When Magpul got into the drum game, there must have been a record scratch. Drums don’t work, right? But Magpul only makes stuff that works. What the heck? Magpul only gets into the game if they can make a quality product. That’s why their name carries so much respect.
Drum Roll, Please …
And Magpul didn’t just dive in, they dove in with both feet (Can you say, M-Lok?). Not only did they develop a 5.56mm drum for the AR/M4-style rifles, they also developed a drum for 7.62mm AR rifles as well. The former of those is the 60-round 5.56mm D-60, and the latter is the D-50 7.62mm drum.
Magpul released the D-60 drum first and followed it up shortly with the D-50 drum. Capacity of the drums is no mystery — it’s right there in the names. The D-50 holds an astounding 50 rounds of 7.62mm or .308, and the D-60 packs in 60 rounds of 5.56mm.
Speaking of weight, that’s the downside to these drums — and any other. They can add several pounds to your firearm when fully loaded. The D-60 weighs 2.87 lbs. fully loaded, and the D-50 weighs 4.6 lbs. loaded.
The Magpul drums are made from the same high-impact polymer as the Gen M3 model rifle magazines. This polymer is incredibly strong and quite durable. It’s well-proven, and plenty of police and military forces are using the Gen M3 magazines.
Loading these drums isn’t difficult, and a built-in loading lever does make it somewhat easy — at least up until the last few rounds. For those last few rounds, you may have to ratchet the loading lever more than once for a single round.
Once loaded, the fun part starts and you can start slinging lead. This is the make it or break it moment for these drums. Traditionally, drums are not very reliable, and can be incredibly picky. They can stutter and fail and be somewhat frustrating.
The good news is that this doesn’t seem to be the case here. Both the D-60 and D-50 worked without a problem. In particular, I had a wider variety of 5.56 ammo to test with the D-60 drum and it ate everything from Lake City 62-gr. rounds and Norma’s 55 grain .223 to cheap steel Russian ammunition of dubious quality.
The D-50 only ate brass-cased ammo because that’s all I had on hand. It chewed through it all with zero malfunctions.
Even when the drums are placed in odd positions, or when pressure is applied to the bottom and sides, they both ran great. I also tested them via reloading methods that basically involve me dropping the drum and letting them hit the ground. Call it durability testing; I call it a good time. Regardless of the position I put the drums in or how much I dropped them, they continued to run.
Lastly, maintaining these drums is easy. You need a flat head tool to take them apart, and once apart you can clean them as necessary. Magpul suggests doing this every 1,000 rounds, and that’s a relatively low maintenance schedule. They do seem well sealed from their environment, without any dirt, debris, or moisture getting inside mine.
The Magpul D-60 and D-50 drums are two well-made drum magazines that seemingly defy the reputation we’ve come to expect from drum magazines. They function flawlessly, are well built and are very low maintenance. When it comes to drums, I don’t see how you can beat Magpul. Looks like they did it again!
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