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MAGPUL PMAG Military Feedback

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by tpe187, Nov 22, 2007.

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  1. tpe187

    tpe187 Member

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    My experience with the PMAG started when I purchased several in May, 2007. I was very impressed with the construction and strength of the magazine, compared to the USGI aluminum magazine. I was also looking for a cheaper solution to the HK magazine, that was as reliable and kept the weight closer to the USGI. I continued to be impressed when Magpul issued a recall for previous versions of the magazine, based on some feeding problems in certain lots of the magazine. To me, this indicated a quality company that would stand behind their product. I decided to approach them about conducting durability/functioning tests on their magazines.

    I am currently stationed at the Joint Readiness Training Center, in Fort Polk Louisiana. I work in the Live Fire Division. We run 21-24 platoons of up to 40 personnel each through Attacks, Raids, and/or Convoy security each month. We fire a combination of ball,tracer, blank, SRTA (Short Range Training Ammunition) and UTM (Basically like Simunition man marker rounds) We normally expend about 25-30K rounds a month. Thats not a huge number compared to some of the training classes guys go through, but it would give good exposure to many different Soldiers/Marines and a good indicator of long term durability.

    I spoke to Drake Clark at Magpul and asked if was interested in some more military exposure and what feedback he was interested in getting. He initially sent out 300 PMAGS in OD and FDE in windowed versions and non-windowed versions in August, 2007. We immediately began issuing these mags to the Marines who were here at that time. We also conducted several tests for durability at the same time. We currently have over 600 PMAGs in the field with manufacture dates of 08/07 and 10/07.

    Tests:
    M249 SAW test. As most who use them know, the SAW has a provision to take 30rd magazines in the event belted ammo is not available. This system is extremely unreliable and not preferred. It is to be used only in the event of an emergency. I was still interested to see if the PMAG would increase reliability. The SAW fired 11 magazines worth of ammo before having a case head separation and ending the test. While certainly not definitive, I have never witnessed that kind of functioning with magazines through a SAW.

    Marine 7-Ton test. Having seen the youtube.com test with the truck running over the mag, I was interested in seeing how far we could go. We took a fully loaded magazine in OD with window, placed it under the front wheel of the 7ton and put the wheel on top of the magazine and then turned the wheel back and forth several times. This was on gravel and resulted in severe road rash, but the magazine then fired all 30 rounds without a problem. One note, the rounds will become deformed inside the magazine, but it did function just fine. We did note that subsequent tests with 20rds or less in the magazine resulted in the failure of the magazine. All in all, this is a pretty tough test for a plastic magazine. The Marine 7 ton is rated at 7 tons off road capacity and 15 tons on road. I’m not sure how much weight is over those front wheels, but its got to be significant. Oh, and for those wondering, the USGI mag flattened, broke at the welds and shot its guts all over. The take away from this is that the plastic used in the mag is extremely resilient. It will damage the rounds inside, but the mag will be useable. If you accidently get your gear run over, I recommend changing out the rounds in you mag at the first chance.

    Sand Test. The Marines were anxious to make the mags fail, so in typical fashion, proceeded to throw them on the ground, pour handfuls of sand into them and one even used it as a shovel in the sand. I completely expected the magazine to fail at this point, but to my great surprise, it functioned flawlessly, multiple times. Not sure if the tolerance on the side have anything to do with this, but it was pretty remarkable.

    General Observations
    Good:
    Resists damage better than aluminum magazines, and even HK magazines
    magazines, specifically in urban operations
    Better reliability over USGI magazines – 3FTF’s reported so far, with soldiers who had accidently loaded 31rounds and did not ensure the mag was seated.
    Smoother feeding/loading than USGI magazines
    Not as heavy as HK Magazines
    Easier to seat magazine into rifle
    Similar cost to USGI
    Easier to disassemble for cleaning – This is a big one. Soldiers don’t do this and its is just as important as maintaining your rifle. The Magpul system is easy to diassemble and unlie the USGI mags, won’t get damaged in the process
    Easier to grasp due to reinforcement ridges
    Windowed magazines were preferred over solid ( I think, just because of the novelty more than anything else)

    Bad:
    Ability to load 31 rounds results in difficulty seating for soldiers who did not know it held 31 rounds, but was only meant to be loaded with 30. This extra room is what lets you get easy seating in the rifle.
    This is really only an issue when loading loose rounds. For those using 10rd stripper clips, no big deal.
    No witness marks on windowed PMAGS for 10/20/30 rounds. Hard to determine actually rounds. My personal opinion is that the windowed version isn’t really worth it. Those who shoot for a living will change mags after any contact and can tell by weight if they are almost out.
    The dust cover/feed lip protector isn’t practical for military application. It is easily lost and only would be used when not on patrol, when you don’t really need to worry about dust. As Drake has mentioned, there hasn’t been any feed lip expansion in fully loaded magazines, loaded for over 10 months.
    No Ranger Floor plated currently available. Original Magpul’s can be slipped over the body though with some effort.
    For those that liked to put 550 cord pulls on the USGI magazines though the hole in the bottom, there is a way. I drilled a ¼” hole directly over the Magpul symbol in the floorplate, through the disassembly plate (sorry, don’t know what to call that) and used 550 cord run up through it to accomplish this in minimal time. Very strong and secure and did not affect functioning of the magazine. Takes a little more time to disassemble and reassemble, but that is an option to use for those that prefer this method of retention.

    Overall, very positive feedback so far. As with all magazines, test in your rifle before you trust your life to them. I’ll update periodically, based on our observations.

    UPDATE 11/22/07

    Ok, just wanted to add a few more things about the PMAG.
    Here is a picture of PMAG after doing 100 drops from the magwell of my rifle onto concrete. Magazine was unloaded. Other than some scuffs, no damage to the magazine. Functions perfectly.
    [​IMG]
    Here is another one, after 55 drops on concrete, loaded with 20 rounds to simulate dropping a partially loaded mag. This would be more severe than most would subject their magazine to, since most would retain this mag. Also, the was a straight drop down onto the concrete which really stresses any magazine. In most instances, you will be moving and the blow would be glancing. Still, the PMAG functions fine.
    [​IMG]
    This is the same magazine, but showing the feedlips. Normally, the magazine would bounce when it hit the floor and about half the time lose a round or two. You can see a small crack starting to form on the back spine of the magazine. This did not effect function or retention of a full 30rds
    [​IMG]
    Now, for the USGI. It faired about as well as I thought it would. For the empty mag on concrete test, after 10 drops it had shifted so much as to change the feedlip geometry. I did not try to fire this magazine to test for function, but you can clearly see the damage in the picture. This is why the original MAGPUL's or the ranger floor plates help out in multiple ways.
    [​IMG]
    Now, for those concerned with the windowed version strength vs. non-windowed. I placed this magazine on the concrete on its side and hit it with a brass hammer right on the window. The window was fine, but resulted in a crack on the spine of the magazine. I then took a 3/16 punch and put it on the window itself and hit it about five times before I could get on side to start to move out. The window is set in place during the molding process, so its part of the magazine. The window does not effect strength as far as I can tell.
    [​IMG]
    Here is a picture of the window insert so you can see how it is retained in the body.
    [​IMG]
    Here is a picture of the mags three methods of retention. From right to left, 550 cord through a 1/4 hole drilled in the floor plate. Normal Magpul slipped over body and pre-production Ranger floor plate. And no, the translucent magazine is not available yet.
    [​IMG]
    Now for the drop test on the feedlips. This is probably the toughest test of a magazine. Here is where the PMAG is most vulnerable. When empty, the mag can be thrown against the ground, stomped on, dropped, run over and anything else you can think of and have seen on youtube.

    The problem comes when you add the weight of the column of loaded rounds and drop the mag straight on its feedlips. I'll try to explain why this happens. The magzine is open at the feed lips and therefore that is the weakest point. When dropped feed lips down, the mag contacts the concrete floor/street and the column of rounds tries to keep moving. The right top round is already in contact with the ground and the only open area is immediately to its side. This would be the 29th round. All the weight tries to push next to the 30th round. This causes the lips to wedge apart. The PMAGs I tested survived 7 drops before developing cracks down the spine. They were black windowed and non-windowed. If you continue to drop them after they crack, the crack will just grow down and out to the side of the 29th round.

    Now, the good news. The mags that eventually split, still could retain the majority of the rounds. One or two would spit out. The benifit of the PMAG is that when it does crack, it doesn't break completely off. The magazines that where dropped after cracking, where able to be loaded into the weapon with no additional effort from a normal magazine. Once inside the weapon, the magzine functioned normally. So, even if you somehow get a split magazine, you can still use it. Now, the USGI didn't even compare. After four drops it could not even be inserted into the mag well, let alone feed anymore because the feed lips where totally jacked up.

    As for freezing, I took a couple magazines and froze them in my freezer for a couple days and did the same drop tests. I did not notice any difference in strength.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As an added bonus, if you should somehow damage your mag, MAGPUL will probably send you a new body. Their customer service is a front runner in the industry.
     
  2. itgoesboom

    itgoesboom member

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    Very nice review, and especially interesting considering what you manged to put them through, and how how many rounds you guys go through!

    I must say, I am loving the PMAGs at this point, and have purchased 10 already, and tested them in my rifle. They really are impressive.

    My only concern has been the (possibility) of an issue of long term storage, but it's really not a major issue at this point. And as a civilian, I am not expecting to need to have a bunch of loaded magazines stored for a long period. I keep only two loaded right now.
     
  3. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    tpe, welcome to THR and thank you very much for this insight on a still newish product. Good to hear the guys at the sharp end are on the look out for what is best.

    Do you need donations of PMAGS. I am certain we at THR can organize a magazine drive.

    PMAGs have survived an even more gruesome test than having Marines attempt to break them--I have used them. That's how tough PMAGs are, badger tough.:what:
     
  4. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    cool!
     
  5. geojap

    geojap Member

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    Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for the very nice write up. I bought 10 of these mags last week for my new Sig 556. They seemed like the best product based on my research. I can't wait to try them out (and the Sig 556). Thank you for your service and stay safe.
     
  6. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    Thanks for adding the excellent review of the PMAGs. It is really great to get this degree of detail.
     
  7. davepool

    davepool Member

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    Semper Fi tpe187, I don't think i'll ever put the two PMAGS i have through the abuse you guys do but it's good to know i could, i have ran over two thousand rounds through mine and they have functioned perfectly in my Kel Tec PLR-16 and Bushmaster
     
  8. KellyTTE

    KellyTTE Member

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  9. hankdatank1362

    hankdatank1362 Member

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    Durn, welcome to THR... heckuva review! Thanks!
     
  10. casio02478

    casio02478 Member

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    Thanks for the review, I learned alot, and welcome to the forum.
     
  11. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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    The good reviews keep coming in. I think it's time to pick up some of these wondermags for myself. Thanks for the info.
     
  12. tpe187

    tpe187 Member

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    Badger,

    Thanks for the offer for the mag donation. I'm currently a trainer, so I don't need any, and the 600 we have is enought to outfit 3 platoons at a time, which is our capacity right now.

    My intent with these tests is to verify the durability and functioning of these magazines with the types of rounds we currently employ. Not many civilians running Blanks, man marker rounds, or short range training ammo. I will periodically give this data to the many organizations that are involved in product procurement for the armed services in the hope that Big Army will adopt these as a replacement for current USGI mags.

    I just want Soldiers and Marines to have reliable weapons sytems and the PMAG in conjunction with proper lubrication and knowing what parts need routine maintenance is critical to this.

    Oh, and I love the picture in the attached review of the PMAG on the tray with the cookies. :)

    Thanks for the warm reception here. I will update this post periodically. If anyone has any suggestions for a realistic test of the PMAG, let me know and I'll give it a try. Thanks

    Tom
     
  13. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    Hot day with weapon pre-heated from exposure to noon-day sun.

    Fire two mags from a SAW.

    Insert a third mag while gun is hot.

    Fire a few rounds.

    Let sit for 3 minutes.

    Fire remaining rounds in magazine.

    Check for mag-lip deformation.

    I'm still in the dark on what happens to these mags when things get REALLY hot.
     
  14. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    Considering that USGI mags won't run reliably enough in a SAW for it to get that hot I don't know if this is a fair test requirement.
     
  15. Jeremy2171

    Jeremy2171 Member

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    Funny but I just put 5 mags through a SAW last week and it ran perfectly.

    Don't blame the magazine.......it's not the magazines fault that its never maintained and in most cases is 5-10 years old (or older) and been there and done that.....

    Good servicable USGI mags will run fine in a SAW as long as BOTH weapon and feed device are in proper working condition to begin with.......
     
  16. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    Really? Honestly, we tried to get the thing to run with box mags a couple times. Had the damnest jams as a result. Just gave it up. Happily the 100-round nutsack came along. The 200-boxes were huge and rattled a lot.

    Granted, most of the mags we had were old (as was most everything else we had; National Guard still gets hand-me-downs. We had PRC-77s right up until 2004!). I know I'm not the only one to have experienced this issue, though. The SOCOM variant of the saw (Mk.46 I think?) has omitted the mag well altogether, for a slight weight savings.
     
  17. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Member

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    +1 on the SAW and box magazines being a generally bad combination. I've never had much luck with that arrangement, and have been told that it's a combination of the SAW's ROF/speed of bolt movement not marrying up well to the strength of a typical M16/M4 mag's spring. No idea if that's the actual issue, but the guy who told me tends to know his stuff (18B wpns sgt and all around gun guy on top of that), so I suspect it may be correct. If so, I'd guess that newer mags would work better than used ones, for a while, anyway.
     
  18. Oohrah

    Oohrah Member

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    Tpe187, What a great report. Thought I had state of the art with
    aluminum and Mpul loops. I can see a swap over on future buys.
    Semper Fi, Old Corps 57-65
     
  19. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    Thanks for the great review.
    I guess I'll need to order a few new mags ....
     
  20. deltacharlie

    deltacharlie Member

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    Outstanding! Exactly the info I was looking for
     
  21. Grayrider

    Grayrider Member

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    Agreed. I have been wanting some Pmags both for my ARs and to run in my Sig 556 (if it ever gets here). Great review and welcome to the forum! I look forward to reading your future posts, and please keep us updated with any further testing you do.

    John
     
  22. tpe187

    tpe187 Member

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    As for heat resistance, the polymer used is extremely durable. In the SAW test mentioned in the first part of my post, I had the gunner do a barrel change after the 7th Magazine. He layed it on the barrel bag off to the side and several of the empty magazines where laying against it for the duration of the test, which was probably a couple more minutes. They did not melt, they merely roughed up the surface of the mag and made a slight imprint. It was not enough to cause any change in the functioning of the magazine, nor prevent it from loading in the M4 Magwell (The spot was on the front of the mag, near the top of the mag) I have also left loaded magazines out in the sun for an afternoon and it did not change the feedlips at all. Oh, and the temps in AUG were over 100.

    Oh, and the SAW tested was from a Marine Field Artillery unit, who don't exactly get cutting edge weapons. This particular SAW was from the original run in 1986, with the original barrel. I'm pretty sure thats why it had a case head seperation, in each of the barrels! So, if the mags worked in that weapon, I was pretty impressed. Since the Marine did not have a broken case extractor, that was it for the test. I did not get a chance to try a side by side with USGI, which would be a better comparison.

    The MK46 Mod 0 and Mod 1 do away with the magazine feature, as mentioned about, but fielding won't be complete for probably another 5-10 years, so this is still good information to keep in mind. Hope that answers most of the questions at this point. Thanks

    Tom
     
  23. tpe187

    tpe187 Member

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    I've been asked several times what type of feedback we are looking for when testing the magazines, so I thought I would add it here. If anyone thinks there is something else worth including, let me know. Remember, this is for Military application.

    MAGPUL PMAG FEEDBACK
    Circle all that apply and/or fill in blanks
    Date:
    Unit:
    Weather Conditions: Raining Sunny Snowing Freezing Rain
    Environment: Mud Dust Sand Snow
    Temp:_________
    Type of Live Fire: Attack Convoy Raid Defense
    Type of Weapon used: M4 M16 M249
    Ammunition type used: Ball Tracer Blank SRTA UTM
    Weapon Lubrication: Dry Light Lube Medium Lube Heavy Lube
    Type of Lubrication used CLP LSA LSAT Silicone Graphite Other:____
    Type of Mag used: Window No Window
    Did you have a preference: Window No Window Doesn’t matter
    # of rounds loaded: 30 29 28 Other:_____________
    Did you experience any Malfunctions? Yes No
    What type of Malfunction? NA Failure to Feed Failure to Extract Failure to Eject
    Did the magazine drop free when empty? Yes No
    Did you have any problems seating the magazine in the weapon? Yes No
    Did you load the magazine using stripper clips or loose ammunition? Clips Loose
    What benefits, if any, did the PMAG have over the aluminum USGI magazine?
    Easier seating in weapon, Easier loading of magazine, Smoother feeding, Less jamming of weapon, Stronger material used, Other:_____

    Would you prefer this magazine over the USGI aluminum magazine? Yes No
    Do you have any suggestions for improvement of the magazine? _________
    Do you have any other comments about the magazine performance? _____

    NOTE: The magazine will hold 31rds, but is only meant to hold 30. The extra room is meant to allow easier seating on a closed bolt. The top round should be located on the right side, as you look at the primer, when loaded to 30 rds.

    This feedback will be consolidated and sent to appropriate Gov’t procurement agencies for possible adoption as the standard service magazine for all forces. Please give as detailed feedback as possible.

    Feedback Version: 14 November 2007
     
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