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For the Love of Competition Shotguns

X-Rail Shotgun Magazine Extension: How Big is Big Enough?

by Iain Harrison   |  November 10th, 2011 11

I posted previously about how the sport of 3-gun spawns some radical innovations. Some are wildly successful and go on to attain widespread acceptance, some achieve temporary notoriety, and yet others are stillborn. Due to its comparative youth, the jury is still out on the X-Rail magazine extension from Roth Concept Innovations (RCI), but at the moment, it’s the highest-capacity shotgun magazine out there and it allows you the ability to cram almost an entire box of shells into a tube-feeder.

How it works
Attached to the end of a conventional shotgun magazine is, wait for it, the magazine end cap. By replacing this with an X-Rail, you effectively add four extra magazine extensions to the existing mag tube, each of which is rotated into place by a spring. As a mag extension is emptied, a full one is automatically indexed into position. All up, the device gives the user the option of 22+1 capacity; by comparison, its nearest rival, the Russian Saiga, only manages a paltry 20 rounds in its drum, which is almost impossible to seat on a closed bolt.

Mark Roth, the wiry, hyperactive inventor of the the X-Rail, sent me one to install on an FNH SLP Mk1. According to the detailed instructions that accompanied it, the first order of business is to remove the existing magazine tube. Evidently, the guys at FNH don’t want you to do this, as it’s easier to get my brother to remove bills from his wallet than it is to separate the mag from the receiver. Two strap wrenches and the gentle ministrations of a blowtorch were needed to get the two to part company, but once that was achieved, the rest of the parts bolted up without incident.

Range Time
Let’s just say that if you’re a wingshooter with a tendency to check your swing, this thing will cure you. Hanging a small European hatchback off the muzzle of your shotgun will achieve the same effect, but it won’t be nearly as much fun. Ripping through 23 rounds of birdshot and annihilating steel targets is all part of the sport and the added weight of the extra ammo does a good job of soaking up recoil and keeping the muzzle on target. The downside is that transitions between widely-spaced targets are slower, as all that mass up front is harder to get moving and just as hard to stop, especially if you’re not a particularly big guy like yours truly.

RCI have a number of options to kit out Benellis, FNs and the venerable Remington, as well as a couple of compact versions for pump guns such as the Mossberg 500, which don’t extend past the end of an 18″ barrel. Under development is an integrated model, which replaces the shotgun’s forend and brings the magazine adjacent to the receiver – I believe this will be the next evolutionary step in Open division shotguns and if it proves reliable in competition, will probably make its way over into the military & LE sphere.

Iain Harrison
  • Aaron

    They do use it in Open division no need for a next step. LE would not need this unless for riots filled with rubber bullets, Plus cops use pumps because they own responsibility of each round(23 and semi-auto not wise) MiL would not need it, If you carry a shotgun you also have an M4(or suppose to carry it also), the shotgun is used for breaching.

    • Michael

      I saw Jerry Miculek use this on 3 Gun Nation and it looked neat but heavy. Great to see an article about it.

  • Big Irish

    Geez o' pete, $700! They are beyond cool but man thats a heavy price tag.

  • LiveHardDieHard

    Try timing yourself on how long it takes to reload that contraption shell by shell against slamming an already loaded drum in your Saiga. I'd think the reload time with the Saiga would make it the best option for competition and the closed-bolt reload issue can be fixed easily and cheaply, then compare the costs of each. And 22+1 versus 20+1 isnt a big deal, then think about all that added weight up front NOT being there with the Saiga but further back behind the forearm where its more balanced and controllable. Factoring all that I would say its damn hard if not crazy to say its better than the Saiga. BUT… it does have a cool factor of ten! Cheers.

  • iain

    Where it wins against the Saiga is in stages where you have a slug target mixed in with a bunch of birdshot. It's much easier to do do a 'select slug' drill, than remove the mag, insert one loaded with slugs, make the shot, then reverse the procedure. Speed loaders make the reload time pretty much a wash.
    There will be stages where the Saiga has an advantage and others where the XRail will win out – I'm just glad to see innovation whatever form it takes.

    Iain

    • LiveHardDieHard

      Iain… I stand corrected, I completely agree with what you said. And innovation in the firearms industry is always a good thing no matter what form it takes. (remember those funny looking plastic guns? now theyre totally mainstream) Cheers.

  • Kyle

    If this is compatible with a Rem 870 then would it also be compatible with my Rem 11-87?

  • WerkinHard

    I think that is pretty cool and good to see innovation! But not at that price (heck it is about the same price as my FN SLP!).

  • big boy

    i think it cheep only if u could go duck hunting with it u could get a years limmet in 1 hunt i think there assom and if u dont have one u should get one id buy anothe one for my other guns but all i gt do is take it off and put it on another. its gona be assom on NEW YEARS EVE!!!!!

  • Well Done

    yes, this is strange. my old, slightly accursed Winchester Defender has a barrel that is easily dissembled from the receiver. the magazine itself is pressed into place and no easy task.

  • GraveMrWhite

    “Hanging a small European hatchback off the muzzle of your shotgun will
    achieve the same effect, but it won’t be nearly as much fun.”

    This line is classic. Reblogged!

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