After the last post with videos of me firing the H&K21 GPMG, a readers has checked in adding some detail and sending some video of his 5.56mm HK. After mentioning how I would like to try one in 5.56mm we get the next best thing.
Will, one of the readers that found us through the Hognose at weaponsman.com, (RIP) joined the tet-a-tet in the comment sections and shared some video of his gun in action.
Will’s gun is obviously a newer model configured to be infinitely more useful in a fight in modern times. You can see the control ability and recoil from the 556 variant and compare to the videos I posted earlier.
I wanted to edit in to add some words from Will about the gun above.
“Shawn, thanks for posting this. Some details on the gun: it’s a Michaels Machines MM23E, which is not quite a true E spec gun.
Most notably, it uses a hybrid barrel that has the E extractor cutout but also the non-E safety mechanism. Both the HK21 and HK21E include a safety mechanism to prevent the gun from firing while the barrel is not locked into the receiver. On the HK21 a small pin sticks out of the rear of the barrel and interfaces with a matching indentation on the bolt face. If the barrel is unlocked, the pin prevents the bolt from going into battery.
On an E gun, a pin sticks out the side of the barrel opposite the barrel handle. When the barrel is unlocked, this pin prevents the charging handle from releasing.
You can use German E barrels on a MM21E or MM23E, but you have to remove the safety pin, which is a little scary. If you fire the gun while the barrel is not locked, it will fly down range and the barrel handle will tear off the front half of the receiver cage as it goes.
Like a real E, you can convert it to 7.62×51 by swapping the bolt, barrel, and feed mechanism, which can be done in a minute or two. German feed mechanisms work fine with the MM guns, supposedly. The bolt group is different, however, since it has a slot and ramp cut into it to actuate the trip lever for transferable sear packs. A real German 21/23E uses a one piece sear/trip lever, and isn’t compatible with a transferable sear.
As for Michaels Machines, owned by Mike Otte, I had a terrible experience, and am still having the occasional issue. They are very expensive guns with long lead times, but mine did not work well out of the box, had a multitude of finish and function issues like a canted front sight that was so far off to the side that I couldn’t get it on paper, and a botched job on my sear install in a 4 position burst pack. My feed mechanism is currently back with Otte since some of the parts are warping or wearing at an unusually high rate and causing jams, almost like the heat treat wasn’t quite right.
If I were to do it all over I’d let TSC build the gun out of a German 21E parts kit and HK91, which would cost twice as much but be as close to the real thing as possible, and undoubtedly work well.
Here’s a picture of the whole gun:
I always take flak for changing to an AR style stock, but with the riser it gives the correct cheek weld with the optic, and also shortens up the length of pull to a more manageable distance, which brings the center of gravity rearwards to aid with offhand shooting”