Griffon Models have joined the growing list of manufacturers with this set of replacement barrels for the U.S. M2 Cal.50HB (Heavy Barrel) Machine Gun. The set includes the four barrels from the recent Royal Edition M16 MGMC update set #S-BPL35001 as well as additional etched parts for the receiver details.
The set includes 8 machined brass parts for the barrel tubes and perforated cooling jackets plus an etched fret with 29 parts, a short length of 1mm plastic rod and the small instruction sheet.There is no cleanup on the machined brass parts and just the usual attachment burs for the etched parts to deal with.
with close-up of cooling jacket
The basic barrels consist of two parts, the barrel tube which the correct taper and includes a pre-drilled bore hole of the correct size as well as a collar at the receiver end to support the cooling jacket. The machined cooling jacket also has the correct taper plus the rows of three and four large lightening holes captured nicely as well as the two rear indentions with the size of the jacket and holes matching various available 1:35 plans to within acceptable tolerances.
The barrel details are also nicely done with the notches around the front of the cooling jacket attachment included and the muzzle tip has the slight faired step which also matches the real tip and as mentioned the correct sized bore hole.
Assembly is very straightforward by just slipping the cooling jacket over the barrel and attach level with the rear collar. A small dab of solder on the collar/barrel join will securely attach the parts but using cyanoacrylate would also work.
Fitting the metal barrel to any available kit gun receiver requires you to just cut off the plastic barrel/cooling jacket drill a small 1mm hole for the barrel attachment pin and fit in place ensuring the cooling jacket is aligned correctly with the indentations as the sides.
Barrel tube with the cooling jacket soldered in place on the rear collar
View of the front of the cooling jacket and notches in barrel that match the real thing very well
Also included is an etched brass barrel changing handle to use if required but this has the usual issue of being flat 2D brass and not round 3D wire and handle as it should be.
It’s easiest to use a 1.2mm drill bit shaft to bend the etched mounting strip around and secure the join with a dab of solder, you can then slip this over the brass barrel to make fitting easier.
To address the flat 2D appearance you could replace the handle support with thin wire if required and also replace the handle with this plastic rod.
I have only replaced the handle for this exercise and you simply cut away the brass handle, cut a short length of .5mm plastic rod to use as the handle. A small indentation is made on each end of the rod using a few quick twists of a 1mm drill bit and this will ensure the ends of the brass supports will sit nicely in place.
Overall view of the assembled barrels, with and without the modified barrel changing handle
Note: If you plan on using these barrels on the M16 MGMC you shouldn’t use the barrel changing handles as these were not fitted to operation vehicles during WWII. There is some restored museum M16s with cal.50s that have the changing handle but this is not authentic for WWII vehicles.
Additional details are included for the gun receiver and adding these will be similar on whichever kit gun you use the parts on. I have used the current generation DML M2 cal.50 here purely as I have heaps of them.
You get the top fore and aft sights and this requires the moulded on detail from the kit receiver to be removed as well as any rear firing handle detail that may be included on the plastic receiver.
The replacement top sights are easily bent to shape with bending lines include for the rear site and by using a drill bit shaft to bend the fore sight to shape, these can be glued in place with cyanoacrylate.
For the rear firing handles the etched frames require multiple bends, some in opposite directions and you must study the instructions clearly to fully understand the sequence. If you bend on in the wrong direction and have to re-bend it will probably snap off as the brass is quite thin, so take care. I again soldered the parts together for a stronger join but cyanoacrylate would be okay if you prefer?
The firing handles are cut from the plastic rod supplied but the actual handles should have a curved profile with the ends slightly thinner than the main handgrip. You can add this to the plastic rod with light sanding before fitting for a better appearance than the straight rod as in the accompanying images.
easily added with light sanding.
These replacement M2 Cal.50 barrels are dimensionally accurate with nicely detailed barrel and cooling jacket with simply assembly for a very viable replacement cal.50 barrel.
The additional barrel changing handle is a nice inclusion but the lack of 3D appearance is noticeable as it is with any etched cal.50 changing handle. Also the extra receiver sight and firing handle details add further value to the set.
Having the four barrels in the set gives you the four barrels to use with the M16 MGMC in one set or you can update four standard cal.50s with the additional details included.
See a comparison of the available M2 Cal.50 metal barrels (will be updated shortly to include this barrel set)