Posted: 11/11/2021 7:26:31 PM EDT
Who’s got one? What are your thoughts? I’m kinda itching for a 22 machine gun and am considering one of these.
If you like to tinker, they are great fun....if you want H&K reliability, they are not for you!
First machine gun I ever bought, tons of fun, cheap to feed!
"poor man's minigun"
I don't have an AM180, but I do have a Bazooka Brothers adapter that lets me use AM180 drums in my M11/9 with .22 conversion. It's better than sex, when it works, but loading the drum almost makes it not worth it.
That being said, if you've got the budget, I'd buy one in a heartbeat.
My dad accidentally turned the video to black and white, but this was the first run with mine.
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I have shot multiple OEM AM180s over the years and I personally own one of the Tactical Innovations AM15 "AM180" upper for one of my M16s. (I also have a Norrell pattern 10/22)
An AM180 was the very first machinegun I ever shot as a kid back in the 80s and is probably one of the guns most responsible for buying machineguns as an adult.
I will say they are awesome when they work and if you have somebody else to load the drums. Conversely, they can be an exercise in maddening frustration if they don't run well as clearing jams isn't the easiest proposition.
For me personally in either scenario the whole mode of operation is a bit of a chore after a couple of drums if you are doing it all yourself.
1. The first step is loading the drum tray which is pretty time consuming unto itself. The larger the drum and the more layers it has the longer it takes to load.
2. Next install the winder onto the drum.
3. Then install the drum+winder onto the gun and then wind the winder the right number of turns depending upon the drum capacity.
4. Pull trigger and let bullets fly at 1200rpm and hope you don't get a stoppage in 200+ rounds (which you probably will) or the winder runs out of steam before the drum is empty.
- If you get a jam you will need to lock the winder before you can remove the drum to clear the misfeed, misfire, or FTE. If you forget to lock the winder and remove the drum from the gun than you get to experience a 100+rd fountain of ammo be shot out of the drum before you realize what happened as the drums have no feedlips to hold the rounds under tension. Once you clear the jam you need to reinstall the drum on the gun and then unlock the winder and have at it again.
5. The gun will rarely feed the last round in the drum and will usually crush the last round as there is no follower in the drum to reliably feed the last round down into the feed block. Remove the drum, lock the bolt back and clear the crushed round from the feed block.
Personally I shoot my Norrell 10/22 way more than my AM15. The whole purpose in my mind for the AM180/AM15 is just for the rush of a large drum dump.
Practically speaking, I can probably shoot more rounds from my 10/22 in a shorter amount of time than I could with the AM15 as I could load 11 x 10/22 mags in less time with a Lightning Loader than I could load a single 220rd AM180 drum, get it set up and then actually fired.
If I want a mini drum dump on the 10/22 the black dog 50rd drums work great.
That said there is little else out there that can provide the experience that the AM180 can do in terms of comically large drum dumps. However, IMHO you take a decent amount of downside for "that one trick" in terms of loading time, stoppage clearing complexity, and actual useful real aimed fire and configuration modularity that 10/22 platform provides.
I own an AM180 and enjoy shooting it (when ammo is available).
I do have a few things I do: Keep it clean, overwind the winder by 1/2 a turn (all my winders are ungeared), use good ammo, and replace the recoil spring at first sign of compression.
I usually will shoot 2 drums (I mainly use the 165 drums with CCI Mini-Mags) from a barrel before cleaning the barrel and wiping down the feed block area. I also have 9" and 14" barrels threaded to shoot suppressed. TBA suppressors did an awesome job repairing an original AM180 suppressor with a modern baffle stack; it is high-volume, easily handles running a drum, and is easy to clean. I also limit myself to shooting 2 drums suppressed (mainly CCI Standard Velocity) before cleaning.
I had Val Cooper (E&L) tune it and he's also supplied me with multiple barrels, parts, and spares.
I've got a couple friends that have/had them and they both ran 100% except for usually jamming on the last round which is typical for them.
My first MG was a Norrell AMT Lightning (10/22) clone. I got mine during the 1994 AWB and high caps were expensive since you could only get grandfathered ones and if you could find them, Norrell himself recommended the 30 round Eagle as the best then some of the 30 round Ramline and Butler Creek. I don't recall him recommending any of the 50 round options like the Ramline with the snail spring or the old Sandford drums.
Blackdog wasn't a thing back then.
Today I run the BDM 50 round drums in my Ciener kits and they run 100% but only 50 rds...
I got a RR Colt SP1 thinking I would use the Ciener steel mags which should never wear out and so glad I did. It took some work but I got it to be just as reliable as my old Norrell and I could also run whatever caliber that works in an AR15 platform.
The Norrell and AM180 are both one trick ponies doing only 22LR. The Norrell can be really discreet looking if you are into that sort of thing. I still envied the AM180 to get that 275 round capacity....until the Lakeside LM7 came out. Most of my belts are 100's, 200's but I do have a single 500 round belt just so I could trump my buddies 275 round AM180.
Here is a video of mine running the 500 rounds in bursts, it had zero malfunctions:
It has a slower rate than the AM180 which I like.
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And this guy ran a 1000 round belt w/ zero malfunctions:
22LR Full Auto Belt-fed! 1000Rnds,Machine Gun, LM7, Colt M16A1
Loading belts is tedious but I think with the belt loading jig that Lakeside used to sell screwed to a wooden stick, you can get anyone to help load belts. Where I think it takes more instruction to teach someone how to load a 180 drum.
Plus a RR M16 is way more flexible than a 180 or Norrell.
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