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Help me understand...

1833 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  jaydee
In the world of the AR-14 and M1A, aftermarket magazines are thought of as a disease with no cure. USGI mags are king. Thermolds and Orlites have a decent reputation, but are not though of as highly as the USGI mags.

I'm not that familar with 1911 mags, and have only used Colt factory mags, Wilson mags, and recently some Shooting Stars.

My thinking is that factory mags and WIlson mags are top of the line, but am not so sure if this is a correct statement.

What ARE the top of the line mags? What are the "OK" mags, and what are total junk?

I would think that USA is junk regardless of what firearm the magazine is for.

Metalform(sp) has been mentioned here before. Do they have a web site?

Thanks for any help, as I've only used Colt(nothing newer than 1982), Wilson, USGI, and the 2 CM Shooting Stars I just bought.
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Well... It all depends... I prefer Wilsons, they're reliable, built well, and break down easy.

I don't like the factory mags, as everything is done from the top, the followers can be problematic. The GI Surplus mags are okay, as are the factory, if you prefer that style.

The CMC Power Mags are also nice, but I think the Wilsons are built better, the steel is thicker, more durable.

What we're really talking about here are 1911 mags. There aren't any "Pre-Ban" Hi-Caps for 1911's that were ever made really well. Because the typical standard 1911 mags are still made, and readily available, you will never see a situation like that of the rifles, or even other pistols with Full-Capacity mags where the mags are no longer produced for us civvies, and the numbers are therefore limited.

All the aftermarket mags for that class of weapon were "alternative" sources.

Back in the late 80's, and early 90's, you could get all the NIW USGI AR mags you wanted for less than $5/mag, and old beat up surplus mags sold for $1-2/each. The USA (and other generics) were made so those people that thought they must have a "New" mag for their rifle could go out and spend $3.95 on a P.O.S.

Once the 94 ban went in, the prices started going up, since supplies were now limited, and things really peaked last year when CA banned everything over 10 rounds. We saw NIW mags selling for more than $40/each. Glad I had stocked up... I must have more than 50 AR mags of various types, condition and sizes, but 95% of them are USGI's.

If only Wilson had got into the business of building AR's sooner, and started making mags back then, I would have a hard time believing that they could improve on the USGI's, but something tells me they would have been pretty solid performers.

It's funny... There must be a gazillion USGI AR mags floating around since they first started making them in the 60's, close to 30 years of production available to you and me. Still, surplus 20's in decent shape still run $10-20, and up... The USGI's are more expensive than the Orlites/Thermolds in the same condition, and I can't image that there were that many imported. It's not a clear case of supply and demand driving price, since the supply of USGI AR mags should easily be 100 times that of the Orlites.

I do like the Orlites, they work great, and last. Thermolds are nice too, but the Orlites are stronger.

You can find imported FN mags for under $10 new, and I doubt there were nearly as many imported as the number of AR mags produced. Same for Uzi, and Sten mags.

Just glad I got a couple Beta-C's, beyond belts, nothing beats 1 Beta.
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The AR situation is kind of odd. I have around 350 mags that either followed me home over the years or I bought at dirt cheap prices. It's amazing what they want for 20 rounders these days.

What was once no more than the habit of "borrowing" mags from the Army actually turned into a retirement fund to some degree. Now my wife has to quit complaining about the amount of room they take up.

I haven't used any Orlites yet, but have a few Canadian Thermolds that seem OK. I have 3 USA 30 rounders that needed major adjusting before they would feed at all. I'd use them as range mags but I'm almost too embarrassed to been seen using them.

Several new people show up at matches with a brand new AR and USA mags. They can't understand why the "rifle" won't function properly. Usually some dealer has sold them the USA "factory" magazines claiming that they are as good as USGI mags.
Well... If any of those GI mags need a new home, let me know, I have a daughter and son-in-law in Goose Creek that would gladly accept them.

He is a poor Navy bum that is always in need of a good deal
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i got rid of all my factory colt mags, colt is known for great guns, but not for their mags. i love the wilsons, and am also fond of the MECgars if you can get the ones with the round top followers.if not, i would go with the wilson 8 rnd conversion kit for $8.00 Just my .03 cents take it for what its worth.

That's strange to hear about Colt mags, yet I've heard that before.

I used to use Pachmayr mags exclusively for my .45s before the .38 Super bug bit me, but my Colt .38 Super mags purchased from the 70's thru maybe 1982 have been perfect. I bought 10 Wilson's and then upgraded my Colt mags to the wilson springs and followers(another round) and like them just as well, but I'm surprised to hear Colt's .45 magazines don't get the same reviews. I traded mine off years ago, but I had the "only 1 brand of mag" disease back then and that was the only reason that I can remember.

All my Colts were made no later than 1970, so is there a possibility that Colt went to crap after that? I've heard ugly rumors that I'd prefer not to believe concerning such a thing.
I think the biggest problems with fixed base mags tends to be the followers. If you use decent followers, you limit your problems.
Springs, that's a given, and most everyone will agree that Wolff makes the best, even Wilson supplies them with their mags...
The other problem with the older style factory tubes was the feed lip profiles.

They tended to angle out, rather than run parallel, and notch out. The newer design is far better for the newer hollowpoints, with the older design suited more for ball, of course, that is also a function of "tuning", both mags, and feedramps.
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