Wilson Combat Mags...


July 5, 2003, 02:58 AM
Had two malfunctions with a new wilson combat mag today. Same thing both times. 8 round mags, locked back after 7th round fired with the 8th round left sitting loose on top of mag and not under the extractor.

Weird. I've never seen this happen before. I plan on returning it of course, but does anybody know how this can occur?

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July 5, 2003, 07:43 AM
one reason could be that the feed lips are too wide allowing the last round to come up too far and letting the follower engage the slide stop, or the follower might be misshapen and pressing the last round into the slide stop

July 5, 2003, 09:27 AM
Howdy Edward,

Inertia is causing the problem, and a heavier spring can be a possible
fix. The problem with 8-round magazines is that the extra room has to
come from somewhere, and since there ain't no such thing as a free
lunch, the number of coils on the spring have to be reduced...which
provides less tension on the follower when the magazine gets low
on ammo.

The Wilson-Rogers follower can add to the problem because they
are slippery, and they don't have a dimple to recapture the round as
it slips forward while the spring is fighting to overcome the inertial
mass of the round.

As quickly as possible, here are the mechanics of the event.

The pistol fires, and torques upward and backward in recoil. The
weight of the last round causes the magazine spring to be compressed
ever so slightly, and the round "floats" for an instant. Before the
spring can overcome this and nail the round to the feed lips, the
slide smacks the frame and jerks the pistol backward sharply while
the cartridge obeys the law of motion...and stands still while the
gun...and the magazine move away from it. All this happens so
quickly that we don't feel the two separate impulses, but they are

The round escapes the feed lips before the slide stop notch can get
past the slide stop, and the slide locks with the round laying loosely on top.

In some circumstances, the live round can be kicked out of the
ejection port as the slide locks.

8-round magazines are a deviation from the original design, and as
with any deviation, something else suffers. The engineering dictum

"Whenever something is changed, three more changes usually have to
be made to compensate for it."

Hope this explains it.


July 5, 2003, 10:45 AM
I can see that. I feel like I've been to 'mag skul' after that explanation, thanks Tuner.:)

Mark IV Series 80
July 5, 2003, 01:20 PM
You can easily convert your 8-round Wilson magazines to 7-rounders.

The spring and follower can be changed-out for a 7-round spring and follower, and your reliability should return.

Wilson would likely make the exchange for free.

July 5, 2003, 01:23 PM
Yep...and it may be that just the spring swap will do the trick.

Tune'em up!


July 5, 2003, 01:26 PM
I've heard that the 8 round mags have had minor issues. I've had ZERO problems w/ the one's I've owned. Good luck figuring things out

July 5, 2003, 01:35 PM
I was actually testing out four new wilson mags but that was the only one that had problems.

I did notice that when loaded with 8 rounds, about half the time the 8th round sat just a little cockeyed in the mag as viewed through the slot. The 7th round didnt always sit flush against the 8th. Maybe I should change all four springs to the 7's to preclude future probs with them.

July 5, 2003, 02:13 PM
The good thing about the Wilson-Rogers magazines is that they are
well-made. The bad thing is that they are mass-produced, and subject to the same tolerance issues as anything else.

Most W-R users report very little trouble...but not all. My guess would
be that if one gives fits in your gun, it's likely that it would in 90%
of the guns that you try it in.

Then, there's those rare pistols that will seem to run with about any
gun-show bargain magazine that you can stuff in it, and the other end of
the spectrum shows up with pistols that will work reliably with only
one brand...and not even all of those. Most magazine problems can
be tweaked and tuned out, assuming that the magazine isn't damaged
or outright junk.

Just a few observations...FWIW


July 5, 2003, 04:06 PM

I don't shoot the tens of thousands of rounds of .45 that some do. I've been using Chip McCormick Shooting Star 8 rounder's in my full size & not had any problem with them.

Have there been any recent comparison's on .45 mags? From a source most of us could trust?


July 5, 2003, 10:34 PM
When you take coils off a spring if the wire diameter and other dimensions stay the same, the spring gets stiffer, not weaker. The spring constant increases. The initial pressure may decrease. The reason for this is that the length of wire is shorter and is more stressed when the spring is compressed. If the spring wire is not up to the task then the initial set may in fact reduce the feed capability of the last rounds. Coil springs are actually torsion springs with some geometric compromises. IMHO the problem with most 8rd mags is the unstable follower dimensions and some other more esoteric characteristics.

Another post you made about springs has me somewhat confused. I read your info about recoil springs and I find it hard to believe that a properly built 1911 would care about a coil or two if the recoil spring is not coil binding. My 5" Ed Brown would reliably feed 230gr ball ammo with recoil springs ranging from 14# to 35# (45 Super conversion).

July 6, 2003, 05:49 AM
Hiwdy DBR,

Wile it's true that a spring is like any other
piece of steel...The shorter it gets, the stiffer
it gets, this only holds true if the preloading
increases...as in cutting a GM-length spring
down to fit in a Commander-sized spring

If the same spring goes back into a GM-length pistol,
the total loading of the spring at full compression
will be less due to lessened preload, and wider
spaces between the coils at compression due to
the reduced number of coils.

An example is a 32-coil spring rated at 16 pounds.
If you cut it down to 24 coils, you've removed
one fourth...25% of its theoretical potential,
and turned it into a 12-pound spring IF...it
goes back into a 5-inch gun.

Put it into a Commander, and the preload jumps
back up to equal or exceed the preload in the
5-inch gun...and the compressed loading is back
up to 16, or maybe a little more.

The factors that determine a coil spring's
loading are: Temper, wire diameter, total
length of the spring, and the distance between
coils at compression. The distance between
coils is a big one. If you pull a slide only half-
way back, the spring won't produce its rated
loading, but if you pull it back to full travel,
it will.

And yes...One coil can make a difference.
I've seen Commanders that were experiencing
rideover feeds on the last round magically
"cured" with as little as a half-coil removed
from the spring.

Hope this clears it up for ya.


July 7, 2003, 08:20 AM

I did notice that when loaded with 8 rounds, about half the time the 8th round sat just a little cockeyed in the mag as viewed through the slot. The 7th round didnt always sit flush against the 8th

You may have already identified the problem. I too have noticed this cause and effect when sometimes loading my Wilson 8 round magazines. Have you experienced the same problem when the 7th and 8th round are laying flat against one another? I always check mine when loading to make sure all rounds are sitting flush against one another.

July 7, 2003, 10:10 AM
I took a closer look at em last night and actually its the 6th & 7th round that doesn't sit flush against each other. I shouldv'e got the 7 rounders I guess. I'm going to try new springs with the same follower, then a different follower also if I have to.

July 7, 2003, 10:47 PM
Excellent dissertations on magazine springs. I printed them off for future reference. Thank you.

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