Beta C Mags - 100 Shot Firepower


The Beta C mag came out in the late 1980s and met with a rather tepid response from the military community.  In that age of $5 30 shot M16 mags, the idea of a $200 100 shot magazine seemed to be an extravagance that few could justify, even in the relatively well funded special operations community.  

As the Clinton ban began in 1994, investors began to realize the potential of the market for high capacity magazines.  It was at that time we say Chinese Ak-47 drums jump from as low as $25 each to over $100 each in a few years.   It was then the idea of a reliable and durable $300 M16 magazine that would be rebuildable with replacement parts started to make sense with some people.   There had been little doubt as to the build quality or reliability of the Beta C mag at that point and it was known to be based on some German designs of the 1930s that were considered to be vastly ahead of their time.  

Prices quickly went into the $600 range and peaked as high as $1000 when these magazines became one of the ultimate status symbols among gun enthusiasts wanting to keep pace with whatever elite government organizations were using.   With the government versions of the magazine costing around $250, there was a hot market in rebuilt and "brand blotted" C mags obtained on the restricted market and then the markings modified for a healthy profit on the open market.   After the ban, prices stabilized to reflect the actual cost of production and distribution of the magazines although they remain a little more costly in some restricted markets and "government use only" marked magazines carry a small collector premium.   There are also some price variations on the completeness of a Beta mag kit.   The premium price of course being for the kit as shown, with the magazine pouch, loader, and graphite lube.   Beta company now sells magazines separately from the entire kit for less money (makes sense) but watch out for unscrupulous advertisers who will not note this when advertising to the unsuspecting buyers who assume that all new Beta mags are supposed to come with all the extras.   Granted, most of the time you will be getting what you pay for.   

In practical use, the big advantage of magazines like this is infrequent reloading.   You can pick up the weapon loaded with a C-mag and expect not to have to reload during most average gunfights.   Competitive shooters will tell you that it is the reloading times that separate the winners from losers at most combat oriented competitive shooting matches.   In the special operations and security environment, other activities can take precedence over immediate tactical readiness and the operator may not be using a tac vest or similar ammo carrying system.   In those circumstances, the person needs to have the weapon in a package that can be picked up and used in a moderately sustained fight.  This is traditionally done with one mag in the magwell and another mag in a buttstock or even sling pouch, but the M4 in particular is not so good for the buttstock pouches and other arrangements such as dual mag holders, sling pouches, and even rail system mounted spare magazine holders don't work well for a lot of people and none match the capacity of the 100 round beta mag.  

Thus a survivor who is looking at having a weapon ready for retreat defense but does not want to go around all day with a tac vest on and it is impractical to keep the carryall within reach can opt for this sort of arrangement.   Note that the M4 or AR15 with a loaded Beta mag in it is pretty heavy, add on a bunch of other accessories, especially a night vision scope or large daytime optic like the Leupold MK4 CQT and you have a pretty big burden to sling over your shoulder, although it can be just fine for keeping handy nearby as you work or drive.   Still, when you consider the encumberance of an entire combat rig vs. the gun with the beta mag in it, it makes sense to have the gun with the beta mag as a happy medium option for a security environment as opposed to either going with the gun and one mag or carrying an entire combat rig.   The beta equipped rifle is validated by the fact that individuals in a security environment are usually unable to determine the time of a fight and need to be able to sustain a fight to its conclusion on extremely short notice.   The ability to fire 100 rounds without stopping to reload during the fight can help to mitigate the opposition's element of surprise.  Likewise, an assault element can use the high capacity of these magazines to maintain the tempo of an attack without stopping to reload which can take precious seconds out of a final assault and spell victory or doom for the assault element.  

Use and maintenance of the Beta mag is not nearly as simple as a regular rifle mag.   They are among the best of the drum magazines (arguably the very best) ever made for the M16 but can still suffer damage from abuse and neglect of basic service procedures.   Because the magazines require tools and a clean environment to take apart and clean, the manufacturer recommends not to use oil based lubricants on it.   This is such an important consideration that they include tubes of dry graphite lube with every magazine kit sold.   That is not to say oil based lubricants and solvents will damage the magazine, but a combinations of problems can happen.  Oil can attract dust and dirt that fouls up the internal mechanics of the magazines, and some solvents will start to break down the integrity of the polymers, especially in the temperature extremes.   That said, it is not entirely unheard of for US troops to use CLP in these magazines although this has also been a source of some problems with their use in desert environments including an infamous incident in Afghanistan where to soldiers were overrun and killed by Taliban and their bodies were found equipped with M4s and jammed Beta mags the Taliban had decided to not even scavenge off of them.   It has been since that incident that some members of the US forces have become embittered about the performance of these magazines in the desert environment and more have been made available on the open market at prices more reflecting the realities of manufacturing and distribution. 

As a user's note, use the dry graphite lube with these magazines if you have it available and take some care to reduce the likelihood of the lubricants from your rifle getting into the beta mag.   This is unavoidable in some circumstances, but take care to keep it from happening too much.   Periodically disassemble and clean the magazines and be very careful when putting them back together.   Replace the feed towers if they show any significant signs of wear.   

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Volume pricing available on five or more units, mix or match, contact  No shipments to California or New Jersey.   Buyer responsible for local laws and regulations.   Rebuild kits available to individuals in restricted states.   Prices include shipping. 

Beta mag kit includes mag, pouch, loading tool and graphite lube.  


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