Internal magazine VS. Detatchable box magazine (pros and cons)


April 28, 2011, 10:30 PM
I recently implusively put money down on a Marlin XS7 .308 (I believe) that looks exactly like a Savage that retails for $325.

I was opting for a detatchable box mag but sacrificed this feature because the price was right.

Does anybody have any comments relating to this difference as I am a bolt action newbie and don't want to throw good money after bad.

Thank you

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April 28, 2011, 10:43 PM
You can't loose one that's built in. If you can remove and add stuff it's "cool". A box mag is a bad idea for 3 gun but 5 is more than enough to put meat on the table.

April 28, 2011, 10:47 PM
The detachable mag is only an advantage if you expect having the need to shoot more than it can hold in a short timeframe. For hunting and target shooting, it isn't necessary. On a defensive weapon I'd say it's critical. If you want a defensive weapon, there are generally better options than a bolt action anyway. In short, the internal mag should serve you well.

April 28, 2011, 11:32 PM
Winchester, Weatherby Vanguard, and Howa are all 5+1. Most all others are 4+1.

I prefer a blind mag on a bolt action hunting rifle. Simpler, it keeps weight down and in theory the action and stock are stiffer resulting in better accuracy. It takes about 10 seconds longer to unload compared to a floorplate which is not a bad choice either.

A DBM is fine on an AR or other type rifle. I don't think they are worth the trouble on a hunting rifle. AR magazines are everywhere and dirt cheap. If you lose or damage one who cares. Most people who own one have many anyway. Have you priced extra mags for most hunting rifles? Buying several could quickly add up to more than the rifle cost.

April 29, 2011, 12:19 AM
For a hunting rifle, I'd stick with the internal magazine. Detachable boxes are nice. I run a Wyatt's on one of my bolt guns. It's nice to be able to pop out the empty and slap in a full one when you're shooting against a clock. Otherwise, the internal is just easier to deal with. The one advantage that I personally see with a detachable is that I can slap in a loaded magazine on a closed bolt while leaving the chamber empty. Yeah, you can do this with an internal, but it's a bit of a PITA. The detachable also makes it easier to unload.

April 29, 2011, 12:26 AM
I've had blind magazine and detachable magazine Savage rifles.

The plus for the detachable is you can unload it completely for the game warden with the push of a button and clearing the action. The downside is if you don't seat the magazine properly you might not load your first round if you aren't paying attention. (Happened to me in a long range match.)

Magazines for bolt rifles are ridiculously expensive, I spent $40 on a spare for my Savage 116, but they are handy for carrying an extra 4 rounds and they don't rattle around.

April 29, 2011, 10:38 AM
I like hinged floorplates on bolt actions. As others have said, detachable mags have some benefits, but they are pricey and can easily be lost or accidentally left behind on a hunt. Blind magazines may provide a stiffer action, but they are simply a pain to unload in the field. For this reason, I fear that, for some, laziness might result in magazines not always being unloaded when they should be. With a hinged floorplate, it's always with you, and it only takes a simple motion to dump your cartridges into your hand when the need arises.

April 29, 2011, 10:59 AM
On a bolt gun, there's little need for a detachable box. Self loading actions use them as they are likely military based. Bolt guns don't need them much, they are limited by the ability of the shooter getting a new sight picture for every shot.

Saying detachable box mag guns aren't needed for hunting implies there aren't a lot of targets. With whitetail, maybe. NJ offers 28 tags a season, tho. Hogs, prairie dogs, and such, targets galore. Obviously, some have limited opportunity compared to others, but in no way should that ever imply some sort of moral or ethical Tier ranking. MILLIONS of hunters use box magazine rifles for hunting - likely surplus military arms. And there's the key - they are also less expensive, and that's when the subtle bolt gunner word play creeps in.

As for a box mag on a bolt gun, it doesn't address the real problem, which is breaking the cheek weld to load each shot. Ammo capacity isn't the issue with a gun that can't be shot accurately with just a few seconds for each target. The bolt gunner generally can't do that as well as a self loader - he MUST reacquire a new sight picture for each shot, and WILL remove his hand from the trigger every time to cycle the bolt.

If you have multiple targets - which some hunters do - then a bolt gun isn't the best choice, regardless of magazine type. The bolt gunner is deliberately choosing to impose more difficulty on it's use - they accept each shot will take longer to make as accurately as a selfloader, and they won't be likely to make as many. Whether that has a impact on the kind of hunting done is up to the shooter to decide, not arbitrarily imposed by others suggesting higher moral ground.

April 29, 2011, 11:11 AM
That's funny, I didn't see anyone taking the moral high ground in this thread. All the comments so far discussed price and practicality. Also, it is entirely possible, and AFAIK proper technique, not to break your cheek weld while cycling the bolt. At least I can do it with my Ruger Hawkeye in .300WM.

April 29, 2011, 11:31 AM
I prefer internal mags on bolt guns. I have one detachable mag bolt gun that is nice, because it holds 10rds, but the advantage is more in the capisity than its detachability. I have another detachable mag bolt gun that only holds 3; I see no advantage. Either rifle, I worry about dropping the mag. One of my internal mag bolt guns w/ a hinged floorplate is sporting duct tape to prevent dumping my ammo.

Andrew Wyatt
April 29, 2011, 11:42 AM
I like detachable magazines on all guns. much easier to unload and reload when crossing streams and fences.

Art Eatman
April 29, 2011, 11:46 AM
My preference is for a hinged floorplate, but it's nothing worth worrying about. My 700Ti, as part of the weight-saving, has a blind mag setup.

In many and many a year of chousing Bambi, I've needed more than two shots only one time, and that particular occasion was as much entertaining foolishness as anything else. Probably 90% of all my kills have been one-shot.

Just off the cuff, it seems to me that a detachable mag on a bolt-action hunting rifle is just something else to mess with or get lost or sit on or some darned thing. But whatever somebody else likes is fine by me. :)

April 29, 2011, 12:07 PM
for some rifle competitions, a detachable box mag is almost a necessity.

for anything else, i pretty much agree with art

April 29, 2011, 01:12 PM
I agree with MtnCreek that capacity is a (potential) advantage of of the DBM. Unforuntately, most bolt guns don't seem to have more than 4-5 rounds in a mag. If you can get one with 10 that's great. Like others have said, the extra mags are expensive and I'd recommend getting at least one spare. The Savage 10 mags are about $50 a piece.

April 29, 2011, 01:15 PM
I have a detachable box magazine bolt action rifle, and I like the obvious quick reload if neccesary - especially since the scope makes it difficult to top off with the bolt open. Can be done, but far easier to drop the mag and reload. That's just my opinion.

April 29, 2011, 01:32 PM
in Indiana i am not limited to how many rounds i can have in a rifle, i personally dont belive there is a need to limit the magazine capacity on olt-action rifles, think about it, it takes about as much to pop in another bullet straight into the chamber as it does to work the bolt anyhow, maybe half a second slower

that being said, i would opt for the internal magazine, exspecially on a hunting gun, beinmg internal, it would be harder to accidentally drop your mag, misplace it, get mud in it, and so on

April 29, 2011, 01:43 PM
This is a hunting rifle. Box magazine; easily gives extra rounds, do you need that feature? Hinged floor plate only pro i see is easy removal of rounds from magazine. Internal magazine, con is limited number of rounds and ease of removing rounds. Does your state have a magazine rounds limitation? Do you have really rotten freezing rain type weather? Within those parameters i suggest the internal mag has an advantage. Real bottom line; if it is a hunting rifle, and you can shoot well, do you need more than 3 or 4 rounds?

April 29, 2011, 01:43 PM
I like my detachable magazine because its easier to load and unload. If I'm getting in a vehicle for a quick relocation I can completely unload my rifle and keep my ammo on my person. If need be I can have my rifle loaded faster than if I had to thumb in individual cartridges. This way, I only have to load the magazine once, and then just keep the magazine topped off as necessary. Its also easier to verify the rifle is completely unloaded.

April 29, 2011, 11:25 PM
More than likely, hunting will be the only use for this gun, but I prefer every gun that I invest in to be of some tactical/defensive relevance, is there any with a internally fed bolt gun?

I know its only a $325 rifle, but that is about all I have in my gun fund right now so I can't finance anything to extravagant, like an M40A1 clone which would be wonderful if it was within my means, but its not

But does the internally fed mechanism limit the versatility and tactical/defensive relativity, or is it only a suitable trait to a hunting gun?

If anyone has any suggestions on a more suitable rig that appeals to my tastes thats also within my $300-$400 range, I would definitely take them under advisement.

Thanks for all your considered opinions. DV

April 30, 2011, 12:00 AM
I won't buy a gun without a clip .. easier to load and unload by far .. no fumbling around with a handful of cartridges when you drop the floorplate or the hassle of jacking out each indivdual shell..

April 30, 2011, 12:18 AM
I never claim to know much about any given topic, because I am a bit of a noob, but I think I would kind of appreciate a detachable mag on any gun.

it just seems to be such a PITA to load each round (battling with the objective end of your scope, might I add) when there's such an easy alternative available.

though, the only rifle with a detachable mag that I own is an AR15, and that's a whole different animal as others have stated.

my only bolt gun has an internal mag, and I don't mind it, but I must say, a detachable mag sounds nice.

April 30, 2011, 04:56 AM
Every firearm I purchase nowadays is evaluated on a self defense/preservation use first before they are evaluated for their sporting purpose. So IMO, the DBM is a must have, especially on a bolt gun because their capabilities become more and more limited the closer your objective gets to you. The quicker you can get the platform back up and running equals more chance for your survival no matter what your objective.

Yes there is a fraction more weight and I don't know that I buy the adverse affect on accuracy as I don't see a DBM degrades lockup.

thats me and like just about every question on forums, the answer is based largely on personal preference.

April 30, 2011, 07:46 AM
On a bolt action rifle how much faster is it really to change a mag as opposed to thumbing in 5 rounds with a stripper clip? With practice I doubt there is any difference. If all I had for survival or SHTF was a bolt action rifle I would much rather carry stripper clips than a bunch of bulky mags. If you only have a few mags and a bunch of ammo you have to stop and load them anyway.

April 30, 2011, 08:13 AM
Excepting a mag is not only about changing mags but also about capacity of mags. You potentially take a 5 round gun and turn it into a 10 or 20 round gun.

For hunting purposes this doesn't mean much but as I stated In my last post, self preservation is always my first concern with firearms. I'll take a 20 round gun of equal accuracy and capability over a 5 round any day of the week.

April 30, 2011, 08:50 AM
If detachable mag conversions for bolt guns were not so expensive I would probably already have one. I was tempted to buy a used one once. I have never needed the feature. If I am going hunting anything that would require lots of shoot I would bring another type of gun.

It would not be worried so much about losing the mag as I don't lose the mags for other guns.

Of course what Andrew Wyatt posted is a very valid point.

April 30, 2011, 09:19 AM
The primary advantages of internals:
Top-off is easier
Simpler/less likely to jam
Less exposed to dirt

And some bolt actions are capable of 5 + 1, such as a Mosin Nagant. You chamber a round, open the floor plate and fill the mag, then close it up :)

With detachables the primary advantages are:
Sometimes faster reloading
If it jams, use another mag
Easier to clean

April 30, 2011, 10:33 AM
@ tbd1966

I agree 100%. every gun I own has a primarily defense/survival purpose first, sporting purpose second. I don't hunt (although I'm itching to, just need someone to go with to teach me how to dress game)

Art Eatman
April 30, 2011, 12:14 PM
NOLA, for defense/survival, with defense being a higher priority than shooting an animal for food, a semi-auto with a detachable mag makes sense. Even there, however, a high-cap mag makes life awkward when hunting.

But in 70 years of my own shooting, I've yet to need to be in a hurry to reload a bolt action. And I'm certainly dubious that in a self-defense situation I'd really need beaucoup rounds. Zombie hordes are not part of my expectations.

Sure, a detachable mag is desirable in combat or in civilian training which emulates combat situations. Otherwise? Hey, whatever floats your boat.

April 30, 2011, 12:26 PM
I like feeding bolt guns from clips... All the benefits of an internal mag, reloading almost as fast as a detachable box. Plus, clips cost less...

Too bad clip guides are only found on surplus rifles. Would love to see stripper guides on a new Savage or Marlin!

In favor of the box mag though, I really do like the ability to quickly unload the gun and not have a bunch of stray bullets rattling around.

April 30, 2011, 10:42 PM
Everyone should have one rifle with a blind magazine as mud gun. You know, one that you can get down on old fallen log, in the grass, up on a wet mossy rock, etc - and then shoot without worrying about crud getting up in the rifle. Even hinged floor plate rifles can get crud in them :(

Blind mags stay clean. Also helps for a mud gun to have a synthetic stock. More wet weather resistance :)

Your Marlin will be fine :)

May 1, 2011, 06:00 PM
I bought the Marlin XS7 in .308 the other day, I am going to wally world later to select a scope, not exactly too keen on what I'm actually lookin for but I intend to spend at least a hundred and change.

Its my first bolt gun/scope combo besides a Remington 770 that I had for only one night before I sold it, reason being because when I got home with the gun I realized that the reciever and bolt assembly was flimsy feeling plastic.

My initial impression of the Marlin XS7 is that it is a well built, durable, bolt gun with a smooth action and affordable price.

Thanks for all your inputs

May 1, 2011, 06:47 PM
I have a detachable box mag in my Savage 30-06, and I barely even detach it. But then again, if I could actually find more than one magazine, maybe I would start using them more...

May 2, 2011, 10:24 PM
As it is illegal to transport a loaded rifle in my state or shoot from a vehicle, a box magazine is much handier and causes less damage to ammo if you have to unload and reload everytime you go somewhere. It's also pretty annoying to watch a deer run away while you are still fumbling with shells. It depends on how you hunt and where. If you don't have to load or empty your rifle quickly or several times a day it doesn't matter. Not at the top of my list but if I get a choice, all else being equal, it would be the detachable box magazine.

May 3, 2011, 02:39 PM
My main hunting rifle has an internal box magazine. I got it that way because I didn't want to accidentally drop ammo when going through brush and I liked the fact that, with the bolt closed, the magazine is pretty much sealed. It's also flush fit with the stock.

My backup hunting rifle has a detachable box magazine. I like this feature because it is easier to unload without mangling the ammo. It is also easier to load and unload while up in a tree stand (less risk of dropping rounds everywhere).

My backup backup hunting rifle has a hinged floorplate, so the ammo isn't mangled again, but that still has the same risk of dropping ammo everywhere as a internal mag.

The most shots I've ever taken at a single deer was 2 so I have no need for the higher capacity or fast reload of a magazine. I still find it worthwhile sometimes though.

May 5, 2011, 01:38 PM

It's all in how you shoot and your reasoning when purchasing firearms. For some, mags serve as a rest point to pivot the firearm off of when engaging targets. As far as needing the ability to carry more rounds, your right that on an everyday purpose in today's current environment, it's overkill. If however your caught off guard and the only weapon you have quick access to is your bolt gun, I would want to be as effective as possible. You can only perform up to the weakest point in your system.

I'd your purely a sportsman and you don't have a defensive mindset then none of this makes sense. I'm fine with that as these are all just personal preferences.

I would rather have it and not need it rather than need it and not have it.

May 6, 2011, 03:21 PM
I want a 100 round beta mag on my Mosin Nagant!

Seriously, I don't have a preference. I do like higher round capacity and detachable mags on my semi-autos, but for a bolt gun, internal is fine.

If I ever get another Arisaka type 38, I may tinker up a detachable mage for that. I won't mess with the one I own for sentimental reasons, but the floorplate drops out entirely, along with the mag spring and floower. It wouldn't be difficult to mock up a detachable mag in that instance. Now if 6.5 Arisaka ammo wasn't getting so hard to find at a decent price.

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