Techno Arms MAG-7 Shotgun: Shooting, History, & Disassembly

The MAG-7 is an unusual shotgun made in South Africa in the 1990s, and imported to the US in small numbers. The idea of the gun was to offer maximum firepower in the smallest package possible, and to this end the gun had no buttstock and a 12.6 inch (320mm) barrel. It was chambered for 60mm 12 gauge shells, feeding from a 5-round detachable box magazine in the grip of the gun.Unfortunately, importation into the US required modification to the gun to avoid it being classified as an NFA “short barreled shotgun” or AOW. This entailed extending the barrel to about 20 inches inches (500mm) and adding a wooden buttstock. These changes utterly defeat the purpose of a small and concealable shotgun. In addition, the stock design is quite poor, and has a comb so high that getting a sight picture is very difficult.

The general handling of the MAG-7 is also rather poor, in my opinion. The grip is quite large to accommodate the box magazine and the gun is bulkier and heavier than one might expect from photographs. The pump itself overlaps the trigger guard, which results in the shooter smacking their trigger finger, should they index it on the trigger guard which cycling the gun.The final strike against the MAG-7 in the US is its use of 60mm shells. These are not in general circulation in the US, and can be very difficult to find. A handloader could certainly form their own shells, but this is not a common practice. The oft-cited alternative of using Aguila 45mm minishells is not practical, as these shells are too short to cycle reliably.

Given the choice, I would honestly take one of the Cobray Streetsweepers over this thing.

Edited to add:

Friend and reader Eric sent me these photos of his MAG-7 which has been SBR’d and fitted with one of the originally-optional top-folding stocks (the vertical grip on the pump is his own addition). Thanks, Eric! That should help folks get an idea for the gun’s intended setup.

MAG-7 shotgun MAG-7 shotgun

43 Comments

  1. You did it! You found a shotgun worse than the Streetsweeper! Though it is better looking, in my humble opinion.

  2. Looks like you really need to find an AOW version and the right shells to see if it’s any good in the original. Right now it’s like one of those ugly 70’s Mercedes with the rubber bumper running on 89 US gasoline instead of the 98 it needed.

  3. The purpose of the Mag-7 was quite specific; a compact shotgun in SMG format, mainly used as a personal defense weapon by people ambushed on the road or at home by terrorists.

    Long range was not critical, but the ability to be maneuvered in tight places (like a car or a truck cab, or in a house hallway) was. Hence the short barrel and lack of a stock.

    Loaded with buckshot or even bird shot (No. 6 for a preference), it would be “very fit for doing great execution in a crowd, to make good a narrow passage, door of a house, stair-case; or in the boarding of a ship”, as Capt. George Smith said in re the blunderbus in his Universal Military Dictionary (1779).

    Putting a stock and a long barrel on it rather negates the purpose. For U.S. sale, it would have been far simpler to just rifle the short barrel as on the Taurus Judge shotshell revolver and sell it as a semi-automatic handgun. Rifling a shotgun barrel is no great trick; gunmakers like Remington do it all the time today, on 12-gauge guns intended to fire sabot slugs in deer hunting. Not to mention dedicated “bolt-action 12-gauge rifles” like the Tar-Hunt, Mossberg, etc., also intended for venison acquisition.

    cheers

    eon

    • I think Russian Rys (Lynx) shotgun:
      http://world.guns.ru/shotgun/rus/rmb-93-e.html
      is better answer for “we need short-range shotgun” requirement, it is longer but still short for shotgun (657mm with folded stock), fire 12/76 shotshell and can hold 6 of it in over-barrel tubular magazine and is light (2.6 kg), notice that it is pump-forward-pump-backward-fire shotgun, not pump-backward-pump-forward-fire shotgun as most shotgun.

    • I believe a 12 gauge fully rifled shotgun would end up as a ‘destructive device’? Not logical, of course, but as I understand it is the law..

  4. What’s weirder than this evil spawn of an Uzi? The fact that my browser (Pale Moon) didn’t crash when hitting “play”.

    Either way, great idea, poor execution of the idea. I wonder how sales were in South Africa? Surely there must be a member of this blog who lives in the RSA, no?

    • Addendum:

      Ergonomics is a major contributor to safe, comfortable and accurate shooting, we can all agree on this, I’m sure.

      If so, why didn’t these South African designers learn anything from the horridly-unergonomic CZ-52 pistol?? I bought one of these years ago because it is a historical & mechanical oddity and a cheap collectible firing a powerhouse cartridge. However, I always wondered why the Czechs, famed gun designers that they were, designed the grip to be so ridiculously deep for a cartridge ridiculously short, relatively speaking.

      On the other hand, the only other major pistol to be designed to fire the 7.62 Tokarev round, the TT-33, has a ridiculously narrow grip. Why can’t anybody design a Goldilocks pistol for this fun and still-cheap round? I really don’t want to buy a 1911 converted by the Viet Cong, either….

          • “On the other hand, the only other major pistol to be designed to fire the 7.62 Tokarev round, the TT-33, has a ridiculously narrow grip.”
            TT-33 was designed in 1920s/1930s but it was strongly influenced by early 20th century automatic pistol aesthetic, compare it exterior look to Husqvarna m/1907 pistol.

            “Why can’t anybody design a Goldilocks pistol for this fun and still-cheap round?”
            Tokagypt 58: http://www.hungariae.com/Toka58.htm
            might be solution for you, it was produced in 9×19 but Aftermarket 7.62x25mm replacement barrels and magazines were also manufactured, also I suspect that Tokagypt 58 grip panels might be used with TT-33 pistol, but I am not sure.

      • “Why can’t anybody design a Goldilocks pistol for this fun and still-cheap round?”
        I’m not sure what “Goldilocks pistol” mean but notice that ОЦ-27 «Бердыш»:
        http://world.guns.ru/handguns/hg/rus/ots-27-berdysh-e.html
        was designed as 7.62×25 or 9×18 or 9×19 automatic pistol, but is produced only as 9×18 or 9×19, that mean no-one is interesting in buying batch of modern 7.62×25 automatic pistols (ОЦ-27 magazine hold 18 rounds in 7.62 version).

        • Hi Daweo,

          Thanks for your great information and links. “Goldilocks” refers to the children’s fairy tale in which one bowl of porridge is too hot, another is too cold but the third is juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust right!

          The CZ-52 grip is too fat (thank you, coil spring) and the TT-33 is too narrow; aside from the Tokagypt with the hard-to-find conversion barrel and the Viet Cong 1911s, there is no handgun chambered for the 7.62 Tokarev which is comfortable to hold and fire.

          • For what it’s worth. The “Tokagypt” grip panels were available separately for a few years from SARCO and a few others. I have a pair on my Chinese Tok and they fit just fine. So, somewhere out there you may be able to find a pair. Also, as another option, some of the Yugo M57s were brought in cambered for 7.62. (With the useless ATF safety.) In my opinion the extension of the frame and magazine does wonders for comfort and handling. Be aware that extra magazines for the M57s are becoming harder and harder to find.

  5. Can’t use the rifle trick on anything larger than .410. You end up with more than .5 caliber, and that makes it a destructive device if not exempt as sporting rifle.

      • Because the U.S. Browning M2 heavy machine gun is .50 caliber (12.7 x 99mm). And other than imported British big-game double rifles in .500 NE or larger, and a very few conversions of Civil War rifle muskets in .58 rimfire, metallic-cartridge arms in bores larger than 0.50in were very rare in the United States.

        Even most of the big black-powder metallic cartridge rifles of the 1870s to 1890s were .50 caliber or smaller. In fact, according to Barnes, the only exceptions were the 55-100 Maynard, .58 Berdan rifle and .58 Berdan carbine rounds(for early CF “trapdoor” conversions of the aforementioned muskets), and the 70-150 Winchester, which was supposedly for a rifle version of the M1887 lever-action shotgun.

        (So Barnes assumes; I’m pretty sure it was actually intended for a Naval Gatling “anti-torpedo boat/ anti-boarding” gun, being less of a brute to deal with in a maintop mount than a 1″ Gatling, but packing about the same wallop at the receiving end.)

        In fact, the only “bigger than .50″ ciilian small arm developed in the U.S. after about the turn of the last century was the original MBA GyroJet pistol, which was a true 13mm (0.511”) bore. ATF got a bit testy with MBA over that, and the second and later production runs were “officially” changed to 12.7mm. Whether the actual bore spec was changed I do now know.

        This restriction does not apply to black-powder muzzle-loaders, of course. If you want, say, a percussion revolver firing a .54 caliber ball, that’s pretty much your business. Ditto a .54 “plains rifle”, etc.

        Since there are so many rifled-bore 12-gauge shotguns around today (0.74in caliber), that require no special licensing, I wonder if the rules have been changed again. Or if the rule enforcers have decided it just isn’t worth the effort.

        cheers

        eon

      • 26 U.S.C. § 5845(F)

        https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title26/html/USCODE-2011-title26-subtitleE-chap53.htm

        There is an exemption possible for “a rifle which the owner intended to use solely for sporting purposes” … which is how you end up with legal “slug guns” with rifled shotgun barrels. These are legal because there are locals where shotguns are the only firearms legal for hunting.

        Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and the above is not legal advice. ^__^

        • Also, the “destructive device” that they are trying to control here are rifled cannons. Think “Hotchkiss gun” and you’ll get the idea.

  6. One obvious idea would be building a variant for minishells – that’d make the grip smaller, and also shorten the bolt travel a bit; probably not enough to avoid smacking your fingertip, but it’d reduce the cutout you have to make in the handle.

  7. Quess thats not quite fair review – it would work OK with the proper cartridge lenght i assume. The foregrip over fingerguard feature suggests that the designer didnt really understood what hes doing though.

  8. I’ve said if more than once. I’ll say it again:

    Why no one brings out an updated version of the Robt. Hillberg “Liberator” in its original-as-intended 16-ga. or, my preference, 20-ga. as an AOW for a low-cost NFA “home defense by anyone” type of “nightstand gun” is beyond me:

    http://milpas.cc/rifles/ZFiles/Shotguns/Hillerman%20Insurgency%20Weapons/Hillerman%20Insurgency%20Weapons.htm#The Colt defender

    With modern metalurgy, polymers and alloys, that thing could have a Ruger-ish LCR type DAO trigger operating a rotating firing pin to detonate each shell in turn clockwise or counter-clockwise, whichever, and with all the rails everywhere for the tactikewl illuminator/laser pointer du jour. I’m tellin’ ya, if I had the start up capital, I’d be marketing ’em like no one’s bidness!

    • Those things looks like upscaled version of West era concepts
      (4-barrel Derringer/Lancaster for the Winchester, Pepperbox for the Colt or Revolver for Streetsweeper).

      I wonder how efficient would be .20 & .16 gauge in our era of .12 gauge trend…

    • Thinking about how to make it more complex, may the Winchester liberator be adapted to a bolt action with a magazine containing 4 shells en-block.

      (1 block in the breach, 2-3 blocks per magazine, 12 to 16 shells loaded, and we are ready for fantasy !)

  9. Sounds reasonably well made…intended for a particular environment…by a competent designer…with no practical experience with firearms.
    In other words, tried to design a frog but got a toad.

  10. Here in SA, I shot one of these shortly after they were introduced. I found it very handy, with minimal recoil. The idea was good, but the deciding factor was the ammo.I have a 2 page information sheet for anyone interested.

  11. “FOOLS! You’ve transformed your greatest gun into a useless trophy for the sake of satisfying bureaucrats!”

    If one must redesign his weapon to satisfy purely cosmetic fears prior to exporting to a country with said cosmetic fears, then one should reconsider selling his weapon to such a country and be content with domestic sales or export sales elsewhere! The MAG-7 makes the Type 100 SMG look like a war winner. At least the latter is more functional than a bulky shotgun with a ludicrously small receiver group (so small that you can’t cycle it under stress) chambered for an “unconventionally unavailable shotgun shell.”

    Did I mess up?

  12. Pump grip hitting the finger could be mitigated if action was made like some shotguns to fire them holding the trigger and pumping the grip. Anyway, whole concept is a very good idea but lacking in US with these mini shells that jam often, so it add to the POS factor.

    Did you try shooting it off the hip, like it was intended, not from the shoulder ?

  13. I only ever saw one in the wild on a gun shop wall and it looked funky with the long barrel and goofy stock. I pointed to it and my dealer/friend just shook his head and said “piece of junk” … well, he didn’t exactly say “junk,” but I’m sure you all get the idea. I can still remember the Shotgun News ads for those. They were a bit pricey at first, if I recall, but after a couple of years they were trying to give them away. Another example of “great concept but poor execution”, at least in the neutered U.S. version.

  14. Looks cool in the sbs role till you find out its a pump gun. The mini shells would be a pain to get, but that’s nothing a cheap box of trap loads, a pocket knife and your child’s crayons or wife’s candles wouldn’t fix.(wax slugs anyone?) I’d think it would be kinder to your hands than a Sebru shorty. I had a Mossberg 500 persuader that would beat the crap out of your hands with the supplied pistol grip. After I fired one box of light loads that 500 got a new folding stock. Problem solved.

  15. “Given the choice, I would honestly take one of the Cobray Streetsweepers over this thing.”

    That has to be the harshest thing you’ve ever said, Ian.

  16. Am I mistaken or is the bolt locking lug unsprung. If so I bet you cant cycle the action with the gun inverted or possible vertical. This would put a damper on any unnecessary cinematic cycling of the action before action sequences.

  17. First the ammo; it can be reloaded from regular 23/4” shells by trimming the cases back and then star-crimping. I used to use a wooden dowel that was sanded down to fit inside the shell with a ¼” hole through it. I put a ¼” all-thread through the hole and chucked it up in an electric drill; put the case on the dowel and used an Exacto knife or a box-cutter to trim the case to length. Then I reloaded as usual. As for rifled barrels, a Paradox barrel works better. I used to make them on “choppers” I built for the police by having Clymer make up a mandrel that was a very close fit to the inside of the barrel with the Lede/forcing cone leading into the rifling in the last 2 ½” of the muzzle and a short “extension out the front what was counter-sunk to fit the tailstock on my lathe. I slid the mandrel into the barrel (better if you had to heat the barrel in Canola oil and let it “clamp” in place when cooled) and chuck it into the lathe. I used a 2” Rigid Pipe Cutter with three “profiled” rollers instead of cutter wheels to swage the end of the barrel over the riflings. I then hit the barrel with steam, tapped it with a dead-blow hammer, slid the mandrel out and it was finished. These weapons had acceptable buckshot patterns at close range and were extremely accurate with slugs. For the rest of the package, which was built on stock Remington 870s, both 2 ¾” and 3” Magnum actions, of course. I removed the stocks and replaced them with folding stocks like the one shown on the top example in your presentation but marked “For Law Enforcement Only.” The barrels was in a set having one that was 20 ¼” and the other at 13 ½ inch giving a standard 5-round capacity or with the longer barrel and an extension, 7-round capacity. Several are still in area local and State law enforcement arsenals some 45 years later. These have all the advantages sought by these things but absolute reliability and none of the disadvantages listed in this test eventhough the special made reloads would have negated the chambering problems. Also probably no more costly than this hideous thing. And with the 13″ barres and folding stocks they were often carried under a loose-fitting suit coat by the officers I made them for. They also impressed the drug dealers in sting operations.

    • With regards to ammunition: My thoughts exactly… except I’d roll crimp. From watching the video, the reliability of using short rounds is where this gets it’s bad rap. Had the test been done with properly reloaded 60mm cases, it might’ve looked better. Original short concept and 60mm hulls, it probably wasn’t that bad a gun for the intended purposes the yarpies had in mind.

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