Breda M1930 light machine gun (Italy)

Breda M1930 light machine gun in ready to fire position.
Breda M1930 light machine gun in ready to fire position.

Breda M1930 light machine gun with magazine hinged forward for loading, and spare barrel shown next to gun.
Breda M1930 light machine gun with magazine hinged forward for loading, and spare barrel shown next to gun.


Caliber: 6.5×52
Weight: 10.6 kg
Length: 1230 mm
Barrel length: 500 mm
Feed: integral box magazine, 20 rounds
Rate of fire: 500 rounds per minute


The Breda M1930 light machine gun was a typical Italian machine gun of the era, that is, of very strange and unbusual design. It stemmed from several previous weapons, designed during 1920s by the Societa Italiana Ernesto Breda or Breda for short. In 1930, Breda produced a definitive pattern of its light machine gun line, the Modelo 1930. Unlike its predecessors, the Breda M1930 featured a conventional bipod rather than a light tripod, and dual spade grips (more suitable for a flexible aircraft or tripod-mounted infantry machine gun) were replaced with a rifle-type stock and a single pistol grip. These “advanced” features, however, were “compensated” by the awkward fixed magazine feed system and an action which required the use of an integral oiler. Nevertheless, this machine gun became the basic light machine gun of the Italian army and served throughout World War Two and for a brief while afterwards. It was also sold for export, most notably to Portugal in 7.92×57 mm (Italian light machine guns were invariably in 6.5mm).

The Breda M1930 light machine gun is a short-recoil operated, air cooled, magazine fed weapon. The barrel can be quickly replaced in the field, using the integral carrying handle. The action of the gun uses a rotary locking nut located around the breech of the barrel. This nut has locking recesses which engage the bolt head with five radial locking lugs upon rotation of the nut. During recoil, the rotation of the nut is controlled by a projection on the bottom of the nut which follows a diagonal track in the locking insert inside the receiver. The bolt does not rotate upon locking and unlocking, and has only linear motion. Since this system does not provide any primary extraction of the fired cases, the gun is equipped with an integral oiler, built into the top receiver cover; each cartridge is slightly oiled before chambering.

Feed is from an integral box magazine, holding 20 rounds in two rows, and installed on the right side of the gun. During normal use the box magazine cannot be completely withdrawn or detached from the gun, so it cannot be lost, and no spare magazines are necessary. Loading is achieved by unlocking and swinging the magazine forward in the horizontal plane until its opening is exposed to the operator. Fresh cartridges then are loaded into the magazine using special 20-round U-shaped clips, which need to be pushed all the way into the magazine for loading, and then withdrawn manually. Since the feeding lips are located in the magazine housing rather than in the magazine itself, a special lock is provided which holds the cartridges inside when the magazine is not locked in the working position. This lock is disengaged automatically once the magazine is locked in the firing position.
The firing controls include a convenient pistol grip with a traditional trigger, and a shoulder stock. Firing is from a closed bolt, in automatic mode only.
The gun is fitted with a wooden stock with a hinged shoulder rest. Support is provided by a folding bipod, attached to the barrel casing, and by an optional rear monopod of adjustable height, which can be installed under the butt if required.