The ammunition is fed to the M2 Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun in disintegrating belts linked with the M2 or M9 metallic links. M2 and M9 links are manufactured with closed loops. When assembled with the cartridge in belts, the links fit on the cartridge shoulder. The tapered front loops of the links are positioned firmly on the cartridge shoulder to hold the cartridge in proper alignment for feeding into the weapon. The design required the cartridge to be extracted from the rear and dropped into position for moving into the chamber for firing.
This review covers one of the many M2 Machine Gun accessory sets in 1/35 scale from Live Resin: M2 Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun belt links set (LRE 35092)
. Live Resin packs their goodies in a zip-lock bag which is safely secured between a firm carboard backing. The CAD boxart image on the front shows the kit parts, while the one on the back displays .50 cal belt links set together with .50 cal spent shells set (LRE-35093). The box states this accessory set is compatible with all Live Resin kits featuring M2 machine guns, but also with any .50 caliber weapon produced by other manufacturers.
The boxart image shows this kit includes 50 belt clips, however the set I received consisted of three carrier blocks with 21 belt link each, totaling to 63 links all together. The parts are cast in grey resin and the molding is absolutely astonishing; there are no air bubbles or seam lines to clean. The resin pieces are very small and could be a bit difficult to remove from their carrier blocks. Die-hard modelers craving for ultra realism might want to precisely drill out the loops of the links as well. Although cleaning the pieces is a tedious and time consuming work, it is well worth it in the end.
If you are planning to use this set for representing M2 in operation, you need the spent shells set (LRE-35093), too. As the name suggests, disintegrating .50 cal ammo belt disintegrates when the M2 is fired. Whenever the shell is ejected from the chamber, the link is ejected as well. That is why there is always a pile of both spent shells and belt clips on the ground.
I still remember the .50 cal shell sets from Mission Models. Each set included not only individually machined brass shells, but also PE belt links. Although very difficult to assemble and extremely expensive (25 shells with 50 links were about $16), these sets were the best option for superdetailing the Browning .50 Cal Machine Gun. As far as I know, Mission Models does not produce these .50 cal shell sets any more.
Now Live Resin decided to tackle .50 cal ammo and belt clips in resin. The belt links in this set are nicely cast. They could prove a bit difficult to clean, but the hard work is well worth it in the end.
Olive Drab website
.50 Caliber Browning Ammunition