Another great video on US military Gatling machine guns The Dillon M134D Gatling Gun is the finest small caliber, defense suppression weapon available. It is a six barreled, electrically driven machine gun chambered in 7.62mm NATO and fires at a fixed rate of 3,000 shots per minute. Gatling Guns typically feed from a 3,000 or 4,000 round magazine. They are capable of long periods of continuous fire without threat or damage to the weapon making them an excellent choice for defensive suppression.
Dillon Guns are reliable. The M134D has system life in excess of one million rounds and an average time between stoppage of 30,000 rounds. In the unlikely event of a stoppage the weapon can be serviced and made operational again in under a minute. The multi barrel design means that each barrel only experiences a 500 round per minute rate of fire. This allows for repeated long bursts of fire and a barrel group life of 200,000 rounds.
Dillon Gatling Guns are in service with the US and Allied Armed Forces. The standard application is as helicopter crew served and fixed forward fire installations. In addition to their more traditional roles, Dillon Gatlings are supplanting M2 50 cal. Heavy Machine Guns and M240's on a number of the US Army's vehicles. Dillon M134s are also in service with the US and British navies in the fleet protection role and Special Operations fire support role.
Dillon M134 Gatling Guns are entirely new production weapons. Dillon guns are sold as complete weapon systems or as component upgrade packages for older GE M134 systems.
The M134 Minigun is a 7.62×51 mm NATO, six-barreled machine gun with a high rate of fire (2,000 to 6,000 rounds per minute). It features Gatling-style rotating barrels with an external power source, normally an electric motor. The "Mini" in the name is in comparison to designs that use a similar firing mechanism but larger shells, such as General Electric's earlier 20-millimeter M61 Vulcan, and "gun" for a caliber size smaller than that of a cannon, typically 20 mm and higher.
The Minigun is used by several branches of the U.S. military. Versions are designated M134 and XM196 by the United States Army, and GAU-2/A and GAU-17/A by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy.
"Minigun" refers to a specific model of weapon that General Electric originally produced, but the term "minigun" has popularly come to refer to any externally powered Gatling gun of rifle caliber. The term is also used to refer to guns of similar rates of fire and configuration regardless of power source and caliber.
Background: electrically driven Gatling gun
The ancestor to the modern minigun was made in the 1860s. Richard Jordan Gatling replaced the hand cranked mechanism of a rifle-caliber Gatling gun with an electric motor, a relatively new invention at the time. Even after Gatling slowed down the mechanism, the new electric-powered Gatling gun had a theoretical rate of fire of 3,000 rounds per minute, roughly three times the rate of a typical modern, single-barreled machine gun. Gatling's electric-powered design received U.S. Patent #502,185 on July 25, 1893. Despite Gatling's improvements, the Gatling gun fell into disuse after cheaper, lighter-weight, recoil and gas operated machine guns were invented; Gatling himself went bankrupt.
During World War I, several German companies were working on externally powered guns for use in aircraft. Of those, the best-known today is perhaps the Fokker-Leimberger, an externally powered 12 barrel rotary gun using the 7.92x57mm Mauser round; it was claimed to be capable of firing over 7,000 rpm, but suffered from frequent cartridge-case ruptures due to its "nutcracker", rotary split-breech design, which is fairly different from that of a Gatling. None of these German guns went into production during the war, although a competing Siemens prototype (possibly using a different action) which was tried on the Western Front scored a victory in aerial combat. The British also experimented with this type of split-breech during the 1950s, but they were also unsuccessful.
In the 1960s, the United States Armed Forces began exploring modern variants of the electric-powered, rotating barrel Gatling-style weapons for use in the Vietnam War. American forces in the Vietnam War, which used helicopters as one of the primary means of transporting soldiers and equipment through the dense jungle, found that the thin-skinned helicopters were very vulnerable to small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attacks when they slowed down to land. Although helicopters had mounted single-barrel machine guns, using them to repel attackers hidden in the dense jungle foliage often led to barrels overheating or cartridge jams.
In order to develop a weapon with a more reliable, higher rate of fire,