The Birds II: This Time It’s Personal

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Would you rather carry ammo and have to load it, costing you valuable time, or would you prefer it in your gun?

Of course the answer is always “in my gun.”

My sentiments exactly!

Though a relatively small number of magazine-fed shotguns exist, they’re rare in the civilian market. Most shotguns feed through what’s called a “tube magazine.” It lines the shells up end-to-end between your trigger finger and the muzzle. The magazine is part of the gun. It’s the same overall configuration used in the Henry rifle design so popular in the frontier era (aka the Indian Genocide era), but most civilian shotguns are pump action, as opposed to the lever-action most common in Henry-style rifles (though some rifles, also, are pump action). Even semi-automatic shotguns tend to use tube magazines in the United States, even if they’re military or law-enforcement.

That means that if you’re a shotgun user, you usually can’t use extended magazines like the ones you’ll use to guarantee your second-amendment freedoms in the event that Bubba-Larry starts talking shit over at the bait store about how your AK can’t hit anything. Shotgun magazines (like Henry rifle magazines) are integral to the weapon, and you won’t be able to pull a New York Reload when avian flu morphs into a zombie virus. The day Blackbirdicus ohGoditseatingus starts coming for you en masse, you’re pretty much screwed, zombie-hunter. You ever try to hit a flock of swarming brain-starved featherweights with a pair of Glocks and some Chow Yun Gun Fu? It’s not fun. It’s not fun at all.

Enter Roth Concept Innovations, “designer and manufacturer of high capacity solutions for your shotgun” and the latter-day Tippi Hedren’s very best friend. As a press release in Guns & Ammo informs me, They manufacture the new XRAIL System, “an auto indexing loader for shotguns.”

Here’s what you’ll be wearing, come the apocalypse, to accompany your stylish headgear:

The XRAIL System operates as a magazine extension for shotguns that allows up to 23 rounds of ammo without altering your gun.  Taking only minutes to install and no gunsmiting required.  All XRAIL and RCI products are 100% MADE IN THE USA.

Consumers, Dealers and Law Enforcement personal now have the ability to order the XRAIL Systems online as well.


Shhhh! Gun people hate it when you suggest they might want to consult Strunk & White (or spell check) before sending out press releases. Just keep it to yourself, Emily Dickinson.

Also, don’t try to “order the XRAIL Systems online” in California; they don’t do that here. Many other states also ban semi-automatic shotguns with “rotary magazines,” which is usually aimed at the dreaded Street Sweeper. This system appears to only work with semi-automatic shotguns (less common in the U.S. than pump action), though the manufacturer’s website is less than clear on that fact. This guy seems to think that the system could be adapted for use on a pump action model, but from what I can see, it looks like that would be holy hell to control.

But as I was saying, the Xmagazine extension is “made of hard coated black anodized aluminum and stainless steel, all non corrosive with black nylon or clear polycarbonate unified tubes” — translation, you can get it in bad-ass black or weirdly-creepy clear plastic, in which case it looks to my eyes less like a firearm accessory and more like some weird kind of high-tech German sex toy that runs on Strontium-90 pellets and Apfelkuchen.

XRail on a Mossberg. From Guns and

More details from the Roth Concept Innovations site:

[RCI] is the ONLY manufacturer of the XRAIL Systems:  add-on shotgun accessories that are versatile enough to use one unit on more than one shotgun, giving capacity up to 23 rounds, and does not alter the original gun.  From military and law enforcement to competitive shooting, if you need extra rounds in your shotgun (for less lethal such as crowd control or to shave time off your score in a competition match), the XRAIL System is the solution.

…XRAIL Systems are Xtreme Roth Auto Indexing Loaders for shotguns.  It is a magazine extension system for shotguns that will allow a shotgun to have extra usable rounds of ammunition.  An XRAIL System loads the same way you would normally load your gun.  Once the main tube is full, you rotate the XRAIL System to the next auxiliary tube and load.  You repeat until all tubes are full.   When you shoot, the tubes will automatically rotate back to the main tube as the ammunition is unloaded.  The XRAIL System is flexible enough to be “topped off” or if not needed, you do not have to fill the auxiliary tubes and just use the main tube like you would normally use your shotgun.


The system works with Mossberg, Winchester, FNH, Benelli and Remington shotguns, including the common Winchester 870 and the Mossberg 930, though not, apparently, the 590, which is more common in law-enforcement use. There’s a compact system with 14+1 shots (14 in the magazine/extension and one in the chamber) and a full-sized system with 22+1 for 23 rounds total.

The main use-limiting factor on this puppy is that the minimum recommended barrel length is 26 inches. If you’re a devotee of firearms in a self-defense, military or law enforcement context, you know that them’s a bit long to be hauling into a raid on a Tajik laboratory where Al Qaeda has been experimenting with birds and brain viruses, right? That 26 inches is the short end of a hunting barrel, but far longer than the barrels on most law enforcement scatterguns, which tend toward 18-20 inches.

The longer weapon would be pretty damn unmanageable in close quarters and ill-advised in most urban combat or low-intensity-warfare situations. There, the things you have to kill are probably human-sized and close, in which case you probably don’t need 26″ or 23 rounds. Statistics say you’ll probably either be alive or dead before you pull the trigger a fourth time.

If you’re in more of a back-country combat situation, and the things you want to kill are human-sized but far away, then you either want to break out a sniper rifle or utilize the power of your Bates Tacticals in ensuring the kind of decisive conclusion to an enemy encounter that guys like me can really get behind (i.e., an ice-cold brewski at a dive bar about 10 miles away.)

That’s why this puppy is really only advised when slaughtering zombie birds, and lots of ’em!

And speaking of having too many inches to play with, if you’re thinking, “Wouldn’t it be hard to aim that damn thing at swarming mutant zombie birds with 22+1 rounds hangin’ off the end?” — well, who said anything about aiming? I’ve seen the movies. If you’re carrying this thing in a Sci Fi Original or its direct-to-download equivalent, you’re probably The Gun Nut. If that’s true, then in narrative terms you’re incapable of hitting anything anyway; you exist solely to make booming noises, recklessly advocate torture, and serve as a cautionary tale about what happens to people who rely on their hardware. Just keep shooting at them and the monsters will eventually eat you.

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