Loading your M2/M2A1 machine gun incorrectly can do a number on its bolt. The bolt’s top suffers dents, gouges and excessive wear.
Protect the bolt by loading like this:
- Ensure the bolt is forward and the correct front and rear cartridges are installed.
- Make sure the weapon is on S (Safe) with the cover closed.
- Select single shot or automatic fire.
- To select single shot, ensure the bolt latch release lock is in the unlocked position, turned to the right. The bolt latch release must be in the up position (not locked down).
- To select automatic fire, depress the bolt and lock by turning the bolt latch release lock to the left. Ensure the bolt latch release is held down completely with no movement.
- Insert the double loop end of the ammo belt in the feedway until the first cartridge is held by the belt holding pawls.
- If firing automatic with the cover closed, pull the retracting slide handle all the way back until the bolt is completely to the rear. Release the handle. This half loads the machine gun.
- Repeat Step 7. This completes loading in automatic.
- If the M2A1 is set for single shot, the bolt will remain in the rear position, so move the slide handle forward before releasing the bolt with the bolt latch release.
- With cover closed, pull the retracting slide handle back until the bolt is all the way to the rear. Push the retracting slide handle to the fully forward position. Depress the bolt latch release. This half loads the machine gun.
- Repeat Step 10. This completes loading in the single shot setting.
- Place the weapon on F (Fire).
- Press the trigger to fire.