Manufactured in Belgium and adopted by the U.S. military because of its reliability, this weapon fires a 7.62mm round at a cyclic rate of 750 rpm at slow rate and 950 rpm at high rate. It has mostly replaced the M60
The M240 is a general-purpose machine gun. It can be mounted on a bipod, tripod, aircraft, or vehicle. The M240 is a belt-fed, air-cooled, gas-operated, fully automatic machine gun that fires from the open bolt position. This reliable 7.62mm machine gun delivers more energy to the target than the smaller caliber M249 SAW. It is being issued to infantry, armor, combat engineer, special force/rangers, and selected field artillery units that require medium support fires and replaced the ground-mounted M-60 series machine guns currently in use.
Ammunition is fed into the weapon from a 100-round bandoleer containing a disintegrating metallic split-link belt. The gas from firing one round provides the energy for firing the next round. Thus, the gun functions automatically as long as it is supplied with ammunition and the trigger is held to the rear. As the gun is fired, the belt links separate and are ejected from the side. Empty cases are ejected from the bottom of the gun.
A spare barrel is issued with each M240, and barrels can be changed quickly as the weapon has a fixed head space. However, barrels from different weapons should not be interchanged. The bore of the barrel is chromium plated, reducing barrel wear to a minimum.