifle: A select fire rifle firing an intermediate-power rifle cartridge (5.45, 5.56, 7.62x39, etc)

-Machine-gun: A select-fire or full-auto-only weapon firing a rife cartridge, designed for sustained full-auto fire

To me, a true machine-gun is a belt-fed weapon with changeable barrels designed for sustained full-auto fire in a support role, usually shot off a bipod or even a tripod. But there are also plenty of magazine-fed machine guns that are basically beefed-up assault rifles designed for sustained full-auto fire. Some machines guns, like the M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon), were used on the squad level as a more lightweight, direct-support weapon. Now the Marine Corps is using a piston-operated, beefed up version of the M16 to fill the Squad Automatic Weapon role.

M16s and AK-47s are assault rifles; they are select-fire rifles. They're not machine guns because they aren't designed for sustained full-auto fire.
__________________
0331: "Accuracy by volume."
Theohazard is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 08:09 PM   #13
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,979
Also note that "machinegun" is the legal term, used in Title II of GCA 68, aka the NFA.

The term full automatic is the same as machinegun. The term selective fire means a firearm that can be fired semi-auto or full-auto; legally, a selective fire firearm is a machinegun.

Some submachineguns, a term usually defined as a pistol caliber machinegun, are selective fire, some are full auto only. Most full size machineguns are belt fed and are full auto only, though there are exceptions, including the .50 M2, which has a semi-auto capability (and is surprisingly accurate in that mode).

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 09:48 PM   #14
Theohazard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2012
Location: Western WA
Posts: 2,312
Good point. I was only speaking about the technical terms. So legally all full-autos are machine guns? Being in a non-full-auto state, I don't know much about the legal terms used with full-auto.
__________________
0331: "Accuracy by volume."
Theohazard is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 09:53 PM   #15
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,313
"Sub-machine gun: A shoulder-fired, select-fire carbine firing a pistol round"

I'm not 100% sure, but I would make a bet that more fully auto fire only submachine guns have been made that those that have both fully and semi-auto fire capability.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old July 9, 2013, 10:33 PM   #16
Theohazard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2012
Location: Western WA
Posts: 2,312
Good point; I should have said "full-auto or select-fire".
__________________
0331: "Accuracy by volume."
Theohazard is offline  
Old July 10, 2013, 12:11 AM   #17
Machineguntony
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 22, 2013
Posts: 541
Nice answers fellas. Very informative.

But I called mayor Bloombergs office and he said they all go brrrrrrrrr (machine gun sound) lol.
Machineguntony is offline  
Old July 10, 2013, 12:21 AM   #18
Theohazard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2012
Location: Western WA
Posts: 2,312
I remember that quote from Bloomberg. Here's a great response to that quote:

Quote:
"This is a man that has built a cornerstone of his career on gun control legislation. He has headed and commissioned panels on guns. He runs a whole group of pro-gun-control mayors. This is an issue he has supposedly been devoted to for a long time.

He doesn’t know how guns operate. He doesn’t understand basic terminology. He doesn’t know what an “assault weapon” is, even though he supposedly was involved in drafting legislation. How is this possible? And how is it possible that we who actually understand the topic are supposed to cede to his judgment on it?"
From this article; one of the best gun control articles I've read:

http://kontradictions.wordpress.com/...to-get-better/
__________________
0331: "Accuracy by volume."
Theohazard is offline  
Old July 10, 2013, 03:55 AM   #19
Tejicano
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 2013
Posts: 163
Back to the original question - or set of questions :

IIRC the original belt fed Heckler Koch machinegun designs used a disintigrating belt (for the 5.56X45mm designs) which was different from the Fabrique Nationale (FN) design which was adopted for the SAW/M249 and similar US issued machineguns. As I recall these belt links are not interchangeable between HK and FN designed machineguns.

I believe that there were HK modified designs - or a change to the actual product (referring here to the machineguns) - which allowed use of the FN type belts. I would highly encourage anybody looking to purchase an HK belt-fed machinegun to reasearch this topic.

As I mentioned with the M1917/M1919 design there were differences in belt types and feeding mechanisms. I was hoping somebody could follow up with more informaiton about the HK designs on which my memory is scketchy.
Tejicano is offline  
Old July 11, 2013, 01:18 AM   #20
David Hineline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 23, 1999
Location: South Sioux City, Nebraska
Posts: 704
Since you obviously know nothing, The HK MP5 you bought unless it is a registered sear or registered trigger pack, it can not be used to convert another semi gun.

So if you bought a registered receiver MP5 you can not convert any other gun with the trigger pack.

If you bought a registered sear or registered trigger pack, then it can be used on other receivers, but if the barrel on your MP5 is under 16" in length when you remove the sear/pack you have created an illegal short barreled rifle. You will first have to register your short barrel receiver as a short rifle on form 1
David Hineline is offline  
Old July 11, 2013, 01:00 PM   #21
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 11,829
Ammunition feeding for machine guns is a fascinating study in itself. Besides the various box and drum systems, may things have been tried, with varying degrees of success.

The Lewis gun, and the Soviet Degtaryev (sp?) use a flat "pan" that looks like a drum, but isn't, even though its often called such.

Some Hotchkiss designs (and their Japanese clones) used a feed strip, a long (usually) brass "frame" holding the rounds. Fed in one side of the gun, and exiting out the other when empty. Some guns even put the empties back in the feed strip!

One Japanese design used a hopper, with the standard rifle 5rnd stripper clips stacked in it. (for a variety of reasons, not very successful).

Early designs from Maxim and Browning used cloth belts, and the Browning designs successfully adapted to metal disintegrating link belts. In these guns, rounds are pulled rearwards from the belt, then fed forward into the chamber.

The German MG34 &MG 42 use non-disintegrating metal links belts. Rounds are pushed forward through the belt link into the chamber. The links stay fastened together.

More modern designs generally use metal disintegrating link belts, with rounds being fed forward through the links into the chamber.

As long as not damaged, both the cloth belts and metal links are reusable for a while. Belts can be made up by hand, but using a linking machine is much better (and easier).

Don't know the specifics on the HK belt system, sorry.

The US legal definition of anything that fires more than one shot with a single trigger pull is "machine gun". No matter what else it does, or doesn't do.

The commonly used definitions in the firearms community are:
Submachine gun: full auto firing handgun ammo (can be handheld or shoulder fired, or even mounted-which is extremely rare)

Automatic Rifle / light machinegun: Shoulder or bipod fired, uses full size rifle ammo, usually magazine fed. These designs place greater emphasis on portability than on sustained fire.

Light/medium machinegun:
Full size rifle round, belt fed, maybe fired off bipod or tripod.

Medium or General Purpose machinegun:
may be the same gun as the light machine gun, but usually tripod mounted and better adapted to sustained fire.

Heavy Machine gun:
either intended for sustained fire (such as water cooled) or classed as heavy due to caliber size (.50 BMG, etc.)

These are rough guidelines, and many guns have considerable overlap in use and features.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old July 11, 2013, 02:12 PM   #22
Machineguntony
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 22, 2013
Posts: 541
Very interesting and thorough.

Thanks, 44.
Machineguntony is offline  
Old July 11, 2013, 02:50 PM   #23
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,979
True that the Lewis magazine is a "pan" but I have never heard anyone call it other than a Lewis "drum", same with the Thompson "drum" magazines.

Sorry, Mike and 44 Amp, but many SMG's are full auto only, including the U.S. M3 and M3A1, the German MP. 28, MP. 38 and MP. 40, the French Modele 38, etc. Aside from SMG designs converted to semi-auto for one reason or another, like the Model 1927 Thompson, there have been a few pistol caliber semi-auto carbines, one notable one being the S&W Model 40 (and wouldn't I love to have one of those!).

Trivia item of the week: Did you know that the model letter for the Thompson SMG magazines, XX, XXX, L, and C indicates the capacity in Roman numerals?

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old July 11, 2013, 06:01 PM   #24
Willie Lowman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2009
Location: Uh-Hi-O
Posts: 2,475
Quote:
I was told the mr566 would fit onto a MP5 lower.
What is a MR566?

The HK beltfeds that would be compatible with your MP5 lower would be the 21 and 23.

Michael's Machines makes what you want.

http://michaelsmachines.com/
__________________
"9mm has a very long history of being a pointy little bullet moving quickly" --Sevens
Willie Lowman is offline  
Old July 12, 2013, 11:20 AM   #25
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,313
"Sorry, Mike and 44 Amp, but many SMG's are full auto only"

Uhm... yeah, that's exactly what I was saying. Actually, I was saying MOST designs are full-auto only, but there have been some that are select-fire.

Probably the most notable select-fire submachine guns made were the pre-WW II Beretta M1935 and M1938/A.

At least one variant of the Sten was designed and saw limited production with select fire capability.

The Reising M50 was also a select fire weapon.

There are others, as well.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:25 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12262 seconds with 7 queries