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AR Magazines - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by shappy0869, Apr 4, 2007.

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  1. shappy0869

    shappy0869 Member

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    SS mags seem to cost about twice that of aluminum ones. Can someone please school me on the advantages and disadvantages of each?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    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 don’t 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.
     
  3. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

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    Aluminum- Light, corrosion resistant, cheap, plentiful

    Steel- Heavy, less corrosion resistant, expensive.

    I prefer aluminum GI mags :D
     
  4. shappy0869

    shappy0869 Member

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    Which begs the question, if aluminum is lighter, stronger and cheaper, why would anyone want SS?
     
  5. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

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    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:
     
  6. countryrebel

    countryrebel Member

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    Go with aluminum and dont look back.
     
  7. MisterPX

    MisterPX Member

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    Only benefit to steel mags is that the bodies are more durable than AL.
     
  8. atblis

    atblis Member

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    How bout

    What about the steel asian military contract mags? Any good?
     
  9. blackhawk2000

    blackhawk2000 member

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    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.
     
  10. possum

    possum Member

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    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!
     
  11. Don't Tread On Me

    Don't Tread On Me Member

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    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.
     
  12. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical Member

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    I stick with USGI mags for the most part, however the new Magpul Pmags look somewhat promising...
     
  13. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

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    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:
     
  14. lamazza

    lamazza Member

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    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.
     
  15. possum

    possum Member

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    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.
     
  16. Colorado Fatboy

    Colorado Fatboy Member

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  17. kennyboy

    kennyboy Member

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    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.
     
  18. Guido2006

    Guido2006 Member

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    Will steel magazines wear down the mag well in the aluminum lower?
     
  19. possum

    possum Member

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  20. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  21. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical Member

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  22. Mr White

    Mr White Member

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    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.
     
  23. blackhawk2000

    blackhawk2000 member

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    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.
     
  24. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical Member

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    I'm just saying that I have noticed a large increase of serious problems with CProducts mags recently, widespread.
     
  25. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Member

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    Can you elaborate on the nature of the issues with C-Products magzines?
     
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