July 11th, 2009

Rifle-Mounted Ammo Carriers — Low-Cost or Tacti-Cool

One of our writers is shooting in the SoCal Precision Rifle Competition (SCPRC) match this weekend. When assembling his gear for this tactical match we realized there was a problem. He needed to carry 10 rounds “at the ready”, but his rifle lacked detachable magazines. He didn’t want to depend on ammo stored in a backpack or carried in a belt caddy. To quickly access the ammo on his belt or in his pack he would have to get up out of firing position. Our challenge was to figure out the most efficient way to stow 10 rounds on the gun itself.

Elastic Ammo Sleeves
To secure the needed 10 rounds on the gun, we looked at a variety of options. First we tried some slide-on elastic sleeves. These were cheap ($4-$6), but the elastic sleeve tended to slide forward on the buttstock, and as it moved forward it could also rotate. Plus these elastic sleeves held only 9 rounds max. One too few. Shown in the photos are the $4.99 Cabela’s 8-round “Bullet Band” and the Allen 9-round ammo carrier ($3.49 on sale at MidwayUSA). Yes our writer could carry an extra round in his pocket, but we figured there was a better solution.

8-Round Eagle Ammo Carrier
Next we looked at the Eagle Industries Gunstock Ammo Carrier. With THREE velcro-secured straps, including one around the back, this holder was secure. It didn’t slide forward or rotate on the butt-stock. However it cost $28.00 locally, and it only held 8 rounds. Too much money for too little capacity….

Plastic Ammo Caddy Solution — 10 Rounds, Zero Dollars
We then came up with a very simple solution. Federal ammunition comes in sturdy, TEN-round plastic ammo caddies that protect the bullet tips. The caddies have plastic loops at either end so that you can carry the unit on a belt (or other strap). These cartridge-holders cost nothing — people toss them into the trash at ranges.

Using strapping tape — one strand through the loops on the backside, and another layer over the top — we had our “field expedient” 10-round ammo carrier for an all-up cost of $0.00. Zip. Nada. (Duct-tape works as well, but the strapping tape is a cleaner install. See photo right.)

Ugly? Yes — but hey, it works.

Another option with the plastic caddy is body-mounting. Using the belt loops, you can sew the cartridge-holder to an elastic (fabric) arm brace and just slip it on your forearm. That gives you a 10-round, easy-access ammo carrier for under $5.00.

Gunstock Ammunition Carrier (Plus Plastic Caddy in Pocket)
OK, even if it IS a cheap, functional solution, some of you guys will NEVER duct-tape a plastic cartridge holder to your $4500.00 tactical wondergun. It’s just not… how shall we say… “Tacti-Cool”. We know that some Tac shooters are acutely image-conscious. For them it would be a major fashion faux pas to duct-tape an ammo caddy to an Accuracy Int’l or GAP Crusader.

Eagle Industries Stock Pack

If you don’t mind dropping $40.00 or so, there is a solution that gives you a proper tactical set-up, PLUS 15 rounds on the rifle. This, ultimately, is what our writer chose. He purchased an Eagle Industries Stock Pack ($39.09). This features a padded, suede cheekpad, and secure elastic straps at the rear and bottom. Our writer now can mount five (5) rounds on the outside of the pack. In addition, he carries ten (10) more rounds on his Federal plastic cartridge holder, stowed in the Stock Pack’s zippered pocket.

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