Loading 75 Round Bulgarian-Romanian-Chinese Drum Magazine

The Bulgarian drum magazine is from one of the finest firearms arsenals in the world, the famed “Circle 10” in Bulgaria. Rest assured that you have the finest in this type of drum magazine. Loading is easy, but the first time out may take a few minutes longer than after you have done it a few times – like anything else in life.

Our Romanian 75-round drum magazine has two features that are an improvement over the original Russian 75-round drum. The spring tension can be left off until ready to fire, which preserves the life of the mainspring.

The Russian drum must remain under full tension as long as it is loaded.

Also, if the driving force of the mainspring is not enough to completely empty the magazine, more turns can be added to improve function. To adjust spring tension on the Russian drum, you would have to disassemble the drum to adjust the mainspring, which is not an agreeable task. Some of the terms we will be working with here are important to define.

1. Cover Latches – The two latches at the top of the drum that secure the cover in place

2. Spindle – The circular device inside with cutouts for holding the rounds, rotates in a circular motion

3. Locking/Unlocking Shaft – The center spring-loaded device with a dished top.

4. Small Winding Key – Directly underneath the locking/unlocking shaft with two ears to grab onto

5. Follower – Located in the spindle and engages in the spiral groove or track. Pushes the last few rounds up the tower

6. Tower – The squarish part at the top of the drum that inserts into the mag-well of the rifle

7. Main Winding Key – On the cover that looks like a wind-up-toy key

8. Main Spring – Not visible, but under the spindle mechanism

9. Spiral Track – Visible at the bottom of the drum

Loading the Drum

The first thing you may want to do is to clean the heavy oil from the drum with some Gun Scrubber or the like. The drum comes shipped with this oil to prevent rust or corrosion in the shipping process. It’s a bit more than you need for actual use. Re-oil with your favorite gun oil. Note: This entire step is completely optional.

Release the two cover latches at the top. Then open the cover. You will see a maze of slots and spirals on the inside. Don’t be intimidated by the appearance. It is all very well thought out and easy to use!

Push the locking/unlocking shaft with firm, sharp pressure using your thumb to release any pressure on the mainspring. This may take a bump with the outside of your fist. Don’t be alarmed if/when the mainspring releases its tension with a whir.

With the locking shaft still depressed, wind the spindle clockwise until the follower returns to the beginning of the spiral. Release the shaft.

With your ammo handy, load five rounds, point-down, into the top of the drum along the largest diameter of the drum, just under the tower, loading in a clockwise direction. While firmly holding the spindle (yes, firmly), add two clicks in a clockwise direction using the small winding key. Slowly release the spindle and allow the five rounds to load into the tower. Turn the spindle clockwise and remove two of the last rounds loaded and continue to turn the spindle clockwise until it returns to the end of the spiral track (starting position). Still holding the spindle, add those two rounds into the top of the drum about in the same place you just loaded the first five rounds. With these in place, the spindle will be locked in position and you can release it.

Continue loading your rounds in all the places they will fit all around the drum. When you have filled all the slots, you should have 75 rounds in the drum. Once loaded, close the cover and secure the latches.

With the main winding key, turn it about 10 good turns or clicks, if you prefer to count using that method. As you turn the key, you will hear and feel the spring as it clicks, At any of the clicks, you can release pressure on the key to get a new grip or relax. Over-winding is not recommended. If firing and you find that the rounds are not feeding solidly into the rifle, add a click or two right then and add those clicks to the total next time you load up.

If you are loading to put the drum in storage for future use, do all the loading but only wind the main key two clicks. Save the full-winding until you are ready to fire. This way, the spring will not take on a “set.”

Also, if you fire half the rounds and want to leave them in the drum, just open the cover and depress the locking shaft to release spring tension. Add one or two clicks to keep some tension on the rounds and close it up. Next time out, just wind it up fully and go.

Loading Less than 75 Rounds

If you are out shooting and have, say, 20 rounds leftover and no other mags handy, you can load those into the drum. Start off like above and just add the 20 rounds along the outer rim going clockwise from the top. The only difference is to start with the follower at the very top of the spiral and back it off enough to add just 20 rounds. Once loaded, close the cover and wind the key a few complete turns. You should not need full spring pressure for just 20 rounds.

Always remember that the follower needs to be able to push the last few rounds up through the tower. So, don’t leave any gaps in the spindle feed pattern when loading.

Once you get the hang of loading the magazine, you can load it with any amount of rounds you desire and adjust the spring pressure as you see fit.


After a number of outings with the drum, you may need to clean out powder residue and any other trash. Open the cover and clean with gun scrubber or as desired. Most of the accumulation will likely be in the tower, so give it a good spraying out. Re-oil and that’s it!

The Chinese drums can supposedly be taken apart to some extent for cleaning. However, this drum has resisted all efforts to disassemble. So, unless you have a bent or broken part, be happy just to clean with solvents and sprays.

Good luck and have fun with your new drum magazine.

Do you enjoy drum magazines? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below!

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (11)

  1. i bought the romanian 75 rnd drum a while back took it out and it worked great with no problems..but the next time i took it out the spring would let go of its tension after the first 3 shots then rewound the drum and after the next round the same thing happend..i took it apart and found nothing wrong as far as i could tell,reassembled it and took it out agien and to no avail..after the first round is fired the spring lets go. does anyone else have this problem?Or know of a fix?
    this was a brand new drum when bought.

  2. Oh man Im a double dumbass cus I just fixed it by turning the internal wing nut thingy, but thanks anyway yall!!!

  3. Ok so I bought a drum mag that opens to load, and a while back I was shooting on my fathers property and a short while of shooting and I heard the police out in front of my dads, and thats when he told me we cant shoot there anymore since it has become city limits! So like a dumb ass I freaked and since I didnt play with the mag till I had an intimate working knowledge I fumbled with it trying to unload to hide the evidene it spun and nearly took my finger off and now the last few rounds wont feed. I figure the spring got wacked and bent a lil, how do I fix this?

  4. I just bought one of the Romanian drums to use in my Yugo RPK. I am anxious to get out and shoot it, maybe this weekend. I really hope that it functions well. These instructions with pics made it very simple to understand how to load it. Thanks!

  5. I have a similar drum magazine with 120 round capacity for an AR-15. I have fired about 360 rounds through it without any problems. I bought it about 15 years ago and it is probably from NORINCO. I don’t have an instruction manual. I have seen manuals for the 75 round AK-47 drums but the only time I saw the 120 round AR-15 manual it was at a gun show and he wouldn’t sell it or let me photocopy it. Next time I load my AR-15 drum I will have this page on my screen.

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