How to Load an M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun

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Items you will need

  • M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun

  • Belt of .50 caliber ammunition

How to Load an M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun. The M2 or "Ma Deuce" is one of the oldest and most reliable pieces of equipment in the military's arsenal today. This heavy machine gun was first used in World War I and has been used in every major conflict to the modern day. While extremely easy to use there are a few things a newbie should know about loading the M2.

    Ensure that the weapon is properly mounted on a tripod or cupola and the head space and timing are properly set. This is very important to avoid misfires and possibly deadly explosions.

    Make sure the feed tray cover is down and the bolt is forward. Feed the belt of ammunition with the double-loop side first past the belt-feeder pawls. If the belt doesn't slide out then you did it right.

    Place your hand on the charging handle, palm up. Pull the charging handle all the way back. Slowly let the bolt slide forward without letting go. (If the bolt-latch release is up, slide the handle forward then release the latch.)

    Grab the charging handle, again with your palm up. Pull back and release the handle. When the bolt slides forward the weapon is loaded.


    • If you look closely at each link you should be able to see "M9" engraved on each one. If this engraving is up then the ammunition belt is properly oriented. To set the weapon on automatic fire lock the bolt-latch release down. To place it in single fire leave it unlocked and press the latch between each round. Before loading, remove a round from the belt or get an empty shell casing, place this under the butterfly trigger to act as a safety once the weapon is loaded.


    • Be sure the weapon is facing a safe direction. The shock wave from a .50 caliber bullet can rip a person arm off if the bullet passes within five feet of them.

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