AR Magazines - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel


PDA






shappy0869
April 4, 2007, 04:18 PM
SS mags seem to cost about twice that of aluminum ones. Can someone please school me on the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Thanks.

If you enjoyed reading about "AR Magazines - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
SlamFire1
April 4, 2007, 04:51 PM
Stainless steel, sounds great, stainless steel. Steel that does not stain. Sounds impressive. Sounds like a quality attribute. Backyard mechanics are easily sold on the term stainless steel. Often items are made of low quality stainless as a sales gimmick. People eat it up.

Ok so the stuff is hard to corrode. Are you therefore assuming that all else is equal? Equally hard, equally tough, equally strong, equally light? Not necessarily true. Depends on the stainless. Stainless steels just have to have enough chrome content to inhibit rust. Almost a generic term. There are low carbon stainless steels that work well as colanders and salad bowls. How do you know if these magazines are made from a better grade of stainless than your salad bowl? How do you know if these magazines are properly tempered? There is more to a magazine than just being made of stainless.

Why do you want a stainless steel magazine? Are you going to be shooting from a vat of corrosive acid? While the magazine may survive, the rest of the system is going to dissolve.

Maybe you are worried about rust, that is legitimate. You could also periodically clean your magazines. Magazines really donít require much maintenance, you still need to clean the fouling out once in a while or you will get a jam, stainless or not.

M16 magazines are made from as light a material as possible. Foot soldiers are already loaded down with 125 pounds of gear, might as well make the magazines as light as possible. I believe the current M16 magazine is made of aluminum. I could be wrong. But the current material has worked very well. Used all over the world. Made by lots of folks who know, through practice, how to make a good magazine. The best thing about that is that military magazines tend to be cheap and reliable. All things being equal, I will buy the military magazine. If the vendor does not make the product to specification, he runs the risk of the government not paying him for a 100,000 magazines.

If you want stainless, go buy it. Could very well be a quality product, proper choice of stainless, proper bending and forming, annealing and heat treatment. I think it is a gimmick.

DoubleTapDrew
April 4, 2007, 05:01 PM
Aluminum- Light, corrosion resistant, cheap, plentiful

Steel- Heavy, less corrosion resistant, expensive.

I prefer aluminum GI mags :D

shappy0869
April 4, 2007, 05:03 PM
Which begs the question, if aluminum is lighter, stronger and cheaper, why would anyone want SS?

wanderinwalker
April 4, 2007, 05:20 PM
Just get some good ol' USGI aluminum mags for your AR-15. I run a bunch of beat-looking old GIs in my match rifle. Never had a problem I can blame on the ammo holders! ;) I think mine are Adventure Line, or maybe Universal. I don't remember, but they work. I think the "other steel" AR mags are just gimmicks for people who don't think the GI-stuff is adequate.

Well, okay, I've heard the aluminum mags can bulge if sat on or used for levellers on book cases. Advantage there would probably be stainless or regular carbon steel mags... :neener:

countryrebel
April 4, 2007, 05:22 PM
Go with aluminum and dont look back.

MisterPX
April 4, 2007, 05:50 PM
Only benefit to steel mags is that the bodies are more durable than AL.

atblis
April 4, 2007, 06:25 PM
What about the steel asian military contract mags? Any good?

blackhawk2000
April 4, 2007, 06:36 PM
Only Americans make good AR mags. Not all American made AR mags are good. Buy USGI contract magazines. Cproducts are not USGI contract magazines. I have seen a lot of junk Cproducts aluminum mags. The SS ones they make seem to be slightly better quality, but those can have problems too. The only Cproducts mags I would buy are the SS ones, and even then I would be leary about buying them. Any Cproducts mag that is bad will be replaced or refunded by Cproducts. They may or may not offer to pay return shipping. The little bit of money saved on Cproducts aluminum mags, is not worth the return shipping fees to me.

possum
April 4, 2007, 06:37 PM
i have more aluminum mags that i could count they are every where when i think i have located them all, i find more and more. they have done fine by me. the aluminum mags are the ones i am issued and if they work for desert duty then they will work for my personal ar!

Don't Tread On Me
April 4, 2007, 06:41 PM
I don't think material has anything to do with quality. When it comes to AR mags, how they are made - more specifically, how well they are formed/stamped determines their quality.


The #1 killer of AR mags is feed lip spread. If they widen too much, you can get the dreaded double-feed where the top round is jammed up in near the gastube.


The less rigid material is likely to experience this easier/earlier. I think that is the appeal of stainless steel. It is stiffer, which leads to less spreading and makes the bending of feed lips less likely.


Personally, I'll take a Labelle/D&H USGI contract aluminum magazines anyday over any SS commercial mag.


Aluminum mags also have price working for them. When they are worn out, buy more.

RockyMtnTactical
April 4, 2007, 06:57 PM
I stick with USGI mags for the most part, however the new Magpul Pmags look somewhat promising...

10-Ring
April 4, 2007, 07:43 PM
I guess it's about perspective. Me, I can only have one, 10 round fixed mag so all this talk of alu vs. SS makes me jealous :banghead: I wish I could have some 20 or 30 round mags I could drop from my AR like the rest of you guys :banghead: :banghead:

lamazza
April 4, 2007, 08:22 PM
I like the aliminum mags, but then I'm not using them in combat. The argument for SS that I've heard are that they are better because they don't dent and therefore, destroy the mag feed.

possum
April 4, 2007, 08:25 PM
I like the aliminum mags, but then I'm not using them in combat. The argument for SS that I've heard are that they are better because they don't dent and therefore, destroy the mag feed.

this may be true but in my almost four years in the infantry i haven't dinted one yet. and i have only had one aluminum mag go bad it just dosent feed good, i stowed it away and i will use the mag body later if i ever need it.

btw there are accesories out there to make the mags more reliable. or supposedly, like the self leveling followers, i don't use these but they are an option.

Colorado Fatboy
April 4, 2007, 08:26 PM
Aluminum for me too, there are the ones I use.

www.cproductsllc.com

kennyboy
April 4, 2007, 08:27 PM
Where online can I find USGI mags and for how much? Also, is grey teflon finish worth the extra money? I don't understand why mags need to be corrosive resistant, durable, etc. As long as they feed, that is all that I think matters. Am I right or wrong? Thanks.

Guido2006
April 4, 2007, 08:46 PM
Will steel magazines wear down the mag well in the aluminum lower?

possum
April 4, 2007, 09:10 PM
kennyboy,
i have seen them 10 for $100 i can't remember where it was but i will check it out for you and get back to you.
here are some for a little more than that, i am still looking
http://surplusammo.com/index.php?cPath=25&osCsid=eda2aef1bc8d70843733d72e95cdc745

here are some $9.95 ea
http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/AR_15_M16_Magazines.html

Bartholomew Roberts
April 4, 2007, 09:57 PM
I've got a GI aluminium mag (with a black follower no less) that has a 3mm dent in the body and is still going strong. You have to keep in mind that aluminium GI mags are meant to be disposable items. When they wear out, chunk them and get new ones. For even a fairly heavy shooter, you should be able to get 10 years use out of an aluminium mag with no problems.

The steel mags are sturdier; but bring different problems up - corrosion, weight, splitting due to brittleness, and sometimes a little thick for the magwell. Personally, I think a lot of the current interest in stainless steel mags is because the SOPMOD High Reliability Magazine used stainless steel for the mag body. Even the HRM project has had a list of problems though.

The aluminium mags certainly aren't as sturdy as an AK steel mag; but one thing they do have going for them is that they are a known quantity.

RockyMtnTactical
April 4, 2007, 10:03 PM
http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/AR-15-Magazines-p/magazines%20dh%20gt30%2010pack.htm

I like these, and BCM is great to deal with.

Careful of the CProducts mags out there right now, they had a really bad run recently.

Mr White
April 4, 2007, 10:05 PM
Aluminum USGI AR mags are sometimes the only things worth buying at gun shows anymore.

Adventureline, Okay, LaBelle, and Colt floorplates are all good. I usually pick up a few at every show I go to. Never pay more than $15 for a magazine. You'll see cheap steel mags for 9 or 10 bucks sometime. You may as well just drop a tenspot on the floor. Same result and you'll save the sales tax.

blackhawk2000
April 4, 2007, 10:29 PM
Careful of the CProducts mags out there right now, they had a really bad run recently.

It's not just a recent problem. The batch of 100 I bought a year ago had 10-20 mags with problems. It's just getting reported more, and I'm sure they are slipping in quality too, trying to keep up with the demand. Arfcom, and probably this board too are filled with "shooters" who very rarely shoot. Obviously not everyone is a casual shooter, but arfcom is filled with keyboard commandos who dont know crap about crap, and preach like they have BTDT.

RockyMtnTactical
April 4, 2007, 10:33 PM
I'm just saying that I have noticed a large increase of serious problems with CProducts mags recently, widespread.

rbernie
April 4, 2007, 10:59 PM
Can you elaborate on the nature of the issues with C-Products magzines?

RockyMtnTactical
April 4, 2007, 11:48 PM
I've heard about every complaint you can think of in regards to them lately.

Mostly having to do with bad welds and such. I haven't verified all cases though, mostly just took note that people were having issues with these mags.

Always test your mags.

blackhawk2000
April 5, 2007, 05:49 PM
The main issue I've seen is the followers get hung up about half way down the tube. Why? I don't know for sure. Out of spec body is my best guess. I've also seen some welds that Helen Keller would have caught in QC, and she's blind and dead. Some of the SS ones I've seen needed the edge of the mag where the nose of the bullet sits, that needed to be filed down so the round would feed without hanging up. It looks like Bushmaster is using them as the standard 30 rd mag now. Look to see posts about factory "Bushmaster" mags being bad.

For the life of me, I can't understand why a company that has such good customer relations, can't make a decent mag. It's not rocket scientistry. The dimensions are not the same as OKAY mags for example. You can see that in certain areas with your eyes. The finish on the dry film isn't as good as OKAY's. Mil Spec is Mil Spec. All Mil Spec mags should be the same.

kennyboy
April 5, 2007, 06:31 PM
Thanks possum. Are the $9.95 good quality? Are all USGI mags USGI mags or are some knock offs and of different quality? Thanks.

jthuang
April 5, 2007, 06:32 PM
I am also avoiding CP and D&H mags for the time being. I pulled out of the AR15.com mag group buy on the CP mags and am not purchasing any more D&H mags right now.

The CP mag issues have been detailed in this thread. If you search in the Magazine subforum of AR15.com you will also find the issues with some recent (2005-06) production D&H mags. I personally got stuck with one of the defective D&H mags ... brand new 30rd mag will not load (much less feed!) 20 rounds.

For the record, I have many (10+ of each) of older D&H/CP mags that work just fine. So I am not bashing them across the board. In fact, once they get their act together I will be buying more. I am only saying that I have suspicions of recent runs of both manufacturers.

If I had to buy 30rd mags TODAY I would get Center USGI mags from Talon Arms. I have four Centers dating back to 1991 with black followers that are still chugging along! If I knew where to get OKAYs I would also buy them.

[edit to add: if I was buying 20rd mags I'd get Colt/Adventureline 20s from the old days. I have ten of those Vietnam era mags and they work flawlessly]

blackhawk2000
April 5, 2007, 06:51 PM
Thanks possum. Are the $9.95 good quality? Are all USGI mags USGI mags or are some knock offs and of different quality? Thanks.


Those are Cproducts mags.

RockyMtnTactical
April 5, 2007, 07:27 PM
USGI is USGI.

Quality is generally the same. They all have to make the mags to certain specs, and they usually do a good job.

blackhawk2000
April 5, 2007, 10:08 PM
Except Cproducts didn't pass the mil spec tests.They are made to Mil specs, but they are not certified mil spec.

Slimjim
April 5, 2007, 10:55 PM
Only Americans make good AR mags. Not all American made AR mags are good. Buy USGI contract magazines. Cproducts are not USGI contract magazines. I have seen a lot of junk Cproducts aluminum mags. The SS ones they make seem to be slightly better quality, but those can have problems too. The only Cproducts mags I would buy are the SS ones, and even then I would be leary about buying them. Any Cproducts mag that is bad will be replaced or refunded by Cproducts. They may or may not offer to pay return shipping. The little bit of money saved on Cproducts aluminum mags, is not worth the return shipping fees to me.

So, you're saying the 30-50 dollar HK SS High reliability mags are junk?

Reyn
April 5, 2007, 11:09 PM
I really like Brownell's mags. I havent had any problems out of them.

blackhawk2000
April 5, 2007, 11:17 PM
So, you're saying the 30-50 dollar HK SS High reliability mags are junk?


I forgot about the HK mags. Those are not SS if I remember correctly. But for the price they go for, I can get 4-5 good aluminum mags. I don't even think of them when talking AR mags, because of the price you pay for them.

RockyMtnTactical
April 5, 2007, 11:32 PM
Exactly, I'd rather get 4 USGI mags than one HK mag.

jthuang
April 5, 2007, 11:50 PM
Yep, what they said. I would trust the HK mags but why pay $$$ when you can get a reliable USGI Okay or Center mag for much much less?

RCR29
April 6, 2007, 05:29 AM
Originally posted by blackhawk2000:
but arfcom is filled with keyboard commandos who dont know crap about crap, and preach like they have BTDT.


Actually there are alot of people over there that do know crap about crap and have been there, done that.

blackhawk2000
April 6, 2007, 06:15 AM
Obviously not everyone is a casual shooter, but...

Nice selective quote.:rolleyes:

Obviously there are guys there who have been to the Mt. but there is a lot of BS to sift through. A lot of the real deal have moved on to different boards because of all the clowns. There is info there, but finding it can be hard to do.

Jerry Morris
April 6, 2007, 06:22 AM
I have some steel Enfield's that work well. But, they had to be cleaned up inside. The "parking" is extremely rough. At the time mags were hard to come by and it was a good buy.

By and large, milspec is the way to go. I stocked up when things got better, but the Enfield's are still in the stocks.

One side benefit, if THAT dread SHTF thing ever happens, the defective, worn out aluminum mags are a valued scrap item. There would be a lot of salvage scavenging going on to supply what ever production that is still available. In these times, silver and gold will not be the only "Coin of the Realm". Brass, powder and lead will be right there on the list. Even cast iron will have use for production.

Jerry

If you enjoyed reading about "AR Magazines - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!