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how does a belt-fed work?

628 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  kernelkrink
Royal Tiger Imports has 200-round 7.62x54R Maxim belts for $9.95. Which prompted me to wonder, "how the heck does a belt-fed rifle strip the rounds out of the belt and get them into the chamber, anyway?"

I found this:

HowStuffWorks "Ammunition Belts"

But it looks like I've opened up a whole new field to learn about... the Maxim cloth belt obviously isn't going to work like that animation shows.
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Well that "how stuff works" describes it pretty well. If you can think of all the belt-fed gizmos as the "magazine", everything else works just like a normal rifle.

There are two different kinds of belt-fed mechanisms - "push" type as that in that image, and "pull" type such as for cloth belts, and rimmed cases. (there is a variant of the MG42 that uses 7.62x54R with its "push" mechanism, but that's not the norm).

The "pull" type such as the PKM have a "pickle fork" type of extension that grabs the rim and pulls the cartridge backward out of the belt. There's a ramp at a certain point that drops/pushes the case downward and into the path of the bolt. After that its a normal ride for the case into the chamber. I believe this is how the 1919 works as well.

The "push" type is pretty much self-explanatory in that image. The belt's purpose is simply to put the cartridge into the path of the bolt so that it is stripped out of the belt and pushed into the chamber. This is how the MG42 and M249 SAW work.

That's a really simple explanation but with that pic it should make more sense.
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Actually, it's pretty much that, except that the round is first pulled back further to clear the belt, then it runs forward again into the chamber. The rim does not pass through the belt. The animation shows disintegrating links.
What is shown is a push through link like an RPD, M60, M240, M249, MG34/42 and others would use.

A Maxim, M1919, M2/3 .50, MK19, PKM, etc... use a claw or an extractor looking assembly above the bolt to pull the cartridges out of the belt. There is a wedge on the top cover that pushes the cartridge down to the bolt face on some guns.
In the case of the Browning guns, the claw assembly that grabs the ammo from the belt rides in a groove in the sideplate and that pushes the new cartridge down onto the bolt face and ejects the old casing.(the MK19 ejects in a similar manner)
It strikes me that a belt feed would be just the ticket for plastic or paper shotgun shells. No worries about the top cartridges deforming and failing to feed due to pressure from the magazine spring.
As I recall, belt-feed shotguns are one of those things categorically considered an NFA item. I could be wrong but if you dig through the older posts where people talk about it you'll probably find out for certain.
[video=youtube;iX7vwivR6cE]]YouTube - MY BELTFED 12 GAUGE UPPER RECEIVER[/video]
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