50 BMG cut away, into the belly of the beast

50 BMG-2

I had the opportunity to photograph a pretty rare .50 Browning Machine Gun, it is a factory cut away used as a training tool for armorers of the famed Ma Deuce.

I was not able to get an exact data on this particular M2 training tool but I was told it was from around the 50s and was used as a training tool for many years before it made it’s way into a private collection.

50 BMG-1

Right side

50 BMG-13

Here is a close up of the driving spring rod

50 BMG-12

50 BMG-11

The driving spring rod and barrel buffer assembly

50 BMG-15

The feed tray, adjustable for right or left hand feeding

50 BMG-10

Barrel extension group

50 BMG-9

The chamber

50 BMG-6

The backplate assembly, showing the famed butterfly trigger. Note, the selector lever is missing.

50 BMG-5

Cut away of the muzzle and heat shield of the barrel group

50 BMG-3

The belt feed slide

50 BMG-16

Feed tray cover latch

50 BMG-8

Left side


It has been about eighteen years since I have shot a real M2 while I  was an active duty Marine but I assure you the M2 Browning Heavy Machine Gun is a fantastic firearm. If the transferable ones were not so expensive, I would have one for my very own.

The M2 Browning Heavy Machine Gun .50 was invented by none other than John Moses Browning around 1917 and was initially tested in 1918. It is basically a scaled up version of the M1919 Browning 30 caliber machine gun. It was around 1933 the design was perfected and pressed into service, and it is still issued today.

The M2 is an air-cooled, belt-fed machine gun. The M2 fires from a closed bolt, operated on the short recoil principle. It fires the .50 BMG cartridge, which offers plenty of long range accuracy and incredible stopping power.


 general data on the caliber .50 BMG.
Weight (approx)                                   84 pounds
Weight of barrel                                    24 pounds
Length of gun                                         65.13 inches
Length of barrel                                     45 inches
Length of rifling (approx)                   41.88 inches
Number of lands and grooves             8
Twist, right-hand                                   1 turn in 15 inches
Feed                                                         disintegrating link-belt
Operation                                                recoil
Cooling                                                     air
Muzzle velocity (approx)                      3,050 feet per second
Rate of fire (cyclic)                                450 to 550 rounds per minute
Maximum range (approx)                   7,440 yards or 6,764 meters
Maximum effective range (approx)   2,000 yards or 1,830 meters
Area targets                                          1,830 meters
Point targets, single shot                   1,500 meters
Thank you to Clinton Jamieson, fellow gun writer for helping make this happen.

By Hunter Elliott

I spent much of my youth involved with firearms and felt the call early on to the United States Marine Corps, following in my father's and his brother's footsteps. Just after high school I enlisted and felt most at home on the rifle range, where I qualified expert with several firearms and spent some time as a rifle coach to my fellow Marines. After being honorably discharged I continued teaching firearm safety, rifle and pistol marksmanship, and began teaching metallic cartridge reloading. In the late 1990s I became a life member to the National Rifle Association and worked with the Friends of the NRA. Around that time my father and I became involved with IDPA and competed together up until he passed away. I began reviewing firearms for publications in the mid 2000s and have been fortunate to make many friends in the industry. Continuing to improve my firearms skills and knowledge is a never ending journey in which we should all be committed. I am also credited as weapons master on a few independent films.

2 thoughts on “M2 .50 BMG cut away, into the belly of the beast”
  1. Very cool cut away of the Browning M2 machinegun. You do not see such things very often in gun magazines. I always loved the 50 BMG

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