M4 gun mounts

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M4 gun mounts

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M4 gun mounts

Postby Cav Trooper » August 30th, 2018, 8:43 am

I have talked to people who say that the air force ap's and some army units mounted the gun mount further back for better range of motion. Does anyone have pictures of this arrangement?
Thanks, CT
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Re: M4 gun mounts

Postby m3a1 » August 30th, 2018, 10:07 am

Well, if you're looking for absolute proof of it, this link has quite a few pictures of a surprising variety of gun mounts but nothing very detailed. This is a very nice site. Take a little time to explore it fully. You'll be happy you did.

http://david.brubakers.us/mutt/muttc.html

From my experience (which comes from real experience with guns on other types of mounts) and from having the standard placement gun mount on my A2, I would say that all in all, the standard placement, from the serious, gun-minded operational perspective, seems very OK to me, given the limited space available in the M151. I really love my gun mount!

It has been mentioned that non-standard pedestal placement, biased to the rear, might facilitate being able to fire rearward. I disagree with that reasoning but I wasn't in Vietnam so what do I know, right? There is proof they did it (and all sorts of other strange things, as well.)

But, in the end, the axioms are simple ones. The truck gets the gun to and from the fight. Accuracy is dependent upon a stable platform. The gunner's work-space is best when it meets the needs of what he is going to be doing with the gun. Firing from a moving platform makes for great footage in a movie but in reality, it is a waste of ammo.

What everyone fails to discuss is the all-important piece of equipment - the mount. What it really comes down to is the type of mount (not pedestal, but mount) that you have the gun placed on. Selection of a "proper" mount comes down to what you're doing with the gun. Mounts are very job-specific. It will have a lot to do with how long you have to be up on the gun (any type of security involves a whole lot of waiting and watching) and also where you'll want to be when firing that gun.

The M23 equilibrator mount, while terribly heavy and usually reserved for armor, takes most of the weight of the gun off the gunner and make no mistake...accuracy is greatly affected by fatigue. Troops that may be between the gun and your target have a tendency to get seriously hacked off if you drop a few stray rounds on them. So the equilibrator mount would be an excellent choice for real-life security work and a properly supported pedestal will handle the additional weight of the M23 and the M2, as long as you aren't doing any Rat Patrol stuff.

As for the prospect of biasing the pedestal rearward, there are undeniable benefits to having a place to sit while getting down behind the gun, particularly if you're relying heavily on the sight. I can see how the Air Force might have seen great benefit in moving the pedestal rearward chiefly for the purpose of giving the gunner a reasonable place to sit, rather than to be able to fire rearward. So, while you're scratching your head about where to place that pedestal, mock the whole thing up with the gun of your choice in the mount of your choice, put it on the pedestal and shuffle it around until you're satisfied. Do that and I assure you you will come to the same conclusions the Air Force did about where to put it.

Finally, make sure to take some pictures of your mock-up and share with the rest of us.

Cheers,
TJ
Last edited by m3a1 on August 30th, 2018, 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: M4 gun mounts

Postby Surveyor » August 30th, 2018, 11:32 am

NM... thought I remembered seeing such an animal but can't find it at the moment.
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Re: M4 gun mounts

Postby Fil Bonica » August 30th, 2018, 12:24 pm

For what it’s worth!
If you are an 18 year older and weigh 170 pounds then a mount might be okay.
Am a little older and bulkier .
Had the opportunity to drive in a jeep with a pedistal and it’s no fun!
Constantly bumping in to the post.
Accessing the back seat area becomes another hassle!
If the mount is moved back any more you could lose access to the back seat
I would save my money for some other toys.


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Re: M4 gun mounts

Postby WC Matt » September 4th, 2018, 6:56 am

I had an M4 pedistal mount in my M151A1. I mounted it in the position up between the front seats as perscribed in the manual. My reason for mounting one were simple. It served as a quazi roll bar but mainly, of all the MVs I've owned, none had a weapons mount and I wanted an MV with one. Can't pretend you're on rat patrol without one! :lol:

Like others have posted, with the mount & legs installed, getting to the back seat would be difficult for someone who isn't a 170 lb 18 year old. They do take up a lot of room in a small vehicle. I used to wonder how someone would (or if they could) get back there-or more importantly get out of there with the pedistal in place & full canvas on.

I have heard of field mods where the mount was moved almost to the center of the bed to give the gunner an almost 360* field of fire. The back seat is usually removed and the gunner sits on the spare, holding onto the weapon mounted.

There is a member on here (Vtdeucedriver-I think is how you spell his screen name) who is very knowledgable about the VN era MVs. He's done the research & mods to his vehicles. Maybe he'll chime in if he sees this thread.

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Re: M4 gun mounts

Postby rickf » September 4th, 2018, 10:50 am

TJ, In response to your observation of why you would need to shoot towards the rear. The Vietnamese were very smart when it came to ambushes, probably the best at it in that era. They would wait for the convoy to pass most of the way and then take out the first and last vehicle effectively blocking all of the rest of the convoy in a sighted in killing field. You had better have a full 360 degree field of fire because you are going to need every degree of it. This is when I wish we still had Ralph Fuller, AKA Uglyranger, with us. He was the CO of a transportation company which had a fairly large contingent of gun trucks and jeep. He always had good pictures. RIP Ralph.

By the way, their ambushes in the field worked the same way.
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Re: M4 gun mounts

Postby m3a1 » September 4th, 2018, 1:53 pm

Gonna apologize in advance for the rather preachy quality of the following post. I am well aware of the benefits of 360 degrees of firing ability, having spent four years in the Stan, with our group running 4 convoys each day. I am also merely stating the obvious. If you have X amount of usable gunnery space, cutting into it by half and expecting to get 2X of usable space out of it just doesn't work out in any way, shape or form. You end up with a seriously limited compromise of X/2 at the very best.

Which brings us back to my earlier declaration of - what works and what doesn't work is based upon what your weapon is and what mount (the bit that joins the weapon to the pedestal) is employed. THAT is what dictates where the pedestal can be mounted in any usable space because you have to be able to get behind that gun to use it!

Despite the rather shabby appearance of the American machine gunner, let us not forget that these fellows weren't just bums off the street who were handed a machine gun. They were well trained in their craft and knew what counted for what. The resolution of issues such as fatigue and having a relatively good and stable firing position are paramount and any commander worth his salt will listen when his gunners say, "Hey, boss, there's a problem and here's how I propose we fix it" (chain of command notwithstanding.)

I'm going to go out on a limb and propose that the "standard" location for the M4 pedestal was finally decided upon had everything to do with the size of the M2 which would be the largest MG in the inventory at the time. I'm speculating that if we were able to go back to the time, there was eventually a substitute standard location decided upon, which is predicated upon the idea that the M60 (which obviously is far smaller and had far less recoil) would be the weapon in use, rather than the M2 and so, the pedestal could be moved rearward. But the general 360 degree argument really doesn't hold water with other gun pedestal locations does it? Biased to one side, or otherwise located upon the cowl....none of those make much sense at all from the perspective of gaining 360 degree effectiveness. Nope. There is simply not enough room in a M151 for it to be a good platform for 360 degrees. I could be convinced that trying to achieve 180 degrees effectiveness might be a more acceptable figure, though.

Now, on to the little discussed topic of how and why these pedestals have to be properly supported, wherever they are located. This is something that never seems to get discussed. If you take a good look at the struts on the M4 mount when it is in the proscribed place it is plain that the pedestal has the best support when the M2 is employed in a forward firing position and make no mistake, sustained firing on a poorly mounted pedestal WILL lead to poor marksmanship (and there is nothing quite so annoying as being unable to bring your MG on target, seconded by the added annoyance of hosing down some poor bas***d you hadn't meant to shoot (which is really frowned upon because not every place is a free fire zone) and further, a poorly mounted pedestal, or the even employing the wrong mount WILL tear things up. Believe it or not, gunners actually care a great deal about this sort of thing because for one thing, a gunner who can't seem to hit anything, or who hits the wrong things, doesn't remain a gunner for long.....if he survives.

As an interesting sidebar commentary, if you have any doubt or just simple curiosity about the energy repeated recoil has on things, consider the sad tale of the M240L. The 240B, based upon the Fabrique Nationale MAG 58, is our current general purpose machine gun, chambered in 7.62x51. We had many of these 240 Bravos (and many M249s as well) and we really loved them (which is to say we loved them when we didn't have to carry them).

Let me introduce you to our 'Little Friends'.....and yup, that's me some time ago.Image

The M240 started out as a coaxial gun, made it's way to the infantry where it was quickly found to be a rather heavy piece of iron to be hauling around. Along the way, the 240L (lightweight) came into being. It was a lighter version of the 240B, lightened by about 5 1/2 lbs, and was meant chiefly for the infantry. When it made it's way out to the troops, the Armored boys grabbed up as many as they could lay their hands on (just in case the day came when they had to get out on foot.) Now comes the unfortunate part. They were putting these lightweight weapons in hard mounts (which provided no accommodations for recoil) and in no time at all, the guns were literally shaking themselves apart from the recoil and naturally, the 240L got a bad reputation and the poor bloody infantry had to go back to schlepping the M240B around. So, having a solid, well supported pedestal and a proper mount for each weapons system counts for a great deal in all respects.

Final observation on the matter of rear security in convoy. I'm not sure how useful having a tiny, thin-skinned truck running rear security would be (or for how long it might be there, for that matter). In Afghanistan, our heavy hitters were front, rear and middle and our convoy was the second largest daily convoy in the country . Sounds like a bold, claim, I know....but it was and it made for an inviting target. I would not have cared to have had to count on having a MUTT bringing up the rear. Not at all. In fact, it would be more like an engraved invitation rather than a deterrence because the Taliban did not suddenly become shy when guns were pointed their way; they, like the Vietnamese, were dedicated to their cause.

Anyway, I know this was long-winded but my experience with this stuff was deadly serious and nothing at all like Rat Patrol so I'm just going to wrap this up by saying that there's a lot more to locating a pedestal and mounting a useful weapon than just drilling some holes and bolting things up. In reality, it is NOT a slap-dash procedure and if you are the guy who is considering "going off the reservation" with your pedestal (particularly if you are really going to shoot off of it) take the time to think things out thoroughly and do it right and be able to explain how and why you did what you did.

Cheers,
TJ
Last edited by m3a1 on September 4th, 2018, 6:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: M4 gun mounts

Postby rickf » September 4th, 2018, 2:19 pm

Well written, just out of curiosity how much does a 249 weigh? in each configuration. The M60 I humped was 23lbs., at the start of the day and 43 by the end of the day! I was not a gun trucker so I am not an expert on that subject. I was "educated" about the M-151 machine gun mount by a well grizzled and quite scarred old sergeant who told me about the rearward placement of the gun. His words were, " if you need to turn the thing around where is your ass and feet gonna go?" When I think about it most of the 151's I saw did not have back seats in them unless on a base somewhere. In the field they were mules and a gunner needed the rear space for his feet, ammo and a place to duck. If people were riding in them they were probably sitting on whatever it was carrying in the back or on the fenders.
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Re: M4 gun mounts

Postby Surveyor » September 4th, 2018, 4:51 pm

Agree. Good read TJ. While I have yet to find a picture of an m151 bringing up the rear in a convoy with a limited search, I have found multiple examples of ones in the lead in Nam. One example...

Image

Quite a few with orange tarps or similar on the hood for iff and here's an example I stumbled upon where ?field expedient? mount is further back than normal as per original request. (Army...not AF)

Image

http://720mpreunion.org/history/vehicles/jeep/jeep.html write up.
Last edited by Surveyor on September 4th, 2018, 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: M4 gun mounts

Postby rickf » September 4th, 2018, 6:19 pm

This was one of the M-151's under Ralph's command, needless to say he did not exactly adhere to standard practice when it came to allowing modifications to the vehicles.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=5502&p=45131#p45131
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Re: M4 gun mounts

Postby m3a1 » September 4th, 2018, 7:32 pm

In the photo, and judging by the seat on the sponson, this may have started its life as something other than a straight up M151. On the other hand I recall, not long ago, someone posted a photo with an office chair on the sponson.....and, once again, we cannot see how that ugly thing is supported. Field expedient is whatever gets you through the day and into the next without any extra holes, eh?

I can only imagine how badly some of these units had to scrounge and scrounge, which is rather sad when you think about it but you can bet the gunners gave a lot of input when it came to fabricating something for their babies but where we are concerned as owners, I ask a simple question. Why would you want some humpty on your hoopty? :lol: :lol: Happily, some of the fabrication on the gun trucks was very well documented and is a testament to how well field modifications could really be when push came to shove.

We had some trucks with some rather lackluster kit (commonly called farmer armor), specifically for the purpose of providing stand off protection from RPG rounds but the stuff was theoretically sound, I trusted it and happily, never had to actually test it on myself. RPGs are the great equalizer but they have their limitations. Chiefly, they have to hit their target just SO in order to achieve good penetration. Good screening keeps that plasma jet unfocused which is certainly not a perfect solution but far better than the alternative. The unfortunate side effect could be that if you're down hard and your vehicle is ablaze, getting out may be difficult which is why we referred to our troop transports as Shake-n-Bakes. I'm sure you get my drift. And so, we also had to carry around cut-out kit for those trucks! Around and around it goes and where it stops, nobody knows.

I guess it's about time I share with y'all what I consider to be the ultimate mod when it comes to machine guns and military vehicles. I have a buddy nearby who is big into M2s. So much so, he has four live fire M2s and four equipped to fire blanks, which is to say they can be switched right back to live fire at any time.

But WAIT! There's MORE!

Those aren't his only Big Boy Toys.... This fella also has a completely operational and fully restored M45 Quad Mount. Several fellows from the military approached him after seeing his rig do its thing at one of the larger machine gun shoots (I do not recall which) and after some discussion an agreement was reached where they would withdraw one of their quad mounts from a museum and provide it to him to be refurbished and restored to fully operation condition with the only modification being that it operated off power from the parent vehicle with some sort of backup power set up. So, I know what you're thinking. What were they going to do with it? Well, that system was mounted on a HMMWV and was used in the second Gulf War. That is where my telling of this story ends because after it was delivered, I never heard what became of it. No pictures and not even a peep. But, the story is a testament to what a few dedicated soldiers can achieve with a little gittyup and the right connections. If ANYONE reading this knows more about how this story ended I'd love to here the rest of the story.

Cheers,
TJ
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Re: M4 gun mounts

Postby raymond » September 4th, 2018, 7:37 pm

Nothing to say here other than RIP Ralph Fuller :!:
I miss his and Toptiger's posts and comments.
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