View Full Version : Surplus 1911 Mags...Opinions?
August 15, 2008, 12:50
It's been years since I owned a 1911. Back then it was always Colt Government Models. After years of SIG's, Glock's, HK's, and the like, I decided I needed a decent 1911 to round out my handgun selection. Whether I carry it much remains to be seen. My selection is now in layaway at the local gun shop, and is a parkerized Springfield Armory Mil Spec. As many here do, I like to own enough magazines for each weapon to be sure I can keep the zombie hoardes at bay. I don't even have the pistol home yet, and already picked up a half dozen or so military surplus mags for it. I did this without much research, thinking if the US military used 'em, they must be ok. Since then, I have read in some places that they are crap. I know they are not Wilsons or the like of course, but what are your opinions on surplus 1911 mags? I know also that it depends on what the Springfield likes. Should I wait & see how they perform? Should I pick up a bunch more in sealed packs at 7 bucks a pop? Should I stay away from them & grab a few Wilsons or something similar? Anybody had any problems out of surplus 1911 mags? Any info appreciated!!
Roger in NC :beer:
August 15, 2008, 13:11
I've been using surplus GI mags in my Springfield GI model and haven't had any trouble. I think most of the concern is with the followers getting jammed
when there are a couple rounds left in the mag. Mine have been trouble free.
August 15, 2008, 13:31
Ahhhh so that's what it is. I was wondering what kind of trouble they were supposed to be having from them.
On the Springfield.....I almost got the GI model, but opted to go with the Mil Spec instead. How do you like your GI? Any problems at all? Can't wait to get mine home!
Roger in Taylorsville
August 15, 2008, 16:19
As long as the mag-tubes aren't dented/split and the feed-lips are fine, you could always replace the innards with spring-kits from Tripp Research, etc.
The mag is where feed-reliability starts, though, so I wouldn't skimp; whether it's for protection or competition, I want something that works first time.
August 15, 2008, 16:40
I'd wait to see if the Springer likes 'em. Mine will work fine w/ GI mags and the higher end mags as well (Wilson, Chippy, ProMag). My Colt, however, likes the Wilsons and only the Wilsons.
Gun'll make the decision for ya' but whatever it likes buy a lot.
August 15, 2008, 22:48
"How do you like your GI? Any problems at all?"
Not anything I see as a problem. I've got the 4" model and I carry it at work on the range, so it's getting well broken in. I'd always wanted a 1911 like the ones I'd been issued, but I couldn't find any that looked like somebody had used the front sight to drive nails, or with barrel bushings anywhere near as loose as issue 1911's. The Springfield was as close as I could find, though it'll take years to make it as worn as any USMC issue 1911 I ever had.
The combination of rain, sand, and kydex holsters is already polishing the parkerized finish smooth in places on the Springfield, but it's a working gun, so I'm not sweating that.
I did swap the pretty wood grips for USGI plastic, and do plan to eliminate that silly internal lock and hole in the mainspring housing. New mainspring housing (without holes) and a better quality extractor are about all I'd change.
I just looked at my stock of mags and I've had no problems with the Springfield issue mags, various USGI surplus mags, Chip McCormic, or Promags.
I think you'll be pleased, afterall it's an Imbel.
August 31, 2008, 00:17
September 04, 2008, 22:29
Just bought two of these today from Midway..on backorder..anyone familiar with them? as i understand they are contracted from metalform?
Chip McCormick shooting star..good reviews, seem to be priced right
September 05, 2008, 03:44
Metalform used to be the Colt OEM maker for years, Colt stuck the Chip McCormick Shooting Star followers in them and made them 8 rounders.
Metalform used to (unsure of today) make the magazine bodies for McCormick as well as a host of the major players.
With the exception of the Wilson Combat mags, I use Metalform exclusively.
I've actually downgraded all my Metalform made 8rnd Colt mags with the 7 round metal rounded follower.
It doesn't shift forward and ride over the slide stop, doesn't bind and unlike plastic doesn't crack or break down.
They run in everything I have and have built (that's a considerable number).
The plain and simple 7 round blued, round follower, welded base mag.
All of $22.21 (retail) from Brownells.
Fair warning, if you shoot aluminum framed guns (without fully ramped barrels), avoid the flat or split (GI, McCormick, etc.) followers like the plague!
The follower will ride forward under recoil on the last round(s) and peck away on the feed ramp, damaging it severely.
Stick to the full rounded metal or plastic followers in these guns.
The repair ramps are a pain to install and the only other option in severe cases is to rebarrel with a fully ramped design. (Not cheap)
September 10, 2008, 07:42
I suspect that the real gripe with GI mags is that they were designed to feed the 230 gr hardball round and nothing else. Same for the gun. Guns built to mil spec are often not reliable with the light hollow-point load or for that matter any bullet not like the 230 RN.
I own several 1911s from various makers and all work with GI mags and ball ammo without fail.
If you are going to use hollowpoints or odd shapes you will want to get a gun designed to work with those loads. That will cost you but it will be worth it for those loads.
There are instances where a mil spec gun and GI mag will feed HPs reliably but that is somewhat rare.
September 10, 2008, 13:55
Charley's Surplus has real, not as mil spec but real USGI re-packed and brand new 1911 mags cheap.
I bought some of the as USGI mags and they were OK, but the ones I have from Charley's are great!
When I was in the Army the M1911A1 was my primary weapon. I never had a problem that could be traced to a good condition mag.
I still have a half dozen or so from WWII that my dad brought back along with the Remington Rand 1911. They still work flawlessly after all these years, and some were loaded and allowed to sit for more than 40 years!
Just make sure your "surplus" mags are USGI not aftermarket and you'll be fine.
September 10, 2008, 15:37
Is this the place?
I don't see any magazines for sale.
September 12, 2008, 19:50
Bought a cheap($8.99) triple K 7rd blued mag today stamped on bottom 'COLT 45 AUTO'--am expecting some chip McCormick mags anyday in the mail..tell me someone, did I waste $8.99 today? I feel that when I go to the range tomorrow if this thing works reliably It would have been worth it..any opinions??
September 12, 2008, 21:32
+1 on Wilsons. I've had my Colt Series 70 Govt. model since around '79 or so. Bought it new back then, and it's always had jam problems using the factory mag it came with and various GI surplus mags (NIW). Since I bought some 8 rnd. Wilsons awhile back, I've not had a single jam. I'll never go back to GI or Colt factory mags.
September 12, 2008, 21:37
While no expert on 1911 mags in particular, I've never been impressed by Triple K mags in general. If your Triple K mag works be happy and only use it at the range. I would NOT use them for carry use.
September 13, 2008, 10:34
The surplus stuff, unmodified, is fine for the range. If you're planning to carry, there are too many far better options out there.
September 13, 2008, 15:30
USGI for range work. I use either Wilson or Novak for serious work.
September 13, 2008, 16:53
Mags: there's the REAL surplus. They're good in MOST 1911s. There are also contract mags made for the mil that's been rejected, also posing as surplus. Then there's junk that's posing as surplus. Unless you know what you're looking at, and who you're buying it from, you're on your own.
1911: SA is NOT the best out of the box, per MY experience (sit down y'all). Known at one time to come from the factory with lower than spec 16lb recoil springs, the SA (GI & Mil-Spec) that I've had needed smoothing out on the return stroke. BUT, if the tolerances stack correctly, you may have the best functioning 1911 on the planet.
The point is, everything's iffy....until you try them out. If the gun works flawlessly with a mag, regardless of what brand, no brand, then it works. But you won't know until you try. Yes, I do know of one Wilson that choked. Boutique mags aren't everything. Statisticians can chime in here to suggest how many rounds comprise an acceptable "sample". I don't know.
Having said that, you should have a range of brands to try with your 1911 before you buy dozens and dozens of one particular make. If you've got buddies with different brands, maybe you can try theirs out.
And oh yeah, try it with the kind of ammo you'll be wanting to use. Flawless gun/mag combinations on military ball sometimes choke badly on JHP. The iterations are almost endless. You can read and post all you want. Nothing's certain till you try. But if you have time on your hands, read up on "release timing" and "feed lip angle" You come to a point where even the experts disagree.
Finally, proven combinations can malf after 500 rounds, 5000 rounds or even 50000 rounds. Be observant all the time. And it's not always the mag, either.
OK. That's the bad news. The good news is that 100% of MY SAs worked out, one way or the other. To borrow a popular phrase: drill drill drill
You have one of the best (SA Mil-Spec) that's out there. Have fun!
September 15, 2008, 20:38
Well here she is. I have the two original mags that came with the pistol, and half a dozen "surplus" mags so far. The surplus mags came sealed in a foil/vapor wrap type package. No ID on the mags other than numbers stamped on the baseplate. I'm guessing they are actually surplus GI mags & not the junk someone mentioned. Good news is, although only about 200 rounds or so fired, no malfunctions of any type with either mag. This was using a hodge podge of 45 ammo I had on hand, ranging from cheap FMJ to Hydra-Shok hollow points, both 185 & 230 grain. If it continues to function this well after about 500 or so more rounds, it may get to ride along on my hip for awhile instead of my usual carry piece. She still has a way to go to prove herself tho. I changed the grips, just cause I like the way the Pachmayers feel in my hand. Any reliability mods recommended?
September 16, 2008, 08:03
Originally posted by Ssarge
USGI for range work. I use either Wilson or Novak for serious work.
You're retired. What serious work are you doing?
When I'm retired, the only work I'm going to do is collecting the carts at the Publix parking lot and hitting on the cashiers that are 50 years younger than me.
September 16, 2008, 13:10
I'm serious every time I leave the house. I'm serious about what kind of mag is in my house pistol.
As for work, nope don't do that anymore. Say, isn't Manual Labor the president of Mexico? :shades:
September 22, 2008, 07:16
I bought 10 from Ammoman recently new in the wrap .He still has them in stock 109 for 5 or 189 for 10 delivered.They are a great co. to deal with
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