Higher Capacity Magazines for M&P15-22
Oleg Volk 02.19.15
The original M&P15-22 magazines have much to recommend them. They are easy to load, inexpensive, and reliable–so long as dirt doesn’t enter the open sides in excessive amount. The attempt by Plinker Tactical 2011 to improve on them with sealed 35-rounders, holding 10 more than the originals, was only a qualified success. These magazines were a good deal longer and required an easily lost loader stick to fill to capacity.
The other alternative was introduced last year, a 50-round drum from Black Dog Machine. It’s actually less tall than the original 25-rounder and can be used as a convenient palm rest for off-hand shooting.
The main appeal of this drum is the easy loading. Pushing the ratchet “wings” on the back eases the spring tension, so that .22 cartridges can be just dropped in. Loading all fifty rounds takes about 30 seconds.
As you can see from the photo, the magazine follower is articulated. It’s length is dictated by the height of the feed tower. The magazine can be converted for use with other rifles, like other rimfire ARs or the 10-22.
The length of the feed tower keeps the drum from rocking in the magazine well, so it won’t misfeed even if used for support. additionally, only about the top 13 or 14 rounds are under spring tension, and the rest are protected from deformation by the individual sprockets.
Larger capacity magazines might seem ill timed with the shortages of ammunition, but they are still quite handy to have. During the cold months, a couple-three of the these permit a whole range trip without having to handle little .22 cartridges with clumsy gloved hand.
Since few of us use .22 rimfire for defense, the main use of these drums is for fun. Of course, if you truly want to “load it on Sunday and shoot all week,” you’d have to mount the champion of capacity, the 275rd beast adapted from American 180 drum.