The MAG (Mitrailleuse d`Appui General = General Purpose Machinegun), had been developed by the famous Belgian company FN Herstal in the 1950s, as a true universal machine gun, that could be used as a light MG on bipod, as a medium MG on tripod or as a vehicle-mounted and coaxial MG on helicopters, armored cars and tanks. The basic design of the MAG is no more than a time-proven Browning action, taken from the M1918 BAR automatic rifle, turned upside down and adopted for belt feed. The basic design used as much steel stampings and pressings as possible to save the labor and costs, and the final gun had the angular, but very business-like appearance. By no way a beauty, it is extremely reliable and proven design, that seen widespread service, being adopted by several tens of armies around the world, including Belgian, British, Australian, Canadian, USA and many other armies. It was fitted to various vehicles, helicopters, tanks etc. So far it is one of the most popular GPMG`s in the world.
Technical description. The FN MAG is a gas operated, belt fed, air cooled automatic weapon. It uses the long piston stroke gas system with the gas regulator, located below the barrel. The bolt is locked using a swinging shoulder that engages the cut in the floor of the receiver. The air-cooled barrel is quick-detachable, with the carrying handle attached to it to help handling of the hot barrel. The receiver is made from steel stampings.
The M240 is fed using the disintegrating steel belts of various lengths. The rate of fire can be selected between "low" (~650 rpm) and "high" (~950 rpm), depending on the tactical situation, and the gun can be fired in full auto only. The charging handle is located on the right side of the receiver.
The simple folding bipod is attached to the gas block, and there`s a mounting points on the bottom of the receiver to fit into the various mountings, including infantry tripods. The open sights are fitted by standard, and some of the latest production MAG versions have Picatinny-style scope mounts on the top of the receiver. Standard guns are fitted with the pistol grip and trigger, and the wooden (early models) or plastic (present manufacture) butt, coaxial guns (like M240C) have the trigger replaced by the electric solenoid, and the pintle-mounted versions, like the M240D, have the spade grips instead of the pistol grip and the butt.
Manufacturer: FN HERSTAL, SA, Voie de Liège 33, B-4040 HERSTAL BELGIUM, Tel: (32 4)2408111, Fax: (32 4)2408899 E-mail: Info@FnHerstal.com
Operation: Gas operated
Cartridge: 7.62mm x 51mm NATO
Weight: 10.15 kg
Length: 1250 mm
Barrel: 546 mm
Rifling: 4 grooves, rh
Feed system: Belt
In Production: 1955-
Rate of fire: 850 RPM
Effective range: up to 1,000 m (1,094 yds) from bipod, up to 1,500 m (1,640 yds) from tripod