Rheinmetall MG3 Machine Gun

The MG3 is a German machine gun used for general-purpose and is chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge. It is the successor of World War II epic MG 42 universal machine gun that fired the 7.92x57mm Mauser round. In 1950s MG3 was standardized and adopted into service with the newly formed Bundeswehr, where it is in serve to this day as a squad support weapon and vehicle-mounted machine gun. The MG3 and its versions have also been adopted by over 30 countries armed forces. Rights to manufacture the machine gun were acquired by Italy (MG 42/59), Spain, Pakistan (MG 1A3), Greece, Iran, Sudan and Turkey. This lethal machine gun is ranked among the ten most disastrous guns of the world. No other gun has continued its service so successfully and for such a longer period than MG3.

Originally MG 1A1 was designed and manufactured by Rheinmetall arms factory as requested by the Bundeswehr. Later many versions were brought out and the most famous one always found to be of help was MG3. In 1968, the MG3 was initiated and soon entered production on high demands. In comparison to the MG1A3, the MG3 features a much better feeding mechanism with a belt retaining pawl that helps to hold the belt up to the gun when the top cover plate is lifted. There is also an added anti-aircraft sight and a new ammunition box. MG3s were produced for Germany and for export to various nations by Rheinmetall until 1979. Due to high demands and its popularity some additional production of the MG3 in Germany was carried out by Heckler & Koch. The MG3 and all its variants share a high level of parts interchangeability with the original MG 42 making it vulnerable and easy to maintain.

The MG3 is an automatic, air-cooled, belt-fed short recoil-operated firearm that also features a roller locked bolt mechanism consisting of the bolt head, a pair of rollers, the striker sleeve, bolt body and return spring. The bolt is locked securely by a wedge-shaped striker sleeve that propels two cylindrical rollers enclosed in the bolt head outward, which in result recesses in the expansion of the breech of the barrel. The machine gun features an automatic trigger mechanism and a cross-bolt safety in the form of a button that is operated by the shooter. The weapon fires from an open bolt. The cyclic rate is subject to alteration by installation of different bolts and recoil springs. The machine gun feeds from the left side through a feed block using metal, 50-round continuous-link DM1 ammunition belts which can also be combined by cartridge or disintegrating-link M13 or DM6 belts. In the light machine gun role, the MG3 is installed with a 100-round belt fixed inside a synthetic ammunition drum latched on to the left side of the receiver.

The back wall of the drum is transparent and serves as a visual indicator for the amount of ammunition left. The feed system works through a feed arm located in the feed cover. Two feed pawls are connected to the front end of the arm by a midway link and move in converse directions, moving the belt in two stages as the bolt moves back and forward during firing.

MG3 has a quick-change, chrome-lined barrel with 4 right-hand channels and a rifling coil rate of 1 in 305 mm. On the other hand MG3 barrels can also have many-sided rifling. The barrel is incorporated with the barrel breech. The barrel needs to be changed frequently during persistent firing. The gun is cocked and the barrel catch on the right of the barrel cover is swung ahead. The breech end of the hot barrel swings out and can be detached by uplifting or twisting the gun. A fresh barrel can be placed in through the barrel catch and the muzzle bearing. When the catch is turned back the barrel is locked and the machine gun is set to recommence firing. Both the receiver covering and ventilated barrel case is made of pressed sheet steel. A muzzle device is escalated at the end of the barrel and it works as a flash suppressor, muzzle brake and recoil booster all the same time. The machine gun is outfitted with a synthetic polymer stock, a folding bipod and open-type iron sights. A flip-up anti-aircraft sight is also endowed with. MG3 is indeed an epic machine gun that continues to rule since 1960.


Type: General-purpose machine gun
In service: 1960–present
Manufacturer: Rheinmetall
Weight: 10.5 kg (23.15 lb); 27.5 kg (61 lb) (mounted on tripod)
Length: 1,225 mm (48.2 in); 1,097 mm (43.2 in) (without stock)
Barrel length: 565 mm (22.2 in)
Cartridge: 7.62×51mm NATO
Rate of fire: 1000–1300 rpm
Muzzle velocity: 820 m/s (2690 ft/s)
Effective range: 200–1,200 m sight adjustments
Maximum range: 800 m (bipod); 1,000 m (tripod mounted); 3,000 m (gun carriage)
Sight: Open tangent iron sights

The mg3 machine gun

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