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Last weekend I was in Denver, went to the gun show. Interesting, collector guns only. Didn't buy. In group talking about barrel life, an ex-Army man, special services, helicopters, jump qualified, crew job side gunner, ground job gun maintenance, deployments in So. America & Afghanistan talked about the 'mini-gun'. As I said, maybe old news to some but of interesting to old fogeys like me. I knew about the old Gatling Gun and the big new ones in the A-10 Warthog (40mm ?) & the 20mm in the C-130 but the 'mini-gun' was new to me. Described as only about 5 foot long, 7.62mm, 6 barrels, electrical powered 3000 rounds-per-minute if powered by DC or 5000 if AC current. Originally made of steel but newest of titanium weighing 20 pounds less, allowing that much more ammo in its package. Said to be built for 300,000 rounds service life, every part 300k rounds life. Said after each mission, guns were disassembled and serviced, the only parts showing any sign of wear were firing pins.

Makes me wonder when I think of the frequent questions about barrel life, how often people replace springs, etc.
 

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I don't know very much about Mini guns, but most US heavy machine guns and small caliber canons have had stellite lined barrels for many years. Stellite increases barrel life dramatically in military weapons. It is not used, or wasn't used in my day, in infantry small arms barrels like M-14s, M-16s, M1911A1s, etc. I seem to remember the M-2 50 cal. machine guns have stellite barrels.
A crew served or vehicle mounted auto weapon with a stellite lined barrel cannot fairly be compared in terms of longevity to the barrel in an infantry weapon or a civilian handgun barrel

Here's a brief link about stellite: DEVELOPMENT OF A STELLITE-LINED, CHROMIUM-PLATED BARREL FOR 5.56MM MACHINE GUN
 

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The Mini-gun has been around since at least the Vietnam War where it was used on helicopters and on SEAL delivery boats.

There are several accounts in books of Navy SEALS describing being picked up in the jungle by a delivery boat while under fire.
As soon as the SEALS were on board the boat raced away under full power and the stern mounted Mini-gun opened up to suppress enemy fire.
The SEALS described how all enemy fire instantly ceased in a shocked silence as the Mini-gun literally leveled the jungle in a wide swath.

Today Dillon Aero of Dillon reloader fame is making Min-guns for the military. If you watch "Mythbusters" on cable, they've used the Dillon Mini-gun several times in the show.
Impressive firepower doesn't even begin to describe it.

Dillon Aero: M134 Gatling Gun, Miniguns, M134 Gun Systems, Naval Mounts, Helicopter Mounts, Vehicle Mounts
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks dfaris for more info. Speaker above-mentioned, gave some graphic description of mini-gun use like a mowing machine clearing brushy area of opposition.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Re: "Malysh - I don't know very much about Mini guns, but most US heavy machine guns and small caliber canons have had stellite lined barrels for many years." etc, etc

Stellite --- set me to thinking, been hearing/using that term for years, but what is it? Seems it isn't anything specific. Like the word 'steel' can be anything from iron with a bit of carbon in it to complex alloys such as stainless steel, 'stellite' as described in references might be a 'stainless' steel (or vice-versa, stellite a stainless) because of its complex alloy content.

So, it seems 'stellite' in gun barrels, means high alloy content steel designed for max performance, life, etc., in its application ---- with me knowing a little more than when I started.
 

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As DFW mentioned, the mfg. of Mini guns for a number of years has been Dillon. In my day, it was GE. The Dillons are supposed to be much better and more reliable. I've never shot a mini gun. All they gave me were M-60s and M-16A1s.

I'm pretty sure the Minis also have stellite lined barrels, at least the Dillon version.
Note the date on that declassified Springfield Armory report is June 1967.
 

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Very intetesting! I had never thought anout this nor had any exposure to these kinds of Guns.

Stellite is a wonderful Alloy...makes sense it would be a good choice for lining Barrels or even for entire Receivers or Chambers and so on.

It would have been interesting if Colt had made some Exhibition Show versions of their Revolvers and Automatics entirely of Stellite, sort of how Ford used to make up a few Cars ( well, their Bodies anyway ) now and then, from the Model A on, out of 'Allegheny Metal', a form of Stainless Steel.
 
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