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AR-15 Magazines
#1
With the current political climate and focus on the AR-15 rifle, I thought it prudent to make a thread on the relative merits of the various magazines available currently - which may become UNavailable at the drop of a hat - for the AR-15 platform.

I know, I know, the focus in the news is on the rifle itself... but I'm a firm believer in the notion that the media tend to concentrate focus on one thing while the worker bees in the background are targeting another thing altogether, and in this case I'm fairly confident that, instead of banning the rifle itself (again!), they'll probably go after the stuff that makes it work instead, thereby nullifying the usefulness of the rifle itself, and relegating it to nothing more than wall-hanger status... then, when it's useless anyhow, they can outlaw even hanging it on a wall, without a whimper from their opposition.

This is the strategy currently being employed in California, and I expect it to catch on across the nation. It may have started in CA, but has caught on already in several other states - you can't get normal capacity AR-15 magazines already in CA, NY, MA, NJ, MD, HI, CO, and the cities of Washington, DC and Chicago. Most manufacturers and retailers won't even ship them to those areas. The majority of those limit capacity to 10 rounds, although one or two generous ones set the limit at 20 - still a full 50% less than the normal 30 rounds.

In the case of CA, you can have a mag that looks like a 30 round mag, but it must be permanently crippled at 10 rounds by the addition of a permanent block that limits follower travel at 10 rounds, leaving empty air below that. More on that, and the dangers thereof, later.

Being the furtive and shifty-eyed owner of one of those more-dangerous-than-nukulur-bombs black rifles, I've done my homework on the care and feeding of said ugly black gun. The magazine that came with it was a Magpul Pmag Gen2 30 rounder, all polymer but the spring. Now plastic magazines are nothing new - I used to have an AK74, and practically all of the mags available were plastic of one variety or another, and I never had a failure to function with any of them... but an AK is built a little looser than an AR.

One thing I noticed about the AR is that it gets HOT pretty quick if you launch enough bullets down range fast enough. I changed the stock handguards on account of that, installing a pair of GI M4 guards with aluminum heat shields instead of the stock cosmetic handguards that had no heat shield. But that led me to wonder - what happens to plastic feed lips on plastic magazines when the bolt and carrier get that hot and come in actual contact with the magazine feed? it didn't put a pretty picture in my mind. Murphy's Law dictates that your equipment will fail at the exact point that you need it the most, which is not reassuring. That led me on a search for magazines with STEEL feed lips instead. I found that not many are available now.

The main 3 types I encountered were 1) GI all metal mags, 2) MWG Bulgarian-made mags, and 3) Lancer L5 AWM ("Advanced Warfighter Magazine") mags.

GI all metal mags have been standard fare since the inception of the AR15/M16 platform. but are getting increasingly rare since the advent of plastic mags. Originally, they came in 20 round capacity only, and were designed to be disposable - loaded packaged mags sent out into the field to be used and tossed when you reloaded a fresh disposable mag... but the guys in green started hanging on to the empties and reloading them, and over time the disposable nature was forgotten. Magazines designed to be disposable are not exactly confidence inspiring, either. I do, however, have 6 of them that I, erm, "picked up" around 1979, all in 30 round capacity, which still mostly work 40 years later - one of them has developed a problem of sticking in the rifle rather than just dropping free when I hit the button.

The MWG Bulgarian magazines are interesting. They were developed by the same guy who developed the Bulgarian "Circle 10" magazines that were so sought after by AK afficionados a few years back. ALL of my plastic AK magazines , whether East German, Bulgarian, or what have you, had one thing in common - steel feel lips molded into the plastic body, and a sheet steel floor plate. The MWG magazines have retained the steel feed lips (have to use a magnet to detect them, as they are coated with polymer to blend in with the body of the mag), but have done away with the steel floor plate. These come in both 30 and 40 round flavors, so I picked up a 40 rounder to use as an "ambush mag" - one that gives the operator 10 extra rounds to get under cover before he has to reload in the event that he blunders into an ambush.

Lancer L5 AWM's are, for my money, the state of the art in AR magazines. They have hardened steel feed lips, but a polymer body, the best of both worlds. Some of you may recall an all-metal magazine here or there that malfunctioned frequently enough that it needed to be replaced, but the bean counters were reluctant to replace it for you, so the usual field expedient was to toss it under a truck tire and "accidentally" run it over, visibly denting the body enough that you could then take it to supply, say "oops!" and get a shiny new one. Polymer bodies don't dent when run over by a truck, so the damage isn't permanent - the sides spring back, the mag keeps on ticking. The steel feed lips quell my trepidation at melting off the plastic feed lips at an inopportune time - but there's more! The steel insert runs all the way down to the magazine catch, giving a steel surface for the catch to hold on to, rather than a plastic surface for it to sheer off at just the wrong moment, dumping your mag out of your rifle (usually right when the Philistines are upon thee, Samson!)... and of course all the ammo in it. Another plus.

Here's a video torture test of the differences between the Magpul Pmag that came with the rifle vs. the Lancers that feed it now (Caution! this video is painful to watch! No gun should suffer such abuse, but some people sacrifice all in the name of science!):







I've found NO bad reviews on the Lancers beyond one out of Kommiefornia that exclaims these mags will get you KILLED! :








This is where the Kommiefornian magazine block laws that I mentioned above come into effect (beyond the fact that I'd be reluctant to take tactical advice from a Kommiefornian, anyhow) - every one of the failures mentioned in the video can be directly traced to the unique crippling required by California law. The follower is getting stuck and breaking against the rivet required to limit it's travel. Only happens in California, and the guy ain't bright enough to realize that, or that he should move to a Free State.

One more video, for effect and with feeling:







Now to the bottom line - Lancer mags are retailing for, usually, between $14.99 and $16.99 each at the time of this writing. Some outliers will go as low as $12.99 each, others as high as $17.99 each. If you buy in bulk, you can get deals if you hunt for them - I found a bulk pack at $10.30 each, which is like getting the top two mags free at the going prices.

If you run an AR platform, get 'em while you can. I feel a more general "large capacity ammunition feeding device" ban coming in lieu of an outright "Assault Weapons" ban, and what you already have doesn't have to come from the black market after the evil day comes - you already have them in hand.

God help the poor bastard that tries to take 'em. He'd better be able to duck rapidly, and 30X however many mags you already have.


.
" I don't mind killin' a man in a fair fight... or if I think he's gonna start a fair fight... or if there's money involved... or a woman... "

 - Jayne Cobb, Hero of Canton
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#2
Quote:I know, I know, the focus in the news is on the rifle itself... but I'm a firm believer in the notion that the media tend to concentrate focus on one thing while the worker bees in the background are targeting another thing altogether, and in this case I'm fairly confident that, instead of banning the rifle itself (again!), they'll probably go after the stuff that makes it work instead, thereby nullifying the usefulness of the rifle itself, and relegating it to nothing more than wall-hanger status... then, when it's useless anyhow, they can outlaw even hanging it on a wall, without a whimper from their opposition.


Excellent points/Op.  

Now, off to Twitter with this excellent post.   minusculegoodjob




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#3
Great thread.
My husband and I are Old and Old Fashion,,, we have the aluminum 30 rd. magazines made by Brownells, 25 magazine for each of our, Her and His AR-15's.
Here is a good site that will help people choose a magazine: link

Now for our Her and His Barrett M82A1 again we use the Brownells 10 rd. magazines, we have 10 magazines for each.
Yes, we like to REACH out and Touch The Bad Guys,,,,,,,
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#4
(02-24-2018, 12:00 AM)guohua Wrote: Great thread.
My husband and I are Old and Old Fashion,,, we have the aluminum 30 rd. magazines made by Brownells, 25 magazine for each of our, Her and His AR-15's.
Here is a good site that will help people choose a magazine: link

Now for our Her and His Barrett M82A1 again we use the Brownells 10 rd. magazines, we have 10 magazines for each.
Yes, we like to REACH out and Touch The Bad Guys,,,,,,,
[Image: cda4dd315d1d094ee9e6fdd05f9dd917.jpg] [Image: if-you-hear-the-shot-you-werent-the-targ...167851.jpg]

The 6 USGI mags I have, the ones I've had forever, since Methuselah's possum hound was just a pup, are the old aluminum ones. I have one gen-yoo-ine Colt, 3 Adventure Lines, and two Sanchez, all issued way back when. Back in the day, folks would fight over the Colts and Adventure Line mags, but the Sanchez were not so popular. As a matter of fact, the one that sticks in the mag well now is one of the Sanchez mags. I also had one of the old Colt 20 rounders with the aluminum follower, probably of Vietnam vintage, which I picked up in a box of surplus mags at DRMO at Fort Bragg back in the 90's. DRMO was a great deal for mags, as I got those for 0.10 cents a pound, and aluminum doesn't weigh that much. I don't have that one any more (wish I did, though!) and the other 6 I just "found" in my trunk one day, all wrapped up in the mag pouches they came in. The only one I've had any trouble with is the one Sanchez that binds in the mag well, the rest still run flawlessly after 40 years in my possession, and the abuse that entailed.

I like the MWG 40 rounder, but it does have one issue - on a full loadout of 40 rounds, it doesn't like to seat fully and you have to smack the bottom a little harder than usual on a closed bolt. They probably should have made it a quarter inch longer. The problem is that on a full 40 round loadout the anti-tilt follower bottoms out, so the spring doesn't have enough give left to seat on a closed bolt without offering it violence. an extra quarter inch play space for the follower would have solved that. I'm debating just shaving off a smidge from the bottom of the follower to solve that problem. The other alternative is to just load 38 rounds instead of the full 40 it's supposed to be rated at.

Some years ago in a land faraway, I carried a Colt model 653 - one of the ones they sometimes refer to as a "CAR-15", not to be confused with the XM177E1 of Vietnam fame, also sometimes referred to as a "CAR-15"... but neither of those are actual "CAR-15"s. Anyhow, I had a steel (not aluminum) 40 round mag for it (which is where I learned about "ambush magazines") which never failed me. I can't recall who made it way back then, however. I suspect that the rifle itself started out life as an Israeli gun (it was a Colt, but Colt sold a bunch of them to Israel in the early 70's), but I don't know if that mag was Israeli or not. The rest of my mags were all 30 rounders, aluminum bodies, probably USGI. I don't think the US issued any 40 rounders then, but maybe some of the Sneaky Petes could lay hands on them.

Flash forward 40 years, and the world is going polymer. The rifle I have now ain't the Colt 653. It's a S+W M+P15. It's got a flat-top upper instead of the handle the Colt had, and those oval M4 handguards instead of the round ones found on that old Colt... and a heavier barrel, which makes it weigh a bit more. Since the rifle is "modernized", I decided to modernize the mags as well and go with the polymer... MOSTLY polymer, that is. I still need those metal feed lips, just for my own peace of mind. Hell, even the butt is polymer (6 stops, I believe) like an M4, instead of the old aluminum 2-stop butt on that Colt.

Yeah, I miss my 653, but whacha gonna do?

Your Barretts are impressive, but I bet you spend more in ammo for 'em than I spent on this whole rig! You probably already know it, but that Barrett is credited with the longest sniper kill ever - 2500 meters as I recall. 1604 meters is a mile, and that kill was around 900 meters farther than THAT! At 3 to 5 dollars per round, it's a bit rich for my blood - even if I fancied that I could actually hit a man-sized target a mile and a half away.

My sniper... erm, I mean DEER... rifle is an el cheapo Remington in .308. I've yet to get it out on a range and shoot it, but again I think the magazine may be a weak point. It holds 4 rounds, but even fully loaded it's loose as a goose, and the rounds rattle in it. Not exactly confidence inspiring. I've cycled a few mags through it, never a failure to feed or function, but still that rattling is worrisome. The bolt tends to bind if you use the handle for the full cycle, so I've trained myself to open it with the handle, chamber a round by pushing the bolt in with my thumb, and then locking it with my forefinger on the handle after the round is chambered.

I also have a Ruger 10/22 that I've tricked out with a Choate stock and a flash suppressor. yes, a flash suppressor. On a .22. Call me crazy. It's mostly just to protect the barrel crown, but that bit of info is just between you and me - I encourage folks to think I'm nuts. Anyhow, the mags are the weak point on it as well. It's terribly hard to find high capacity mags for that rifle that actually function. Most mags just turn it into a jam-a-matic. The factory 10 rounder works just fine, and has for years and years, but most of the after market, high capacity mags are hit and miss.

The moral of my story is that magazines are the life's blood of your weapon, so don't scrimp on them. Unless you can scrimp on money without scrimping on quality. Happens sometimes, but not often.
" I don't mind killin' a man in a fair fight... or if I think he's gonna start a fair fight... or if there's money involved... or a woman... "

 - Jayne Cobb, Hero of Canton
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#5
@Ninurta 
Yes, the  50 Cal BMG - 660 Grain FMJ XM33 - Federal American Eagle - 100 Rounds from Lucky Gunner is $3.60 a round and we pay $360. for a box of 100 rounds. Those are for me, a little less powder.
Now my husband gets the 50 Cal BMG - 750 gr A-MAX Match - Hornady - 10 Rounds box for $5.88 a round and he get the 100 round box, also from Lucky Gunner.

We have boxes and boxes and boxes of 50 cal. rounds.

We also use ABLE'S Link

But Lucky Gunner has always be good at keeping a supply in stock of all the different types of ammunition we use. Link

Also, Cheap as Dirt is a good place for ammo in stock at all times. Link
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