Military-Grade Awesome

Leave My Bacon Alone: The Ma Deuce

I told you to leave my bacon alone!

I told you to leave my bacon alone!

I, like most Americans, enjoy bacon. I really enjoy bacon. A baconless world is my biggest fear along with radioactive lemurs and zombies. So, I need a device to protect my bacon and fight off radioactive lemurs and zombies.

Meet that device: the Browning M2.

Affectionately knows as the Ma Deuce since it was introduced in the 1920s, the Browing M2 .50-caliber machine gun is the go-to machine gun for the US and NATO forces. It has seen action in WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iraq II. Weighing in at 80 lb., it’s not a light gun, but it is pound-for-pound one of the most fearsome weapons.

The maximum range is over 4.5 miles. Think about that. Slow moving zombies don’t even stand a chance, and a radioactive lemur will be in pieces before my Geiger counter even starts registering its presence. That range, along with a 485-635 rounds/minute rate of fire have allowed the M2 to live a long life in a variety of applications.

They call it the Meat Chopper

What are those applications? Well, originally the M2 was an infantry weapon on a tripod or mounted in a Jeep. Soon, the Navy was using it on ships and then the Air Force used a variant in the F-86 Sabre. It has been mounted on tanks, armored personnel carriers, in the P-47 Thunderbolt and B-25 Mitchell, and as an anti-aircraft gun on ships, trucks, and fixed locations. In the AA configuration, up to six can be mounted together. Bye bye zombies!

Some snipers have even used the Ma Deuce to carry out their duties. Most notably, Carlos Hathcock set the record for the longest confirmed kill during the Vietnam War with an M2. At 2,460 yards, Hathcock’s scoped M2 had bested the range of the sniper favorite at the time, and set a record that wouldn’t be broken until 2002.

This capability comes at a cost, though. To buy one you need to have $20,000+ for the gun, plus ammo and transfer fees. Seems a pittance when we’re talking about protecting bacon and protecting our families from radioactive lemurs and zombies with a weapon that has seen continuous service for 90 years.

[Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain]

  • Deartháir


  • tiberiusẅisë

    How do you shoot zombies, and lemurs like that?
    Easy, you just don't lead 'em so much.

  • Number_Six

    There was a variant of the B-25 that carried as many as EIGHTEEN M2s. You'd think the recoil would blast itself out of the sky.

  • I find this entire post troubling.

    • Mr_Biggles

      I'll bite. It's late and I've had a few. I'm always very much on the fence on gun things. I love bacon and am afraid of lemurs. Maybe I'm totally missing your point too. Wanna elaborate?

      • Engineerd and I both have an unhealthy obsession with bacon.

        Now he's talking about shooting Zombies, and he knows I just stocked up for the apocalypse.

        • I think it would be fair to say that you were partly to blame for the theme of this article.

        • Mr_Biggles

          More clearer now. A bacon obsession is only natural. I don't wish to bring up religion, but SOMEONE knew what they were doing.

          I have a closet fascination with guns. Living in an artsy-fartsy 'hood in a large Canadian city makes it socially unacceptable to vocalize on it. Thankfully, AT, Engineerd, and most of the internet lack that reticence.

  • P161911

    You can get a semi-automatic version for about 1/2 the cost of the full rock n roll version. It can only shoot as fast as you can pull the trigger.

    • Yeah, but that's like buying a V6 Mustang. Oh, wait.

    • tiberiusẅisë

      It will save you a fortune in ammo too.

  • Deartháir

    Alright, hands up everyone who made the machine gun sound-effect the moment they saw that lead photo. Come on, admit it.

    ::raises hand::

    • MrHowser

      Ok, my hand's up too.

    • Yes, it happened. And my coworkers looked in, concerned.

    • Lotte

      My hand is not up; I can't make noises. Can't snap fingers, can't whistle, and apparently my machine gun sounds suspiciously like a person trying to loosen a loogie. While trying to speak German.

      Well, I guess it's good I didn't make myself look like a 12-year-old 😉

    • I was making machine gun noises while typing the article.

  • Deartháir

    It's that kind of sick thinking that forced them to invent the Ma Deuce in the first place.

  • Wow. This post was tehfunnies. Thanks Engineered.

    Also, ddddddta dddddddddta ddddddddddtttttaaaaddddttttaaaaaaa

    Case closed you blood sucking zombie lemur zombie eaters!

  • P161911

    The air cooled version of the Ma Deuce with a water cooled gunner (note the Camelbak). As opposed to the earlier water cooled M2 with air cooled (shirtless) soldiers.
    <img src=""width=500&gt;

    • Mason

      So many years ago

  • dwegmull

    I did fire an M2. Both from an M112 APC and on its tripod. The hardest part was removing the beast from its tripod and carrying back up to its mount on the APC. We did target practice at 600m (about 1800ft): In full auto, even mounted on the tank, the recoil caused it to dance around and be quite useless, precision wise. I guess it needs a seriously strong and heavy operator to keep it pointed in at a given target. When firing on the tripod, by the time I had run through a box of ammo, it and I were standing 6 feet away from where we started!
    The amazing thing about it is its mechanism: it is very simple, can be taken apart and put back together in a short time with no tools. As far as I know it is still used, basically unmodified to this day.

    • When firing one from the TC hatch, you have to brace the butterfly handles against your chest, and you don't really aim, you spray like you would with a hose, and just kind of direct the tracers at whatever you're trying to hit. Works pretty well, I used to be able to hit silhouettes at 400 meters or so. Firing off a tripod, you have to brace it with your feet, just kind of muscle the thing.

      Lubrication is simple, just dump a bunch of motor oil all over the bolt. Makes a mess, but the gun will never jam that way. Fifties are just plain awesome.

  • BlackIce_GTS

    I've been repeatedly thwarted in my attempts to buy .50 BMG dummies (the giant-ass cartridge these things fire. Dummies means there's no powder or primer). Americans refuse to export ammunition, especially if it doesn't actually function.
    <img src=""&gt;

  • When I was in the Army, my platoon sergeant announced in morning formation one day that he needed someone to volunteer to have the platoon M2 assigned to him. My arm shot up. "YOU?" he asked. (I was the thinest and scrawniest guy in the platoon.) "Do you know how much that thing weighs?"
    "Not really; I know it's a lot."
    I didn't care. My thinking was that I'd never have the opportunity to fire one again. I figured that the chance to qualify with it was more than worth some extra humpin' with it on my back.

    I was SO right. It actually weighed 84 lbs., with the barrel, and was worth carrying every ounce of it. I got plenty of range time with the M2 over about the next year or so, and since we were an aviation unit I never actually had to hike the thing more than about half a mile at a stretch. Another SP4 was assigned to carry the tripod and ammo (which weighed as much as the receiver and barrel) …and he never got to fire the thing!

    After a quarter-century as a civilian, I would still be kicking myself if I hadn't seized the opportunity when I did.

    • Mason

      Quite a story sir.

  • Han_Solex

    I was reading this thinking, "oh, cool … cool, that's neat … interesting … WAIT WHAT THE HELL?" That last part was when I hit the casual mention of the M2 being SCOPED and used as a FREAKING SNIPER RIFLE. This needs elaboration post-haste.

    As the kids say nowadays, pics or it didn't happen.

    Also, I desperately want a place where I can put a watermelon 2 miles downrange, a scoped M2, about 50 watermelons, and very understanding neighbors.

    • texlenin

      Might I suggest you Upgrade, Sir, and go with the 20mm
      Lahti? With the 200mm Leopold gold-ring scope, of

  • texlenin

    I used to run with an old boy named Nasser (air force-dentist) who swore he
    won a bet with some leathernecks using a Ma Duece, scoped, to
    decapitate the evening meal. Name-of,A. Camel. Somewhere around
    3200 yards away. Mighty Tasty, he said….

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