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According to Bob Faris the whole locking system and barrel retention setup was flexible causing serious issues with headspace as the guns were running. In addition to that they could not use standard normal ammunition from the supply chain so the army setup a special ammunition program to cover those issues. Even with the special ammunition the guns still had problems due to the headspace.
The backplates popped off because they had shortened the receiver so much that there was little runout on the springs and the bolt would hammer the sheetmetal backplate. They still had the same energy the 1919 had to deal with but a lot less space to absorb it. That made it much more difficult.

Bobs comments mainly pointed toward the gun being designed by committee with too many foo foo features that did not work well together.
There is a pretty good article in the Small Arms review from about 2007 or 2008 where they spoke to Bob Faris about the gun. He did testing for Aberdeen and later Yuma proving grounds and tested the M73/219 and the M85s with little good to say about any of them....

Frank
 

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Worse Browning ever designed lol but if you find a home for that part let me know because I have a whole front end for one that I would love to see gone.
Hi,
If you still want to get rid of the M73 parts you mention, I'm your huckleberry. I have an M706 armored car I'm restoring and will be attempting to create two (2) dummy M73's for it. A fools errand, no doubt....

Regards,
Scott
 

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Uncle Bob was right and he was polite in his assessment of that gun. PM me and we can talk. Russ
 

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Greg at Alleghany Arsenal (MG34.com) had a jacket for this at the creek I am pretty sure. Maybe FH too. I don't think he knew what it was or at least did not tell me when I asked about it.
 

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The M219 is an M73 with a few "improvements" so they're the same gun basically with non interchangeable parts. (except the barrel maybe) The receiver on the guns was much shorter than the 1919 and that is why they wanted them for the tanks. The M85 was the same deal. They allowed the guns to be placed in front of the gunner without jamming his head back into the cupola wall or the commanders seat. At least that was the idea. They were guns designed by committee and accepted by another committee with political reasons pushing them to be adopted. They never worked for the job they were designed for and Bob Faris had some really good stories about the issues. Headspace was flexible due to the design and that was a key problem which was never addressed. It led to most of the other issues like the weld like jams and feed problems. I've fooled around a bit with a couple of them and was amazed they were ever even considered much less forced to be adopted. More politics deciding the fates of real people. I'm not familiar with the M85 but I've heard it had similar issues with flexibility causing failures. Richard has a lot more info on them then I do.

Its amazing that a gun which was really designed around the turn of the 19th century is still going strong today. The Browning design came about long before it was put into production in the teens and the 50 cal is just an upsized rifle cal gun.....


Frank
 
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