Thermold AR Magazines review. Providing info, no arguments please.


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christcorp
February 10, 2011, 09:05 PM
Just some information for anyone who cares. I probably keep around 30 AR magazines on stock at all times. Half of them are USGI military surplus 30 round magazines, which I have gotten for $5-$6. I spend $1.50 more and replace the followers with Magpul Generation III followers. This is so I don't risk ammo tilting and having a feed problem. FWIW: I am not a fan of Magpul plastic magazines. I have a few, but I never use them. For 30 round magazines, I prefer USGI Military Surplus and the Magpul Gen III followers. For 30 round magazines, I just don't care for plastic.

HOWEVER: For 20 round magazines, which I like a lot; especially for at the range, laying prone, and home defense; I have no problem with plastic, and per the title of this thread, I have had no issues with thermolds. Plastic in 20 rounders is fine, because they are straight magazines, and therefor, I don't have issues with rounds tilting, and therefor don't need anti-tilt followers. So for me, the thermold 20 round magazines work great. I have been using them for more than 10 years, and have yet to have any problems with them at all. Again; I am speaking ONLY of 20 round magazines. For 30 round magazines, I only shoot USGI surplus with a Magpul Generation III follower.

The "Master Mold - LE/Govt use only - Made in USA (North Carolina)" 20 round magazines can be found for between $4-$5 each at places like CDNN or Centerfire Systems. Be careful, because there are still a lot of places that sell them for between $9-$13 a piece. Some argue that they are $4-$5 for a reason. Sorry; but it's not because they are crap, but because they are surplus and there are a lot of them available. Again; I have used them extensively for more than 10 years, and have never had any problems with them in 3 AR's and 1 Saiga .223 (Which I have an AR/M16 magazine adapter). Now; even if you bought some of these simply for range use, because 30 round magazines can be inconvenient at times, and you don't trust them for self defense purposes, that would still be worth $4-$5. I just bought some more from CDNN when they were running a sale; buy 2 get 1 free. (It was on a LOT of magazines, not just these). So I got 6 total for the price of $16. That's $2.66 each. (I was buying other stuff, so there was no additional shipping charges. Their sale included a $6.99 flat rate shipping per order).

In all fairness, there have been 2 issues in the past with Thermolds, and these are the ONLY 2 issues I've ever heard of. 1) The canadian military started using them. HOWEVER; they insisted on buying the "RIGHT" to produce the magazines themselves. They did NOT use the Zytel nylon material that "Master Mold" originally uses. They used apparently a cheaper plastic, which more easily cracked/broke. I've never heard of the USA made ones having this issue. 2) The other issue that "SOME" have mentioned, was that the magazine feed lips actually melted a little. But the ONLY TIME I've ever heard or read of this, was when the weapon was shot if FULL AUTOMATIC for extended periods of time. So; for the 99.9583% of you who don't own/shoot a fully automatic AR, this probably isn't an issue for you.

I don't buy magazines often. I've had 20 of these at one time. I've sold one AR and a Kel-tec that used AR magazines, and I gave 5 of the thermolds to each person. They were just starting out with rifles, and I gave them as part of the sale. They still use these magazines and don't have any problems. I also lost a couple in my numerous moves throughout the military. I currently have about 13 Thermolds. 11 each of the 20 rounders which I use often. A Couple 30 rounders, which I'll NEVER use. (I explained my preference for 30 rounders). I also have about 3 Magpuls that I'll hold only for "Trading material" for someone who's got something I need. Anyway; this is just an individual review of the Thermolds. I don't work for them and have never met them. But for those looking for good 20 round magazines, the $4-$5 each for these is great. They are great magazines. Of course, if you want to pay $10-$15 for other 20 round magazines, I don't care at all. I didn't start this thread for a debate. Simply my opinion. Just because I trust the 20 round thermold for home defense, and definitely at the range, doesn't mean you have to. Matter of fact; you could order 5 of these simply for range use, and make your own mind up whether or not you like them. Then you can either decide they actually are decent, or throw them in the garbage. Again; it doesn't affect me either way.

So; just my review and opinion. Whether you don't trust them for defense, but want a source of inexpensive range magazines, or you trust them for defense. $4-$5 each is a good price. Of course I'm sure there are those that hate them, and say they use them only to practice "Clearing Jams". They can write their own review. Maybe they have an expensive crappy rifle that's picky with magazines. My M&P, Frankenstein, and RockRiver as well as my Saiga, has never had an issue with the 20 round LE thermolds. Anyway; if you're interested, this was my review. later....

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Davek1977
February 11, 2011, 05:14 AM
Yeah, I bought a handful of these mags from CDNN as well.....I purchased one as an "add on" to another mag order, just to see what i thought of it. After some very casual testing, I decided it was worth what I paid, and picked up another 4 @3.99 each, which also included two mag couplers. For casual shooting, I have no problems using these mags.

Mags
February 11, 2011, 07:02 AM
I seen 'em at Sportsmen's for 4.95 a piece so I picked up 5. None of them will hold the bolt open after the last round. My bud also picked up 5 and he has the same issue.
Are there any known fixes for this?

TonyAngel
February 11, 2011, 10:19 AM
I bought 20 of these from CDNN and have had no issues with them holding the bolt back or otherwise.

CyBuzz
February 11, 2011, 12:50 PM
Thanks for your review. I will have to pick some up.

Justin
February 11, 2011, 01:20 PM
Sounds like they might be fine for general plinking aorund, but if there's a chance that the feed lips will melt if exposed to sustained rapid fire, I'm not so sure that I'd want to include them in my setup.

Paladin38-40
February 11, 2011, 01:26 PM
Thermolds will not seat in my Bushmaster but will seat in a Colt. Is that common? I tried working the rib down with a file so the mag would go in a tad deeper but that plastic is tougher than a file. Any solutions?

christcorp
February 11, 2011, 01:36 PM
Mags; are you using these in an AR-15, or a Saiga with an AR mag adapter???

I have not found one AR-15 that it wouldn't keep the bolt open on the last round. My RR, frankenstein, and my current M&P15. It WON'T hold the bolt on my saiga, but that's not the magazine's fault. It's an AK-47, and it's different. And like Tonyangle said, never a problem holding open the bolt on an AR-15. If you have 5 that don't hold the bolt open; and your buddy has 5 that won't hold the bolt open; then there is a common denominator between the two of you. Tell us what rifle you're using it in. Saiga, Kel-tec, or some other rifle that uses AR-15 magazines; OR, is it a real AR-15???

For the rest of you, the "PURPOSE" you use these magazines, is strictly a personal issue. I happen to trust them for defensive use. Others only trust them for range use. But what I think is important is: Even if you only trust them for range use, and NEVER for personal use; my question is: "What Do You Think You'll Be Doing More of? Shooting targets or shooting people". If you don't trust thermolds for defensive use, that's cool. Buy you 5 or so Magpuls; USGI; or whatever magazine you believe will keep you alive. THEN; buy 20 of these Thermolds for $80, and use them for the 99.5893% of the time that you're holding your weapon. when you're at home and done fondling your weapon, throw your magpul, usgi, or whatever you're more comfortable with. Why spend $10, $15, $20 for a magazine that all you're going to do with it is punch paper. And for those that say they have their Thermolds to practice "Clearing Jams". Sorry, I call B.S. 100% on you. Can you have an issue? sure. I've also had issues with USGI magazines. For instance. A .223 ammo has an overall length of 57mm. The 5.56 ammo actually is a pubic hair longer. 57.40mm. .4mm isn't even really noticeable; however; I have had an occasional feed issue with some older USGI mags. It's rare, but it does happen. Point is; to believe or state that a Thermold magazine causes Jams on a regular basis, is nothing but B.S. I've never had one in 10+ years.

For most people, these are great for range use. You can decide whether or not you trust them for defensive purposes. But even if not, you still have a good supply of magazines for range use. This way you don't spend all day reloading magazines. Go to the range with 20 loaded magazines; 20 each; 400 rounds total; no reloading necessary; and you don't have a too long 30 round magazine in your way. And remember: I only reviewed and recommend the 20 round magazines. 30 round mags curve. Without a good anti-tilt follower, the curve in the magazine can cause feed issue. (Maybe this is the JAM that some people complain of). In 20 round magazines, this issue is NOT AN ISSUE!!! 20 round Thermolds are straight feed. The magazine doesn't curve. Anyway; I'd rather have 3-4 thermolds for every 1 of the other mags. But again; only talking about 20 rounders. ALL my 30 rounders that I use, are USGI surplus magazines with NEW Magpul Generation III followers. I won't use plastic 30 round magazines. And that includes Magpul. But i will use plastic 20 round magazines. Thermolds work quite fine. Even if they are only for the range, it's a great deal.

christcorp
February 11, 2011, 01:40 PM
Sounds like they might be fine for general plinking aorund, but if there's a chance that the feed lips will melt if exposed to sustained rapid fire, I'm not so sure that I'd want to include them in my setup.
Justin; the ONLY time i've EVER read of that happening, was with the Canadian magazines. And these were NOT built by Thermold/Master-Mold of North Carolina. When the Canadians bought these magazines, they bought the Production rights. And they used a totally different plastic in their production. That's why it's important not to get the canadian thermolds. Get only the ones that say manufactured in North Carolina by Master-Mold. Again; the ONLY time I've ever read of the melting feed lips, was on FULL AUTO, and only with the Canadian magazines.

Elmer
February 11, 2011, 01:53 PM
Year ago when my department was using Mini 14's, we tested the Thermold Mini 14 mags.

It was the only magazine we ever tried that worked as well as the factory mags.

Quentin
February 11, 2011, 02:27 PM
I seen 'em at Sportsmen's for 4.95 a piece so I picked up 5. None of them will hold the bolt open after the last round. My bud also picked up 5 and he has the same issue.
Are there any known fixes for this?

I haven't had any trouble at all with the 20rd Thermolds I've picked up at Sportsmans Warehouse. The bolt hold open works on last shot on both of my ARs (both are builds, one with a S&W M&P-15 lower, the other an ArmaLite M15 - the LPKs are Stag and ArmaLite) and I'm pretty sure my buddy hasn't had this issue either. I first bought a couple to test and was impressed, especially at that price. I now have ten and likely will get a few more as they are handy to have around.

Maybe there are different lots out there? Mine say Master Molder, Wilson, NC USA like Christcorp's.

I haven't tried the 30rd version because I can get good 30rd USGI mags for that price. I do have a few 30rd PMAGs that work 100%.

Mags
February 11, 2011, 02:29 PM
Mags; are you using these in an AR-15, or a Saiga with an AR mag adapter???
I am using them in BCM, Bushmaster and Armalite ARs. I have a Thermold 30 rounder that works fine but the 5 20 rounders I have won't lock the bolt back.

UniversalFrost
February 11, 2011, 02:31 PM
i bought some of the 20rd ones from CDNN and all worked as advertised.. good cheap mags that i have had zero problems with in any of my AR's and a couple buddies have bought some as well and no problems.

christcorp
February 13, 2011, 03:49 AM
Currently, Centerfire Systems: http://www.centerfiresystems.com/magar-ther-20.aspx has them for $4.99; but they have a flat shipping charge sale of $5.99 for any order under $99, and FREE Shipping on orders over $99.

CDNN still has a flat rate shipping of $6.99; but for the weekend, they are using Thermold 20 round mags as a special if you buy other mags too. That is over on Monday, so you'll be able to buy them again on Monday. Price then is $3.99. http://www.cdnninvestments.com/

Both companies are good. CDNN has a lot more specials, but you just never know what they'll be. I've seen a lot of 2-For-1 sales on everything. You never know. Anyway; there's some decent deals out there. Locally, we have a gun store selling them for $8 each. But as long as there are places like CDNN and Centerfire systems with their shipping specials, it's best to get them from them.

christcorp
February 13, 2011, 03:51 AM
I am using them in BCM, Bushmaster and Armalite ARs. I have a Thermold 30 rounder that works fine but the 5 20 rounders I have won't lock the bolt back.
Don't know what to tell you. There's obviously something about your rifle that is special. I have friends with bushmasters using Thermold 20 rounders, with absolutely no problems. The fact that you bought 5 magazines and NONE of them hold the bolt open, tells me it's something about that one particular rifle that doesn't like the magazine. This isn't uncommon. There are plenty of stories where a person says their rifle, pistol, semi, etc... doesn't like a particular magazine. Guess nothing is perfect.

DustyVermonter
February 13, 2011, 10:25 PM
Thermolds will not seat in my Bushmaster but will seat in a Colt. Is that common? I tried working the rib down with a file so the mag would go in a tad deeper but that plastic is tougher than a file. Any solutions?

I have actually had this problem with my DPMS AR, except it was with the EMA Tactical polymer countdown mags, they would just not fit in my DPMS. I returned them for regular D&H Industries 30 rounders, which are the best in my opinion.

Sam Cade
February 14, 2011, 02:28 AM
There's obviously something about your rifle that is special.

I bought a box of the 20 round magazines for a couple of bucks each a couple years ago. I ended up tossing the entire lot. Feed lips cracking and seams splitting when dropped, empty. None of them would lock the bolt back in any of my rifles I had at the time.

I kept one as a representative sample....I let my 5 year old "camo" it for me. :-)

93 H-1 markings

http://img29.imageshack.us/i/dsc05122f.jpg/

http://img13.imageshack.us/i/dsc05121s.jpg/

Fragile, unreliable junk in my experience.

christcorp
February 14, 2011, 11:55 AM
Maybe you got a batch of the "Canadian" made ones. When the canadian military started using Thermolds, they didn't buy actual thermolds. They bought the "RIGHTS" to produce them themselves. They wound up using a different plastic than Zytel. They had a lot of issues with them. If you had the USA made ones, I don't know what to say. The USA made north carolina ones from Master Molder i've NEVER had an issue with. I've used them in 3 different AR's. Bolt open works on ALL of them. I've never had one crack or break. I'm not saying they are the best in the world. Personally, I prefer USGI Surplus metal magazines the best. But the 20 round thermolds have treated me well over the last 10+ years. Sorry you had a bad experience. Fortunately, that hasn't been the experience of most people who have used the USA made ones.

Quentin
February 14, 2011, 12:08 PM
Found 30rd Thermold mags Saturday at Sportsmans Warehouse for $6.99 and picked up a few. Haven't been able to test them other than magwell fit and locking the bolt back manually but I think they're gonna be fine. They're also made in Wilson, NC but say Thermold not Master Molder like the 20rd version.

They also had the Mini-14 version 30rd for $14.99.

HorseSoldier
February 14, 2011, 01:33 PM
Had some Thermold 30 round mags issued to me when I first got in, back right after the '91 war (I heard the .mil bought a bunch of them as an emergency procurement sort of deal during GW I). The ones my unit at the time had floating around the arms room were Maple Leaf marked.

Never had any problems with them, though I can't think of any time we used them for anything but shooting the qual course and running some blanks through them. Not exactly hard usage.

No experience with the 20 round mags mentioned by the OP. Have to ask why polymer is ok in 20s but not in 30s.

Sam Cade
February 14, 2011, 01:49 PM
Maybe you got a batch of the "Canadian" made ones.
Nope. The date is after the Canadians gave up on the Project.

Thermolds not locking the bolt back is pretty common.

Look here at this auction,
http://www.gunsamerica.com/979233159/Non-Guns/Magazines-Clips/Rifle-Magazines/AR-15-Type/Magazine_AR_15_M_16_Dozen_Lot_12_each_223_Thermold_20_Shot_LE_Marked_New_Unissued_Colt_.htm
They do not necessarily free-fall or lock the bolt open, but they feed a mag full.

christcorp
February 14, 2011, 03:15 PM
Sam; two things i noticed about your pics.

1. I've never seen a "Camo" version; unless you painted them.
2. There is no patent number on the pic you show. ALL of the one that I have that are REAL Master-Mold have the patent number on them.

Not saying yours were made by a 3rd party or canadian sub-contractor; just that they don't look normal to me.

As for bolt open lock issues being "Common"; I will only say that with the 20 Round Master-Mold, LE/GOVT Use only, Made in the USA, magazines; bolt hold open issues, are NOT common. And the last 20 that I have bought, as well as many others who have bought them, have not had any problems with them. Not to say that every rifle and every magazine is 100% compatible. That isn't realistic. I know some who's rifle don't like PMags. They don't drop out of the magwell without having to be PULLED OUT. I've also seen where an AR (RockRiver) had a major issue with USGI magazines. They fit too loose, and wouldn't feed well. When they replaced the followers, they worked better. So it doesn't matter if it's thermolds or any particular magazine/rifle/pistol combination; nothing is 100% compatible. It just doesn't exist. But your problem you describe is not the norm or common among the magazines I mentioned. Again, without a patent number, and with the camo color, I truly doubt that those are REAL Master-Mold LE/GVT only 20 round USA made magazines. As for your gunsamerica link; DAMN that's expensive. $8+ each per magazine. I just paid $3.99 each, and they work perfectly.

Horsesoldier: You asked why I thought plastic was OK in 20's but not 30's. It's not a "Plastic" thing. It's a "Follower" thing. In 30 round magazines, most are curved. If you don't have some sort of "Anti-Tilt" follower, you can have feed issues. The best "Anti-Tilt" follower, is a Magpul Generation III follower. They are only about $1-$1.50. You can easily replace the follower in a metal 30 round magazine in about 10 seconds. MOST, I won't say all, plastic magazines are molded in such a way, that a traditional MIL-SPEC magazine follower, won't fit in a plastic magazine. There are good plastic mags like PMag; but I won't spend $15 for a magazine, when I can get "In my opinion" a better USGI Surplus for $5-$6 and spend $1-$2 for a gen III follower and have a better magazine.

A 20 round magazine however is STRAIGHT. It doesn't curve. It has no need for an Anti-Tilt follower. Rarely do they have feed issues.

Sam Cade
February 14, 2011, 03:51 PM
1. I've never seen a "Camo" version; unless you painted them.
Like I said in my post, I let my 5 y.o son paint it. I was dura-coating, he wanted to help.

2. There is no patent number on the pic you show. ALL of the one that I have that are REAL Master-Mold have the patent number on them.
Again, without a patent number, and with the camo color, I truly doubt that those are REAL Master-Mold LE/GVT only 20 round USA made magazines.

They are legitimate. I got them out of the crate myself.
http://img13.imageshack.us/i/dsc05121s.jpg/

I don't think anyone would bother to copy a magazine that has such a bad rep that they can hardly give them away.

christcorp
February 14, 2011, 06:39 PM
Fair enough on the camo. "I must have over looked that". Don't know what to say about eh patent number. I don't know where the "Crate" came from. But I have never had, owned, or seen one of the 20 round Official master-mold le/gvt only magazines that didn't have the patent number on it. And considering that yours says "Pat Pend" Which stands for, "Patent PENDING"; meaning the company doesn't have a PATENT on that yet, means that they are either very, very, old; or they are not originals. Master-mold DOES have a patent on their zytel magazines. Again; don't know what to tell you. Just because it came out of a crate, doesn't mean anything. Again; the missing patent numbers, and it saying patent PENDING means it's a 3rd party copy, or VERY OLD. All of mine, including the new batch from CDNN all have patent numbers. Matter of fact; they are all the SAME patent number.

TylerPearce
February 14, 2011, 07:20 PM
The one and only thermold I have is great! For some reason, it won't lock the bolt back if you put it in your rifle empty and charge it, but it has never failed to lock the bolt to the rear in actual firing.

My only other gripe with them is that mine only holds 19 rounds... but for a range mag, once again, it is great.

christcorp
February 14, 2011, 07:28 PM
Sam; here's some pics of my mag. They all are identical. I've given quite a few away; but I still have about 10 left. They are all the same.

http://zatx7g.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pCJhzapDcE3t03CoBz-LL9C2SimCqZ9FP47l7pw6J1UGAkn2V_JFOt_yah4Q76N5Jk6myl19a5vnivdughk7ZXztUJ_DgEM-k/IMAG0017.jpg?psid=1
http://zatx7g.bay.livefilestore.com/y1p74tCoh9G7gu9lftzk5zBa32kg-SSWMj9M5E84JtOAoO5ocRny_IBxXrXxnLkuCZgOJfKuMgYxbxY7_t_ImHuPNXG9G5lJy9f/IMAG0018.jpg?psid=1
http://zatx7g.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pVzQRvHfGOL6u3zDEEC43x5TwKXIiLw3zwog67KVdcFfCrip4V2AKAKV937erj6LBgYfdUg0GRx3kP2z5xaG19kwjf2sQ9Btv/IMAG0019.jpg?psid=1

slicers63
February 14, 2011, 07:32 PM
I have 8 Master Mold 20s that I use all of the time, I like 20s for range shooting. These were purchased pre 1994. I shoot them in Colt AR15s, no problem locking open or any other problems. Have 5 Canadian, maple leaf, 30 rounders that has been use since pre 1994 and have no problems. Also have about 20 - 30 rounds thermolds mag and again they have preformed without a problem. I keep a few loaded at all time and have had no problems with them. I feel confident in using all of these mags.

Sam Cade
February 14, 2011, 08:34 PM
And considering that yours says "Pat Pend" Which stands for, "Patent PENDING"; meaning the company doesn't have a PATENT on that yet, means that they are either very, very, old; or they are not originals. Master-mold DOES have a patent on their zytel magazines.

Patent Pending means that a patent is on file but has not yet been granted.Since that process can take years the absence of a number means nothing as far as legitimacy.
The magazines are Dated 1993.
They were purchased new.
I personally opened the box that they came in, it was a large sectioned corrugated paper box containing around 300 magazines each in their own individual cell.

and fwiw, I'm pretty sure all of these are real.




Late 2008 Dated P-Mag, Pre-M revision
http://img251.imageshack.us/i/premw.jpg/

Late 2009 Dated P-Mag, Most M revision
http://img220.imageshack.us/i/postmj.jpg/

TD ARC magazine, fresh from the wrapper.
http://img577.imageshack.us/i/arcpat.jpg/

And a Fusil from 12/2008
http://img806.imageshack.us/i/fusil.jpg/

...and I've had even worse luck with the few 30 round Thermolds that I have tried to use.

christcorp
February 15, 2011, 12:11 AM
Please don't "TRY" and give me a lesson on patents. I know exactly what a pending patent is. It also means NOTHING about the other magazines you are showing me. I was mentioning the Thermolds. They received their patent in 1994. It's also in 1994-1995 when the AWB when into affect. And the ONLY hi-cap magazines that could be sold, were to Law Enforcement and military/government use. That's why the ones from 1995 and on say "LE & GOVT Only" on them.

My point being; it's quite possible that there were QA issues or even a sub contractor producing the ones you had. The ones from 1995-2004 were ONLY MADE FOR Law Enforcement and Military Use. I trust them. Those are the ones I originally mentioned. Those are the ones I suggested. I can't speak for yours, because they aren't the ones I'm talking about. Sorry; don't know what to tell you. It's quite possible that the "CIVILIAN" magazines (Prior to 1994) didn't have the bolt hold open on the magazine.

Again; lets deal with apples and apples. My original thread, is about Thermold, 20 round, Master-Mold, Made in the USA, LE/GOVT only, (Which means after 1994). The reason I brought up the patent number; is because ALL of the LE/Govt magazines that I'm talking about, WILL HAVE A PATENT NUMBER ON THEM. These were made for military use only at the time. Maybe it was a totally different standard prior. But those are the ones I've been using for years, and those are the ones that I've NEVER had a problem with. And apparently most people haven't.

So; for all those others who might be interested. CDNN is selling the ones I'm talking about. 1995-2004. If you find some in a shop, make sure it says LE/Govt only on them. It will also have a patent number. This shows that it was built after the automatic weapons ban went into affect; and these magazines were not manufactured for civilian use. I trust these magazines. FYI. CDNN redid their weekly special. The magazines are back to $3.99 each, with a flat rate shipping on all orders.

speaksoftly
February 15, 2011, 12:31 AM
I've never spent any extended amount of time with Thermold or Magpul mags on a full auto platform. However, I've put more than a few rounds down range one 3 round burst after another and they've both been fine. I prefer P-Mags for my personal rifles but I doubt that I'd be able to wear either out any time soon.

Quentin
February 15, 2011, 01:34 AM
Well the 20rd Master Molders I bought at Sportsmans Warehouse recently are identical to christcorp's pictures, right down to the same patent number and the numbering/lettering in each picture. I guess the 95 is 1995 and they're selling new old-stock?

TylerPearce
February 15, 2011, 01:39 AM
Any thoughts on the 10 rounders?

Maverick223
February 15, 2011, 02:06 AM
IMO the STANAG magazine is the weakest link in the AR platform, therefore purchasing good (not necessarily exorbitantly priced premium) magazines is a smart move for longevity and reliable service. In my quest for good quality examples I have tried many brands and types of AR magazines, including the Thermolds; the following is a brief synopsis of my findings:

Good: USGI (cheap and easy to find, seldom used but still quite good)
Better: Magpul PMag (great general purpose magazines)
Best: Lancer L-5 (used for HD/SD)

The above three have proven to work well for me (and are currently the only ones I use) despite moderate cost (none are particularly costly). OTOH many others, while slightly cheaper, afford inferior durability and/or reliability. The Thermold ones, while not horrible, didn't perform spectacularly well either (there were a few malfunctions, but I don't recall ever having broken any), about on the same level as C-Products magazines IME. At the other end of the spectrum, there are Pro-Mags and nameless/counterfeit Al. magazines, these have been horrible and no matter the cost should be avoided (but if tempted, go with the Al. ones...their scrap value is higher).

WRT followers, the SS CMMG followers have worked best for me, but require some modification (to the magazine and/or follower) to fit in some magazines (like L-5s and 20rnd USGI). The Magpul followers are not much worse (just not as smooth IME) and require no modification to fit most magazines (and are polymer so trimming, if necessary, is a great deal easier). Additionally, all magazines (despite capacity or profile) provide better service when "anti-tilt followers" are installed, because even the straight 20s slightly tilt the follower due to the taper of the cartridges. This can, and has, caused stoppages and jams. I don't believe that leaving them out is worth the risk or aggravation.

FWIW, I prefer the 20 round variety much better because they are more compact (particularly useful when firing prone or from a bench), lighter, and ammunition generally comes in these convenient little 20 round boxes. If you need more ammo then you probably aren't doing something right, or haven't enough friends on your side of the argument. :p

PandaBearBG
February 15, 2011, 09:28 AM
I got 4 20 rounders, marked Master Mold - LE/Govt use only. for the most part they feed ok, an occasional double feed for one in particular. I live in the desert, so guns get hot, weathers hot, etc. maybe the feed lips are weak b/c occasionally the front of the top round will spring up which is the probably cause of the double feed. Also they are a bitch to positively lock and seat in the mag well, I got to press down and really jam them in for them to click. For me I am not a fan, I'll switch to metal or magpuls if I find the right deal. Just my personal experince.

christcorp
February 15, 2011, 10:42 AM
Maverick; you wrote:

Good: USGI (cheap and easy to find, seldom used but still quite good)
Better: Magpul PMag (great general purpose magazines)
Best: Lancer L-5 (used for HD/SD)

My only difference would be for best, is to take the USGI surplus magazines, (Which i find all the time for $5-$6; and replace the follower with a Magpul Generation III for about $1.50). For about $7, I believe it's the best magazine. If you look at my original post in this thread, all of my 30 rounders are USGI with gen III followers. I only like plastic magazines if they are 20 rounders.

Quentin: Once the AWB went into affect in 1994, the only hi-cap magazines were for Law enforcement and govt/military use. There are some later productions of the thermolds available. I've seen 2001-2002. But believe it or not, there are still plenty of LE agencies that are still using these. The earlier productions just had a lot more produced, and you are correct that it's new old stock. But the ones I've bought/used in the last 10 years, (Including some with a sheriff's office), have ranged in dates from 1995 to 2000. But I have seen some of the 2001-2002 ones too.

You can buy brand new production directly from master-mold. http://www.thermoldmagazines.com/magazines.php . They will cost about $12.99 for a 20 round magazine. $19.99 for 30 round. But i figure, if the AWB stopped allowing them to be sold to civilians, and they were being made for LE and Govt use only, then possibly the quality was higher for them. That's why I've never had a problem trusting them. So far; so good. But again; I only buy the 20 round mags. For 30 round, I want a generation III follower. I don't like magpul plastic magazines, but I like their gen III no tilt followers in a USGI surplus metal mag.

Maverick223
February 15, 2011, 11:55 AM
I only like plastic magazines if they are 20 rounders.I still don't really understand this logic, but I prefer 20s for most everything. Is it because 20rnd USGI is a little lighter constructed?

FWIW, I have never had any problems with Al. 20s as long as they are genuine USGI and not dropped on the feed lips. The easily bent feed lips is why it places at the bottom of my list, and while they are a little more robust the 30s rank the same, for the same reason.

:)

christcorp
February 15, 2011, 12:24 PM
As I mentioned earlier, 20 round magazines are straight. They don't curve. Therefor, they rarely have feed issues. 30 round magazines curve. As such, they can have feed issues if they don't have good followers and springs. I personally like the magpul generation III followers. HOWEVER!!!! You can't simply swap out the follower of a typical plastic magazine with a Gen III follower. The molded magazine won't let the gen III follower fit in them.

It's all about feeding. A straight magazine feeds instinctively better than a curved magazine. But they don't have 30 round straight magazines. Only 20 and less. So a 20 round plastic; I like. A 30 round USGI surplus metal, with a gen III follower, I like.

Maverick223
February 15, 2011, 07:29 PM
All 20s are not straight, and as I said earlier a straight magazine doesn't preclude problems with a tilted follower. Anti-tilt followers are a good idea in ALL magazines. Furthermore there are some polymer magazines that will accommodate such a follower (though trimming may be necessary), there are also some USGI mags that require modification.

Additionally, the 30s require a curve due to the taper of the cartridge. They are not inherently worse, just different. All AK magazines have a severe curve, and few people complain about them; FAL magazines are straight and also tend to do well. Poor design (like changes in the curvature, poor quality materials, et al) and poor execution/workmanship are the problems.

:)

christcorp
February 16, 2011, 12:42 AM
I'm not arguing with you. You asked a question, I answered it. You asked it again, I answered it again. I'll agree that not all 20 round magazines are straight. But 95%+ probably are. I also wont say that all 20 round magazines are free from tilting and feeding problems. But 95%+ are. And no, I'm not going to trim gen III followers to fit into a plastic magazine. And FWIW; I've never found a true USGI Mil-Spec surplus magazine, that wouldn't accept a magpul Anti-tilt follower.

But back to the thermold. It is the ONLY plastic magazine that I have, or probably will buy. Why? Because it's a 20 rounder and it's only $4. I won't buy a PMag or any others. Why? They are too expensive, and I'd rather have a USGI surplus metal magazine. It's really that simple. They do have some USGI 20 round metal mags for about $8; but if I'm going to have 20 round magazines, I'd rather buy 2 for the price of 1, when I know the quality of the thermold is good.

I'm sorry that some bought some that weren't part of the LE/Govt use production line. But those who have tried the LE/Govt use production line of 20 round thermolds, have generally been very pleased. They are sturdy; take a beating; don't have any of the canadian issues; lock back the bolt; and are very reliable. That's what this thread was suppose to be about.

Some people say they aren't worth a shiite; some say they are only good for the range; others say they work quite well. Me personally. I am not a follower. I don't buy or do anything because someone else said so. Not even "So Called Experts". I have to prove it to myself. My only recommendation to anyone is: At $4 a piece, maybe you buy $20 worth for "RANGE USE". Then; after you've put about 1000 rounds through it, MAYBE you wake up one day and think..... Hmmmmm, I've not had one misfeed, ejection, or other problems with these mags in over "X" amount of rounds. They are reliable. Or maybe you still think they are not trustworthy for defense, and you still only use them for the range. Either way; it doesn't bother me. But whether it's Thermold magazines; Hi-Point pistols; a $50 A1optic red-dot sight; or whatever. Whenever possible; DON'T TAKE OTHER PEOPLE'S OPINIONS!!! Try it and decide for yourself. If you can't afford to try something, then do a lot of research. Don't just go to 1 sights and make your mind up over a couple posts. And that's what I was providing here. Information so people could decide for themselves on inexpensive magazines, that have a pretty good track record. (Again; the thermold, USA made, LE/Govt Use Only, 20 round magazines). Not talking about 30 rounders; not talking about NON-LE/Govt use magazines; not talking about the canadian versions; etc... Just one particular magazine at a very good price. Possibly worth a try by some people. Make up your own minds.

Maverick223
February 16, 2011, 01:05 AM
I'm not arguing with you. You asked a question, I answered it. You asked it again, I answered it again.Not trying to start an argument, just detail a different point of view. As far as your rebuttal to the question, I didn't find your response clear the first time around.

I'll agree that not all 20 round magazines are straight. But 95%+ probably are. I also wont say that all 20 round magazines are free from tilting and feeding problems. But 95%+ are. And no, I'm not going to trim gen III followers to fit into a plastic magazine.Fair enough, just throwing out some additional information and contrary experiences.

As I mentioned earlier, they were decent (far from the worst, but not the best either), but I had a few malfunctions with the ones I tried. I don't recall the patent info or much else (and they are long gone, so there is no checking), but they were Master-Molders from here in NC. Furthermore, I am not trying to convince you or others not to buy them, just that there are others that *might* do a bit better if they don't work as advertised.

:)

christcorp
February 16, 2011, 03:20 PM
Fair enough. Definitely didn't think you were arguing. I'm an engineer. I have degrees in Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. By nature, I don't trust anything electrical or mechanical. It can and will eventually fail. I also don't believe any 2 guns are identical. Even if they are the same make, model, and year built. Just like people. I have a Walther (Respectable manufacturer) that WILL NOT under and circumstance, chamber Corbon ammo. Corbon is ALSO a respectable manufacturer. That doesn't mean corbon OR Walther are junk or suspect. Just that that particular and individual gun, doesn't like corbon.

I feel the same about magazines, ammo in general, and most things in life. I don't, and WON'T, take other's opinions on what I SHOULD DO or BUY. Never going to happen. Not even if they are supposed experts. That doesn't impress me. I take the opinions and experiences of a LOT OF PEOPLE; correlate them; and decide for myself whether or not to "TRY" it. Then, I will decide after trying it for myself, if it's GOOD or BAD. And good or bad is ONLY RELATIVE TO ME. I suggest the same procedure for ALL people for ALL things in life.

If I didn't follow this method, and only took the advice of others, I wouldn't have realized that Hi-Point pistols are actually VERY RELIABLE AND DEPENDABLE. Yes, they are ugly and bulky as hell; but for a truck, boat, garage, etc... type gun; I find it just as reliable and dependable as my Sig P220. Anyone who makes a blanket statement that Hi-Points suck, do not know crap about guns or anything. (Please no one respond that they are junk and you have a century of experience. I don't care. I already did the research, and I KNOW the truth).

Same with my AR's, my Saiga .223, and the Kel-Tec I use to own. I reviewed all the information and opinions on Thermold magazines. I found a LOT of contradictory opinions. When I narrowed it down, I found that very few individuals ever had problems with the 20 Round, Master-Mold, Made in the USA, LE/Govt Use Only, magazines in their AR's. And those who DID have issues with them, MANY happen to have Bushmaster rifles. So; being I don't own a Bushmaster, I was willing to try these magazines for myself. (Many years ago. Including DURING the AWB). I haven't had any problems with them. I started with a couple. No problems. Bought more. Still no problems. Bought more. I now KNOW that at least for ME and MY WEAPONS, that thermold 20 round LE/Govt magazines are very reliable and dependable. And yes, that is what my rifle is loaded with for self/home defense. I trust them that much. Not that others should take my word. Only, that if they did research, they too would find that many others, like myself, have had the same experience, and it's possibly worth a couple dollars for them to try it for themselves in their rifles. Maybe your rifle doesn't like it. Maybe it does.

My research led me to no trust the canadian versions or those made prior to 1994. Also, USGI surplus metal 30 round magazines with gen III followers, are BETTER and CHEAPER than Thermold 30 round magazines, so I don't even consider those thermolds an option. So; maybe some people will take my suggestions to try for themselves. Maybe they will stick with the attitude that you HAVE to pay $14-$20 for a Magpul magazine if you want quality. I personally don't care either way. I'm just not a follower. So I can't take the advice of others. Not even experts. I have to try for myself. That's what this thread was all about. Spend $7 locally for one and try it, or order a couple online for $4 each, and try them. Maybe they'll be perfect for you and your rifle. Maybe you use them only for range use. (Still saves you money). Maybe after using them for a few thousand rounds, you realize that they are just as reliable in YOUR WEAPON as the $14 magazines are. You never know.

DBR
February 16, 2011, 09:20 PM
Just a side note: 20rd, straight body, milspec 5.56 mags depend on follower tilt to compensate for cartridge taper. Some follower designs may be better than others but "no tilt" followers are not an option.

I have seen some Magpul followers modified to work in straight body mags but the mods required are to allow them to tilt.

Maverick223
February 16, 2011, 10:34 PM
I'm an engineer.Same here, but only a lowly CE (specializing in materials).

...those who DID have issues with them, MANY happen to have Bushmaster rifles.Most of my experience with them was in a Bushmaster M17S, also in another Bushy AR, an Olympic Carbine, and a IIRC I ended up giving them to a friend with a RRA Carbine (who said they did decently well).

Just a side note: 20rd, straight body, milspec 5.56 mags depend on follower tilt to compensate for cartridge taper. Some follower designs may be better than others but "no tilt" followers are not an option.All followers must have some tilt, as most M16/STANAG type magazines (and all USGI examples) have a straight portion that enters the mag well (whereas PMags and L-5s are curved throughout the length). Furthermore many problems are with the follower tilting to the side not forward or to the rear, the AT follower corrects these issues.

:)

christcorp
February 19, 2011, 05:03 PM
Well, I just got back from the range. I reported in other threads my results with my new ST-T2 Spikes Tactical Buffer. But I wanted to report on the 6 new additional Thermold 20 round LE/Govt magazines that I picked up. Just like the others that I have, these all performed perfectly. I only shot about 240 rounds today, but most of them were through Thermolds. I shot about 100 rounds of Tula .223; 100 rounds of Barnaul 5.56; 20 rounds of PMC Bronze and 20 rounds of Military 5.56 I took off stripper clips. I was mixing and matching ammo and magazines on purpose. Every thermold operated perfectly. No one feed, extract, or eject problem. Everyone allowed the bolt to stay open on the last shot. I even dropped a few full magazines on the ground a couple of times to see if there would be any physical issues. Nope; they all worked perfectly. Like my others.

As I've said before, I definitely trust these magazines. Even for home defense purposes. Matter of fact, I keep 2 magazines filled with TAP ammo. One is in my M&P15 and the other is in my Saiga .223/5.56 with an AR15 magazine adapter. I definitely trust them. And for $3.99 each, I love the price.

But I'm not asking or expecting anyone to take my word or advice. I'm simply recommending that if you are in the market for some additional magazines, that you spend the $3.99 on a couple/few of these. (What's $20 for 5?) Then, use them on the range. You don't have to make them your self defense mags. Nice short 20 rounders so you don't have the inconvenience of the 30 round length hitting the table or something. Then; after your own usage and amount of time; you decide to what extent you trust these magazines. Maybe it's still only for the range. Maybe like some others, you trust it for defensive purposes. Just don't let anyone tell you that they WILL break sooner than a PMag or similar. They don't know that. They are only guessing. "And rationalizing their $15 purchase of the PMag". There isn't a magazine manufacturer on the planet, that hasn't had a magazine break. But there's no firm data that shows the Thermold 20 round LE/Govt mags are inferior. And FWIW: I've never heard anyone who's used them, complain that they had any issues. Not at the individual magazine level. As in a QC issue. It's only been with NON-LE/Govt mags; and usually with that one particular rifle. And it can never be expected that ALL rifles will work with ALL magazines. Just like my Walther PPK will not, ever, under any circumstance, feed Corbon Ammunition. Now Walther is a fine respected company. Corbon is a fine respected company. I've never seen another Walther have a problem with Corbon ammo. But the fact remains, that the rifling in my PPK barrel starts at just the right spot, where a Corbon round of ammo simply won't feed all the way into the chamber. Not without one hell of a push. Then you can't get the round out of the chamber.

Anyway; there's my review of my newest batch from CDNN. For $3.99, I think it's worth the chance. especially for range magazines. later... mike....

Maverick223
February 19, 2011, 05:14 PM
Just to play devils advocate a bit...what is an additional $12 (based upon the cheapest PMags and L-5s) or so, when the ammo to fill it will cost almost that much (sometimes more)?

OTOH, the less money you spend on magazines, the more money you have for said ammo. Eh, what the heck, if I see a good deal on them locally (or with a company I am placing an order with) I might give a couple another shot...see if things have changed (after all the others weren't horrible, but they had a few malfunctions). Worse case scenario I can donate them to a friend.

:)

christcorp
February 19, 2011, 05:29 PM
Not sure I understand your post Mav. What's the extra $12, when the ammo to fill it will cost that much??? 90+% of all my ammo for my AR's and my Saiga .223 is $3.59 - $4.00 per box of 20.

But as far as giving them another chance; you should. But from our past discussions, I have to reiterate that you make sure they are the "20 Round; NOT 30" and make sure they are "LAW/GOVT USE ONLY". Those were built basically 1994/5-2004. At the time of their production, civilians were NOT ALLOWED Hi-Cap magazines per the AWB. So these were specifically built for Law Enforcement and Government departments. The AWB expired, and there are still a lot of New/Overstock surplus left. Maybe it's better QC because of the customer, e.g. LE/Govt; but either way; these are the ones to get. CDNN has them for $3.99 and Centerfire Systems has them for $4.99. I've seen them locally at Sportsman's Warehouse, local gun store, etc... for $6.99-$7.99. I've seen them at gun shows and online for $8.99-$12.99.

So; you need to be careful. If they aren't Law/Govt use only; then they could be older stock; canadian (Some were built in canada with inferior material, BUT still had the Wilson N.C. USA stamped on them, because legally, the canadians bought the right to produce, but the original company is in fact in north carolina. So all I will personally vouch for, as having NEVER had one issue with it feeding, breaking, melting, or any other possible complaint against thermold and master-mold; are the 1994/5-2004: 20 ROUND: Law/Govt Use Only; magazines. Good luck Mav.

Maverick223
February 19, 2011, 06:09 PM
Not sure I understand your post Mav. What's the extra $12, when the ammo to fill it will cost that much??? 90+% of all my ammo for my AR's and my Saiga .223 is $3.59 - $4.00 per box of 20.Most of what I shoot, either Fed. Am. Eagle, WWB, or handloads (which are a little cheaper), cost about double that, which works out to $8/20 rnd. magazine or $12/30 (about the price of a PMag). Tula/Wolf has not cycled well for me in the past, though I recently picked up a box @ WW to re-test (it has been years since I last tried it).

You don't have to worry about me buying 30s for most anything, as I greatly prefer 20s (no matter what brand/type).

:)

christcorp
February 21, 2011, 08:57 PM
Not sure if any of you have a Sportsman's Warehouse around;
http://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/storelocator/index.jsp

But if you do; they've bought a lot of the thermold New: Overstock and are even packaged new. They were selling for over $12.99 each. Was there today; and they have the Thermold 20 round, Law/Govt Use only, 95, magazines for $4.99 each. Online is $3.99-$4.99; but if you have a sportsman's warehouse nearby, and they have the thermolds; this would be a good opportunity to get a couple without having to deal with S/H charges. Just something I saw today on my way through Colorado.

Ignition Override
February 21, 2011, 09:22 PM
Elmer:
When they were used with the Mini 14, was that often with fully loaded mags, or less?

I bought an old 1990 vintage ("State of Indiana" sticker) Mini 14 in February '08 and the same month a new 30-rd. plastic Promag.

In order to avoid excess ammo consumption, it was loaded mostly with 10-15 rds., and it Never had a misfeed, despite having a real wobbly fit.
The only ammo was my favorite, Russian-made.

Maverick223
February 21, 2011, 09:48 PM
Nope, don't know of any Sportsman's Warehouses on this coast (near here anyway), though I do appreciate the recommendation. I'll eventually pick some up on the cheap either at a gunshow, with an online order (CDNN?), or perhaps even from my LGS.

:)

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