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How It’s Made: The M249 SAW From Billet to Bullet

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The video is a quick look at what goes into building world-class weapons, giving viewers a look inside FNA in Columbia, SC – one of the biggest makers of military arms. It shows how the company makes the M249 SAW, from billet to bullet.

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It starts off with an introduction on war, how it has reached all corners of the globe, especially this ongoing battle against terrorism. Soldiers now fight with highly advanced equipment, but currently, these wars have the enemy mingled in with civilians, making the use of traditional missiles and other weapons a great danger.

So when ground precision and effectiveness are paramount, only trained infantry men going on foot can really infiltrate enemy territory and carry out missions. In these instances, the American soldier’s most valuable tool is his rifle. While effective, sometimes a squad needs extra firepower. The SAW, or a squad automatic weapon, is the answer.

In essence, a SAW is a weapons meant to be carried and used by a single soldier. It provides more rounds than a traditional magazine-fed shoulder-fired rifle, and can either be magazine or belt-fed, the latter being the more common choice in military situations. The US Army currently uses the M249 SAW, an open-bolt, long-stroke, gas piston driven, selective fire rifle chambered in 556. While the Army uses belts, the M249 can also take standard M16 magazines in an emergency.

The M249 can produce 800 rounds per minute, and is capable of giving out incredible amounts of firepower.

So when FN American announced the production of a civilian version of the rifle, the guys at OutdoorHub decided to take a trip to the gu manufacturer’s headquarters to see how the rifle is made.

It all begins with a billet of raw steel, which is shaped and shaved to form the basic shape of a gun’s receiver. Areas that are too delicate to be milled from the billet are machine-welded onto the receiver itself. The video then goes on to describe how a barrel is made in the forge. The components are all heat-treated then sent to a chemical bath for nitrating, which gives additional outside strength and corrosion resistance. The guns are then assembled then dipped into a preservative oil before being packed.

The M249 SAW is available at FNA, as well as the more affordable M249-S, the biggest difference being the latter fires from a closed bolt and is not readily convertible to an automatic. He says one thing that was made clear is that FN American does a very good job of creating these weapons.

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