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2500 Rounds M249 Cartridge Pouch
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||2500 Rounds M249 Cartridge Pouch
I just picked up MAG's new 2500 Round M249 Cartridge Pouch.
If you own a TOP or CA M249 and are looking for a magazine more compact than the box mags, but don't want to resort to the mad reloading frenzy of stanag standards or the mad winding frenzy of stanag highcaps, this electric winding Cartridge Pouch may be the ticket for you.
The Cartridge Pouch comes in a box with loading instructions, a velcro/tape patch, two mag-port adaptors (one for CA, one for TOP), a blackened metal-spring connection tube, and of course the mag itself, loaded in bubblewrap.
The build quality is high. With good materials used. The plastic is solid and the canvas cloth covering is sturdy. The attachment clip is gunblued metal. The zipper is nylon and is pretty quiet. The two mag-port adaptors are solidly constructed and the tube is a blackened metal spring, somewhat less chance of catching a reflection than CA's unfinished (and somewhat shiny) metal spring tube on their box mag.
Though the mag imitates a soft sided pouch mag, is it rigid, as the canvas actually covers a plastic box. While it is sturdy, it is by no means indestructable. You'll not be standing on this piece of equipment without damaging something, so bear that in mind. It can take the weight of the gun, but I did notice some creaks from it when I positioned the gun on the mag (something I do with the box mag in lieu of using the bipod when I'm in a hurry), so I wouldn't use it as a support point often.
I ordered the woodland camo, it also comes in desert, and in my opinion the camo on the clothe is just a tad too light. But thats a matter of opinion. The mag itself is compact, much smaller than its box mag bigger sibling.
The compact size allows the M249 to lay down completely on its right side, something not possible with the box mag:
Being so small I was at first skeptical if it could indeed hold 2500 rounds just as the box mags do. So I checked.
Below is a box mag (CA) filled to capacity (2500s approximately):
And here is the Cartridge Pouch loaded with the exact same bbs:
Yup, they all fit, it is indeed a 2500 round ammo pouch.
Looking at that last picture you probably noticed the loading hole, which you get to by unclasping the zipper, and then unzipping the cloth and separating it away (which is also how you get to the 9v battery). Yes, the opening is small:
And unlike the box mags, its your only opening. You can forget about pouring in a baggie of BBs in the field to reload. You are going to need a loading nozzle of some sort (like on the right above).
The magazine motor and winding itself is quiet in operation, quieter than the CA box mag. I have not torn it apart yet, but I suspect the feed pickup mechanism may be different than on the box mags. The magazine itself feeds flawlessly until very low on ammo (last hundred rounds or so) or if you operate it laying on its side, when it stutters in loading just abit.
One complaint I do have is that the sole winding switch is a remote switch. It has about 8" or so of length. You do get a swath of velcro to locate this in some convenient place on your SAW, but I would have preferred two switches: the remote and one on the mag itself. The remote has no indent position to allow continuous feeding as the CA box mag does (a convenience I miss). You must depress it to wind. But since you can locate it where you will this isn't a big concern.
Also, and I've yet to confirm this, but test feeding this magazine into a bag and then next test feeding a regular box mag, my impression is that the Cartridge Pouch feeds slightly slower. Now I've greased the living daylights out of my box mag, and as I've said I've yet to tear this Cartridge Pouch down and give it a good cleaning and lubrication, so I cannot say that that isn't the only thing holding the bag mag somewhat back. Regardless, SAW gunners with insanely high ROF might want to take this into consideration, if the Pouch can feed their gun fast enough. Those with more milsim realistic ROFs needn't worry.
Lastly - the mag bullet exit is modeled just as the real steel version, with guider "flaps" to both sides of the exit. There's room to string a chain of faux ammo rounds to cover the load tube and add that presentation factor, but unlike the box mag, there's no clip to attach the ammo belt to - and so the bullets will move forward or back as you elevate or depress the gun. A minor quibble, and certainly solvable with perhaps some hidden tape or lodging one more bullet into the mag top.
Also of note is the fact that since this mag is so small, if you're using your current box mag to house a large battery (para users take note) there's no room to do so with this Cartridge Pouch. The price of miniaturization...
This magazine is an excellent addition to the SAW gunners arsenal. Its lighter, more compact, quieter, as well built if not better built than its large box magazine cousins. If you're a support gunner, I recommend this highly.