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Cleaning mags

Fiorina

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I have a ton of mags that need cleaning. Some have a little rust, some are just dirty and full of crud. G3, FAL, PPS43 etc. what are you guys using to clean mags up?
 

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For the past 40 years, I have had a 50 cal ammo can with a 50/50 mix of kerosene/gasoline that I drop the mags into and let soak. 1 by 1 they are removed, disassembled and the insides are cleaned with the appropriate magazine brush, the exterior is cleaned with whatever it takes to remove the crud and then reassembled. Then the internals are sprayed down with Hornady One Shot. Once the volatile carrier evaporates it leaves behind a dry lube. I always do this where there is plenty of ventilation and usually remember to put on gloves. I'm sure some will take issue with the use of gasoline but it has worked for me and the mixture of the kerosene helps to dampen the flammability.
 

Sh3008

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My god you guys are hardcore. I would be scared to death to have that much combustible material inside my garage.

I get paranoid about rags with stain and turpentine. I wouldn’t be able to sleep knowing there’s a ammo can half full of gas in my garage.
 

W.E.G.

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Stiff brush, hot water, Simple Green, and elbow grease.

Set wet disassembled mags to air-dry in front of a fan. Turn as necessary. If you have access to compressed air, and suitable area for blasting shmootz. If you don’t mind wearing magazine-shmootz, compressed air will speed drying considerably. Keep your mouth closed, and wear eye protection.

When “dry, spray liberally with WD-40 because WD displaces water. Allow excess to drip off.

Reassemble and store in suitable container. Preferably inverted, and with some absorbent material in bottom of container to collect any slow drip.

I went through this with a large batch of $4 AK mags. PITA. Everyone should do it once. That way they will know they never want to do it again.
 
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hueyville

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I clean well, replace springs as need, upgrade floor plates as need based on rifle used in, but cleaning is a big deal. Lube is necessary but varies based on environment, how much used, temperature and if being stored more than run. I like to use chrome silicone flatwire springs. Seem to last forever, feed much better at extremes of fully stuffed to last few rounds. When I buy new AR 15, AR 10/SR 25 mags I now replace the springs with Tubb/Superior Shooting Systems chrome silicone flatwires and then tag the springs coming out as new and what brand. When went from just 308, 338 Federal and 7mm-08 which are all same case as well as 7mm-08 to 6XC had to start testing mags and assigning to rifles. found the 338 Federals didn't like some mags too.

Since 6XC is a David Tubb design and he makes a ton of specialty parts to support it read where he had the special springs to help AR 10s fed 6XC more reliably and present them in a manner have less bullet tip distortion. Discovered once I put a Tubb spring in an AR 10/SR-25 magazine I could use it in any rifle with any cartridge and worked. Could take four differently chambered AR 10s to range and one set of mags to feed them not find the 6XCs, 338 Federals and generics and keep them sorted. Same with AR mags, could run 5.56, 6mmx45, or whatever in those mags then 22 Nosler, 6.8 spc II, or any fat case in the fat mags. Don't even have issues with wildcats so just manned up, dropped the money and all my AR 15 and AR 10 mags got wrapper and if new ones came out of original wrapper they got swapped before used.

Not a full deal on repairing magazine lips, removing dents, fixing bent floor plates or broken tabs. Starting with a stack of used older milsurp magazines that needed cleaning, updating and just modernized for using in 3 Gun and carbine action shooting. Instead of Ranger plates would put L-Plates on if they were going in bandoleers or LBEs.

AR15MagMaintenance001.jpg

All the magazine bodies and new parts laid out at beginning to ensure nothing is missing and going to force my lazy butt out of the chair and go hint up a part in the middle of a job.

IMAG1373~01.JPG

Disassembled showing OEM spring and follower. While disassembled is easiest time to clean but you can just blow one out with an aerosol cleaner then lube if taking apart and putting together is too time consuming if have a pile and need it done.

AR15MagMaintenance002.jpg

This project was done at home and my armorers kit is generally kept at work so three sets of pliers with a myriad of widgets can get a lot of minor tweaks done. The Leatherman "vice grip" model is really handy when tweaking something bent or just squeezing a dent out. These mags were filled with carbon but not dirt and will notice no gun products were used. The Finish Line EcoTech is being a product made to clean and lubricate mountain bike chains and gears and while not attracting dirt and mud when riding hard in the dirt and mud. Lots of the products I use on guns are designed for mountain bikes such as Pedro's Ice Wax which is one of the best lubricants in the world to use in dusty and sandy conditions as dries into a thin film that acts similar to dry graphite once its dried a bit. The EcoTech is great because it can be used to clean even nasty grunge off and once your finished cleaning its lubricated and ready to go. A good brush for scrubbing them inside and out then rag to wipe the outside down so not oily and two chores are done in one step with a single product.

AR15MagMaintenance003.jpg

New spring and Magpull self leveling anti-tilt follower ready to install with Ranger plates to replace the OEM floor plates. The followers are available in a choice of colors for different applications with yellow being popular as your sure that magazine is empty when you see all that yellow plastic staring at you. If your just cleaning then all the replacement content you can just ignore.

AR15MagMaintenance004.jpg

Always keep the OEM plates as spares and if your hit with a high capacity ban that has a "sunset date" then your floor plates can prove magazine was made before "x" date. These are all "pre-ban" mags that were worth their weight in gold at one time. Even if your floor plate is damaged keep it.

AR15MagMaintenance005.jpg

Behind the magazines you can see there is a floor plate lock that goes between the floor plate and spring to stabilize the bottom of the spring. Didn't have a photo of the installation for the floor plate lock but its easy enough to figure out. Am sure there are plenty of YouTube videos if you need the help. Below is a magazine cleaned, updated and ready for fun. Many use the big plastic loop as their grab point but I am still stuck with the "beer can grab" method of handling a magazine and I use these because when running across a course with gravel, cement pads or indoors on a cement slab when punch out a magazine you know is dry doing an "emergency" reload instead of "tactical" reload and not going to retain in case you need the few rounds left in it later when it hits the cement its much less likely to damage the magazine with all that rubber cushioning.

AR15MagMaintenance006.jpg

On the left are three OEM mags as comparison to the updated units from the same lot. If these had been for my LBEs or Bandoleers would have used the flat rubber coated steel L-Plate instead. The Ranger Plates make magazine so long that many magazine pouches with snap or velcro flaps won't fully close. For open top mag pouches/carriers used in speed games then the extra length is not an issue and saving bottoms of magazines from getting beat up is worth the effort.

AR15MagMaintenance008.jpg

Feed side of magazines showing the different look of the new "self lubricating" self leveling anti-tilt followers. Manufacturer's description makes them sound like their magic. They are not magic but are a fine improvement and worth the cost and time to refresh a thirty year old magazine.

AR15MagMaintenance009.jpg

A bit off topic but a great way to sore loaded magazines for the range or stage around your home is the MTM magazine box, normally I have three more laid cross-ways between the rows and latch end of box (every room in our house has one of these boxes. actually two in case grap a 6.8 rather than a 5.56 for a specific reason) to have handy if the boogeyman comes knocking in the dark and as you sweep your castle need to sweep up a reload for your LBE or hiding behind your bed repelling that zombie invasion we all know is on the horizon just waiting for the day you didn't have spare mags handy.

AR15MagStorage002.jpg

Used to store my redundant spare magazines however the mood struck. Cardboard boxes and ammo cans were common. Tried the vaults but just took up too much room. Now I use these File size waterproof, fire resistant lock boxes. They will survive the fire that firefighters arrive in time to save your home but not if it goes to the ground. More importanly even after being exposed to a fair amount of heat they are still waterproof for when the F.D. hoses everything down your not spending weeks trying to take down every magazine and dry it out as you will have plenty of other problems to worry about.

MagStorage001.jpg

You can slap fill one of these with an impressive number of AR 15 magazines and considering their cost and the cost of the box your cost is about fifty cents per magazine to keep them dry and safe from an average home fire where the there is some fire and smoke damage topped by lots of water damage from the F.D.s handiwork to save it. Cardboard boxes and ammo cans are not enough protection for magazines in today's pricing especially with your pre-ban units. A modern steel M11 metal magazine from Shockwave is $30 now and that makes one of these boxes about a nickle to a dime per magazine to protect them if fill it up.

AR15MagStorage001.jpg

The difference between a $10 to $18 AR 15 magazine and $30 to $50 original NOS FN FAL and L1a1 magazines then the cost of the security box is about what one or two of the magazines cost. At rate good medium battle rifle mags are rising soon one magazine (some already are) will exceed the cost of the box. Already these British issue NOS L1a1 magazines wrapped in their original packaging cosmoline paper (some thier paper is missing and some shipped in bubble wrap which gets removed usually cost more than the box did. Its rated to withstand about 1,200 degrees for about fifteen minutes and still keep them dry when the hoses come.

I can't replace these even with insurance money as there just are not enough in the marketplace anymore to aborb a large loss of magazines. My OEM steel MAC M11a1 mags are over $100 a pop so a box of them this size is really irreplaceable considering it will hold around eighty of them. I lock the boxes but leave the keys just on the odd chance a smash and grab thief were to try and beat the cops by grabbing what they could before alarm company had them here. That gives them the opportunity to unlock and see whats inside and maybe decide one box of magazines may not be worth the effort of running through the woods with while cops are chasing. We have at least three dozen of these now all in the vault room as one more layer, the $100 to $200 per unit Randall 1911 magazines and other rare pistol mags still go in the big vaults because they are so costly and a box this size filled with Randall, first model Detonics, pre-war Colt 1911 magazines would be well worth running through the woods with. Count your mags, look up current value, price these boxes and do what may save you five figures and a lifetime of heartbreak.

FALMagStorage002.jpg
 

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Fiorina

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I’m planning on staying away from gasoline/kerosene methods. I’m sure they work but that’s a little much for me. I’m going to go simple green probably, and hot water. Thanks guys!
 

Fiorina

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Stiff brush, hot water, Simple Green, and elbow grease.

Set wet disassembled mags to air-dry in front of a fan. Turn as necessary. If you have access to compressed air, and suitable area for blasting shmootz. If you don’t mind wearing magazine-shmootz, compressed air will speed drying considerably. Keep your mouth closed, and wear eye protection.

When “dry, spray liberally with WD-40 because WD displaces water. Allow excess to drip off.

Reassemble and store in suitable container. Preferably inverted, and with some absorbent material in bottom of container to collect any slow drip.

I went through this with a large batch of $4 AK mags. PITA. Everyone should do it once. That way they will know they never want to do it again.
I think this is gonna be the plan. I recently bought a ton of surplus mags and they need cleaning before being stacked away.
 

W.E.G.

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I sold all those mags in lots of two or three on gonebroker at 400% to 800% profit after Sandy Hook.

I think I “made” three or four hundred dollars on the lot. What a lot of work. I guess it was “fun.” Sort of.
 

TenTea

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1) disassemble
2) all parts soak in odorless mineral spirits
3) clean all parts with brush, rag, bore mop and/or compressed air
4) spray with light oil inside and out
5) reassemble

If actual rust, then brass brush or soak in Evaporust.
 

W.E.G.

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I can’t believe I’m the only only one that uses my wife’s dishwasher.
That works too for some parts.

I tried it for AK mags. Only got the outsides clean.

Works pretty good to degrease wood, and even raise some dents if the water is hot enough.
 

yovinny

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I disassemble and simmer them for a while in water w/ a good dose of simple green,, just like I'd defrease a rifle for a parking job.
I just usually do it in an old garbage picked alum turkey frier pot instead of the SS park degrease tank.
 

hueyville

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In my continued organization at work I found two 50 caliber ammo cans of preban AR 15 30 round mags one filled with 20 round AR mags and two cans of AK 30 rounders and one of 20 round M14 mags all coated in heavy cosmoline that's dried out, turned hard and cracked up like alligator skin. Took one and blasted it clean inside and out using brake cleaner which worked but took so much it would cost too much to do all this way.

If cosmoline was still jelly consistency would leave as is and just pick up a few more fire resistant/waterproof boxes and pack up as is. Rounded up a five gallon bucket packing as many magazines as possible and filled with mineral spirits. Next day pulled one and scrubbed with stiff chemical resistant nylon brush and cosmoline was still hard. Have can of cleaner have to lower parts in using a metal strainer as will take the skin off your hands but is prone to remove finish from some metal items as well so not trying it.

Poured the mineral spirits through strainer into another bucket which was almost black in color and strainer picked up a fair amount of solids in small flakes and chunks. Added a pint of tolulene, pint of xylene and quart of laquer thinner. I like gasoline but the fumes can flash off so needs to be done outside and not leaving that many mags outside soaking overnight for scrap metal thieves/gang bangers to snatch.

Poured the mix of 4.5 parts mineral spirits, 0.25 parts laquer thinner, xylene and tolulene back into bucket with magazines (mineral spirits is hard to make flash off and does not evaporate quickly) and next day was able to brush off easily or wipe off with shop rags and finish on all was intact. Put on gloves, shop apron, clear face shield and blew them all out using 30 HP 220 gallon reserve compressor with regulator turned up to 120 psi on hose which did good job to clear innards.

Was going to disassemble all to properly clean but they seem really clean so hosed them each down inside and out with can of PB Blaster and dropped in clean five gallon bucket as soaked each unit. Left them in bucket to drain excess PB Blaster and refilled my chemical soup with another load of mags. Next day blew out the ones had sprayed with PB Blaster (buy in cases), wiped down outsides and sat on metal rack.

Friday rotated last of them into bucket of sauce, have first batch blown out and wiped and four new fire resistant/waterproof buckets to start packing them in next week. Remember when Clinton ban began to gain traction was rounding up all the mags I could get and prepped for long term storage. It's another mega-score and have sixty anti-tilt followers inbound to install in the AR mags before pack up and bring home.

Also have two fifty count boxes of magazines marked "for LEO/Military Use Only" that hit the market cheap after ban ended. All were issued but look like may have been carried in some agency bandoleers/LBEs during ban period then turned in and sold as surplus. Seller coated in cosmoline but it's soft but plan to clean them as well and pack away. Found 48 ASC 556 and 48 ASC 6.8 25 round and 20 each of 15 round mags in wrappers at work. Now have to do a real hard count as like to have two dozen mags minimum per rifle (not counting the beat up military rejects from scrap yard) so buy more when see sales but may need to stop. Have 36 5.56, building numbers 25/26 6.8s, eight 22 Noslers and parts for four more, plus a few 458 SOCOM, 6mm×45, etc. Just need to do the math as this is getting goofy as have a stash at moms house as well.

Cleaning the heavy cosmoline that are mid 1970s (probably built to land in Vietnam but war ended) is a chore after 45 years in original cosmoline. May not swap followers in those as how many NOS Vietnam era mags are still around in mint condition. Believe gasoline would have been easier but have had an open top five gallon bucket fumes flash and it's a heck of a fire you just let burn and when bucket splits it spreads into a mess. I am not into using water based product and wife would skin me if used her dish washer and had to buy a used range/oven for work first time she caught me using her oven for small parts sprayed in Cerakote. She is pretty forgiving so don't argue when she does draw a line.
 

plinker

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The cuda parts washer cabinet worked pretty good at the truck shop the one time. Dried off & soaked down with G96 since that's what I had.
Hot water & simple green works good, hot water helps to dry as well, though I'd probably just use gas & do it outside like I do for cleaning wheel bearings. Seems faster to me with gas then other solvents with cutting grease.
 

yovinny

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In my continued organization at work I found two 50 caliber ammo cans of preban AR 15 30 round mags one filled with 20 round AR mags and two cans of AK 30 rounders and one of 20 round M14 mags all coated in heavy cosmoline that's dried out, turned hard and cracked up like alligator skin. Took one and blasted it clean inside and out using brake cleaner which worked but took so much it would cost too much to do all this way.

If cosmoline was still jelly consistency would leave as is and just pick up a few more fire resistant/waterproof boxes and pack up as is. Rounded up a five gallon bucket packing as many magazines as possible and filled with mineral spirits. Next day pulled one and scrubbed with stiff chemical resistant nylon brush and cosmoline was still hard. Have can of cleaner have to lower parts in using a metal strainer as will take the skin off your hands but is prone to remove finish from some metal items as well so not trying it.

Poured the mineral spirits through strainer into another bucket which was almost black in color and strainer picked up a fair amount of solids in small flakes and chunks. Added a pint of tolulene, pint of xylene and quart of laquer thinner. I like gasoline but the fumes can flash off so needs to be done outside and not leaving that many mags outside soaking overnight for scrap metal thieves/gang bangers to snatch.

Poured the mix of 4.5 parts mineral spirits, 0.25 parts laquer thinner, xylene and tolulene back into bucket with magazines (mineral spirits is hard to make flash off and does not evaporate quickly) and next day was able to brush off easily or wipe off with shop rags and finish on all was intact. Put on gloves, shop apron, clear face shield and blew them all out using 30 HP 220 gallon reserve compressor with regulator turned up to 120 psi on hose which did good job to clear innards.

Was going to disassemble all to properly clean but they seem really clean so hosed them each down inside and out with can of PB Blaster and dropped in clean five gallon bucket as soaked each unit. Left them in bucket to drain excess PB Blaster and refilled my chemical soup with another load of mags. Next day blew out the ones had sprayed with PB Blaster (buy in cases), wiped down outsides and sat on metal rack.

Friday rotated last of them into bucket of sauce, have first batch blown out and wiped and four new fire resistant/waterproof buckets to start packing them in next week. Remember when Clinton ban began to gain traction was rounding up all the mags I could get and prepped for long term storage. It's another mega-score and have sixty anti-tilt followers inbound to install in the AR mags before pack up and bring home.

Also have two fifty count boxes of magazines marked "for LEO/Military Use Only" that hit the market cheap after ban ended. All were issued but look like may have been carried in some agency bandoleers/LBEs during ban period then turned in and sold as surplus. Seller coated in cosmoline but it's soft but plan to clean them as well and pack away. Found 48 ASC 556 and 48 ASC 6.8 25 round and 20 each of 15 round mags in wrappers at work. Now have to do a real hard count as like to have two dozen mags minimum per rifle (not counting the beat up military rejects from scrap yard) so buy more when see sales but may need to stop. Have 36 5.56, building numbers 25/26 6.8s, eight 22 Noslers and parts for four more, plus a few 458 SOCOM, 6mm×45, etc. Just need to do the math as this is getting goofy as have a stash at moms house as well.

Cleaning the heavy cosmoline that are mid 1970s (probably built to land in Vietnam but war ended) is a chore after 45 years in original cosmoline. May not swap followers in those as how many NOS Vietnam era mags are still around in mint condition. Believe gasoline would have been easier but have had an open top five gallon bucket fumes flash and it's a heck of a fire you just let burn and when bucket splits it spreads into a mess. I am not into using water based product and wife would skin me if used her dish washer and had to buy a used range/oven for work first time she caught me using her oven for small parts sprayed in Cerakote. She is pretty forgiving so don't argue when she does draw a line.
Paragraphs !! Congratulations !! :)

I usually just skip your hyperbole, but I actually read the first paragraph in honour of the advancement.. :)

That was all I made it through though,,, you lost me again at 'heavy cosmoline' on ALUMINUM 20&30rd AR mags...lol
 

hueyville

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They were coated and have steel bodies. Am making a tad more effort to break a paragraph would find in a novel to a newspaper or magazine three to four sentence groupings. First paragraph, actually sentence also said a box of M14 mags. Just looked at entire lot and even the 5.56 are steel body with info that links to NSN numbers so don't know the reason are steel but they were nasty.

These were all purchased pre-ban from same vendor who sold them saying "prepped for long term storage" or some similar wording. I am the guy who buys a 144 count gross of something if vendor cuts me a deal. Also the guy who might drop them in the lake accidentally while fishing or bury in the woods if wife complains about house getting cluttered again.
 

yovinny

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They were coated and have steel bodies. Am making a tad more effort to break a paragraph would find in a novel to a newspaper or magazine three to four sentence groupings. First paragraph, actually sentence also said a box of M14 mags. Just looked at entire lot and even the 5.56 are steel body with info that links to NSN numbers so don't know the reason are steel but they were nasty.

These were all purchased pre-ban from same vendor who sold them saying "prepped for long term storage" or some similar wording. I am the guy who buys a 144 count gross of something if vendor cuts me a deal. Also the guy who might drop them in the lake accidentally while fishing or bury in the woods if wife complains about house getting cluttered again.
Dude,,, your a smart guy with well versed experience and have a lot of knowledge to offer people..
Why you feel the need for the added narcissistic Walter Mitty embellishments for just about everything you post is beyond me,,, but it's a trait you've displayed repeatedly and continually since you joined here,,,and been called out on repeatedly.. And in doing so, you've tainted your believability for those of us with low BS tolerances... Even if you use paragraphs....lol :)
I wish you no ill will,,, I just cant resist poking some fun at it when its in my face... :)
By all means,,, Carry on with the hyperbole stories and get your narcissistic ego fix entertaining the fan club you seem to have completely captivated.. It has zero bearing on the rest of us...;)
 
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hueyville

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Just drove home and pulled three print books that showed M16 30 round steel magazines made by multiple NATO allies. Of these have several different markings but rules on forum say no posting copywritten material so can't take pics of pages. Some are early 1990s development of a piston drive variant that was not issued till 2004 but the development began in early 1990s and all 30 round mags to this day are steel and sought out for use in M4s and another rifle.

Another NATO ally began making M16s and using steel for 30 round magazines under license during Vietnam War. They sold magazines from 1975 even to this date made of steel with a variety of markings, some have NATO information, some are scrubbed, some have date 1994 to indicate made pre-ban for civilian market and one company made 30 round steel magazines pre-ban marked Colt and with other info to indicate pre 1995 but were fakes. Made pre-ban but not by Colt.


Mine have NATO mark but appear to be early development models because like current issue do not have country of manufacture stamped along spine or body. Next someone is going to ask for photos to prove it. I have done this so many times in the past and complied am not going to this time just because I know where the Walter Mitty reference is likely coming from and tired of that "liar, liar, pants on fire" game. I have emails and tape off my business phones "this call may be recorded for quality control" which may clarify lots of this but not going to burn this place down or do anything that may be interpreted as a personal attack and get the ban hammer.

If unable to do research from "pre-internet" print only sources then suggest you start spending cash and buy some out of print books and possibly one still in print book. Leaving for work but have two more shelves (almost 100 books just on the AR-15/M16 and myriad of varients from around the world and tiring of spoon feeding people unable to do research beyond the Google task bar.

Edit:
While no bearing on my NATO marked pre-ban 30 round steel magazines was thumbing though one of the book brought back to work with me between parts running in the CNC router and discovered an intersting factoid if I had read before (read this book cover to cover when purchased probably in 1993 or 1992 as publish date is 1992 the original AR 15 magazines submitted for testing and evaluation by Colt were 25 round steel. They had some issues and were reduced to 20 round steel with a redesigned follower that met reliability standards. Original plan was to send "disposable" preloaded 20 round magazines to Vietnam where troops used once, sometimes twice, punched them out and left them on the ground and kept moving. Only issue was Colt did not buy Armalites patent on the disposable plastic magazine and had two options. Reverse engineer and redesign with just enough changes to side-step Armalites plastic disposable magazine patent or go another direction. That is when the aluminum 20 round then aluminum 30 round mags were designed along with mag well being opened up to allow more room for magazine to fit if swelled or was dirty, gun got caked in mud, etc.

I buy receivers from a company that cuts their magwells to the original spec so my magazines in my varmint and paper punchers don't wallow around and present the bullet tips consistently to the feed ramps imparting less distortion to bullet tips, especially tin jacketed open tip varmint projectiles. Its amazing how much a man forgets over a decade or three so may be time to sit down and reread this pile of books I have hust on the AR 15, M16 history and evolution. Forgot Colt made a run of 308 AR 10s designed to be tripod mounted or shoulder fired in a pinch that were belt fed. Now that would be a really nifty rifle.
 
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yovinny

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30rd AR mags didnt even get produced untli Vietnam was almost over and none (ZERO) were ever documented as issued or used there...and nobody of foreign manufacture was making any steel AR mags anywhere near that early..
Mail me one of these steel 20rd AR mags you mention cleaning,,,and I'll eat it and wash it down with a big dose of crow....lol
Otherwise I'm out,,, debating with Walter Mitty is a waste of time,,, and we both well know your so full of shit your eyes are brown...
 

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Joined
Mar 8, 2005
Posts
16,102
Location
Oregon
Feedback: 116 / 1 / 2
I continue to be interested in the question:

"Why do people have to pick at other people who aren't "their style"? No one is asking everyone here to be friends - just to be friends with the people that are 'your people', and to be polite to the rest.

Did we all forget what Thumper's mother used to say?
 
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