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Bulgarian commercial magazine review

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by javelinablanco, Apr 24, 2014.

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  1. javelinablanco

    javelinablanco Member

    Jul 18, 2010
    South Texas

    Having the recent opportunity to purchase an AK-74 has left me very happy and very broke :) :(

    As with most of us in the community we have to strike a balance on where we spend our hard earned money. And some guys around here including myself have other obligations such as small children and families that often times take place of some of the gear we would like to obtain. So while I often times opt for the best I can afford, there are areas where I find myself looking for a less expensive alternative when possible.

    While my new AK, will be my primary carbine, I don’t necessarily want to trick it out with a holographic site and accessories that will cost more than the gun. If I ever have to get into the **** and fight, I think much more will be dependent on my abilities than on my equipment. That being said we would all like to be outfitted with the best we can get, and hoping to cover all your bases with the “one gun” mentality probably doesn’t work.

    So while my primary firearm for home defense is my proven rugged, 4” GP100, fixed sites, Hogue grip loaded with Federal .357 Magnum 125 grain jacketed hollow point, there may arise the need for a fighting rifle. That being said my daughters tuition is here and now so some stuff must wait.

    All this to say that even though the absolute best magazine choices for the 74 platform seem to be the mil-surplus Bulgarian circle (x) mags or the excellent steel polish tantal mags, some of us don’t have $200 to spend on a few mags. So there are some options out there for the budget shooter. Now I am sure that there are a plethora of magazines floating around in the dark regions of the inter-web, but for our purposes I was looking for something that could be obtained without having to chase the rainbow, or sell my trigger finger to get it. So some of the most common mags for the 74 are

    • Tapco mags

    • Promags

    • Bulgarian commercial

    Promags have gained a bad reputation over the years and for good reason, for the most part you either get a good one or a bad one, CQ is just not there. Also the materials used are just not up to the standards set by others, and you might as well get the alternative frugal mag vs these.

    The other main option out there is the Tapco mag, this is the quintessential bargain mag and it should not be shunned away so easily… they work. Tapco has been making this mag for a while now and it seems to be of good construction and of relatively good materials, more importantly from mag to mag, you get consistency. This is important since once you establish that your rifle can feed reliably from this type of mag, you can count on it when it is important. There is much talk and group think on this mag as being junk, but from what I have seen they should hold up well for most uses. Many mall ninjas will say that this will not work in combat and that they are junk, but if the SHTF I think there will be a boat load more problems that you will be facing than having to worry about if you should have spent $$$$ for peace of mind. Your $45 circle (x) mag will last forever, while you sit and rot at the bottom of a ditch without any food or water. But hey priorities right?

    Now there is another alternative that I think strikes right between the beloved/hated Tapco and the Praised/Overrated circle (x) mags. Enter the Bulgarian commercial mags.

    These little honeys are inexpensive and offer some features that the Tapco may lack.

    The main criticism of all magazines that are not circle (x) or steel surplus is the lack of steel reinforced locking lugs and feed lips. The Tapco body is 100% polymer and suffers from this syndrome. Although this feature is warranted in a combat situation, if I’m taking dives with my rifle, I probably have more to worry about than the stability of my locking lugs. For most users polymer lugs will last as long as they are not abused. Another criticism about the Tapco mags is the weak or low powered spring, in some instances not confirmed by this user, there have been mags that will not feed the last round due to weak springs. I have not experienced this and if you do then Tapco has a great warranty on their mags.

    The commercial Bulgarian mags address some of these issues, they are build with steel feed lip reinforcements, and have a very strong spring that is roughly two times the length of the Tapco mags. They still lack the steel locking lugs but I see this as a fair trade for the price point the represent. You can typically find these mags for the same price as a Tapco mags, and it is my belief that if you are going to spend this money on a Tapco mag, then the Bulgarian commercial mag deserves a look. They offer a few advantages over the Tapco mag for the same price. At this price point it is worth getting a few of both and trying them out, if you feel the need to get military spec surplus then go ahead, but for the budget shooter in mind it might be just the ticket.


    Shown are the Tapco and Bulgarian commercial mags, spring length is apparent


    Rear locking lugs


    Front locking lugs


    Tapco non steel reinforced lips


    Commercial steel reinforced lips
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
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