by: Pete Becerra [ ]
Originally published on:
“The M134 is a minigun of US origin. It was developed by General Electric in 1960 as armament for helicopters and to be used in aircraft gun pods. The name M134 is the US Army designation, the marketing name Minigun has become popular and is even used to refer to rotary barrel weapons in general. The M134 was widely used as helicopter and aircraft armament during the Vietnam war. Over time the M134 has been widely exported and is now also used on vehicles, small boats and naval vessels.
The M134 is based on the Gatling principle and uses a six-barrel rotary assembly. Ammunition is fed link-less or by belts that travel through a delinking device. The gun is externally powered and has a short spin up time. When operated manually the gun is mounted on a single arm that allows the weapon to swivel horizontally and vertically. The gun is fired using spade grips with a sighting unit and tracer ammunition as means of targeting.
The M134 fires the standard 7.62x51mm NATO round at a rate of fire that ranges between 300 and 6.000 rpm. Two rates of fire can be selected and 2.000 and 4.000 rpm are most common. Area targets can be engaged at ranges well over 1 km. Normal ammunition canisters of 1.500, 3.000 or 4.500 rounds are used.
The M134D is the latest model of the M134 that is produced by Dillon Aerospace. The M134D functions in a similar way as the original M134 but uses many parts that are altered for increased strength and reliability. Another change for improved reliability is the removal of the fire rate selector. The M134D has no selectable rate of fire and always fires at 3.000 rpm.
When firing any weapon, especially machine guns, there is a risk of error due to movement in three key areas: platform, gun, and target. Movement error becomes more pronounced as the range to target increases. The M134D is able to counter movement error by increasing the number of shots per second, thus reducing the amount of time between each observed impact. The advantage of the M134D is that it is electronically driven, making it virtually recoilless. Furthermore, because of the combined effects of high rate of fire, extremely dense shot grouping, and high weapon stability, the M134D maximizes its effectiveness to a range of 1,200 meters.”
Major components of the Dillon M134D are:
GAU-2B/M134 Minigun Modernization/Upgrade Kit
Gun Control Unit (GCU/RGCU)
Gun Drive Motor
Link and Brass Exhaust
Top Cover and Safe Blade Assembly
Legend Productions has produced several different kits featuring the M134D minigun. The most basic kit is this set, LF3D052, which consist of just the gun, ammo belt and the small DMG0780 – Lightweight Lithium Battery, 7 AH . Two guns are provided in the kit.
Parts are molded in Legends gray resin and the pour blocks are located in places that don’t take away from the detail of the gun. Pour blocks are also easily removed carefully by hand or with a sharp X-Acto blade. Special care needs to be taken when removing the pour block from the guns “spades,” part #7, and rail mount, part #11. Also be careful with the small cable connectors, parts #13 through #16. You only get two per gun.
The kit provides brass wire for the cables, but I find it a bit too stiff to shape or hang naturally. I used lead wire the same diameter to simulate the cables. The main parts of the guns have locating pins and align just right. Everything was glued using Gorilla Glue Supper Glue. For the empty brass ammo chute, I used a lighter to heat and soften it up and bend it to shape when it was temporarily mounted to the gunner's station on the Kitty Hawk MH-60L Blackhawk. To finish up the gun, I used Vallejo paints to color it up.