Don't get me wrong; I own and enjoy several magazine-fed guns. If I was in combat, I would want a magazine-feed for fast and effective reloading. However, I hate magazines at the shooting range for one simple reason:
I never have enough of them and they take forever to load.
If I'm shooting magazines at the range, I have two choices. The first is that I can shoot until I'm empty, and then spend precious range time reloading -- and odds are that by the time I'm finished, the range will go cold for target inspection. The second choice is for me to buy a ton of magazines, and shoot like mad until cease-fire -- and then I have to spend the cease-fire reloading all my magazines.
The upshot is that it always takes longer to load a magazine than it does to empty it, and depending on your skill it falls between "boring" and "arduous".
The tube-feed, on the other hand, is marvelous. I just take my ammunition and, depending on the weapon, either drop the bullets down the tube or shove them up into the tube. Either way, the operation is over in seconds -- longer than it takes to exchange magazines, of course, but much faster than loading a magazine.
I especially love tube-feeds on .22 rifles, because:
- You can fit between 12 and 18 rounds of .22LR into a tube, depending on the rifle
- The bullet is so light that it barely affects the forward weight of the rifle
- I can use a Spee-D-Loader to fill a tube about as quickly as a magazine change. Plus, it carries 120 rounds in a ridiculously compact package.
- It will work with ANY tube-fed .22 rifle, whereas magazines are brand-specific.
And yet, every time I go to my local gun store, the clerk wants me to trade in my trusty bolt-action for a 10-round semi-auto. I keep telling him why I feel they're superior for the range, and he just cocks his head and looks at me funny like my dogs do when I try to explain why it isn't yet time for walkies.
However, I think I'm making some progress. The last time I was in there, the clerk pointed out that they had just acquired a Marlin 60C -- a .22 semi-auto, tube-fed, rifle.
I can feel my resolve already slipping.