Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mag Doctor

I know, I know. Rifle magazines are "supposed to be disposable". And I had some lemons. My chances of fixing them, according to conventional wisdom, was exceedingly remote.

More background. Before I took my M1A home I bought a few batches of magazines for it when and where I found them for sale. Some are honest to goodness USGI surplus, some are quality mil-spec jobs, some were cheap and inexpensive Taiwanese knock offs. I bought in small batches as my budget allowed and to test for effectiveness. If a group of magazines were reliable, I'd get some more from the same source. They all worked well except for the obvious Taiwanese jobs. There was no marking on these so it was easy to keep track of them. The good ones had a code stamped on the spine. I bought more of these. But I had these few bum ones...

I should have deep-sixed the bad ones. Their problem? They didn't push the next round up to be stripped off when the semi-auto action cycled. Weak spring. Now, I just happened to have noticed on a website somewhere that someone was selling replacement springs. I remember this website being from a serious and reputable dealer, but, sorry, I bought the springs so long ago that I can't find the link. I search on M1A magazine springs or somesuch. Like this, maybe. But it probably wasn't that one. Or who knows? Could be. They look reputable, don't they?

I finally got up the gumption this week to go ahead and try to swap out the springs.

Getting the baseplate off the mag was easy enough. And easier than I thought it would be. It just took a punch levering up the end of the plate and sliding it off the mag body. Easy peasy! The spring didn't even shoot out at me in a comical fashion like I half expected.

Here you can see the replacement spring and the cheap weak spring the magazine came with. Can you guess which one is which?

If you said the one on the left was the quality aftermarket spring, ding ding ding ding! What did they win, Johnny? "They won a beYOOtiful new sewing machine, from Singer! It comes with a button holer and an assortment of thread-spools and bobbins! From Spiegel! Chicago, 60609."

Careful attention was paid to the direction and configuration of the spring and crammed in there. Baseplate was slid back in place and the mags marked so I can track their performance.

So I am hopeful that maybe these mags are now salvaged. I will have to test them out, naturally.

If this doesn't fix em, I won't go to any other lengths to salvage these. If they do work, I'll have around 30 functioning magazines. More than I'd want to carry, loaded... It's a start. Anyone know a good source for more quality ones?


Also, here is a picture of my front walk and my suburban anti-zombie vehicle (SAV) in the morning after that second big snow here in the DC area a few weeks back. I had done a lick with the shovel the night before to get a head start. The wind was fierce overnight as you can see from the drift formations. Pretty, ain't it?


Sailorcurt said...

If it was Wolff that you bought them from, they are pretty much the MOST reputable aftermarket gunspring manufacturer.

That's not to say that there aren't others that produce quality springs, but Wolff pretty much sets the standard in my opinion.

They make good stuff.

BTW: If you do end up tossing those mags, I'd save the springs. You can always use them later in one of your quality mags when the springs wear out.

kirk said...

Ok. I know you are close to me location wise. Where do you go to shoot you M1A???

Ft Meade, Marriotsville?


New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Hap Baker. Clark Bros.

Tam said...

Replacing mag springs is just maintenance. :)

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Yeah, but how often am I gonna need ta?

Won't the feed lips fail long before decent springs do?

NMM1AFan said...

FYI, best M1A mags are the current mil supplier Checkmate Industries. They are stamped CMI on the back of the magazine. usually has them for $21 or so.


Tam said...

That depends on a lot of factors, and I am not familiar enough with M14 or M1A mags to give an opinion that is anything but rankest hearsay.

I know that if you can find a quality CrSi spring, it should outlast the body in most applications. (Some double stack pistol mags *coughGlockcough* put a terrible crushin' on the spring when fully loaded...)