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

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by christcorp, Feb 10, 2011.

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  1. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    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....
     
  2. Davek1977

    Davek1977 Member

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    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.
     
  3. Mags

    Mags Member

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    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?
     
  4. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    I bought 20 of these from CDNN and have had no issues with them holding the bolt back or otherwise.
     
  5. CyBuzz

    CyBuzz Member

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    Thanks for your review. I will have to pick some up.
     
  6. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  7. Paladin38-40

    Paladin38-40 Member

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    Seating problem

    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?
     
  8. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    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.
     
  9. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    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.
     
  10. Elmer

    Elmer Member

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    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.
     
  11. Quentin

    Quentin Member

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    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%.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011
  12. Mags

    Mags Member

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    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.
     
  13. UniversalFrost

    UniversalFrost Member

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    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.
     
  14. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    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.
     
  15. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    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.
     
  16. DustyVermonter

    DustyVermonter Member

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    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.
     
  17. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    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.
     
  18. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    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.
     
  19. Quentin

    Quentin Member

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    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.
     
  20. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Member

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    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.
     
  21. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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  22. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    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.
     
  23. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Like I said in my post, I let my 5 y.o son paint it. I was dura-coating, he wanted to help.

    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.
     
  24. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    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.
     
  25. TylerPearce

    TylerPearce Member

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    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.
     
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