View Full Version : Drum Mags

July 25, 2012, 10:43 AM
With the Aurora shooting I been reading that the AR-15 jammed with the drum mag. The exact type of jam I don't know.

I've used several drum mags over the last couple of years (not mine). In both AR and AK rifles a jam seems to happen every time. I won't buy one because I think it's kind of dumb. If the drum mag was any kind of reliable wouldn't the military use it?

What are your experiences with rifle drum mags?

July 25, 2012, 10:49 AM
I have a 90 round drum mag for the Mini-14 by MGW. I took it to the range one time and ran 80 rounds thru it. I didn't have any jams at all. I like it but don't use it because it's mostly plastic and will wear fast I think.

I've thought about a beta mag for the AR just for the hey. I don't know if they're any good or not. I assumed they were good but no real experience with the beta.

July 25, 2012, 11:09 AM
The X-14 that I purchased from Xs-Products hasn't let me down, it works
as advertised and I'm on the list to get one of their X-15 drum mags.

YouTube video of my X-14 in action (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egs1M9vVP0M)

The only other drum mags that I have used are pre-ban 75 and
100 round 7.62x39 Chinese drums... they are totally reliable.

July 26, 2012, 07:39 AM
Here's my experience with various drums:

Chinese 70 round drum magazine (wind up) - used in 2 different semi-auto AK's, never jammed.

Chinese 120 round 5.56 magazine - used in semi-auto FNC and AR, no jams.

90 round MGW plastic drum - used in AC556, couldn't keep up, jammed ever couple of rounds.

USAS-12 20 round drum magazine - doesn't jam (semi-auto) - keeps up with rapid fire.

100 round Betamag - used in an AC556. Once the feed lips were fitted, works flawlessly, no jams.

July 26, 2012, 08:50 AM
I just bought a MTM 90rounder haven't used it yet, bought it more for the novelty of it than a need factor.

July 28, 2012, 02:39 PM
I am stayed away from drums for a couple reasons: 1) realiablity as mentioned and 2) usually for the money i can get several high quality mags and 3) the drums can be bulky to pack.

July 29, 2012, 06:54 AM
I've got a wind up drum for my Draco pistol, only problems I had was user error.

ohen cepel
July 29, 2012, 07:11 AM
I want to know that they work, which means testing them a few times. I don't have the cash to run several full cycles through them so will pass on them.

Plus, as mentioned, I can buy many good std capacity mags for the price of a drum. I find them very heavy/bulky and if I really needed one and it jammed I wouldn't want to dump all that ammo. If a std mag jams I will likely have back ups and dropped 30- rds isn't as bad to me.

Neat for the collection, but not my thing in the end.

July 29, 2012, 08:58 AM
I wouldn't use a drum for anything other than the range. Not that I don't trust it, it's just not needed. If I ever need 75 rounds in a gun for defense then I will have a serious problem.

Double Naught Spy
July 29, 2012, 10:29 AM
If the drum mag was any kind of reliable wouldn't the military use it?

By the military, you mean the same folks that fielded torpedoes in submarines in the Pacific in WWII that didn't explode more than 60% of the time, air to air missiles in Vietnam that were notorious for "going stupid" and not firing, not tracking, or otherwise not arriving on target with an exploding warhead, that had US troops in WWI use the Chauchat that was so prone to jamming it was thought to be more deadly to the US troops than fighting unarmed, the M16 with the wrong powder load in Vietnam, thought testing the Gyrojet pistol and carbine was a good idea in Vietnam...etc. That military?

Interesting that you think the design of the magazine (magazine type) must be the cause. Two carbines "jammed" during the North Hollywood Shootout. One was an AR15 used by the LAPD with a standard 30 round mag. One was an AK47 used by the bad guys with a normal magazine.

Drum mags can be problematic. Even when they work well, they can be a huge pain to load.

Beta-C Mags are plastic. The military does not like plastic mags. They don't like P-mags either.

July 29, 2012, 10:40 AM
Drum magazines have been historically more problematic than regular box magazines. For example, the PPSh submachine gun had to have its drums individually fitted to the guns in order to ensure proper functioning. This slowed production so much that eventually it was decided to simply abandon drums for 35-round box magazines.

Similarly, while 50-round Thompson drums were, for the most part, reliable, the attempt at 100-round drums proved to be quite unreliable (not to mention heavy as a fully-loaded Thompson with a 100-round drum weighs more than a BAR does).

Also, drum magazines are inherently more complicated and thus more expensive and difficult to manufacture than standard box magazines. It did not take various militaries all that long to realize that, if one really needed more than 20-35 rounds, a belt-fed weapon was a cheaper, more reliable and more practical solution than drum magazines.

Mayor Al
July 29, 2012, 12:44 PM
The Saiga 12 gauge with a 20 round drum full of slugs is a real heavyweight to carry around in the woods. I've never had to do it, but explaining why you need 20 rounds of slugs to nail an Indiana Whitetail, to a Game Warden in the woods, would be an interesting conversation !!! (Yes, I know they are legal...hehehe):eek:

July 29, 2012, 02:47 PM
The better made AR drum mags were developed when Colt was trying to win a SAW contract with the US Military to replace the M60. The Colt Concept Gun was rejected for a number of reasons. Without a high demand the quality hasn't been great. Some work, some don't. For an Assault Rifle they are really heavy and bulky. For a SAW not so much.
The problem I had was carrying the extra drum. I can carry a dozen 20 rd mags and nearly as many 30 rd mags on me because they are flat. If you have a drum in the gun and try to carry a second drum it's not unlike carrying a full milk jug, it just doesn't ride well.
Also reloading a regular mag in the field isn't hard, a drum however takes time and is a PITB.
At least this has been my experience.

July 29, 2012, 06:18 PM
Big mags tend to take up a lot of space. Tends to cut down on maneuverability. Even a 30 round AR mag makes prone shooting tough. Anything bigger is really tough.

They also get real heavy. Even the old 30 rounder M3 mags were bricks. I'm not going to try to hoist a hundred round mag out in front of me.

So using big mags from a static position where you have time to get everything set up and want to hose an area with a lot of lead might seem to make sense. But you're really in actual machine gun territory. Makes much more sense. Or, if no MG, learn how to change regular mags quickly. Much better.

BTW, I think many in the military DO like Pmags.

July 29, 2012, 06:39 PM
as a veteran of the United States Marines
I think for the same reason they got rid of FULL AUTO M16's
and the current M4's are semi auto for a reason.
You can empty a 30 round mag pretty fast on ONE shot at a time.
This can lead to ammo wasted on a FULL auto weapon.

I know when I went to boot a million years ago, it was beat into our heads
that you have to carry that stuff, DON'T WASTE IT.
The SAW, squad auto weapon, is the belt fed auto in a four man squad, while the rest tote semi autos. This is also NOT drum feed as noted its belt fed, typical military, if they need that many rounds it will be belt fed if possible.

July 30, 2012, 11:24 AM
i've got beta. flawless operation but a pain to load. the little loader tool they give you doesn't work.

July 31, 2012, 12:19 PM
as a veteran of the United States Marines
I think for the same reason they got rid of FULL AUTO M16's
and the current M4's are semi auto for a reason.

While the current U.S.-issue rifles may not have true full-auto capability any longer, they are still equipped with a three-round burst feature.

July 31, 2012, 04:14 PM
the current M4's are semi auto for a reason.

The current M4's are NOT semi-auto-only! Both the M4 and M4A1 are select-fire, with the M4 having 3-round burst and the M4A1 having full auto...

That said, I completely agree with this:

You can empty a 30 round mag pretty fast on ONE shot at a time.
This can lead to ammo wasted on a FULL auto weapon.

You can also waste a lot of ammo with a SEMI-auto civilian weapon!


Double Naught Spy
August 1, 2012, 05:17 PM
You can also waste a lot of ammo with a SEMI-auto civilian weapon!

Yes, anytime your sights aren't on target or your target does not need to be shot, shooting is wasteful. Trigger discipline is important regardless of the platform.

Heck, the military didn't want to go to semi auto guns from bolt guns out of fear of wasting ammo. How smart was that?