7.62×51mm NATO (official NATO nomenclature 7.62 NATO) is a rimless, bottlenecked rifle cartridge. It is a standard for small arms among NATO countries.
First developed in the 1950s, the cartridge had first been introduced in U.S. service for the M14 rifle and M60 machine gun. Many other firearms that use the 7.62×51mm NATO remain in service today, especially various designated marksman rifles/sniper rifles and medium machine guns/general-purpose machine guns (i.e. M24 Sniper Rifle and M240 Medium Machine Gun). The cartridge is used by military personnel, on mounted and crew-served weapons that are mounted to vehicles, aircraft, and ships.
Work that would eventually develop the 7.62×51mm NATO started just after World War I when the large, powerful .30-06 Springfield cartridge proved difficult to adapt to semi-automatic rifles. A less powerful cartridge would allow a lighter firing mechanism. At the time the most promising design was the .276 Pedersen. When it was eventually demonstrated that the .30-06 Springfield was suitable for semi-automatic rifles, the .276 Pedersen was dropped.
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