Letters to SAR: October 1998

By Dan Shea

Dear SAR,

It was with some interest that I read of the M 60’s being replaced by the M 240’s in the 82’d Airborne Division.

I served in the 82’d from 1985 as an 11B in the 2/508 ABN INF Bn, which became the 3/504 PIR when we went regimental in 1986. Shortly after I was assigned to the Second of the o’eight I passed the selection for the battalion scout platoon. What does this have to do with machine guns you ask? Well in 1985 a 21 man Scout platoon bristled with weapons. The most potent of which were our six, yes six, M60 machine guns. We were allocated two per six man squad.

I can’t say I loved my 60 but you couldn’t pry it from my hands. Before moving to the “Light Infantry” concept when we lost all of our firepower save one M 203 per Squad. I was able to do quite a lot with this “unreliable” and “inferior” piece of machinery.

I’ve never shot, nor even laid hands on an FN MAG, let alone the Army’s M 240. Maybe it is better. I leave that to the people who’s butts are truly on the line.

Being a FAG (Former Action Guy), and maybe an RKI, I note the change with a twinge of nostalgia, and reminisce of the twenty-three pounds of pleasure I toted through North Carolina and points South all those years ago.


Dear Chuck,

The M-60 versus ______ (you fill in the blank) is going to be as everlasting a battle as the familiar Ford vs Chevy or 9mm Vs 45acp debates. There are many good points on all sides and it is doubtful that there will ever be a true victor. Thanks for a little insight.


Dear SAR,

I happened to be watching AMC the other day, and tuned into a movie I had not seen in many years “Black Scorpion”, which was produced in 1957 by the special effects master of the original “King Kong” in 1933. The film is set in Mexico.

Something of interest to Rafficarians in the movie, is the Mexican police official in the film ( a central character) who fights off the giant scorpions with what appears to be a Mendoza C-1934 or RM-1 light machine gun (albeit in the semi-auto mode only, possibly for budget reasons?) Though this might be of interest to you.


Dear Bob,

Thanks for the heads up. The movies certainly do provide everyone with a different perspective depending upon their particular interest. You can always pick out the gun guys in the movie theatre because every time someone plants a 9mm round into a car and it causes it to explode, there is always a groan and an “as if.” I always thought it was limited to those of us in the gun culture until a buddy of mine went to see a movie with a trucker. Every time a truck came on to the screen, he would whisper “Oh please...as if a ‘72 Mack will roll at 104Mph, and they never used that transmission in that year anyway.”


Dear SAR,

In reference to the feature on the BATF Form 1 - July 1998, I am most interested in item 4 (1) State why you intend to make firearm. Since the author Jeff W. Zimba did not cover this item perhaps the folks at SAR can offer some advice on what to fill in on item 4 (I) as I could see a slip of the pen could cause you a lot of grief!

Also might I suggest that people who shoot the belt fed water cooled guns can add a can of automotive “water pump lubricant” to the water jacket as this is the same as water soluble cutting oil used by machine shops.

Ed R.

Dear Ed R,

The most common answer to that question in the authors opinion is; “For my private collection”. Were glad to pass along your tip on the lubricant.



This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V2N1 (October 1998)
and was posted online on December 9, 2016


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