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Origins of Constant Recoil: The Ultimax Mk3 (feat. Mae & a Yeti)

Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on I’m Ian McCollum, and I am out here at the range today courtesy of the Morphy Auction Company up in Pennsylvania, and we have an Ultimax Mark 3 light machine gun here. This is a gun that was designed for Singapore
by a guy named James Sullivan, or Jim Sullivan. He is one of the engineers who was originally involved
in basically downscaling the AR-10 into the AR-15 design. He worked at Armalite for a while, and then he went off and
did some work on this gun and a couple others for Singapore. And the really interesting thing about this gun is it utilises,
in fact it pioneered, the concept of constant recoil. And that is the idea that the bolt never
fully impacts the back of the receiver, and so instead of a staccato series of impacts on your
shoulder, the recoil from this thing is basically one single continuous, steady push. And that makes it far more
controllable than a lot of other light machine guns. So, we see this today in guns like the Knight’s Armament
light assault machine gun, but this is where it all started. So, this is the first time I’ve had a
chance to actually shoot one of these. I’m really curious to see what
it works like, so let’s dive right in. That is exactly what constant recoil is advertised as
doing, that just sits there while you fire. It is really cool. Alright. Now, shooting this from the
ground is one thing, but to really get an idea for how effective that constant recoil
system is we need to shoot it standing up. It really is just as nice from the shoulder as it is from
the ground. Constant recoil systems are just awesome. Alright, I have more ammo. But I know
what my thoughts are on constant recoil guns, I’m curious to get someone else’s thoughts
on constant recoil. So let’s find someone who’s got some experience, perhaps with older
machine guns, and see what she thinks of it. Mae? – I heard you need a second opinion.
– I do need a second opinion. – OK. Alright, she’s already locked back. – Boom.
– Thank you very much.
– You’re welcome. – Seems straightforward. Well.
– You seem to like that. – Just a little bit.
– You’ve emptied the entire drum.
– Was I not supposed to? – Now the gun’s smoking.
– Is it supposed to? I’ve never quite experienced something like that before. I mean I’ve shot 5.56 from the shoulder before,
and I know there’s going to be some recoil, but the fact that constant pressure, you just
don’t feel it after the first shot. It’s amazing. – So it really is a real thing, it’s not just me?
– No – Like thinking that it’s gonna happen
and then it really is there. – Like effectively all you’re really controlling
is a little bit of vibration, but that’s about it. Otherwise, it’s like you said, I didn’t feel any
difference in pressure against my shoulder. It was absolutely constant
the whole way. That’s incredible. – It’s like a garden hose. And that’s the short little stubby jumpy
barrel too. That’s not the full length barrel for this thing. – What’s the full length barrel supposed to be?
– 16, 20, I think. – That’s impressive, that really is. – So the question arises, I suppose,
as to why more people don’t do this? – Well, I mean … are they produced like consistently?
Like is it something that they tend to manufacture and it tends to come
out perfect every time in production? – Yes.
– OK. – It is simply a combination of proper design elements,
but the issue is, as best I’ve been able to to figure it out, the issue is that this is only a thing in full-auto.
Constant recoil in semi-auto is meaningless.
– Right. – Because semi-auto is always going
to be bang, bang, bang, one at a time.
– There’s no point to it. – There aren’t actually that many light machine guns out there
that are intended for full-auto only that are newer than this. This dates to the 1970s, and if you think about
the light machine guns that are currently in use, you’ve got things like the FN Minimi, maybe the M240, both of which are older than this. And militaries are really happy with
those, and so they’re not replacing them. And so there isn’t a huge market for a new
design. … I think a lot of militaries think that this, the constant recoil thing, doesn’t really justify
replacing an entire fleet of light machine guns. – I don’t know, I feel like that
justifies it. Just the feel alone. – I kind of do too. So the Ultimax was the one that
really set this up, like the Ultimax was the first. And then today we have the Knight’s Armament light assault
machine gun. That’s even nicer than this to be honest … that is sweet. Yeah, so this was actually my first
time shooting an Ultimax as well. – How did you feel about it?
– I rate this a 10 out of 10, this thing is awesome. – I’d have to agree with you on that
one. It’s beautiful, it really was. – Would you take it into combat? – Absolutely. Are you kidding me? It’s the ultimate Ultimax.
– Yeah, it’s pretty nice. Alright, well, thanks for watching guys, hopefully you
enjoyed the video. If you are looking for an Ultimax, this one is coming up for sale at the Morphy
Auction House in their October of 2019 Extraordinary Firearms auction, along
with a whole slew of other machine guns. A big thanks to them for letting
us bring it out to the range here. I wanted to shoot it some, I think
Mae enjoyed shooting it as well.
– We appreciate it guys. – Thanks for watching.
– Bye. Sorry guys, I owe you a mag dump don’t I? Well, we went ahead
and put the long barrel on because it’s a nice cool barrel. We’re gonna go ahead and dump
30 rounds through it, but to be honest, I’ve always kind of wanted a show
on the History Channel, and I figured if I want to get them interested in working
with me, I need to do something a little different, I need to appeal to what the
History Channel’s interested in. So, instead of me doing a mag dump,
I’ve invited a Sasquatch to do a mag dump. […] There’s your ammo. Barp.

100 thoughts on “Origins of Constant Recoil: The Ultimax Mk3 (feat. Mae & a Yeti)

  1. How to drop the price on a firearm auction by 100s in less than 10 minutes! (And then increase the price because of viewers outbidding each other to have a channel used firearm)

  2. Does a constant recoil system make a difference on single shots? Of course you wouldn't get the same effect as in full auto, but not having a sharp impact of a recoiling bolt might still make a difference.

  3. Jane's International Defence Review correspondent — Andrew Tillman, in an exclusive invitation from ST Kinetics to participate in the Product Improvement Program (PIP, initiated in 1989) to test fire the gun, elaborated:

    This article began by praising the Ultimax for its ease of control, which allows accurate fire. A comment to the author by an experienced SEAL team leader aptly underlines the importance of having an accurate light machine gun: "Men react one of two ways when they are shot at. If you just shoot at them, they will take cover and return fire, but if you start hitting them, they withdraw."

    Excerpt taken from:

  4. Just because it is the best design, best ergonomics, most reliable, and affordable. Does not mean the US military will want it. Sad as that is…

  5. Any chance of getting a firearms engineer responsible for one of these designs to go into the design details and mathematic principles? I wonder if the next step is to control the impact of the bolt into the chamber, perhaps by attaching the bolt to a rotary counterweight like the flywheel or harmonic balancer on an internal combustion engine.

  6. I'm not sure how I feel about watching Mae shoot a firearm without some preiod accurate music in the background…

  7. Why is there no true machine gun or light weight assault gun with constant recoil? The concept provides a HUGE advantage but it is only implemented in this strange not-yet-full machinegun, heavier-than-assault gun type of firearms.

  8. I disagree constant recoil is pointless on a semi auto firearm. While it won't "matter" for the shot that causes the recoil, it does matter for a follow up shot. If your shooting rapidly, in semi auto, Constant recoil can make the gun smoother. If you ever put an adjustable gas block on an AR, and tuned it so it just barely works, you have effectively created a constant recoil gun, albeit with a narrow operating window (Prone to malfunction because of fouling, ammo differences, etc). What the Ultimax and other "constant recoil" guns do, is they give the bolt more room to move, so you can give it enough gas (or other form of operation) so it will work reliably under variable conditions while still not bottoming out. An example of how to better do it on the AR15 is the Surefire BCG, which does this by increasing the bolt travel, so you can give it enough gas to be reliable, but still not bottom out. If youre handy, you can modify a standard BCG, buffer and spring to get the same effect in an AR15. In my experience the modified BCG shoots smoother and has less felt recoil than a standard BCG at the same gas setting.

  9. Now we need a video showing the internals of the thing, with a proper explanation of how it works. Great video, though.

  10. I have a feeling the real value of a system like this isn't in supporting a traditional role like the autorifleman, but in allowing a change of doctrine. I wonder if constant recoil would solve the issues the slew of US small arms programs (SALVO to LSAT) failed in: if an infantryman finally has the ability to provide accurate full-auto fire, would that solve the problem of low effective lethality?

  11. For those that are interested, I found a video on how to field strip an Ultimax from Escuador
    If you can overlook the language, it shows the disassembly of the gun quite well.

  12. Ian , Mae, Othias, Ultimax Mk3 , three of my favourite presenters and an awesome weapon all in one show = Ultimate Video short . Thanks folks .

  13. The big question isn’t whether Mae would take this into combat… the big question (which wasn’t asked) was if Mae had Doc Brown’s time traveling DeLorean DMC-12, would she take this back with her to 115 years ago (to 1914), and use it in World War I…

  14. May I suggest compressing the audio a bit next time? There's really too much difference between spoken and shooting parts, was constantly fiddling with the remote

  15. If it was your money that you had to spend to update your army, you might change your mind about it being "justified".

  16. Thanks for bringing in Mae. She's got a meaningful different perspective. Of course, Sasquatch has the final imprimatur.

  17. You need to do a accuracy drill with it on full auto, compared to a FN minimi.
    Throw in the Knights Armament as well, to compare the concept and not just the quality of that one design.

    Does it actually give a benefit to the user besides feeling nicer?
    And does the system have any downsides (besides I assume cost) ?
    Some have commented about reliability, but if so is that a consequence of the recoil system or just inherent to that particular model of gun?

    And could the system be adapted to assault rifles with ease (I assume so) ? And how does it compare to the Kriss system for recoil control?

    Basically is this possibly the wave of the future, or just an interesting niche?

  18. If I'm not mistaken, one of the downsides of the BREN was that is was considered to be TOO accurate for its class/purpose. This might be the case with this one too. In the military doctrine, the place of the machine gun – light or not – is to provide support or suppression fire, with a relatively large spread. Low recoil translates into higher precission, which is what the millitary was traditionally NOT aiming for. That is IMHO one more reason for which other armies never considered this gun (or the concept) worth investing in…

  19. But you arent factoring in the bribes paid by machine gun manufacturers and the promised kick backs to the ordinance officers involved in acquisitions during the lifespan of the junk wagon which could be 20 to 30 years. Look how long that 22 has cursed our military. That's a testimony to how long kickbacks, bribes and corruption can continue. From Viet Nam until today!

  20. It was a very popular LMG in the Croat army during the early 90s (Yugoslav wars) so much so the ultimax became somewhat of a symbol of the intital years of the war, and was even presented in a movie

  21. Question is: Is it uesful in a real life situation? Would a series of 3-5 round bursts not supress somebody just as well as fully american automatic fire (and keep you supplied with ammo longer)? When you do short bursts the recoil buffering gives you zero benefit, because you need those 3-5 shots until you adjust to the recoil.

  22. If Ian really wanted a show on history channel he should have first showed how a random guy wants to pawn off his MG. Ian then calls a yeti to appraise said MG.


  24. Mae hardly lets Othais shoot on their channel. It’s nice to see Othais finally get some range time. Poor guy hardly ever gets to shoot!

  25. It looks like a liliput rifle fired by Gulliver in Ian's arms. But in Mae's arms? was like it is fired in a ransom rest.

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