Black Dog Machine
Back in November of last year, I had the opportunity to review the Black Dog Machine Ruger 10/22 50-Round Drum Magazine on my Ruger SR-22 Rifle and I was impressed with this drum magazine. Since that time I have used the drum magazine many times and it has proven to be reliable and enjoyable. Recently I finished a review of the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 and I knew that I had to get my hands on a Black Dog Machine M&P15-22 10-Round Drum Magazine to see if it proves just as reliable in the M&P15-22. Fortunately I was able to get a drum magazine for this review. If you click on the link to take you to the Black Dog website, you will notice that the MSRP on this drum magazine is $90, but luckily I was able to find this product sold by other retailers for about $70.
During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Black Dog Machine website on 9/4/11 and gives the features for the S&W M&P 15-22 Drum Magazine. The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both. I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if needed.
When the 50 Round Drum Magazine arrived it was boxed as shown below. Clearly nothing fancy, but that's a good thing. I would rather they put money into a product than into it's packaging.
When you open the box, you see that the magazine is inside a bubble wrap bag and there are two rubber bands taped to the lid.
The photo below shows the contents of the box which were the drum magazine, two rubber bands, Owner's Manual, "Common Questions & Helpful Tips" sheet and a Black Dog Machine sticker.
The next several photos give you an idea of the front, back and side profile of the magazine along with some detailed features. The magazine is approximately 8.75" tall, 5.40" wide, and 1.50" thick at the center of the drum area. The outer shell of the drum and the feed tower are made from a dark (smoke) translucent polycarbonate material. This allows you to see some of the inner details of the drum along with the number of rounds loaded.
Based on Black Dog's information, the feed tower starts out as a larger piece of material that gets machined down to match the basic configuration of the S&W magazine as shown in the photos below. If you look carefully, you can see the machining marks on the back surface of the tower. Based on my visual comparison, fit of the magazine and how the magazine performed, I believe Black Dog was able to accurately duplicate the critical dimensions. One key difference with the Black Dog Magazine versus the standard magazine is that the Black Dog Magazine does not have a follower that will engage the bolt after the last shot. This means the bolt will be closed after firing and ejecting the last round.
In the photo below, you can see a white dot in the center of the dummy round. This dot is actually the end of a rubber band similar to the two provided with the magazine. This leads me to believe that at some point the rubber band may wear out and require replacement. There are also two screws on each side of the feed tower to help fasten the drum halves in the area of the tower.
I have included these photos to give you other views of the feed tower. You can click on these or any other photos in this review to bring up a higher resolution photo showing more detail. It is possible to remove the feed tower and replace it with another style that fits the Ruger 10/22 or other AR-22 platforms.
The M&P 15-22 Drum Magazine weighted in at 16.95 ounces empty and 22.60 ounces fully loaded with Federal 36 grain Copper-Plated Hollow Point (Load No. 745).
These next couple of photos show how the drum magazine will look when inserted into your M&P15-22 Rifle.
The M&P15-22 Rifle is shown with a BSA TW30RDLL Red Dot/Laser/Light Sight and a UTG OP-2 Bipod. Due to the height of the magazine, you will need a taller bipod similar to the OP-2 if you plan on using a bipod when shooting.
I decided to checkout the drum magazine using the Federal Ammunition because so far I have not had a single failure to feed, fire or extract with this ammunition in my M&P15-22 Rifle. Another good reason was that it is relatively cheap ammunition. While loading the magazine for the first time, I must have over rotated the drum while loading and had three skipped slots in the magazine. I was pleased to find out that if this happens, the magazine drum will continue to rotate when firing until the next round feeds into the tower. This first full magazine fired 47 shots without any issues. From that point forward, I was a little more careful loading the magazine and never got another missed round during the loading process. I shot several full magazines and didn't encounter a single failure to feed, fire or extract. You can checkout me shooting a couple of magazines at this Youtube Link or by watching the video below.
After shooting nearly 297 rounds through my M&P15-22 Rifle with the Black Dog Machine 50-Round Drum Magazine, I can say say it was 100% reliable during my review. If you are in the market for a high capacity drum magazine for your M&P15-22 then look no further. Reliability is one of the most critical factors for me when it comes to having high capacity magazines and I'm willing to pay more for reliability. At a market price of about $70, this magazine may be a bit pricy, but if you are wanting a quality reliable drum magazine, this is your only option.
After owning a drum magazine for nearly a year for my Ruger SR-22, I must be honest and say that the drum is not used every time I go shooting. But, I can also say that it does go on each trip and is pulled out when it is time to out do my competition or when serious plinking is involved. I can see the same being true for the M&P15-22 Drum Magazine. There are times you want something light and simple and there are times you want more. Clearly the Black Dog Machine M&P15-22 Drum Magazine gives you more.
Feel free to post comments about this review or your experiences with this product on my Reader's Comments page.