I have had detailed experience with
M14 mag conversions to Remington 700 rifle systems, and have evaluated
a number of systems produced by several well-known shops. Here are my opinions.
Although this type of system can be
made to work fairly reliably, the road to that end is long and complicated.
In order for an M14 mag to feed rounds into a Remington 700, the following
conditions must somehow be met:
- a hook or peg must be "installed" in the
front of the receiver cutout to allow the mag to lever up on.
- a latch must be installed at the rear of
the receiver cutout to keep the rear of the mag held securely up into the
mag well. There are several ways of doing this: Some of them force a modified
action screw placement, while others utilize modified floormetal.
- a sloping relief cut must be made in front
of the mag well to allow the mag to be rotated in and out of its latching
- because the M14 mag is a true double-stack
system, both the mag well in the stock as well as the bottom of the receiver
must be widened to accommodate the mag.
- in order to ensure positive vertical and "angular" location of
the mag with respect to the receiver each time, a "shelf" or
stop must be fixed into the front of the receiver cutout for
the front of the mag box to rest against.
- the lips of the M14 mag must be shortened to allow the bolt nose to dig
deep enough to strip a round, while at the same time not interfere with
the bottom of the bolt locking lugs.
- the rear latch must be made long enough to give good leverage, while
short enough to prevent catching in sandbags, rests, etc.
The thrust of doing this conversion
was that M14 mags were made for .308, cheap, and readily available. In
reality, what is being done is to essentially redesign a rifle's receiver,
feeding system, and stock, to fit a mag that had to be modified as well!
A much more sensible approach is to design a mag body that is more
"friendly" to the design of the Remington 700 action. Remington attempted
this with only partial success. Although the mag system was acceptable, there are
- A true double feed system, it is prone to damage and wear. The bolt nose
does not take very much bite of the cartridge head. Any misalignment of
the cartridge in the mag can cause a misfeed.
- The latching system, borrowed from Steyr, is sticky and cumbersome.
- Because the latching system is in the bottom of the mag, the mag cannot
be altered to take any more than the designed number of rounds (4 for
- Relief cuts are made to the rails in the bottom of the receiver, precluding
conversion back to BDL internal box feeding, should one desire to do so.
H-S Precision has taken the most refined approach yet:
- they have developed a new cast stainless steel triggerguard/floormetal
assembly that accepts mags of their own design.
The advantages are:
- The triggerguard/floormetal acts as close-fitting
mag housing, resulting in the need for only single-point latching. Straight
in and straight out, like the M16. The days of rotated mags like M14's
and FAL's are hopefully gone. (I have owned over a dozen assorted M14's
and FN's, and used them in service rifle competition in Canada. I don't
miss them a bit).
- The mag latch is located in the trigger
bow, and can be operated with one thumb or finger. The mag falls out with
- Because the mag latch is in the rear, the
option of having a larger capacity box is available. At the writing of
this, 4-rnd boxes are starting production, and 10-rnd boxes are "in the
- The mag design uses a double-stack-to-single-feed
design, like most hi-capacity 9mm pistols. This allows the mag to have
an acceptable capacity while allowing the bolt nose to get a really good
bite on the cartridge head. This design lets the mag lips force the cartridge
to go where it is supposed-to each time.
- No alteration of the receiver is necessary.
The single feed system is relatively narrow, and doesn't interfere with
the receiver rails.
The disadvantages of the H-S precision system are:
- At the writing of this, December 1998,
current production is backlogged. My company has had substantial orders
on the books for months, and have only received one prototype unit ever.
H-S Precision, understandably, is taking care of their own rifle production
needs first. I suspect these problems will be sorted out sometime in 1999.
- The stainless steel mag system is somewhat
heavy, and could benefit from lightening cuts.
- Because of the single-feed design, loading
of the magazine with cartridges is a little slower than double-feed systems.
Each cartridge must be pushed down and backward into the mag.
In conclusion, I feel advancements to
detachable magazine systems have come a long way recently. Marksmen considering
this type of accessory should look at new systems becoming available, instead
of turning to the stop-gap solutions of the past.