By Chris A. Choat
The Beta Company has been known for their “C” Mag ever since the mid to late 1980s. At the time, the magazine was advertised as holding an unheard of 100 rounds of 5.56mm or .223 ammunition. Since then there have been several attempts by other companies at producing a firearm feeding device that rivals or exceeds the Beta C-Mag. These have met with varying degrees of success. Some work and some don’t. The Beta Company has set the bar when it comes to high capacity feeding devices with their C-Mag, even being adopted by police and military units worldwide. The drum has the definite advantage of time saved when reloading. When these drums are used in a military environment, this may be the difference between life or death.
For those that may be unfamiliar, the Beta C-Mag consists of two 50-round drum magazines hooked together that feed a single “tower” in the shape of a standard magazine. The drums are spring driven and feed alternately from either side to produce a constant 100-round supply of ammunition. With the drums feeding from alternating sides the magazine does not become lopsided as it unloads. This is all done with a magazine that protrudes down from the bottom of the weapon in less space than a standard 30-round 5.56 magazine.
When the Beta C-Mag first came to market it was produced for one rifle system, the AR-15/M16. In later years different towers were produced allowing the C-Mag to fit other 5.55mm firearms. As their reputation for durability and reliability increased, manufacturers of other firearms wanted C-Mags to fit their guns. The Beta Company then started producing towers for other firearms in the 5.56mm family such as the Ruger Mini-14 and the Steyr AUG. Today, the 5.56mm C-Mag is produced to fit the AR-15/M16, the FN SCAR, the FNC, the H&K G-93/53 series, the H&K G-36 series, the SIG 550/551 rifles, the Royal Ordnance SA 80, the M-249 SAW,...
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