Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.
When I decided to get a .308 semi-auto rifle the choices were fairly limited – FAL-style, M1A-style, HK-style. Oh sure, there were a few offbeat models out there (.308 AK, Valmet, etc) but I wanted something with a good track record and, more importantly, excellent logistics support in terms of parts, accessories and magazines. My first choice would have been the FAL style rifles but I went with the Hk clone from JLD/PTR on the strength of a) the reputation of the HK system and b) the dirt cheap parts and magazines that flooded into the US as the G36 pushed the G3 into the history books.
The HK91 is a fine rifle, no doubt. Not my favorite, I find its ergonomics pretty lacking, but I have unwavering faith in it’s reliability and performance. What I was interested to discover was that Hk, at some point, made a 50-rd drum for the G3/HK91. Didja know that? I didnt. Very few, apparently, made it into this country and when found the bring a little under $2k. For a 50-rd mag… After the AW ban… I mean, yeah, its got the magic ‘HK’ stamped on it but still…..
I remember watching video of the North Hollywood Shootout and one of the bad guys was reported as having a drum for his HK. I recall thinking that must have been a typical error made by a gun-ignorant reporter – he must have meant a drum for his AK. But…on video I recalled seeing the HK91 with what appeared to be a drum. I thought maybe they had made the drum themselves or modified some other drum magazine…after all, there was no such thing as a HK drum, right? Wrong. I guess if you rob enough banks and armored cars you can afford to move up from the cheap guns and cheap accessories.
So, if youve got around $1800-$2000 laying around you can get yourself a 50-rd drum for your HK91. Be the first kid on your block to be the last kid on your block. If you have the money, right?
But this is America, dammit. Where there’s a will, a market, and some CAD software theres a way. Behold:
This is so mega-awesome it hurts. I’m sure somewhere, at some point, someone popped that 50-rd drum into their HK and half a continent away Chuck Schumer felt the beginnings of what he thought was a stroke.
MSRP? About $400.
Is there one in my future? Nope. But you’d think I’d be the first guy to jump on the bandwagon for one of these crowd-reducers, right? Simple math, amigo. I put two boxes in front of you. One box contains that lovely drum. Looks cool, is cool, will make you the envy of SWAT teams across the land. And will let you shoot 50 rounds. Sounds good, yes? Now lets crack open Box #2. Inside box #2 are 400 20-round magazines. Or, put another way, 8000 rounds worth of triggertime. it boils down to this: would you rather have one mag that holds 50-rounds or 400 mags that hold 20? Im preparing for the long haul, and that means not putting my eggs in one basket. That drum would be fun, no two ways about it, but it ain’t $400 worth of fun.
Now, before anyone (especially the guys that make and sell that drum) starts flaming the comments, lemme say that I think the fact someone went through the trouble of making a product like this available to the public is commendable. Youre doing Crom’s work, well done. I hope you sell a metric buttload of these things. However….I’m a poor survivalist with limited resources…while your product is darn nice, I gotta stick with what I can afford and one magazine vs. 400 magazines, no matter how you cut it, is what the final argument comes down to. For the price of that drum I can have enough mags for several PTR-91 rifles with plenty left over for practice mags, trading stock mags, cached mags, spare mags and even investment mags.
While we’re on the subject, I know the BetaMag folks have been working on a 100-rd mag for the M1A. If they could make the feed tower interchangeable so I could put an HK adapter on it and keep it priced fairly reasonably I might be interested in one. But only after Ive run out of other gun stuff to spend money on.
The question that most of use have no interest in asking about this is “what is it good for?” If I asked myself that question when I bought new gun toys I’d have a lot more space in my gun safe right now. Someone will say that its an excellent choice for a ’semi-auto SAW’ but, really, unless you have a quick-change barrel on your rifle I dont think dumping a hundred rounds of .308 in a hurry is gonna be a healthy thing for your firearm. I suppose if you have to make some sort of ‘Omega Man’-esque flight from a large population center it could come in handy but it still seems like a solution looking for a problem. Why did HK make it? It was for a project they had using a modifed G3 as a machine gun (HK11E, apparently). The variant did have a barrel change feature, so in that regard it made sense.