The mechanical alloying behavior of elemental powders in the Nb-Si, Ta-Si, and Nb-Ta-Si systems was examined via X-ray diffraction. The line compounds NbSi2 and TaSi2 form as crystalline compounds rather than amorphous products, but Nb5Si3 and Ta5Si3, although chemically analogous, respond very differently to mechanical milling. The Ta5Si3 composition goes directly from elemental powders to an amorphous product, whereas Nb5Si3 forms as a crystalline compound. The Nb5Si3 compound consists of both the tetragonal room-temperature α phase (c/a = 1.8) and the tetragonal high-temperature β phase (c/a = 0.5). Substituting increasing amounts of Ta for Nb in Nb5Si3 initially stabilizes the α-Nb5Si3 structure preferentially, and subsequently inhibits the formation of a crystalline compound.