View Full Version : magzine evaluation and function discussion

September 16, 2001, 16:26
I ordered a whole bunch of FAL mags from DS Arms. The $5 used variety.

Mine is a DSArms imported Argie FAL which never had a feeding problem before.

Out of the ten that I ordered, eight won't feed correctly. All of the problems occur from the left side of the double stack. A couple fit very tightly. So, with the four bad mags I had before, looks like I will be sending a dozen back to DSArms.

The bolt would not properly engage the cartridge and sometimes gouge the case. If the case was gouged, it would go just short of the chamber in a nose-high attitude. Other mags would have the bolt slide harmlessly over the top of the round on the left side of the stagger. Never a problem if the right-side cartridge was next to be stripped.

On the plus side, out of that ten, I was able to add two good ones to the eight good ones I already had.

I got really paranoid and assumed it was a rifle problem. So last night I cleaned it all up, including the gas tube (which wasn't dirty), and put the gas setting to full on.

The result? All the mags that were good before were still good, all the ones that were bad were still bad.

Another interesting note. Tim tried a couple of my "bad" mags in his AzExArms FAL. They appeared to work fine.

Any advice?

September 16, 2001, 16:36
What species upper receiver are you using. Seems like Mr. WECSOG had a similar problem with Hesse.

[ September 16, 2001: Message edited by: Buk ]

September 16, 2001, 17:04
I agree - if the mags work in the other gun it sounds like an out of spec receiver, but you mention it's DS Arms, and that isn't very common (for it to be out of spec). I'd call them and ask what they suggest - they'll fix it either way.

September 16, 2001, 17:30
I had a similar problem with some DSA $5 mags. Easy fix.
The problem on mine was that teh mag wasn't high enough in the mag well for the bolt to strip the round properly. Happened with two different rifles, so it wasn't a rifle problem.
Just drop a bit of weld into the rear locking notch on the mag. Then Dremel lightly until it locks up nice and snug. Permanent fix!

September 16, 2001, 19:04
Yes, indeed, DSArms imported some Argies circa 1992. Actually, the original importing company was from South Carolina or something nearby. Next to the DSA stamp on the Argie receiver is another smaller stamp from that original company. I called DSA a few months ago to confirm. As a side note, I find the lady who answers DSArms phones to be not so nice.

Anyway, I dumped 200 rounds through my "tried and true good mags" witout a hitch today at Ben Avery range. The bad ones would hang up with the first opportunity when the left round was to be stripped.

Some of the new mags go in so tight that the mag latch barely captures the rear lug. They still wouldn't feed from the left. One wouldn't latch at all, but I held the mag in with rearward force just to see what would happen. It jammed as well once it got to the left side of the mag (the right round fed fine).

8 out of ten bag mags from DSA is pretty crummy odds. I have ordered mags from them before years ago with much better success.

At least I have an LBE full of good mags, I suppose.

Time to send them back to DSA for a trade-in.

I suppose that it could be that the mag is being held in the mag-well at a slight tilt to the right which would bring the top-left portion of the magazine down a mm or three. That would explain why it might do that on border-line magazines. In fact, I have one magazine which is only intermittantly bad (shoots a few from the left and then eventually hangs up on me before the magazine is empty).


September 16, 2001, 19:10
Is the Argie an inch-pattern receiver?

Aren't we talking about metric mags?

September 16, 2001, 19:42
It's NOT a magazine problem if the feed lips or body are not deformed. ALL magas are made on FN tooling. Either the mags are damaged, or some assembler has done some bad juju to the pieces parts.

If the assemly won't feed from the left side, then the bolt is not striking the case head. Either the magazine rides too low (replace the mag catch spring), or the left side of the receiver internal rail has a high spot allowing the bolt to pass over the LH round.

Bolt-over-cartridge is nearly always attributable to this. The fact that some magazines feed (just barely), some magazines 'scrape', and some magazines do a bolt-over is indicative of this problem.

Tell us ALL the lettering on the UPPER receiver, please. Might be a clue.

Yes, Argentine is Metric.

September 16, 2001, 20:21
I have experienced this symptom with used mags,(in the FAL), and have found it to be the follower/spring is not bringing up the rounds quickly enough.
One got a new spring (extra length from DSA 10/$10), and the others just got their innards cleaned out.
...ALL have worked flawlessly since.


God Bless America!

September 16, 2001, 23:22
Interesting responses I will have to ponder.

No obvious oddities about the cuts in the receiver's mag well. No highspots that "bump" out at ya.

Here are the receiver data:

On the right side--

FMAP "DM" Rosario
Industria Argentina

On the left side--

F.S.L. cal. 7.62 x 51 mm (L.S.R. 308 WIN)

Inside the mag well are the importers--

DSA Inc.
Grayslake, Il

And in very small letters---


September 16, 2001, 23:40
One of my $5 DSA mags won't work in my AzEx built FAL with an Imbel receiver (Bolt over base FTF). That mag is noticeably looser in the well then the other batch of mags I bought from Dixie Ammo Dump. There are also some subtle differences on the latch lock on the back of the mag when compared to the Dixie Ammo Dump mags.


September 17, 2001, 07:15
You say your FAL never had a feeding problem before, but then you also say you already had four bad mags. So maybe I'm not following what you mean.

As I read it, you had a dozen mags before, and eight of them worked, and four of them didn't. That's not a very good success rate either.

The way it sounds, out of 22 mags you've gotten altogether, 10 work and 12 don't. Also, some "bad" mags worked okay in another FAL.

It isn't the mags. Now, it's possible you've actually gotten that many bad mags, somehow, but that's pretty unlikely unless there's physical damage to them you can see. So the odds are, it isn't the mags.

Most likely, there's something in that rifle which is right at the edge of functioning. It's so marginal that the normal manufacturing variation in mags, is giving you a 50%+ failure rate. That needs to be tracked down.

Consistent failure from the left side sounds very much like a rifle problem, too, especially with so many mags. If it was only 1 or 2 mags that would be different, but you're getting a lot of them.

Do a very careful visual inspection of your "good" mags versus your "bad" mags, checking for any physical difference. Take some time and do a thorough comparison. Feed lips, followers, front and rear lugs, overall height & width.... is there any difference at all you can find? Physical difference would ID bad mags if that's really what it is, and also be a clue of what to look for on the rifle.

Check spring pressure. Push the followers down an inch or so with a dowel or pencil or something, and let them snap back up. Are they "snappy" and do the springs feel strong?

You mention bad mags that fit very tight, do your good ones fit tight too? Are they all tight?

Load the mags with a few empty shells - do NOT use live ammo - take the top cover off, work the bolt by hand slowly, and see how it looks. Some mags feed, some don't? Maybe you can tell why.

Go shooting with your friend again, switch more mags, and see if you find any that won't work in his FAL either.

There's some things to try, anyway. Hope you get it sorted out. :)

September 17, 2001, 10:44
First thing to do is get some dummy rounds.

I just went through this with an inch mag last night. Here are my observations on the bolt-over-round failure and what causes it.

The mag may be part of the problem...but also check the lower face of your bolt...mine is very worn and this adds to the possibility of this jam.

If the bolt looks good, then here's how to check the mags. Obviously the first thing to do is check for follower binding with no rounds in mag. Remember to keep the follower flat while checking this, they'll always bind if they get unlevel. Then put your dummy rounds in with a round on the left side high (even # of rounds). Push down on the rear of the left side round in the mag...if it doesn't come back up flush with the lips, then this is a potentially problematic mag. Don't despair! Look at where the round is touching the feed lips on the left side. The feed lips on both sides have a section both fore and aft that should contact the round, at the nose and the last inch or so of the case. In between is a relief cut area. If the round is contacting this, get your needle-nose pliers out, remove the rounds, and carefully bend out a bit on the relief area.

I played with the fore and aft contact areas for 45 minutes before realizing it was this relief cut section that was causing the nose-up condition. Very little bending was necessary to alleviate this...it kinda surprised me!

You can also try adding a slight bend to the spring so that more pressure is applied t the rear of the follower...but generally avoid this as a bent spring looses much of it's strength.

Hmmm....maybe I ought to take some photos...

[ September 17, 2001: Message edited by: stimpsonjcat ]

September 17, 2001, 20:46
Looks like I have my work cut out for me.

I think I will start with a new set of springs for all the new mags.

All mag bodies look fine except for one. It has a rather sharp raised dimple on the right side of the lip. Guess what? It works.

I may have to give it to T. Mark so he can look it over.

Thanks for all the info.


September 18, 2001, 02:00

Read stimpsonjcats post again.

This is exactly the fix I have used to correct the bolt override problem on close to 15 mags. Have had to bend down slightly that front contact area (bullet) on a few mags even with clearance in the middle in order to get the case head to spring back up. I would definitely check this 1st before firing up the dremel.

September 18, 2001, 04:51
I know what the problem is!!

If your getting gouges in the casings, feeding only half way into the chamber. Check out the bottom of your receiver where the rounds in the mag rest on the receiver before there loaded in the chamber. There are burrs in that area digging into the rounds and restricting forward movement of the bolt.


Run your thumb along this area (carefully) and you will feel the burrs. I had this problem on one of my receivers and I have helped out 5 or 6 others. Brand name of receiver doesn't matter. DSA, Entreprise, Imbel I've hear about this on all of them. To repair shoeshine buff the rail areas with emory cloth untill the burrs are gone.

Hope you haven't sent back those mags yet.


September 18, 2001, 11:18
The receiver rail polish is a good thing to do...but it won't cause bolt-over-base jams...just fail to chamber jams.

It's definately either the mags not letting the round rear end seat high enough, or the bolt face being too worn...or both even.

September 18, 2001, 18:51
I beleive he stated he was getting gouges in his casings. The bolt over FTF is something different (guess I missed that part :( )

Maybe check it anyway?


September 18, 2001, 20:00
I am getting both.

I am getting bolt-overs where the round is not stripped. But mostly I am getting partial feeding.

The case gouges are by the bolt semi-stripping the round into the chamber. The round goes nose up with the bullet portion stubbing at an obtuse angle. The bolt then gouges, scrapes, or even dents the case.

I will do all that you suggest. It will be fun to do this so that I can better understand my rifle.

And if that doesn't work, I will pay T. Mark to better understand my rifle ;)

I'll be off for a while. I am flying tomorrow morning to get to the 2001 Gun Rights Policy Conference in Cincinnati, www.saf.org (http://www.saf.org)


September 19, 2001, 22:57
I would recommend Aifwikir's suggestion 1st. It is the quickest, easiest fix. I had the exact problems you described. I polished those edges & have had zero problems since.

September 28, 2001, 22:11
I spoke with a tech at DSArms over the phone today. I explained the problem. He gave me some advice. I am not sure that my issues were addressed.

Basically he said to check to see if my return spring (in the stock) was too stiff (as compared to TimW's AzEx FAL which fed just fine from my "bad" mags). He suggested that the bolt might not be driving forward faster than the mags could feed (potentially for all of the reasons mentioned above).

He asked if I had a bolt buffer (he didn't recommend them).

He had no real answer for why my 1992-imported Argie would not feed, given a too tight return spring while a new AzEx would feed. No answer for why it would always be on the left side.

So, he wants me to check the spring pressure, and then move on to perhaps replacing the mag springs (which still doesn't answer why my rifle is mag-finicky). What am I gonna do if someone lends me a "bad" mag, ask him for strippers only?

He said that DSArms has closed the tolerances in their mag wells over the last few years to keep the mag from wobbling left and right. He also said to see if the follower rotates too much left to right.

He said if none of that works to send it to DSA. He said that since DSA only imported the FAL and did not assemble it, DSA takes no responsibility for the Argie FAL.

Let's say it is not a mag problem and is not a return spring problem. What could a FAL smith do to correct this problem?


September 28, 2001, 22:21
A new bolt, perhaps, to replace one that is worn on its lower breech face, (unlikely).
De-burring as mentioned above.

I still think you will find it to be a spring problem. ...and $1 mag springs to boot... ;)


September 29, 2001, 02:29
I have purchased (8) of the DSA mags for $5 and have cleaned, inside and out, and then "GunKoted" each mag body, follower and floorplate. Insides of the body were very lightly oiled with CLP (one drop on finger per side). All mags have functioned great with no malfunctions of any kind through my Entreprise Scout Carbine. Mags were "gritty" inside when received. This can slow things way down and cause misfeeds. A good cleaning and very, very light oiling may be all that's needed. :)

September 29, 2001, 02:58
With respect to oiling the inside of the magazine, I have always wondered "how much is too much?"

It seems like a good idea to lubricate moving parts, but oil and grease can damage primers.

So what's the compromise level? What is taught in the military?


September 29, 2001, 09:45
And still it doesn't explain why the mags fail to feed in my rifle and work fine in the next guy's rifle.

September 29, 2001, 11:11
If the recoil springs on yours are slightly slower(***EDIT!!!-I meant faster!!***) it does. (i.e. DSAs comment "stiffer")
BTW- Tapco has brand new FN outer recoil springs, but then DSA surely does also.( and you could get the outer and inner AND mag springs from DSA...).

[ September 29, 2001: Message edited by: Dirtfarmer ]