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  • Shooting The Browning 1919

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    On one of our recent outings, one of the guys brought along a nice piece of history. A Browning 1919 machine gun. This particular gun was only semi auto to comply with government restrictions on the subjects of our country. The trigger on the Browning has to be lifted upward in order to make it fire. Unlike traditional triggers where they are pulled to the rear. This upward movement and the fact that it was a very stiff trigger, made shooting the gun quite difficult.

    In total there were six variants of the basic M1919 machine gun. The original M1919 featured a relatively heavy barrel, attempting to match the sustained fire capability of contemporary water-cooled machine guns.[citation needed] The M1919A1 featured a lighter barrel and a bipod. The M1919A2 was another lightweight development specifically for mounted cavalry units, utilizing a shorter barrel and special tripod (though it could be fitted to either the M1917 or M2 tripods). This weapon was designed to allow greater mobility to cavalry units over the existing M1917 machine gun. The M1919A2 was used for a short period between World War I and World War II after the cavalry had converted from horses to wheeled and tracked vehicles. An improved version of the M1919A2, the M1919A3, was also developed.

    However, by and large the most common variant of the series was the M1919A4. The M1919A4 was used in both fixed and flexible mounts, by infantry and on vehicles. It was also widely exported after World War II and continues to be used in small numbers around the world. Two variants were developed specifically for vehicular use, the M1919A5, with an extended charging handle, and the M1919A4E1, a subvariant of the M1919A4 refitted with an extended charging handle.

    The M1919A6 was an attempt to provide US forces with a more portable light machine gun, similar to the German MG 34 and MG 42 machine guns they were facing. The M1919A6 had a metal buttstock assembly that clamped to the backplate of the gun, and a front barrel bearing that incorporated both a muzzle booster and a bipod similar to that used on the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). A lighter barrel than that of the M1919A4 was fitted. The M1919A6 was a heavy (32 pounds) and awkward weapon in comparison with the MG34 and MG42 and was eventually replaced in US service by the M60 machine gun in the 1960s.

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