Full-1oading a .50-caliber BMG can be compared to
cambering. Cambering was the second of eight steps
in a cycle of operation. It places a new round in the
chamber of the gun.
To load the gun fully, you must repeat the
half-loading sequence. Pull the retracting slide handle
to the rear and release it. The weapon is now ready to
To unload a .50-caliber BMG, unlock the bolt
release latch (if applicable) and open the cover group.
Lift the ammunition belt out of the feedway. Pull the
retracting slide handle to the rear and lock the bolt.
Look and/or feel to make sure no ammunition is in the
If the weapon is clear, lower the extractor. Release
the bolt and ease the retracting slide handle forward.
Then lower and secure the cover group. To complete
unloading operations, depress the trigger to uncock the
Figure 13-47.--Feeding mechanism parts of the receiver setup for
left-hand and right-hand feeding.
The first two steps of the eight-step cycle of
operation have already been discussed. Initial feeding
When the gun is set for automatic free, the bolt latch
and cambering are accomplished during the manual
release lock holds the bolt latch release down. When the
half- and full-loading operations. After the first round is
retracting slide handle is released, it and the bolt will go
fired, feeding and cambering are done by the action of
forward. They are driven forward under pressure from
the driving spring group. The gun is now half-loaded (in
The remaining steps in the cycle of operation of a
.50-caliber BMG are summarized below.
When the gun is set for semiautomatic fire, the bolt
1. Locking--The bolt is locked to the barrel and
latch release is up. When the retracting slide handle is
released, it and the bolt will remain to the rear. To
2. Firing--The firing pin is released and driven
complete the half-load operation, the gunner must do
forward to strike the primer of the cartridge.
two things. First, the retracting slide handle must be
3. Unlocking--The bolt unlocks from the barrel and
pushed all the way forward. Second, the bolt latch
release must be depressed. That unlocks the bolt and it
4. Extracting--The empty cartridge case is pulled
drives forward. The gun is now half-loaded (in
from the chamber.
5. Ejecting--the empty cartridge case is ejected
Can the .50-caliber BMG be fired now that it is
from the receiver.
half-loaded? The answer is no. Half-loading only places
a round into the receiver behind the barrel. The round
6. Cocking--The firing pin is withdrawn into its
must be chambered before it can be fired.