Magazine Lifespan? Opinions & Experiences please.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Alllen Bundy, Apr 9, 2022.

  1. Alllen Bundy

    Alllen Bundy Member

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    How many rounds should you be able to shoot from a pistol magazine before it fails due to wear or weakening of any part?

    How long have your magazines actually lasted?

    Any magazine brands to stay away from?

    Any magazine brands that you would recommend?

    I've seen complaints about plastic magazine followers wearing out. Have any of you tried aftermarket aluminum replacement followers?

    Have any of you experienced broken magazine springs?

    How about weak magazine springs?

    Have weak magazine springs ever caused you a failure to feed or failure to lock the slide back after the magazine was empty?
     
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  2. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    How many rounds should you be able to shoot from a pistol magazine before it fails due to wear or weakening of any part?
    - Depends on magazine brand/manufacture, usage and maintenance conditions.

    How long have your magazines actually lasted?
    - Several Chip McCormick 8 round Power Magazines were used for my Sig 1911 to 12,000+ rounds without failure.
    - Factory Ruger 10/22 magazine shot over 10,000 rounds without failure - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/real-world-accurizing-22lr-on-the-cheap.898035/page-2#post-12183064
    - Several factory Glock 17/22 magazines shot USPSA matches over several hundred thousand rounds (120,000+ just for G17) and required spring/follower replacement due to "normal wear". Steel lined magazine tubes and feed lips never failed even with regularly being dropped on ground/range floor. Mag base got marred from being dropped but never cracked/failed.

    Any magazine brands to stay away from?
    - My personal experience with ProMag brand magazines has not been positive and would not recommend them. (Other THR members with more recent usage may have different experience)

    Any magazine brands that you would recommend?
    - Mec-Gar/Chip McCormick/Wilson Combat for metal pistol mags
    - MagPul/factory Glock for Glock mags
    - MagPul for AR mags

    I've seen complaints about plastic magazine followers wearing out. Have any of you tried aftermarket aluminum replacement followers?
    - Plastic mag followers are consumable item and should be replaced when worn. Follower is worn when rounds do not feed reliably, especially with a new spring. I always use factory mag followers.

    Have weak magazine springs ever caused you a failure to feed or failure to lock the slide back after the magazine was empty?
    - Yes. Magazine springs are consumable item and should be replaced when worn. I replace mag spring when magazine fails to properly feed last round with good follower. I always replace mag springs with Wolff extra power springs so when they are "broken in", they apply factory specified tension on the follower - https://www.gunsprings.com/SEMI-AUTO PISTOLS/cID1

    "MAGAZINE SPRINGS are generally offered 5% and 10% stronger than original factory springs. Wolff magazine springs are made using the finest quality spring wire and provide long life without fatigue."​
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2022
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  3. LaneP

    LaneP Member

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    I try to stay with factory mag components in all cases, with a few exceptions, one of which is the Ed Brown 8 Pack mags for 1911 pistols. They are as reliable as death and taxes.

    Seems as if spring strength in relation to reliability is also tied to how quickly the slide reciprocates and needs to push rounds up into the feed path. I have some old 90's era Glock mags for the G22 and the springs are pretty soft. You can manually flick the rounds out with little effort, yet they feed with complete reliability.
     
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  4. lee n. field

    lee n. field Member

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    Promag.

    Factory OEM magazines. Most likely to work well, as the factory mostly likely doesn't want to deal with a flood of support issues.

    Supposedly (Internet hearsay, YMMV) an issue with some Kahrs. Ditto the KelTec PF9 plastic follower wold eventually chip or wear to the point that the slide hold open wouldn't work on the last round.

    Never have tried, or felt the need to try, aftermarket aluminum followers.

    No.

    Broken magazine base once, on a KCI Glock mag.

    So far only with the KCI ("Korean Military!") Glock magazines. Replace with OEM or Wolf, and soldier on.
     
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  5. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    It vary's depending on the magazine. How much stress the mag is under during use. Are they dropped on concrete, do they get stepped on, do they get jammed with sand and used, are they extra capacity mags in standard tube length?

    Shortest lifespan is typically from magazines that have been modified from the original design to get extra rounds in a mag tube the same length. To get those extra rounds in the same length tube you have to compromise the follower, spring, or both.

    Some are 30+ years old and work fine.

    ProMag

    It depends on the gun you are talking about. For Beretta 92, SIG P226, CZ75, MecGar are very good. For a 1911, Wilson, Tripp, McCormick, CheckMate are all good choices.

    Nearly every mag made these days (common guns outside of 1911's) uses polymer followers. Are they less durable than steel followers - probably. Ask the Glock guys how long their followers last - probably forever. I'd probably not even try an aluminum follower. I don't see an advantage to aluminum as a follower.

    Broken, no. Worn out, yes.

    Yes.

    Yes they have. Failure to lock back is usually the first telltale sign your mag springs are wearing out. Replace them, or just replace the mag. Magazines are consumables. Don't get attached to a magazine. When it stops working, move on.
     
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  6. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    I know you aren't talking about 1911 mags, but here is a Hilton Yam video that talks about 1911 mags. It is worthwhile information because it talks about key features that are on all mags such as feed lips, springs, base pad, capacity, and how you need to view your mags as consumables.



    He goes through mags very quickly, but he was LE, and they treated their mags harshly and needed absolute function. The average user is typically more gentle with their mags and can probably use until failure and not replace mags before as a precautionary measure.
     
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  7. lee n. field

    lee n. field Member

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    At the time I was dealing with it (pic is dated 2010), Wolff sold the same spring for the G19 as was used in the G17. That, plus the extra power, made for a super stiff magazine to load.

    I solved it by getting a Glock extended baseplate for that magazine, and regular Glock OEM G19 springs for the rest of the KCI Glock magazines I was trying to fix.

    Note the thin wire in the KCI spring.

    a tale of 3 springs small.JPG
     
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  8. triplebike

    triplebike Member

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    In all the years that I've been shooting, I have never had a mag fail. My Walther PPQ is 9 yrs old and those mags have 1000's and 1000's rds loaded. My Ruger MKIV 22/45 mags have 10,000 rds through them with no problems. My CZ 22 adapter which I had for over 10 yrs must of had at least 50,000 rds. Never a problem. I very rarely take mags apart and can't remember when I actually cleaned one.
     
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  9. halfmoonclip

    halfmoonclip Member

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    Left unmentioned among recommended mag brands, MecGar. They are OEM in many cases, and make superb mags.
    I've 20 round GI AR mags that have been loaded for 20 years; if I take them out of the safe and into the gun, they'll run fine.
    Only mag spring problems have been a few for the P365. Won't badmouth that excellent pistol, but the mags are packed really tight, and are normally tough to fill. Had a few that became waaaaay too easy to load; NDZ markets a +5% mag spring that solves the problem.
    Have a Beretta 92 mag, run over by my Jeep on a paved road. It is now ugly as hell, but it actually works.
    PPs have mentioned having extra mags, because they are expendable. Get lots of spares, especially if they hold more than 10 rounds.
    Moon
     
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  10. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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  11. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    1911's, Ive had the best luck with original Colt mags, and USGI contract mags I bought back in the 80's and 90's. Im still shooting most of those today. They have been the only mags to work in all of my 1911's without issue. Wilson 47D's work OK too, but you have to keep after them cleaning wise, as those big slots let a lot of crap in.

    Glocks, Ive had great luck with their factory mags, KCI, and MagPul.

    I have a lot of 20-25 Korean KCI 17 round Glock mags Ive been using as my practice mags on a weekly basis for about 13 years now. Most are still original with no parts replaced. Never had any issues with them, and I wouldn't have any problem using them for serious use. They are as good as the factory mags as far as Im concerned.

    The KCI 33 rounders were a different story though. I wouldn't recommend them for anything serious. I not a real big fan of the factory 33 rounders either, as Ive had trouble with them as well.

    Most other things, SIG's, Berettas, 9mm 1911's, etc, either factory and/or the Mecgar and ACT mags have always been good.
     
  12. Keoni

    Keoni Member

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    In my opinion it would depend a lot on how long the magazines remained fully loaded more than number of rounds shot. But, I haven't owned a pistol that I have fired more than 5K rounds, although some used pistols that I have owned may have been shot more than that.
    I can't remember any magazine failures other than weak springs and plastic followers. Not including sub par magazines that were junk to begin with.
    There are many to stay away from, I prefer the pistol manufacturers mags or Mec-Gar, Good chance they made the mags that came with the pistol new.
    I believe that I can remember 2 or three plastic followers that failed at the slide stop.
    Never had a broken spring that I can recall, several weak springs. Weak springs have caused either F/F or failure to lock slide, or both, in my experience.
    Limited experience with aluminum followers, no problems.
     
  13. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    I never wore a mag out. I even fixed one after i blew the insides out with a kaboom. I reformed the outer part. I oiled it and worked it into my 1911. After it was in shape. I put the base plate spring and follower back on/in it. It's still working fine.
     
  14. RA40

    RA40 Member

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    I've heard plenty of poor comments about ProMag. I have 3 ProMag for the Firestar M43 that function well. May not always lock the slide back on last round though.

    Otherwise have had good luck with any factory mag for the guns I have. I consider MecGar to be factory since they produce them for many manufacturers. I have MecGar for the Sig since they are a couple $ less then the branded Sig magazines. Identical parts between the "Sig" and MG" inside.

    My oldest still in use are the 10 round S&W 19050 .22LR mags that fit the 41, 422,622 and 2206 type .22 pistols. I don't know the round counts on them but the first 4 date back into the late 80's.

    The Ruger 10-22 rotary mags are the shortest lifespan I have come across. I seem to replace them every 3K rounds. They get gummed up and the plastic inside a bit chewed from the dirty ammo that makes them gritty, they eventually don't feed reliably after a spell. They get taken apart to be cleaned but I now consider them disposable rather than taking them apart to clean which doesn't really yield much difference anyhow.
     
  15. Seven High

    Seven High Member

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    USA and Ramline brand magazines are two brands to stay away from. These were available some years ago.
     
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  16. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    I have Wilson 47D's and ETM's in both 9mm and 45acp. After thousands of rounds I will buy a rebuild kit for them. As far as I am concerned a Wilson 47D or ETM will last a lifetime.
     
  17. Nuclear

    Nuclear Member

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    After thousands of rounds, I had a Wilson mag’s feedlips spread out, causing feed issues. They have a lifetime warranty, so all it cost me was shipping there.
     
  18. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Ditto on ProMag being garbage - haven't had one work right...ever. Also USA Mag made some really terrible SKS aftermarket mags, all I know about them.
    MagPul is great, D&H makes pretty good USGI aluminum AR mags, and MecGar is darn good stuff.
     
  19. Alllen Bundy

    Alllen Bundy Member

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    I've got one Made in USA 10 rd magazine and one MecGar made in Italy 10 round magazine for my P365. I haven't had a chance to try them yet. Neither of them has any burrs around the punched holes. Both magazine shells seem to be made well. The MecGar mag has a shinier finish and the USA made mag has a matte finish The MecGar follower is made from a shiny smooth plastic whereas the Made in USA follower has a plastic follower with a matte finish. I can't see any problems with either magazine. I'm also going to buy a MagGuts +2 spring kit to try out in the 10 rd magazines.

    It would appear that if you want a MecGar magazine for a P365 you have to buy them from SIg or a Sig dealer. Even then it would be luck of the draw to get a MecGar magazine as Sig uses at least one other magazine supplier.

    Has anyone tried a ProMag drum magazine? It appears to be a range toy. I can't imagine actually using it in a self defense situation.
     
  20. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    It depends. I have had Glock mags loaded for years and they worked just fine. They also had an incredible lifespan in terms of rounds fired- not just mine, but Glock mags that were in training units that got extremely heavy use. I would never put any mag in a Glock that isn't made by Glock. Ended up w/ some import G19 mags, they were trash. Also got 1 Glock Pmag in some swag after a match- it was also trash and that is where it went. That is only 1 Glock Pmag- others may have had success, but the 1 bad experience sold me on not getting them in the future, even though I absolutely had great success with AR type Pmags, both in competitions and in combat. In the 1911, I have had the best luck with Wilson and McCormick/ shooting star- the 1911 is over 100 years old, so crappy aftermarket mags and worn out used mags that once upon a time were OK abound. Also, the NSN marked GI 1911 mags often had QC issues. None of the mags for the M9 when I used it in the mil were great, some of the non-Beretta made ones were absolutely horrible. When these problems were discovered, all non-Beretta mags were culled from the inventory (smashed with a ball peen hammer and tossed in the unit dumpster) and replaced with Beretta factory mags. Same with the legacy-type Sig pistols like the 226/228/229/220- only use Sig marked mags in those. I had some I acquired from the SEALs many years ago that looked terrible due to salt water immersion- as long as they were kept oiled they worked fine in my personal 226. In general, modern quality pistols seem to work the best with mags made from the original manufacturer, so be careful purchasing cheaper ones from places like ads in shotgun news, cheaper than dirt, or the guy at the gun show that has hundreds of various mags in unmarked plastic bags with no markings. I have seen some that won't go INTO a pistol without activating the mag release.
     
  21. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Ahhh, the old Jam-Line magazines. Every one I ever bought was good for at least two stoppages per loading no matter what gun you bought the magazine for. Thinking about it, I still have a camo Ram Line synthetic stock on a stainless mini-14. That company made all sorts of stuff back then.

    My only real no-no for AR mags are the first versions of the Magpul P-Mag 30-rounders. The office bought eight (Maybe twelve?) of them for our four original full-auto M-4 rifles years ago. Due to use, I know at least three of them split on the seam on the front of the mag body, starting at the top and working downwards 3/4” or so.

    I am seriously hoping the newer generations of Magpul P-mags have rectified this phenomenon, our rifle purchase from Colt last year came with a bunch of the latest generation P-mags. I don’t have long term use results from these magazines, so as of todays date I can’t speak from experience if the seam split is still an issue.

    I do love the Magpul anti-tilt followers though, every AR magazine I own has either come with them or I retrofitted them later. IMHO the Magpul follower, and Wolff springs, are the cats meow for AR mags. :)

    Stay safe.
     
  22. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    Bought a 1911 in '80. Picked up a couple Colt used mags at a gun show (probably war surplus, no idea of age), couple of Chip McCormick, couple of Wilson and 3 - 11 rounders of unknown make. Never a failure with any.

    The ONLY mag I have had break is a 10-22 clear 25 round. Mag split on the plastic seam, at the fed lips, down the side. Some super glue and fixed. 5 years later, still working.

    All AR mags are metal. I don't do plastic mags.
     
  23. Bazoo

    Bazoo Member

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    I’ve had several mag failures. 1911 checkmate brand SS GI style mag, checkmate made kimber mag, Vietnam era checkmate 1M291, all with cracked feed lips. I’ve had several checkmate 1911 mags to start jamming and upon replacing the spring with a Wolff spring, go without issue from then on.

    Have a bersa thunder 380 with a chip out of the base plate. I guess it happened from slamming the mag in the gun. We rarely shoot it.
     
  24. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    A worthwhile data point would be comparing the longevity of a MagGuts +2 modified mag with a standard factory mag.

    I don't know the ins and outs of what MagGuts does to get two extra rounds in the tube, but traditionally, when you squeeze extra rounds in a tube, without extending the length of the tube, you either need to compromise on the follower, springs, or both. Those compromises usually mean a shorter life span on two levels. For one, the compromised springs don't last as long as they are usually not as strong to begin with, and they are often over compressed in their + status. Second, there is more stress on the feed lips holding those extra rounds in the tube, and with slide lock reloads, there is more stress on the feed lips when the mag is inserted with vigor and the heavier column of rounds is brought to an abrupt stop without the support of the slide.
     
  25. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    I have magazines for my Remington Model 51 that have seen hundreds of rounds since I bought that pistol in 1974. The magazines were made in 1918.

    USA
    Triple K
    Promag
    Are the most commonly abhored magazine for pistols and have been for decades.



    Mecgar

    I've never heard of this.

    Not in a half century of shooting have I ever broken a mag spring. Not sure how I would.

    Not from use.
    Seems to be a feature of cheap magazines.

    Probably.
     
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