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Thread: Calico helical magazines and Bizon builds

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    TRX
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    Default Calico helical magazines and Bizon builds

    I searched through the Bizon threads and didn't find anyone who'd scored a real Russian magazine. However, Calico's web site now lists their 50-round helical 9mm magazine for $132 and the 100-round one for $157. From comments I found on some older threads on the web, this is about half the price they used to be.

    Web searching returned lots of complaints about Calico's service and back order problems, but if they actually have the things in stock now... if someone is stalled on a Bizon build, it might be worth a call.

    I realize the Calico mag doesn't look quite like the Bizon mag, nor will it fit a Bizon receiver, but some Bondo to smooth it out and some magwell fangle might make one a workable substitute until the real thing came along. Or if you just wanted to build a 9mm with a hairspray-can magazine, you might not care.

    The Calico mag sits behind the breech and the Bizon sits ahead, so the cartridges are pointed in the opposite direction. From the exploded views, it doesn't look like it would make any difference in the Calico mag.

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    rbthntr64's Avatar
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    Problem is the calico has the bullet going the wrong direction at the feed lips. I dont think bondo would help with this problem. Try Oleg at Rusmilitary.com. He may be up to the challenge of getting one of these mags. Going to be an expensive proposition though, I would think.
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    I'd assumed the whole feed lip arrangement would have to be redone to adapt it to an AK setup. Still a lot easier than building your own helical magazine from scratch.

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    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    Ah yes the good 'ol Bizon magazine! I've been searching high and low, and would love to get my hands on one. Definitely on my list as a must-build item

    I agree that the Calico mag wouldn't really work as-is, and to make it correct you'll really need to rebuild the feed ramp area.

    I've read that the Russian engineers essentially re-invented the Calico mag then changed the design to avoid copywright infringement. True or false I don't know, but it is different irregardless.

    I've exchanged some info with Rhino_66 on this and back in the day I was going to build it completely in aluminum. Given today's composite materials (plastics) I am considering doing it in all synthetic. I still have the ABS tubing I plan to use as the basis for the magazine housing, and the springs.

    I am thinking the best way to do it will be to imitate the Chinese-style drum magazines, and just imagine stretching that out and shrinking it down. Take the basic winding mechanism which will be super-easy to build and pin it to the synthetic/aluminum helical follower.

    The follower is the trick. I've searched on machinist how-to forums for information and essentially there's two ways to make them on a lathe - first is to make it like you do when threading a rod like when making piston threads. The problem is the "thread pitch" will be so high that the machine will really be moving fast to get it to cut, and it will take forever.

    The other way will be to use a special reducing gear for helical threads. That sounded expensive.

    I am considering making an original out of wood, then using a mold for either aluminum casting or plastic casting to build the final product. It should be relatively simple either way, since casting in either medium is a known skill. Getting the original is the trick. Seeing as how decorative items like candles, wood spires, etc. are made with a helical twist, the wood original may be doable on a wood lathe with the right attachments.


    Now, consider this - the Bizon is apparently built in several different calibers. Given the design of the helical feed, the magazine *may* be able to work with different calibers, provided you have some sort of bolt-on feed lip that can be swapped out. If for example you cut off the top of a PPSH magazine and left enough meat on the sides to let you bend out the bottom and use that to bolt it to the magazine housing, presto you have a 7.62x25. Then cut off an Uzi mag and bolt it on the same way, presto you have 9mm, .40 SW, .357 SIG, etc. all with a hot-swap "feed tower". JUST LIKE the Beta C-Mag feed towers let it convert to different rifles!



    Every couple of months I collect another part for the build which is a pet project to me. I already have the 9mm barrel, and I have set aside a 7.62 barrel that I need to sleeve for 7.62x25. I just picked up a ton of 7.62x25 as well! The trunion isn't a big deal - just a rectangular piece and since it is blowback there really isn't much that needs to be done. Molding those handguards will be a hassle. I was thinking fiberglass resin at first, but again, plastic resins being what they are today, it shouldn't be too big a problem to do it straight from plastic.

    The carrier/bolt combination is going to be a hassle. I was originally going to start with an Uzi bolt but after seeing some of the more recent BIY blowback builds, I will probably build it from scratch. I have a chunk of 4340 which is HARD HARD steel. I really think it is overkill and won't be necessary for the pressures the pistol calibers will generate. I'm going to use some 4130 steel instead since it is easier to work. It will have to be a two-piece item that is welded together, because I can't see how to cut the bolt face with the spring tube on top.

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    GuncoHolic kernelkrink's Avatar
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    I have a Calico, got a 50 and a 100 drum for it. The feed lips aren't fixed, well one side is. The other is a piece of flat steel that is spring loaded to retract for loading. Once the spring pressure is released you push rounds straight down through the lips to load. Without that moveable lip it would be really time consuming to load, plus the factory loader wouldn't work. Another problem is the feed lips are only slighty raised above the rest of the mag, the rounds feed out a semi-circle cutout in the front of it. To reverse the feed over the body you would need some sort of short tower and that means the normal follower won't push the last round(s) up far enough to feed.

    From scratch, if you go with the basic Calico design the center feeding spindle is available from Calico as a separate unit from the magazine. They essentially sell magazine repair kits, external shell and internal guts. That would eliminate the need to make your own if it id adaptable. The Calico does use a spiral track cast into the outer drum to feed the rounds down the length of the mag. Dunno how the Bizon does it, but without something to keep the columns of bullets separated I cann see it jamming easily.

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    No Hope For Me Coils's Avatar
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    Beat me to it Kernel, I took one of my mags apart and took some pics (I'll post later) and you could put the rounds in back wards without any problems and it looks like they would slide though the drum without any problems. It's the feed lip area that's the main hurtle.
    "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem" Ronald Reagan

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    No Hope For Me Coils's Avatar
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    Here's quite a few pics, hope they help.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem" Ronald Reagan

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    No Hope For Me Coils's Avatar
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    Some more
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem" Ronald Reagan

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    Gunco Veteran Viper Dude's Avatar
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    Hello hc,
    Cutting a spiral helix in metal is generally done using a milling machine rather than a lathe though a CNC lathe may do the job too.

    A mill uses a table-powered rotary/dividing head to rotate the cylindrical work under the cutter (verical or horizontal). The helix comes from also having the table (Y-axis) skewed at a designated angle. Helical gears are cut this way.

    Since you may only want a casting form/model of wood or plastic it should be vastly simpler to hand-form this "plug" whether a positive or negative image of what you ultimately want to produce.

    I would suggest using a wood cylinder and attaching ridges of helical wrapped soft steel or copper wire which are anchored wih glue/resine etc. The glue etc also can fair in the wire form for a smooth ridge. Select a wire size large enough to do the job.

    The wood cylinder should have helical lay-out lines to follow. Perhaps small holes at the ends of these lines can serve as places to insert the ends of the wire w/ some super glue. Then wind the wires tight along the drafted lines and anchor in the other end hole(s).

    Once completed this helical core can be coated with a smooth filler/finish of resine. It can serve as a model or mold form for positive or negative silicone forms. Those forms can be used to cast either plastic shapes or wax shapes. The wax wax shapes can be used for lost wax metal casting.

    To make a reversed image on a cylinder ie helical grooves you could build a small, simple pantograph machine using a router head to cut the grooves. This pantograph is like a miniture stock carving machine. Large versions of this machine make the fancy twisted wood poles/sticks used in furnature, architecture, etc.

    "Wiring dies" is an old process that has been used for example to make those neet grooves in magezines. When I studied this technology years ago as an engineering student the firearms applications were always at the front of my mind !!!!

    VD

  10. #10
    tired of idiots vz58's Avatar
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    you would need a feed tower anyway wouldnt it?

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