BM59 battle rifle
|Place of origin||Italy|
|In service||1959–1990 (Italian service)|
|Used by||See Users|
|Wars||Anti-guerrilla operations in Indonesia,|
Indonesian invasion of East Timor,
Somali Civil War,
Libyan civil war
|Manufacturer||Beretta, Bandung Weapons Factory, Defence Industries Corporation|
|Variants||Mark I, Mark II, III/Ital TA, BM59 Para, Mark IV|
|Weight||4.4 kg (9.70 lb)|
|Length||1,095 mm (43.1 in)|
|Barrel length||491 mm (19.3 in)|
|Action||Gas-operated, rotating bolt|
|Rate of fire||750 rounds per minute|
|Feed system||20-round detachable box magazine|
|Sights||Rear aperture, front post|
The Beretta BM59 is an Italian-made rifle based on the M1 Garand rifle, but chambered in 7.62×51 mm NATO, and modified to use a detachable magazine. Later revisions incorporated other features common to more modern rifles.
Development[edit | edit source]
After World War II, Italy adopted the US-designed M1 Garand rifle in .30-06 (7.62×63mm) and also manufactured it under license. This semi-automatic rifle proved itself well during World War II, but in the late 1950s it was considered outdated and obsolete and the Italian military also wanted a new rifle chambered for the NATO-standard 7.62×51mm round.
To meet these requirements, Beretta designed the BM59, which was essentially a rechambered M1 fitted with a removable 20-round magazine, folding bipod and a combined flash suppressor/rifle grenade launcher. The BM59 is capable of selective fire.
The BM59 was adopted in 1959 and served with Italian, Argentinian, Indonesian, and Moroccan armies. In the early 1980s, semi-automatic versions were imported to the United States and sold to private collectors. The earliest BM59s were manufactured from U.S.-manufactured M1 parts, including re-chambered barrels.
In 1990, the BM59 was replaced in Italian service by the Beretta AR70/90 assault rifles, although some may be in service in the Italian Navy.
Variants[edit | edit source]
The BM59 has several military and civilian variants that include the following:
Military[edit | edit source]
- BM-59 Mark I: had a wooden stock with a semi-pistol grip stock.
- BM-59 Mark II: had a wooden stock with pistol grip to achieve a better control during full-auto fire;
- BM-59 Mark III: or Ital TA (also known as the Truppe Alpine), was a variant with a pistol grip and a metallic folding buttstock, that was intended for mountain troops. The BM59 Para was similar to BM59 Ital TA, but was intended for paratroopers. It was equipped with a shorter barrel and flash-hider.
- BM-59 Mark IV: had a heavier barrel with a plastic stock, and was used as a light squad automatic weapon.
Civilian[edit | edit source]
The rare BM-62 and 69 are civilian sporting rifles with the grenade launcher and sights removed. with the following:
- BM-62: Semi-auto that came with 20-round magazines that were permanently modified to only accept 10 rounds. Does not have bipod and compensator
- BM-69: Semi-auto with a bipod and tri-compensator.
Users[edit | edit source]
- Argentina: Used in the Falklands War.
- Indonesia: Under license at the Bandung Weapons Factory as the SP-1.
- Nigeria: Under license by Defense Industries Corporation.
- San Marino
See also[edit | edit source]
- M14 rifle - American battle rifle also developed from the M1 Garand
- Franchi LF-59
- MAS 49 - A French semiautomatic rifle
- Itajuba Model 954 Mosquetao
- List of battle rifles
References[edit | edit source]
- Beretta BM 59 rifle. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
- Modern Firearms' Beretta BM 59 page. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
- Beretta's BM 59. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
- Beretta BM62. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
- Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
- German small arms: The Nigerian connection. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
- Photo of the Guardia di Rocca
[edit | edit source]
- Beretta BM59 at Modern Firearms
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