Bren vs....

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Chief Master Sergeant
Jun 25, 2013
The Bren was still in service (just) when I joined up. One of the complaints about it was that it was too accurate for a support weapon. One of the functions of a machine gun team is to dominate ground and prevent enemy movement. You need at least some bullet spread from a support machine gun to increase the chances of hitting numbers of advancing troops. If the machine gun is too accurate, you'll actually hit fewer of the enemy...or you'll have to do more manual sweeping of the weapon to change bullet direction.

I remember reading -- and I can't remember where -- the 12.7 x 99 round for the M2 Browning was modified to increase dispersion, as the US Army found it too consistent for machine gun use.


Major General
Jun 29, 2009
Central Florida Highlands
I would be very leery of such a claim unless from an official publication/document.
The M2 used a variety of ammunition as it was, ball, AP, tracer, API, incendiary. and sometimes there were more than one example of each type. Not all shot to the same point of impact.
The M2 was also used in a variety of mounts, some of which were a lot less stable than others, meaning they had all the dispersion they could handle (and more) while some mounts were very stable with little added dispersion.

I would also note that the use of the ,50 cal as a general purpose machine gun was often limited. the 30 cal guns (or 7.62) used up ammo at about 1/5 the rate when you consider weight so even in ground guns the M2 was "special purpose"

The Basket

Senior Master Sergeant
Jun 27, 2007
That's one thing I can never understand.
A gun is too accurate.
Run for the hills!!!!
The whole point is that it's supposed to be!!!!


Major General
Jun 29, 2009
Central Florida Highlands
IF you need dispersion you can often design a mount that will give it to you. Some machine gun mounts actually had devices that made the gun traverse as the gun fired.
.30 Brownings had number of things that would cause dispersion, like the tightness of the front barrel bushing/gland, head space, adjustment of the buffer and even tightness of the firiers hand on the grip (called riding the gun) and even the amount of weight on the tripod or grip of the tripod feet on the ground.
Hammering tent stakes behind the rear feet of the tripods helped tighten up groups at times. Vickers gunners could fire a short burst, give the side of the receiver a hit, fire short burst another hit and so on.

Point is that a good gunner who knew the "tricks" could increase dispersion if he needed to. Once you design, build and issue crappy ammo with "built in"
dispersion you are screwed. Nothing the gunners can do will tighten the pattern up if need be.

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