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The MDArms V-Plug Review

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MdArms V-Plug Review


After the huge success of MDArms MD-20 drum, Mike Davidson, founder of MDArms, shifted his attention to another short-coming of the Saiga 12 shotgun series; the gas system. The MDArms V-plug, released in late 2010, is not the first or only aftermarket gas plug available but is rapidly becoming the standard in replacement to the factory issued gas plug for correcting over/under gassed Saiga 12 shotguns.




The V-plug is an easy to install, simple looking piece. However, do not be mislead by appearances. Weighing in at just under 2.2 ounces and 1.25" tall, the V-plug is a very durable, well designed, engineering marvel. The face of the V-Plug is marked with an easy point identification system and two slots for installation assistance. Starting with a "-" as setting 1 for the heaviest of loads including the 3" magnum shells. Points 2, 3, and 4 are marked simple dots. Settings 2 and 3 are designed for using 2 3/4" high brass shells such as high velocity, buckshot, and slugs. Setting 4 is designed for some of the lighter load 2 3/4" high brass ammos, and medium brass ammo. Setting 5 is other medium brass and low brass ammos.


I picked my V-plug up in late 2010 when they first hit the market, along with several MD-20 drums and Molot grips; months before getting my Saiga 12. I knew I was going to get a Saiga 12, and knew this was an anticipated release. I also know that S-12s have a fair amount of gas pressure issues. I got my shotgun in March, knowing a price hike was coming. Now September is here and I am beginning the conversions. I think procrastination might be my strong suit.


When My V-plug arrived, it came with and instruction manual and a warning sticker. The warning is to avoid a solvent contact with the face surface of the V-plug. It will cloud the finish.




The V-plug's installation can be done in less time and with less effort than it will take to remove the factory plug.


1. Follow the directions of your Saiga 12 Shotgun Owners Manual to remove the factory plug by pressing the retention pin and unscrewing the factory plug.


2. Insert the V-plug and screw down until flush. The V-pug is designed to be installed by finger pressure alone, but if the pin is not depressing, a punch could be used to assist. Also, a drop of oil into the retention pin hole in the gas block and a very light, thin layer of high temp anti seize lube on the threads will also assist in easy install. Also included on the V-plug are two slots on the face for a blade or screwdriver to help with torque pressure.


3. Once the V-plug is flush with the gas block, unscrew until about 1/2 turn until the first setting "-" is achieved. This is setting 1.


Review Conditions and Settings


Knowing a Saiga 12 shotgun is designed for slug and buckshot loads, I made it to the range in Conroe, Texas on a sunny, windless September day with an average temperature of 97F. I brought with me four medium to light loads for my testing. My 2008 Saiga was still in sporter configuration with the exception of a semi-polished bolt. At time of testing, my bolt and carrier were chemically stripped, brass brushed, and very lightly polished, but not completed. Also, my factory gas plug is not able to achieve setting 1 and only allows for setting 2. I have 3 ports under the gas block. 1 visible, 2 slightly covered. Typical 2008 Saiga 12 issues.


All shots fired in relation the factory plug were done sequentially, as were all shots done with the V-plug. The testing was smooth, and results were in the projected ranges according to the manual. The V-plug was to hot to turn after only 20 rounds fired. A glove or slot tool were used from then on.


I knew that settings 1 & 2 were probably not able to run the loads I brought so I left them out after the first rounds of the heaviest load I brought with me.






I had no Failures to eject with my factory plug, but as stated, it is a defective piece from the factory and has to be replaced permanently. The MDArms V-plug is a more than adequate replacement.


Pros and Cons


The V-Plug offers more highs than lows by far. With 5 settings as opposed to the factory's 2. Finger tightening is a major plus. On the downside, it does get hot fast, and solvent/ finish issues are possible.


Overall Rating 4.5 of 5 stars.

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Good job!


Though I'd like to see a pic(s) of the business end of this device.

And perhaps some sort of pic or diagram showing just how it controls the gas?

Edited by ChileRelleno
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After putting a couple boxes of shells thru it or a bulk pack or two, are you still able to turn it by hand? Have you ever been able to not turn it by hand?

I ask not cause of the heat but because of carbon build up in the threads.

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After putting a couple boxes of shells thru it or a bulk pack or two, are you still able to turn it by hand? Have you ever been able to not turn it by hand?

I ask not cause of the heat but because of carbon build up in the threads.


Because of this I put an anti-sieze lubricant on the threads, which seems to help..


I have found that both my S-12 and my brother's are gassed such that position #3 will run everything that #1 on the factory plug will, and #5 seems to be the same as #2 on the factory plug. Anything that will not run at #2 on the factory plug runs equally shitty at #5 on the V-plug. Sometimes I have to use #4 for medium powered loads like my buckshot reloads. I would really like to get my gas system opened up just far enough so that I could use positions 1 and 2 on the V plug, and also run lighter powered bird shot on the lower end.

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