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Browning M3

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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The Browning M3 or .50 AN/M3 (not to be confused with the 20mm AN/M3) aircraft gun is an extensively modified Browning M2 aircraft gun that could be fired remotely by the pilot or gunner of a jet aircraft, helicopter or light fixed-wing aircraft. The gun is distinguished by a massive pneumatic buffer at the rear of the receiver and a muzzle booster cap at the end of the barrel jacket. The gun was extensively used on late 1940s and early 1950s fighters until supplanted by 20mm cannons. No sights are furnished on the gun because the sights are considered a part of the airplane. Changes to the M3 gun relative to the M2 are: the bolt assembly, oil buffer body, and barrel extension are modified. Some versions were electrically boosted and so did not have the muzzle recoil booster. The pneumatic buffer on the M3 is designed to absorb the greater recoil forces attendant to the gun's higher cyclic rate. The most famous use of the M3 was by the American F-86 Sabres against the Communist MiG-15s during the Korean War. Also used by the F-80, F-84, F-94, T-33, B-45, B-52 (with the exception of the H model, which used the M61 Vulcan), UH-1, and HH-53.

A new version of the M3 called the M3M made by Fabrique Nationale has been adopted as the GAU-21 by the US Military for use in aircraft and anti-aircraft vehicles. It will be capable of being mounted on each of the following aircraft CH-46, CH-47, CH-53, H-60, UH-1, and MV-22. Also mounted on M1097 Avenger HMMWV.


Browning M3 Aircraft

Browning M3 Aircraft - .50 BMG
Browning M3 Aircraft on M45 Quadmount - .50 BMG. The gun at the top-left is either missing its booster cap or is a Browning M2 Aircraft.
Browning GAU-16/A - .50 BMG

Type: Heavy Machine Gun

Caliber: .50 BMG

Capacity: Belt-Fed

Fire Modes: Fully Automatic (1150-1250 rounds per minute)

FN GAU-21 Aircraft

FN GAU-21 Aircraft Machine Gun - .50 BMG

Type: Heavy Machine Gun

Caliber: .50 BMG

Capacity: Belt-Fed

Fire Modes: Fully Automatic (950-1150 rounds per minute)

The Browning M3 heavy machine gun appears in the following films used by the following actors


Title Actor Character Note Date
Jet Pilot USAF pilots Mounted in nose section of F-94 Starfires 1957
The Hunters Robert Mitchum Maj. Cleve Saville Mounted in nose section of F-86 Sabre 1958
The Hunters USAF pilots Mounted in nose section of F-86 Sabres 1958
Kissin' Cousins Mounted on F-86 Sabre 1964
Sheena: Queen of the Jungle Mercenary pilots Mounted on Bell Jet Ranger 1984
The Detached Mission (Odinochnoye plavanye) In tail mounting on B-52; seen in documentary footage 1985
Iron Eagle II USAF pilots Mounted in tail of B-52D Stratofortress 1988
Return from the River Kwai Mounted on unidentified American and Japanese planes 1989
By Dawn's Early Light Ronald Willam Lawrence Hooker Mounted in tail of B-52G Stratofortress 1990
Fire Birds Bert Rhine Eric Stoller Mounted in SUU-12/A gun pod on "Scorpion attack helicopter" 1990
The Siege US Army soldier Mounted on Cadillac-Gage Commando APC 1998
Supreme Sanction Mounted on MD 500; Footage from Fire Birds 1999
Iron Man FN GAU-21; Mounted on HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter 2008
Rambo Sylvester Stallone Rambo 2008
Battle: Los Angeles US Marines Door-mounted on UH-1N Huey helicopter 2011
Battleship US Marines 2012
Captain Phillips US Navy crewmen Door-mounted on SH-60 Seahawk helicopter 2013
War for the Planet of the Apes Alpha/Omega solider FN GAU-21 2017


Show Title / Episode Actor Character Note Air Date
Lock 'n Load With R. Lee Ermey / Ep. 5: "Helicopters" Mounted on Huey and Kiowa Warrior helicopters .

Video Games

Game Title Referred as Mods Notation Release Date
Battlefield 2 Mounted on EC635, in HMP-400 gun pod 2005
Project Reality Mounted on EC635 in HMP-400 gun pod, M1097 "Avenger" humvee, UH-1N Huey, MV-22 Osprey, CH-47 Chinook, and OH-58D Kiowa Warrior 2005
Battlefield 2042 Mounted on B-17 Bomber 2021


Film Title Character Notation Date
The Iron Giant USAF pilots Mounted in F-86 Sabres 1999

See Also

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