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Old August 5, 2017, 10:13 AM   #1
Loronzo
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M249 SAW Tips (Military)

Hello all. I was switched from the M4 to the M249 SAW. I've qualified with both in the past two weeks but the SAW was not pretty, barely a go. I did great on the paper qual but it did not translate to the pop ups very well. I hadn't handled one since Basic.

I downloaded the TM and have began reading it to help but was looking to see if anybody with more experience had any not listed tips or tricks. I'm planning ahead now because my next qual (hopefully) I'll be looking at that weapons card for much needed Promotion Points.

Also with the three hole bipod, what settings do you use? I'm 5 10 so I used the middle for the paper and lowest for the pop ups due to being elevated on the lane.

I also had vision surgery since my last qual so not sure if that would make a difference but the way the sights look are different and being able to see the targets either they or the front sight is blurry never had that issue before. (Seeing 20/15 now, yay!)

Since it's actually mine now I cleaned the living hell out of it before turn in. It wasn't pretty... that may of been a small part of it but not gonna make excuses just want to correct my defiencies.

Thanks in advance for your assistance guys. Worst case I may break down and ask Top for help but don't wanna go that route if I don't have to, haha.

Last edited by Loronzo; August 5, 2017 at 07:07 PM.
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Old August 5, 2017, 01:33 PM   #2
Theohazard
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I have a little bit of experience with the M249; my weapon was the M240G and we mostly shot it off a tripod because we were doing platoon- and company-level fire that often involved shooting near -- or even above -- advancing Marines. But I'd say the main piece of advice I'd give you when shooting a machine gun off a bipod is to spread your legs a little more than shoulder-width apart (wide enough for extra stability but not so wide that you lose recoil control), make sure your body is in line with the gun, plant your feet firmly, and then push forward against the bipod. This will reduce movement under recoil and will make your cone of fire smaller.
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Old August 5, 2017, 04:12 PM   #3
tobnpr
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Consider posting this over at the 'Hide. A lot of current and former military on that forum.

Funny, got a flyer in the mail a few days ago from an H&K dealer and it had the M249 listed...If I had my SOT and an extra $8K
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Old August 5, 2017, 07:07 PM   #4
Theohazard
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And as far as what setting to use on the bipod, that all depends on your body size and how uneven your shooting surface is. If you find yourself scrunching down in order to aim higher, your bipod legs are probably adjusted too short. And if you find yourself pushing up on your elbows to bring your sights down, your bipod legs are probably adjusted too long.

Also, if you're properly focused on the front sight, the target will be at least a little blurry. That's OK, that's the way it's supposed to be. I didn't know there were people who could keep a focus on both the front sight and the target at the same time. I didn't even know that was possible.

Oh, and it sounds like you already know this, but keep your gun well cleaned and lubed, and make sure your armorers keep up on all maintenance. M249s can be finicky, especially when they start to get worn out. They're not as reliable as the M240. But they're a heck of a lot easier to lug around.
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Last edited by Theohazard; August 5, 2017 at 07:15 PM.
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Old August 5, 2017, 10:09 PM   #5
Rob228
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Were you also issued the SDO or are you using it irons? I carried a SAW for a deployment, I can't say I did a lot of work with it off of the bipods, most of it was propped up on walls, sandbags etc.

The 249 qualification target system is... well, wonky to say the least. I wouldn't worry too much about the results (paper or pop ups, I have yet to see a pop up system that scores reliably, and the paper target with the gravestones is just weird)

I would typically hold 6" low and left and let it climb to the center around the third round of a 4-6 round burst. I was also using an EoTech on mine, as it was pre-SDO days.

As far as keeping it running, it depends on the environment. If you are in heavy moon-dust kind of sand, I would say keep it dry until you run through your first drum (this is preventative, to keep from getting a build-up of sand on the rails). My technique was to keep it relatively dry and carry a 100 round belt in what we used to refer to as a "nut-sack", not sure what they call it these days. When that ran dry as I was putting on a 200 round box, I would spray it liberally with an aerosol can of Hoppes #9 light lubricating oil, however CLP will do you just as good. Stay away from dry lube.
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Old August 6, 2017, 12:44 PM   #6
T. O'Heir
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"...had the M249 listed..." 8 Grand is cheap for a Class 3. Saw one on-line a few years back at 25o grand I think it was.
Light MG is a lie. 22 pounds loaded. The trick is being strong enough to hold it up and firing in bursts. The sling going across your back will help hold it up.
"...ask Top for help..." That is decidedly not a bad thing. Get you more respect than if you do not and you screw something up. Mind you, asking the senior NCO instead of one of the corporals(who think they run the Army anyway. Some of us here hold Commissions.) might be a bit much. Those senior NCO guys tend to be busy. However, not asking for help is far worse than asking.
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Old August 6, 2017, 12:58 PM   #7
Theohazard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir
"...had the M249 listed..." 8 Grand is cheap for a Class 3. Saw one on-line a few years back at 25o grand I think it was.
He was referring to a dealer sample that can only be purchased by an FFL dealer with an SOT, so it's non-transferable to regular folks and therefore not worth anywhere near as much.

My old boss bought an M249 dealer sample last year for 6k and it was in great shape.
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Old August 7, 2017, 07:52 AM   #8
Loronzo
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Thanks for all the advice so far. I shot it with irons to get a good zero on those as backup.We have ACOGs and CCOs avaible, I'll probally grab one of those when we go back out in a few months. The bit about the weapon height makes sense, never had to think about that with the M4 haha.
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Old August 10, 2017, 07:58 AM   #9
Mobuck
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The only "training" with a bullet hoser(M-60) was someone yelling frantically to "get that "60" running". I found very quickly that with a little height advantage, you could fairly easily aim at knee level of the advancing dinks and let off a 3-4 round burst and move to the next target. On widely spaced enemy, it wasted too much ammo to sweep the line. After the initial 200 rounds, someone who actually knew how to run the gun showed up and so ended my "training".
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Old August 10, 2017, 12:14 PM   #10
5whiskey
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Quote:
I did great on the paper qual but it did not translate to the pop ups very well.
I bet you will improve your score a great deal by simply aiming at the top of the berm at the base of the target, and allow your bursts to walk up. This is an old school trick on the 800 yard M240 range on long targets, and it usually translates well to those struggling with a M249. If you're allowed an A-gunner on the line to spot for you and give you adjustments, ask an experienced guy to do just that.

Quote:
make sure your body is in line with the gun, plant your feet firmly, and then push forward against the bipod.
Thehazard, being a Marine 0331 (assumed from his sig line anyway) gives good advice. You need very firm shoulder pressure, and you need to dig your feet in. The bipods should have tension on them (as in they would fold back if not locked in place). These are basics that will help you control the fire much better. Practice aiming at the base of the target as well. It allows you to spot your own rounds and walk them up.
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Old August 12, 2017, 10:49 AM   #11
taylorce1
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Like stated before the trick to the SAW is to load the bi-pod up. Just lean into it hard, that way you control the machinegun and not the other way around. If there are any sandbags or anything solid you can put those feet against (not on) that'll help a lot.

Also like suggested start at the bottom and walk in like suggested using 3-5 round bursts. I always found it pretty easy to shoot the saw and qualify expert with. Much easier for me than the M16A2/M4 to qualify expert with, but then again I was treated like a pack mule and almost always carried the SAW or M60 when I was light infantry.
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