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Rheinmetall MG3 (Maschinengewehr Modell 3) General Purpose Machine Gun (1968)

Authored By Staff Writer

The German Army MG3 is based on the World War Two-era MG42, which is further based on the earlier MG34.

The German Army MG series was developed when the Federal Republic of Germany was allowed to reinvest in small arms following restrictions set in place after World War 2. By all accounts, the MG1 in the family was based highly on the wartime MG42 system that replaced the MG34 (both weapons detailed elsewhere on this site). Common to the wartime MG42 was the issue of jamming in particular. As a result, the new MG series of general purpose machine guns addressed those issues and modifications were applied to create a somewhat new generation in the MG series, but in all actuality, the series remains faithful to the wartime MG42ís.

The MG3 became an improved version of the initial MG1 offering and was built to fire either the DM1 or DM13 (continuous and disintegrating respectively) belts. A chrome-bore lining was added to the barrel a the system was also designed to accept a 100-round detachable drum. The MG3 can be fired from a bipod or tripod system and can be fitted with an optical sight. Along with the modifications listed below per-series, the MG3 was also fitted to fire the NATO-standard 7.62x51mm cartridge as opposed to the wartime 7.92mm cartridge.

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Specifications for the
Rheinmetall MG3 (Maschinengewehr Modell 3)
General Purpose Machine Gun

Country of Origin: Germany
Manufacturer: Rheinmetall GmbH - Germany
Initial Year of Service: 1968

Overall Length: 1225mm (48.23in)
Barrel Length: 0.00mm (0.00in)
Weight (Empty): 23.15lbs (10.50kg)

Caliber: 7.62x51mm NATO
Action: Recoil-Operated; Automatic Fire Only
Feed: Various; Metal-Link Belt Fed
Rate-of-Fire: 650 rounds per minute

MG1 - Redesignated from the MG42/59 when adopted as the standard GPMG.

MG1A1 - Issued with chromium-plated bore; limited to DM1 link belts; experimental weapon.

MG1A2 - Varying fire from DM1 or M13 link belts; based on the 1A1 variant; experimental weapon.

MG1A3 - Improved muzzle booster addition; based on the 1A1 variant; modifications to feed, trigger and bipod assemblies.

MG2 - Pre-1945 models (MG 42) modified to fire the newly accepted 7.61x51mm NATO standard cartridge.

MG3 - Improved MG1 model redesigned to accept DM1 and DM13 belt feed system types.

MG3A1 - Similar to the MG1A4; rubber shoulder pad.

MG42/59 - Initial Production Market Designation as applied by Rheinmetall.

MG58 - Austrian-converted MG 42 models.

MG74 - Austrian-produced versions similar to MG 42 by Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG.

"Fucile Mitragliatore" / "Mitragliatrice" - Italian-produced variant.