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Will someone please enlighten me?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by ninja45, Nov 9, 2006.

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  1. ninja45

    ninja45 Member

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    I keep reading about USGI magazines and how reliable they are. Can someone enlighten me what exactly is a USGI magazine and how I can differentiate it from another 7-round magazine? Any markings or stampings that make them unique?

    I have some 7-round mags I pick up from a gun show many moons ago. Just wondering if they are USGI as they are reliable as heck, albeit a little old and not as pretty as the Wilson's or CMC's.

    Thanks,

    Ninja45
     
  2. asknight

    asknight Member

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    Does your floorplates or mag bodies have any stampings? Virtually ALL GI "contract" magazines will have a plant, assembly, and CAGE markings. Some WWI-II era mags will be unmarked, I understand.

    Buyer beware, as many of the generic crappy clones won't have any stampings at all, either.
     
  3. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Member

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    If you look at the bottom of the magazine, you'll see this long string of characters (split into two rows) stamped onto the floorplate that could only be a Gov't part/marking number. It's very obvious. :)
     
  4. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Up to the Vietnam era, GI magazines either had no markings or had letters on the top or bottom of the front lip of the floorplate. Around 1970, contractors were required to put the assembly number and their identifying "CAGE" (Commercial and Government Entity) code on the floorplate. This is in the form of "MFR xxxxx".

    Watch out for those made under contract, and then rejected for being out of spec. In this category are those marked with CAGE code 30745. They are easily identified by the incorrect inspection hole size and spacing. The same company made commercial magazines marked "COLT/45 AUTO". The first is sold as "GI magazines, the latter as "genuine Colt" magazines. Neither claim is correct. They usually sell at gun shows for around $6, but, IMHO, are no bargain at any price.

    Jim
     
  5. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    I've some that were, er "liberated" when we changed over to the M9. The ones I got were new in the wrapper marked:

    3 rows:

    19200-
    ASSY 5506694
    MFR 1M291

    Chuck
     
  6. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    CAGE Code 1M291 is Checkmate. They were criticized for the quality of their M9 magazines (I have no idea if the criticism was valid or not), but their M1911 magazines that I have tried have been fine. They are not as finely finished as WWII mags, but are reliable, which is what counts.

    Jim
     
  7. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Reliable GIs

    Besides being made of good, tempered steel...followers and all...one of the functions of the old-style magazines was a more gradual release of the round than many of the modern-day magazines.

    The tapered feed lips began the release a little earlier, but released gradually, and finished the release a little later...which works very well within the parameters of the controlled feed design. Later, timed magazines...that were essentially designed to function with target wadcutters...hold the rim in a straight line, then release it early and a little too abruptly. Works fine with wadcutters, but sometimes leaves a little to be desired with "fightin" ammo...and that doesn't always mean hardball. It's not so much the overall length as it is the ogive shape. The wadcutter mags do well with bullets with the truncated cone profile, like Hydra-Shok, Hornady XTP, and PMC Starfire.

    The early, abrupt release seems to become more critical the closer to the last round in the mag that the pistol gets. Spring tension seems to be the player there, and if it's not high enough, the slide knocks the round ahead of it and often loose from the magazine, before extractor pickup is complete...even with a dimple on the follower...and forces the extractor to climb the rim, if the gun goes to battery at all. Some will and some won't. Either way, the extractor suffers. The later, more gradual release of the tapered-lip design hangs onto the round until it's well under the extractor's control, negating much of the need for heavy magazine springs.

    Colt's OEM 7-round magazines...whether they come from Checkmate or Metalform(Made to Colt's specifications)...provide the best of both designs. A little taper to move the round up gradually as it moves forward...with a timed release point that's just a bit later and less abrupt than what is typically seen on the garden variety 8-rounders...but still fast enough and early enough to handle most of the varied bullet profiles on the market.

    Oddly, the one round that gave so much feeding trouble in the 80s...the infamous Speer "Flying Ashtray" didn't seem to give a problem at all in most pistols with WW2 GI "Hardball" magazines...assuming that the pistol was within spec on all counts....even with unaltered barrel ramps.

    Odd...what?
     
  8. ZBill

    ZBill Member

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    Pictures of WWII 1911 Magazine Markings

    Here are 7 of the 8 (I believe) varieties of WWII magazines. In one picture you can see the upper toe of the base pad. They were either unmarked (Colt manufacture), or marked with L for the Little Co. Contract, R for the Risdon Co. Contract and S for the Scoville Company Contract. All of these have no marking on the bottom of the base pad.

    The other picture shows the bottom tip of the base pad on which you will have the unmarked Colt manufacture mag, C-R for Risdon subcontract for Colt, C-L for the Little subcontract for Colt and C-S for the Scoville subcontract for Colt. The subcontract mags will have the L, R or S on the top as well as the bottom markings.

    The General Shaver magazine ( which is not pictured) has a G stamped on the upper base toe. This information is from Clawson's Collector Guide. Bill
     

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  9. ninja45

    ninja45 Member

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    Thank you all for the responses to my query!

    Now, I am better educated. I guess i need to remove all the rubber bumper pads at the bottom of my magazines to see which ones are the USGI mags.

    Really appreciate the explanations and the photos!

    Ninja45
     
  10. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    6-Doller Clips

    Jim Keenan wrote:

    >The same company made commercial magazines marked "COLT/45 AUTO". The first is sold as "GI magazines, the latter as "genuine Colt" magazines. Neither claim is correct. They usually sell at gun shows for around $6, but, IMHO, are no bargain at any price.<
    ******************

    That pretty much nails it. Just because it says COLT 45AUTO doesn't mean that it's a Colt magazine, though I've run across a few of those that were actually pretty good. Most of the later ones had rounded followers with a dimple in the center. Replacing the spring and follower sometimes made for a decent range magazine that functioned well, but didn't hold up for very long.
    The welds on the floorplate usually turn loose first, and the ones that don't usually crack at the rear.


    I'm going to try and get a picture posted in a bit showing the feed lip design compared to a wadcuter magazine. A picture will help you to understand the gradual release charactistics of the design.

    My all-time favorites are the ones with pinned baseplates...but those are becoming more scarce, and because they've started to be sought out by collectors, they're a little too valuable for range use. Whenever the carry rotation comes around to my rebuilt '43 GI Colt...three of those mags come with it for the tour. And yes...hollowpoints work just fine.
     
  11. timuchin

    timuchin Member

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    Bought some mags from Forrest Co. out of SGN. 19200 ASSY 5508694 MFR. 8R611. Total crap. Wouldn't lock the slide open, wouldn't feed right , hangups in the magazine, wouldn't drop out of the mag well. Total junk. That was the second batch they sent me. The first batch they sent me (same numbers) looked like they had been in the parkerizing too long. The welds on ALL the floorplates broke. (20 magazines!) Now I only buy Chip McCormick Shooting Star mags. 4000 rounds without a single misfeed or failure of any kind.
     
  12. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Awful Mags

    Timunchin...Either government out-of-spec rejects or bogus mags. Likely the latter. Lot of'em around.
     
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