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Old September 29, 2012, 09:13 PM   #1
raftman
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Mag pickiness common with AR's?

Am I the only one that seems to have a 50/50 track with finding mags that work? My current AR (SA&A AR in 5.56) came with 2 mags, both of the steel mil-surp variety, one locks and works beautifully, the other locks but invariably becomes unseated and falls out after firing just a round or two (it's not a matter of the mag being overloaded, it will even happen if the mag is loaded with even as few as 5 rounds, the mag does not appear to be damaged). I've since bought 2 more mags, a pmag and another steel mil-surp, the pmag will not lock (again, it's not overloaded, it won't lock in even when empty), but the mil-surp locks properly and works well.

Is this common and just part of the game? Or is something wrong with my rifle that needs to be fixed?
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Old September 29, 2012, 09:21 PM   #2
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Something is Definitely wrong and needs to be fixed. Sounds like the magizine catch is messed up.
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Old September 29, 2012, 09:24 PM   #3
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That isn't normal.
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Old September 29, 2012, 09:42 PM   #4
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Mil surplus mags aren't steel,they're aluminum.

Get a PMag. They have a good reputation for reliability.
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Old September 29, 2012, 10:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnPRK
Get a PMag. They have a good reputation for reliability.
Try again. From the original post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by raftman
the pmag will not lock
Try the problem mags with the upper off and see if you have a problem with them locking in place.
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Old September 29, 2012, 11:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Try the problem mags with the upper off and see if you have a problem with them locking in place.
Have tried that and the results seem consistent with previous observations. The pmag will not lock in whatsoever, even empty and with the upper removed, simply doesn't engage. The "bad" mil-surp mag locks positively with the upper removed, but then it also seems to lock when loaded and with the upper attached, just drops out upon firing.

Inspecting the mag release doesn't reveal anything that appears to be amiss.
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Old September 30, 2012, 01:15 AM   #7
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Try this:
Push in on the mag catch button as far as it will go (may need to use a plastic or nylon punch). Now on the left side of the rifle, see if you can rotate the flat portion of the mag catch 360 degrees clockwise.

It sounds like your mag catch wasn't installed properly (screwed on far enough) to engage the catchy portion of most of your clips.
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Old September 30, 2012, 06:25 AM   #8
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Sounds like the mag release was not screwed in far enough. The threaded end should be flush with the release button face. You may need to remove the bolt release and turn the mag release one or two turns in.

The tab on the mag catch should protrude from the mag well about 1/8"+. You should have a minimum of 4-5lbs spring tension holding it closed.
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Old September 30, 2012, 12:49 PM   #9
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2nd that the mag release button may not screwed in far enough.
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Old September 30, 2012, 01:57 PM   #10
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No, but the only steel mags I'm aware of are those junk USA mags.

Any USGI alum or Pmag, etc should work fine.

Your mag not staying in could be bad assembly, bad mag catch or something damaged on the lower.
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Old September 30, 2012, 04:09 PM   #11
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my 5.56 AR15 doesn't care what you put in it, I have a 30 year old polymer mag that was left loaded for the last 15 years and my gun didn't even hiccup when I fired that junk out of it, USGI, PMAGS, and one low cap mag I bought for hunting all work just fine in mine and it's widely regarded to be one of the lowest quality ARs out there.

my 9mm on the other hand is very picky, it has to have metal form mags to work, Cmags are garbage in it.
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Old September 30, 2012, 07:07 PM   #12
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I'm a big fan of PMAGs but I've recently started trying Troy battle mags, they do equally as well IMO, not sure if they will stand up to the same kind of stress as a PMAG though. TBMs are cheaper too.

I've had the same experiences as you with mags and M16s, aluminum issue mags are notorious for bent feed lips and catches, I was issued one that would lock in enough to hold for one round and would fall out after the first shot. Go with a quality polymer mag (Troy, Magpul, a couple others, NOT ProMag) and if that doesn't fix it it's the rifle.

Good luck
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Old October 1, 2012, 12:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
You may need to remove the bolt release and turn the mag release one or two turns in.
Did exactly that and then brought the AR along with a few other toys for a Sunday morning range session. The results are that the previously bad metal mag now locks positively and works with perfect reliability (doesn't fall out anymore). The mags that used to work fine continued to work fine.

The pmag however is no better whatsoever and still will not lock, it almost seems like that shoulder on the front of the mag where it transitions from straight to slightly curved is keeping it from getting far enough into the mag well to lock, the metal mags don't have such protrusion.

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Old October 1, 2012, 02:29 AM   #14
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Glad it worked out for ya. It just didn't sound like a serious problem.
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Old October 1, 2012, 03:14 AM   #15
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EDIT , sorry never mind
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Last edited by Metal god; October 1, 2012 at 03:34 AM.
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Old October 1, 2012, 06:33 AM   #16
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Quote:
Quote:
You may need to remove the bolt release and turn the mag release one or two turns in.

Did exactly that and then brought the AR along with a few other toys for a Sunday morning range session. The results are that the previously bad metal mag now locks positively and works with perfect reliability (doesn't fall out anymore). The mags that used to work fine continued to work fine.

The pmag however is no better whatsoever and still will not lock, it almost seems like that shoulder on the front of the mag where it transitions from straight to slightly curved is keeping it from getting far enough into the mag well to lock, the metal mags don't have such protrusion
Pmags are known to have issues with certain lowers. Tight fit in the mag well and not dropping free is the most common.

With some you have the hit them pretty good for the mag the seat, or latch into position.

Do a google search on Pmag revisions. You may have a early release mag. At one time Magpul was replacing them free. The mag well have a version letter code cast in the body.
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Old October 1, 2012, 07:32 AM   #17
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Pmags are known to have issues with certain lowers. Tight fit in the mag well and not dropping free is the most common.
+ 1 on that . I have a PSA lower that has problems with some pmags ( tight fit ) Cus there plasic , I was able to shave the areas down a bit that were rubbing , They work fine now
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Old October 2, 2012, 05:19 AM   #18
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I accept reject Pmags and give them a warm loving home for the rest of their lives.
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Old October 4, 2012, 05:25 PM   #19
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I accept reject Pmags and give them a warm loving home for the rest of their lives.
I'll trade ya for a GI mag!
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Old October 5, 2012, 09:52 PM   #20
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What does SA&A stand for? Never heard of this brand of AR...
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Old October 6, 2012, 01:33 AM   #21
raftman
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What does SA&A stand for? Never heard of this brand of AR...
Surplus Ammo and Arms (they're located in Lakewood, WA), their lowers are made by Aero Precision, however.

I'd have preferred to buy local, but I live in Oregon and the only Oregon-based outfit is Noveske; and those tend to be outside of my price range.
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Old October 6, 2012, 07:19 AM   #22
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Scattered reports of tight magwells and other out of spec issues:

http://www.ak47.net/forums/t_3_12/57...on_Lowers.html
(there's others, google around a bit)

The chatter seems mostly positive, and I hate to be a magpul zealot, but if a lower won't take a newer Pmag, it is probably significantly out of spec.
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Old October 6, 2012, 02:54 PM   #23
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Quote:
The chatter seems mostly positive, and I hate to be a magpul zealot, but if a lower won't take a newer Pmag, it is probably significantly out of spec.
I disagree completely.

Magpul is very clear that their Pmag is sized to the Colt spec magwell. There are in spec AR magwells that are tighter... some more than others. I have some lowers that will drop free all mags, some that won't drop free older Pmags, and a couple that won't drop free even the Rev M Pmag. They are definitely in spec (Spike's Tactical branded), but Magpul's Pmag is on the top end of the STANAG magazine specification. They even had to develop the Emag in order to have products that will work in some of the newer European rifles.

If the Pmags will drop free out of a given rifle, great. If they won't, there's still plenty of other quality choices out there. The Pmag is a good product but it is hardly the end all be all of all magazine choices, nor is it the standard by which even lowers ought to be judged.
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Old October 6, 2012, 03:39 PM   #24
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If you think your Spikes lower is "in spec" even though it varies from Colt dimensions and is picky about some of the most common, well-respected mags out there... I don't know what to tell you.

As far as I'm concerned, Colt specs are the only specs; particularly for dimensions like the magwell where variation causes problems without any benefit.
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Last edited by B. Lahey; October 6, 2012 at 07:27 PM. Reason: Redundant sentence was redundant.
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Old October 6, 2012, 04:58 PM   #25
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They aren't really "Colt's" specs....Colt bought them and claims they are theirs.

I don't use PMAGS. I had some 20 rounders and sold them to buy pre-ban GI 20s. (adventure lines) I pretty much use 30 round GI mags exclusively (most of mine are Centers and Okays) upgraded with the grey magpul followers. Most reliable magazines I've ever had, not one malfunction in years.

HK and some enfield magazines are steel.

Last edited by BerdanSS; October 6, 2012 at 09:10 PM.
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