Breda M1930 light machine gun with magazine hinged forward for loading, and spare barrel shown next to gun
Weight 10.6 kg
Length 1230 mm
Barrel length 500 mm
Feed integral box magazine, 20 rounds
Rate of fire 500 rounds per minute
Upon request from Italian army, Italian company Societa Italiana Ernesto Breda during the early 1920s developed a new lightweight machine gun, the first production guns being ordered by the Italian government in 1924. These were unusual (by most non-Italian standards) in using a fixed magazine feed with clip reloading, and a lightweight low-profile tripod. In 1930, Breda produced a definitive pattern of its light machine gun line, the Modelo 1930. 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 7.92x57 caliber (Italian light machine guns were invariably in 6.5mm calibre).
The Breda M1930 is a short-recoil operated, air cooled, magazine fed light machine gun. 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 During normal use the box magazine cannot be completely withdrawn or detached from the gun, so it cannot be lost, and no spare magazines are necessary.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using special 20-round U-shaped clips, which need to be pushed all the way into the magazine for loading, and then withdrawn manually.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.