The Stoner 63, also known as the M63, XM22, XM23, XM207 or the Mk 23 Mod 0 machine gun, is an American modular weapons system designed by Eugene Stoner in the early 1960s.
The Stoner 63 is an American-made weapon. It was designed in 1963 by Eugene Stoner, the inventor of the M16 rifle. The Stoner 63 was designed to be a modular weapon, able to adapt easily to suit different roles, by flipping the receiver, swapping barrel groups, and switching between a magazine well or a belt-feed tray. It could fill the role of carbine, rifle, designated marksman rifle, squad automatic weapon, light machine gun, crew-served medium machine gun, or mounted medium machine gun.
In the rifle and carbine configurations, the Stoner 63 fed from a 30-round detachable box magazine and ejected from the right side. When configured as a SAW, the receiver was flipped over, placing the magazine on top of the weapon and the ejection port on the left side. The machine gun configurations traded the magazine well for a linked-belt feed tray feeding from the right, with the ejection port remaining on the left.
The Stoner 63 saw limited use in Vietnam by U.S. Special Operations Forces, mostly Navy SEALs, on a "field trial" basis. The SEALs usually used it in the LMG configuration. It was well-liked by the men who carried it, but was never officially adopted by the U.S. military, which was already spending millions of dollars on the M16 program. Nevertheless, the SEALs held on to their Stoners for almost two decades and even carried a few in Grenada.
An M63 was stored in a Dacha-turned relay station by Soviet forces within the Svyatogornyj portion of Tselinoyarsk, and presumably put it on guard. Naked Snake procured one during Operation Snake Eater. In addition, the Ocelot Unit was known to utilize this weapon, using it when ambushing Snake and EVA at Rassvet.
- Main article: San Hieronymo Incident
|Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]|
|Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.|
- Main article: Peace Walker Incident
In 1974, Big Boss's mercenary group Militaires Sans Frontières managed to procure design specs for the M63A1 during one of their missions outside Costa Rica. The MSF modified it afterwards by shortening the barrel.
Behind the scenes
In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the player can obtain the M63 machine gun in Svyatogornyj East, or in a small weapons building in Groznyj Grad. When Snake fires the M63 for an extended period of time, he will roar a Rambo-style battle cry. In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, it can be located in the Harbor.
In Metal Gear Solid 3, it fires 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition from a 100-round disintegrating-link belt. The M63 can only be fired in full-automatic mode. It is very heavy, weighing 4.5 kg (9.9 lbs), the second heaviest weapon Snake can carry during Operation Snake Eater after the RPG-7. A conversation with Sigint also results in Snake commenting that it is still, however, much lighter than the M60 machine gun.
It takes about 5 seconds to reload. The M63 can only be fired from the hip, making it less accurate than the AK-47 and the XM16E1, but the huge, 100-round belt makes it a good "run and gun" weapon. Despite such poor accuracy, it possesses deadly firepower, able to wipe out entire attack teams and is one of the recommended weapons during the GRU's pursuit of Snake and EVA in Metal Gear Solid 3 (where its poor accuracy is further displayed).
Despite being mentioned as being capable of changing parts into a rifle or a carbine, etc., the in-game model is stuck with the LMG role with 100-round box magazine.
The Stoner 63 was never widely adopted, never received an M number (beyond the XM22/23/207 for its rifle/carbine/commando configurations), and was succeeded by the M249 SAW.
- "The M63. An American-made system weapon. Belt-fed light machine gun version. Uses 5.56 x 45 ammunition. Magazine size is 100 rounds. 4.5kg."
- ―M63 description in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
- "The M63 was conceptualized as a system weapon, a rifle that can be configured into a number of variations--assault rifle, carbine, belt-fed light machine gun--from the same design by mixing and matching parts with a basic core component. It enables multiple types of equipment to be produced from a single line, and the basic handling is the same for each variation.
Uses 5.56x45mm ammo. Holds 100 rounds."
- ―M63 weapons description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
- "The M63A1 is a weapons system designed so that it can easily be converted into several different types of weapons - a carbine, an assault rifle, a light machine gun, etc. - using the same set of main components This is the light machine gun variant.
Amazingly light for a machine gun, it ranks top in its class for ease of handling. Moreover, its armor-piercing ammunition gives it plenty of firepower. All in all, an incredibly useful weapon that acts like a machine gun but feels like an assault rifle.
(Rank 4) This model features a shortened barrel for even better handling. The resulting combination of firepower and portability makes it an even easier weapon to use."
- ―M63A1 description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.