Can You Identify This Mystery Magazine?

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A reader of the blog found this magazine in a box of junk being thrown out. Apparently it was found in the locker of an old timer who retired. The company he works for manufactures ordnance and fuzing for the military.

AR-15 Magazine (Left), Mystery Magazine (Right)

The magazine is cast or extruded aluminium, definitely not stamped. The follower has an articulation that looks like it is designed to push the nose of a cartridge up.

Can anyone identify what gun this magazine belongs to?

The articulated follower of the mystery magazine.
AR-15 Magazine (Top), Mystery Magazine (Bottom)

[ Many thanks to aka_mythos for the photos. ]

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • http://shooting.com.au Fireguard820

    It looks like might suit an AR L2A1 (Heavy barrelled FN FAL used by Australia), except it doesn’t appear wide enough to accept 7.62 NATO rounds.

    It’s got me stumped.

  • bbmg
    • John

      Look at the huge protruding tab on the back of the mag. That prevents it from being inserted into any straight magwell. It probably needs to be rocked in, like an AK mag.

      • bbmg

        Yep, the MKS was just the first thing to come to mind given the straight profile and sharp angle of the base, but it’s clearly not a match.

    • Layden

      Just by looking at the profile of the mag it could be a BAR mag, it isn’t just the profile but the fact that the bullets apprise to be loaded with the nose up which is a characteristic of the bar load cycle

    • Layden

      Just by looking at the profile of the mag it could be a BAR mag, it isn’t just the profile but the fact that the bullets appear to be loaded with the nose up which is a characteristic of the bar load cycle

  • Anonymousguy

    Total random guess, but maybe some kind of FAMAS extended magazine?

    It looks like a longer version of the mags FAMASs used before they were STANAG compatible.

  • Chris

    Looks like a straight AK mag… The way that cutout looks right below the front of the mag is what makes me think it.

  • fjkhoury01

    Probably an updated Russian Shiryaev AO-27 mag and likely for flechette ammo if not.

  • socialimpotence

    I don’t know what it is. I’d like to see the backside of the mag in detail, where the rear locks when it is rocked in.

  • http://cmblake6.wordpress.com cmblake6

    First thing that pops into my head is an FAL in 5.56, but I’m not sure either.

  • Reverend Clint
    • Ripley

      The FAMAS F1 magazines have totally different follower and spring, and lack that protruding part in the back. Also not aluminum.

      http://www.sturmgewehr.com/bhinton/FAMAS/FAMAS_MagDisassembled.jpg

      • bernardg

        It is more likely for FAMAS G2. Because the new version have a different magazine housing design (compatible with AR-15/STANAG mag). Judging by the length, it could be intended (at first) for SAW variant.

  • Avery

    Could be a magazine for the spotting rifle for a recoilless rifle or some other heavy weapon.

  • idahoguy101

    Possibly a magazine from a 7.62 NATO Bren gun? The Brits retired theirs after the Falklands/Malvinas war and converted from FAL’s to their 5.56 NATO Assault Rifle. But other Armies may still have them.

  • DW

    Aftermarket Mini14 mag?

  • Tinkerer

    Try loading it with different calibers, test how it works with each, and determine for which caliber it was designed. That would be a starting point.

  • delarrn

    My best bet would be it’s an extended mag for range resting the L64 4.85 mm Enfield.

    I’m guessing that it’s custom or prototype magazine, however it does look a lot like a top-feeding mag for a vz. 26, or a derivative thereof.

    The sheer length of it more or less excludes the possibility that it’s an assault rifle mag, you couldn’t use it in a prone position. My guess is either the weapon was intended to be used with a top loading rifle, that or it’s designed for use from a testing rig or from a standing position.

    • bb0687

      With it being around the same size as the stanag mag in the picture I’d doubt it would be for the L64. OAL for the 4.85 was longer than 5.56, although the tilting follower could account for that difference as well. You may be on the money.

  • loy kolay

    Have we ruled out the possibility that it might not fit a gun in the first place? Kind of like a SMAW launcher 5 round spotter magazine? or the 106mm recoil less rifle’s spotting round magazine? That follower is so unlike most normal magazines that something like this might be the case.

    • Avery

      It was a thought. I did run through some photos of the M40 and the Ontos tank and some of those photos had some rather long magazines.

      Then again, it looks like it inserts at an angle, judging from how the grooves stop at the top, where it would fit to the magazine well, compared to the butt of the magazine.

  • gunslinger

    not really sure. i would guess that the 2 part follower would be for a non “up-vertical” mag, i.e. the mag was loaded to the side/top.

    i’m curious to see what it really is.

  • Nevyan

    M14 30rd magazine.

    • Hking

      Whatever cartridge this is designed to feed has a similar if not shorter OAL than 5.56 based on the comparison pictures.

    • M@

      Maybe it’s some kind of mag for a caliber conversion. The spring might help load a smaller caliber.

  • Riot

    M1 or 2 carbine magazine.

  • Jason

    It might be helpful if we knew what company this man worked for.

    • aka_mythos

      It really wouldn’t help. We don’t produce anything like this or that this would go to.

  • fcp503

    I can’t say what platform this mag is supposed to be used for, but I would offer the following observations:

    Mag appears to use a rocking type catch system. So it is not an AR/Stanag type mag.

    Dimensions of mag appear similar to a 5.56 mag but not quite. Also the feed lips don’t look like other 5.56 mags I have seen. The articulated follower suggest a fairly tapered case. Or I could be seeing things…

    Mag body appears to be made from an extrusion. That suggest to me it is not a one off, but a production item. (or was intended to be a production item) I wonder if someone was trying to make a very strong mag using a straight extruded body, but ran into reliability issues because the ammo did not function well in a such a long straight case?

    • noob

      can we get some rounds to load into the thing?

      maybe spotting rounds would be a perfect fit?

  • DrewN

    Single stack shotgun?

  • http://pc3c.org/ Gregory Markle

    To accurately compare the mags in the top photo the mystery mag should by offset more to the left as the internal ribbing at the rear of the mag makes the OAL of cartridges one could insert in the mag even shorter than the photo as shot makes it appear.

    The only intermediate rifle rounds of any popularity I could imagine fitting that mag would be the 8mm Kurz and 30 Carbine (both nominally 33mm in length) and would REALLY like to see this compared to an AK mag, especially the rear where it would engage the mag release since the front of the mag bears a resemblance to an AK mag. The highest point of the sides of rear locking lug looks to be about correct for an AK, the sides being there to bolster the aluminum locking lug which would be MUCH weaker than the steel AK mag.

    My completely off-the-wall guess with no other info available than these photos would be that combined with a chamber insert it could have been part of an experiment to adapt AKs to fire 30 Carbine with the follower spring loaded to assist in feeding the straight cased ammunition.

    • http://pc3c.org/ Gregory Markle

      Not the top photo for the case length comparison, the third one down. Darn people talking to me while I’m doing IMPORTANT stuff…LOL!

  • Nick H.

    Like others have said its similar to an AK where you have to rock the mag in. But what I feel might be the caliber is 5.45×39. It has a tapered case as well as having slightly shorter OAL than 5.56.

  • calool

    the slight slant makes me think it is for either a top fed machine gun or a massive pistol (giants need to defend themselves too) but i’d put money on a top fed machine gun

  • P.Allen

    Something from the OICW or ACR prototypes?

  • klyph

    Experimental RPK74 magazine?

  • Antonio

    I think its kindle a large french Famas Magazine.

    It´s anormally straight as the 25rounds famas Mag.

  • Raoul O’Shaughnessy

    CAWS magazine?
    http://commanderzero.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/1341437_original.jpg

    That would explain the device to keep the nose of the shell up.

  • The Stig

    Could it be a prototype (or someone trying to build a better mousetrap) for a Stoner 63A with top mounted magazine? The locking lug is too big. . . otherwise I’m at a loss.

    http://world.guns.ru/machine/usa/stoner-63-e.html

  • bbmg

    ooh ooh!

    Special Purpose Individual Weapon!

    http://img407.imageshack.us/img407/6329/spiwspringtx8.jpg

    • Vincent

      Wouldn’t have thought of that myself, but yeah, it looks the part.

    • fcp503

      I think we may have a winner here!

    • http://pc3c.org/ Gregory Markle

      Doesn’t look much like this SPIW mag (http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/spiw-rifle-magazine-experimental-1965) and most of the cartridges tested for the SPIW were rather long due to the sabot/flechette they were designed around…but they revised, killed, resurrected, changed, altered, terminated, and revived that program so many times ANYTHING is possible as far as one off prototypes.

      • bbmg

        SPIW was a program rather than a single prototype, and the magazines of the AAI, Springfield and Winchester offerings were completely different so that ad you linked to doesn’t really confirm one way or the other.

        As to cartidge size, as the flechette was telescoped within the case, as you can see some of them were actually shorter than the 5.56 round:

        http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/P1030498w.jpg

      • http://pc3c.org/ Gregory Markle

        Exactly why I said in my reply about the many, many revisions and versions of the SPIW program. I would tend to not look at it as part of ANY ground up design because the two-part, spring loaded follower strikes me as WAY too kludgy. I can’t imagine an engineer (that wasn’t French) would ever create a magazine like that as it introduces multiple failure points and the design would have been used elsewhere if it had any merit. That’s why I lean toward it being designed as part of a conversion system where a kludge like that might be needed because you are working around adapting a firearm to fire ammunition somewhat different from what it was initially designed for…which, given the agreed upon extensive versions of the SPIW, means it could have still been part of that program if they were trying to adapt a new cartridge to an existing prototype or after problems occurred with chambering so that they could continue testing other aspects of the system (the magazine interface could be redesigned if a revised prototype is built.)

    • W

      not a bad guess that one. I guess the articulated follower would serve useful for the flechette type ammunition that weapon was supposed to fire.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

      WOW! That looks right. That magazine is a piece of history!!!! I wish I had found that in a box of junk.

      • bbmg

        Maybe the new owner should get in touch with the Rock Island Arsenal museum to see if it fits any of the prototypes in their collection: http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=5011

    • Brad

      Good catch on the photo. The mag shape looks like a good match.

      I was thinking SPIW myself because of the odd articulated follower and imagined dimensions of the cartridges.

      http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/spiw.jpg

    • aka_mythos

      This seem very likely. After some poking around there was involvement in prototyping ammo for the larger caliber secondary weapon.

      I think this belongs in a museum. Does anyone have contact info for the Rock Island Arsenal museum?

      Thanks for the help.

  • Raven

    A couple wild guesses:
    Stoner 63
    Zastava M77 5.56mm
    ZB530
    5.56mm AK-pattern

    • http://www.gunfreezone.net Miguel

      I am also betting Stoner 63

      • Raven

        I’m specifically thinking it’s for the top-feed configuration, no idea why.

  • jazon

    It looks like russian made magazine for 9×39 round.

  • Tony

    FAL 7.62 Nato, 30 round mag

  • Punish3r

    Glock 17 mag.. ROFL joking does look FAL like but id assume its some old prototype

  • MCruz

    It appears to be a 30 or 45 round 7.62 NATO FAL Magazine

  • Axel

    Maybe it’s not a magazine for a firearm but a nailgun or someting.

    • bbmg

      Crossed by mind but the follower and feed lips clearly suggest it feeds cartridge sized units.

  • Lance

    Looks like a 12ga USAS or similar shot gun mag.

  • Nadnerbus

    Not that I have any idea what it is for either, but have to shoot down all the people suggesting FAL, M-14, BAR or anything else in 7.62 NATO or 30 06. The mystery mag takes a round as long or shorter than the 45 mm long 5.56 round, not a 51 or 63 mm long round.

    • Nadnerbus

      The more I think about it, the more I like Gregory Markle’s idea of an AK conversion to shoot the 30 carbine round. Overall case length at about 42 mm is about right for the magazine size, a gizmo in the magazine to ensure the round pops up enough to feed into the chamber makes sense, as the 30 carbine round has a round nose that would likely hang up on an AK feed ramp. The locking lug in back and the rounded front with the catch notch is very AK like.

      Just not quite sure why anyone would want to make such an adaptation.

      • bbmg

        Sounds plausible, the easiest way to check this out is to grab the nearest AK and see if it clicks in :)

      • http://pc3c.org/ Gregory Markle

        If you can follow my lunacy:

        The mag is likely a late 1960s to early 1980s Cold War era product, aluminum not likely before then and premise not likely after. The military would have to have plans to supply/support internal insurgencies, uprisings, and/or the militaries of countries that managed to gain independence. Until sometime after it’s breakup, production of combloc ammunition calibers outside of the USSR was virtually non-existent in the sort of quantity that would be needed to support any large scale, protracted campaigns by rebelling forces but we still had stockpiles of 30 Carbine and the machinery and expertise to ramp up production quickly. Rather than supply the entire firearm (and a fairly obsolete one at that) and retrain, a chamber insert for the AK (plenty of difference in case size), a bolt (and possibly a lighter recoil spring), and a magazine could make a weapon they already had and knew how to use operate with ammunition we could readily supply. Kludgy? Yup. Dependable? VERY questionable. Crazy enough to have been tried in a crazy time in our history? I think so!

        Big question: why the weird, articulated, spring loaded follower? My thinking is that feeding the straight 30 Carbine cartridges from the location where an AK mag feeds from, which is MUCH lower in relation to the bolt face and chamber than in an M1 Carbine, would introduce the rounds to the chamber at a VERY exaggerated angle and without the case neck of the M43 round to engage the feed ramp (which physically helps “lift” the rear of the case into the bolt face for chambering) the rounds would likely jam. With the magazine shown, as the rear of the case passed the end of the feed lips, the spring loaded section of the follower would lift the rear of the cartridge onto the bolt face and reduce the angle at which it was entering the chamber. That’s my crazy imagination at work!

        The firearm might not be that accurate as, at least with standard 30 Carbine rounds, the bullet would be slightly smaller than a standard M43 bullet and might be too small to engage the rifling properly…and I wouldn’t put too much confidence in the sights except for the specific range it was sighted at and the adjustable battle sight would be useless (not that they weren’t anyway to a great degree.) My thinking is just that in case of a sudden need to supply one of a defector country it would have been easier logistically to ship a bunch of conversion kits for a weapon they have and know how to shoot and for which we could supply ammunition in quantity. Such a weapon would likely be effective in the short range, urban battles that would have been expected at the time.

        All that aside I think the SPIW mention above seems the most plausible, I think my idea is more fun to think about!

      • Nadnerbus

        @Gregory:

        The theory is easy to test, have the provider of the images attempt to lock the mag into an AK or two. I would think its already been tried though.

  • bob

    if i had to make a wild guess i’d say it looks a little like mag for one of the 7.62 bren guns. but that’s just a wild guess.

    • http://dukeleto.deviantart.com/ Dukeleto

      more helpfully, rather than just voting you down, it’s much too short (front to back) for a 7.62x 51mm round

  • John Doe

    That’s a barrel shroud, the thing that you uh… pull on a gun. It sprays indiscriminate rapid cartridges at innocent crowd at ranges up to 2 miles. I think you put it on top of the gun handle thing.

    /sarcasm

  • bernardg

    It looks like a custom mag (judging by the length of it) for FAMAS G2 designated for Squad Automatic Weapon.

  • Mike Knox

    Looks like a custom mag for 7.62x39mm Soviet or a custom round with a conical case..

  • Steven

    It looks like this:
    http://www.imfdb.org/images/thumb/9/9c/30_round_straight_AR_mag.jpg/300px-30_round_straight_AR_mag.jpg

    If its the same, its a straight 30 round STANG mag originally developed for the 5.56 FAL.

  • john
    • David/Sharpie

      Doesn’t look wide or long enough.

  • Creamy47

    well after searching some i found these weird mags in the same shape but 308 called Armageddon mags. think the company is bust
    http://archery.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=3&f=121&t=486183
    and a video of a dark one maybe steel? or probably just black composite

    • http://pc3c.org/ Gregory Markle

      Photos on their website: http://www.armageddonmag.com/page7.html

      Doesn’t look all that similar in construction, uses a single piece follower, the angle of the magazine bottom is FAR greater (increased spring tension at the front of the follower to help prevent tilting?), and the rear locking lug is much higher on the mag.

  • CSS

    I skipped through all the comments so go easy if this has been stated already, but seeing as it has a rear retention tab, it looks like a 30-round M14 magazine, though the shape of said tab isn’t exactly on par. The edges encircling the magazine about four inches from the top suggest the magazine goes in a well, which bears resemblance to the ARs, but the magazine of course isn’t for an AR. Can’t be an FAL. I’m stumped.

  • Mike

    Beretta BM59 7.62 x 51mm

  • Mike
  • Geoff a well known Skeptic

    Perhaps the Swedish MKS, a prototype, clean slate weapon, designed by someone who had never used a rifle.
    http://world.guns.ru/assault/swed/interdynamics-mks-e.html

    Geoff
    Who thinks the mag is too strong to be sensible and looks like it would fit.

  • Frank

    xm39 space modulator

  • Mike Knox

    Maybe for a phased plasma rifle in the 20 watt range..

    • Bob Z Moose

      Or for 10mm ceaseless ammunition

      • socialimpotence

        “ceaseless”

      • Bob Z Moose

        Damn you autocorrect!

    • Sid

      Hey, just what you see, pal!

      • Mike Knox

        *BOOM!!

  • Mu

    To me it looks like a AK-74 type magazine, maybe a US design from the time or the great assault rifle ban to circumvent one import rule or another. Or from a company with excess extrusion capability looking for a new product. The spring loaded follower is probably needed to get the last cartridge (only one it will affect) to feed up the ramp, otherwise the conical shape of the 5.45×39mm cartridge laying on a horizontal follower will keep the tip pointed down.

  • mechamaster

    Maybe it’s FN CAL ( 5,56 ver of FAL ) Magazine.

    • http://pc3c.org/ Gregory Markle

      FN CAL mags do not have a lug on the spine, they have a side cut for the magazine catch.

  • 276pedersen

    Innovative product with limited production, I’m guessing Kel-Tec :D

  • MAXIMUS HYPICUS

    Taking a different route, Can you fit 2-3/4in 12ga shells in there? Im really interested to see what this oddity is.

  • ruben

    it appears to be an attempt to produce a straight ak mag, the aticulated follower to compensate for the tapered 762×39 round. is my best guess.

  • propertyturkey