Tag Archives: Magazine

Are you having a hard time finding 9mm magazines for your Rock Island Armory A2 HC Pistol? We have them.

This post was updated July 23, 2022

July 25, 2022 Update: Our third generation tuned Mec-Gar 9mm mags for the RIA A2 HC pistols are now available. We offer 10, 15 and 17 round versions Click here if you are interested.


I’m a fan of Armscor’s Rock Island Armory (RIA) staggered magazine pistols – the A2 HC series. They took the ParaOrdnance design of the 1911 that uses a staggered magazine to hold more ammo and made it their own. In a staggered design, the rounds offset left and right but come up to a common single feeding point at the top of the magazine. This enables round counts that are almost double the original single stack design but requires a fatter grip to hold these thicker magazines.

P18 mag with a +200 Dawson base plate.

It can be a challenge to find quality magazines for these pistols as Rock Island and Mec-Gar struggle with COVID and supply chain issues. We entered the market in 2021 with magazines for the 10mm & .40 S&W pistols and now we are introducing magazines for the 9mm pistols.

In case you are wondering, I own both a RIA 56645 Pro Ultra Match HC and a 51679 Tac Ultra FS HC 9mm so that is what I am using for design and testing. By the way, “FS” means it is a full size 1911/2011 vs. something more compact like a Commander. The “HC” means it is the higher capacity. Some times you’ll see RIA refer to “A2” and that is a marketing opportunity for them because there was testing and consideration by the Army of what would could come after the M1911A1 in 2004 and they were bantering around the designation M1911A2 but they did not go far down that path.

Our current magazine offering is based on a Mec-Gar P18 mag that we then ensure the feed lips are gapped to line up on the feed ramp correctly, add a ceramic dry lube, use Dawson base plates (the sizes vary) and holds 17 rounds. The result is a very reliable magazine and we test each one. For folks with the v2 mags, this new v3 mag fixes the stabilization challenges we had trying to run a 9mm round in a 10mm mag tube. By using the P18 9mm mag tube, the rounds are properly stabilized by the follower so no more dipping and extra loading steps that our second generation required.

By the way, I am really happy to return to using Mec-Gar magazines as the base that I build on. The bodies, heat treating, and springs are all excellent.

SteelWorx Dummy Rounds For Testing Now

Also of important note: When it comes to testing, we have stopped using A-Zoom snap caps. Unfortunately, their machined “bullet” does not match the profile of a real world 115gr FMJ round. This caused us to “pass” mags that we would not have had the correct shape of bullet been used. We now test with dummy rounds that do match the 115gr bullet.

As of July 21st, we are no longer use Zoom 9mm snap caps in our QA testing. Note the difference in the snap cap (left in blue) and a real CCI Speer 115gr 9mm round (on the right). That difference in shape can be problematic when verifying mags are good to go.
On the left is a CCI Speer 115 gr FMJ live round. In the middle is a SteelWorx dummy round made from machined stainless steel and on the right is a Zoom snap cap that is different. We are now using SteelWorx for magazine feed, extraction and ejection quality testing.

Taylor Freelance Mag Extensions Work!

Many have asked if the Taylor Freelance magazine extensions will fit these mags and the answer is “yes”. Act-Mag is the OEM supplier of the .40 & 10mm mags to RIA and that is what our 9mm mags are based on. Note, these are the longer mags they mention so adding a Taylor extension to one of our mags will probably be too long for competition use.

July 25, 2022 Update: Our third generation tune Mec-Gar 9mm mags for the RIA A2 HC pistols are now available. We have a 17 round model plus now have limited mags for people in regulated locales – both 10 and 15 round versions that are riveted shut – Click here if you are interested.

Click here to go to our store that has the 9mm mags.

Conclusion

We now have mags for a number of the RIA 9mm high cap (HC) pistols. If you are concerned about whether they will function in your pistol, we will stand behind them if you run into any problems — customer service is something we take very seriously.

Please email me if you have any questions or suggestions.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at [email protected]. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Adjusting the the feed lip gap on our 3rd Generation RIA 10mm and .40 S&W Magazines

As you may know, we offer a third generation staggered 16 round magazine for Rock Island Armory (RIA) pistols chambered in either 10mm for .40 S&W. Having the correct front feed lip gap is critical for reliable feeding and I want to update you on some changes.

S&B 180gr FMJ round. The black “flaps” over the back of the cartride are known as the “feed lips”. They serve to limit how far the cartridge sticks up, the vertical angle as well as the left-to-right angle. On our magazines, it is the front of the lips, or right right edge of the lips in this photo, that are key for proper positioning of the round.

When I first started the magazines, I was setting the front edge of the feed lips between 0.36 and 0.375. In talking with customers who have bought the mags and were having feeding problems (notably stovepiping) , when the magazine lips were down at the lower end of 0.360″. I’d walk them through setting the gap for their pistol and at the end, I would have them measure the final front lip gap that worked. It was usually between 0.370 and 0.390″ and averaged 0.380″.

Here is a photo with labels.
There are a lot of different 10mm cartrdiges on the market. Look at the different bullet shapes – the different angles can all affect reliable feeding which is one of many reasons why you may find one pistol likes one ammo and can cycle it all day long but not another.

Adjusting the Feed Lips Isn’t Hard

I’d recommend the following tools for the adjustments:

  • 1/2-3/4 pound non-marring mallet – or even both. A lighter one for fine adjustments and a heavier one for coarse adjustments. It doesn’t take much to bend the lips.
  • A pair of snap ring or malleable chandalier pliers that can spread the lips open
  • A pair of straight plastic jawed pliers come in hand if you need to tweak the lips left or right.
  • A vise with non-marring jaws or some means to hold the mag without crushing or excessive scratching
  • A pair of measurement calipers can help you with consistency and recording what gap your pistol works the best with give a particular type of ammo.
  • Use Zoom Snap Caps to test cycling vs live ammo. In general, snap caps or action proving rounds are a good idea to avoid misfires. There’s also a second reason – the recoil springs in the RIA pistols are robust and if the bullet from a live round or dummy round (a bullet loaded into a case that does not have powder or a primer) smacks hard into something, it will get pushed back further and further into the case plus they deform easily. All of my testing is done with solid aluminum snap caps now.
From left to right bottom row: Vaughan 3/4 pound NT-125 mallet, Vaughan 1/2 pound NT-100 mallet and Westinghouse 7009900 lighting fixture chain pliers. The Vaughan mallets hold up great – the plastic is both pretty solid and robust so tapping in the feed lips goes very smoothly.
The Westinghouse pliers make opening the feed lips wider a very easy job. You could also use snap ring pliers but they will not distribute the pressure the same or be as easy to use.
The Westinghouse pliers have wide jaws – meaning left to right in the photo above. I’ve bought a number of chain pliers and the cheaper ones do not have as wide of jaws and have a tendency to want to roll when you are applying pressure. They work – but take a bit more control on your part.

Procedure to follow

Ensure your pistol is unloaded and no ammo is immediately nearby that might get accidentally loaded during testing.

Okay, let’s walk through the steps:

Checking Cartridge Alignment

  1. Lock the slide open
  2. Put a snap cap in the magazine
  3. Insert the magazine into the pistol
  4. From different angles, look at where the catridge is pointing in the chamber. Imagine a line from the center of the bullet going straight forward – where is it hitting? You will want to make small adjustments and test over and over until you get that bullet pointing into the center of the chamber (no, it does not need to be perfect).
The front edge of the feed lips are adjusted such that the cartridge is aiming into the middle of the chamber vertically and horiztontally.

Adjusting The Vertical Angle

On most mags, including our’s, the angle the bullet sits at is adjusted by the gap of the front mag lips. The back can’t really be adjusted because it will buckle or crack. What happens is that by opening the front of the mag lips, the front of cartridge sits higher (meaning it is a steeper angle). Correspondingly, by narrowing the front of the mag lips, the cartridge can’t rise up as far and the bullet sits lower.

The circle representing a cartridgeis the same size in both figures. By making the gap wider on the right, the circle rises up higher before it contacts the black feed lips.

The angle is often the biggest problem. If the bullet isn’t angled enough, it gets stripped from the magazine by the slide and will either slam straight into the feed ramp and stop or it will hit, shoot up at a 45 degree angle jamming the pistol open – this is known as “stovepiping”. In both of these cases, you would want to open the lips up until there is proper feeding.

There is such a thing as the lips being too wide and hitting the top of the chamber or literally falling out. The feed lips need to be narrower than the case diameter of 0.421″ for sure otherwise the case will literally fall right through the lips.

To open the front of the lips, use the chain pliers shown above on the front of the feed lips. It doesn’t take much pressure to open (or close) the feed lips so you will need to get the “feel” for how much to squeeze.

To close the front of the lips, tap the left feed lip in and then the right feed lip in equal amounts using the mallet. If you aren’t careful then you are liable to have the bullet pointing too far left or right even though the gap is the same.

Note, it doesn’t take much force with the mallet to move the lips. If you go crazy and crush the lips such that the gap dips below 0.33″, you may find that the throat of the magazine bent and the follower will not longer be able to pass. You don’t want this to happen so make small adjustments, measure and test over and over.

Adjusting the Horizontal Angle

You have a few ways to adjust the left to right horizontal angle. The first is to tap the lips in the direction you need. You can hit in the outside edge of the lip to close it or the right side to open it. I don’t use this because I find it takes too long.

I like to use parallel plastic jawed pliers that fit right inside the lip and let me easily adjust the angle with a good deal of control.

Here’s another look at the lips without a cartridge present.
Here’s a magazine with a 180 grain FMJ round by S&B loaded.

Summary

Each pistol can vary slightly so each magazine may need different feed lip gaps. Going forward, the feed lip gap on our 10mm and .40 S&W magazines will vary between 0.370 and 0.390″. This gives you a starting point but you may find a bit of final tweaking of the feed lips beneficial.

I hope this helps you out.

Click here to go to our store page with our various RIA pistol magazines loaded.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at [email protected]. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Video: Forgotten Weapons Reviews Soviet AK Magazines

In this short video, Ian gives a brief overview of Soviet magazines – notably the slab side, ribbed, waffle and bakelite. As always, Ian does a great job and this is worth a watch!

The first generation was a heavily built (over-built) magazine known as the “slab side”.
After the slab side, they developed the ribbed magazine that was copied by many countries.

To reduce weight they developed the aluminum waffle magazines- so named due to all the reinforcement ribs. It was relatively short-lived because it was not durable enough.
After the waffle mag, they moved to the Bakelite magazine that actually was a glass reinforced polymer. This gave them what they wanted – light weight and durability.
When the AK-74 was developed, they went straight to polymer and never developed steel mags. Note, other countries did build steel AK-74 magazines but the Soviets did not.

The Video


I hope you found that video useful. Ian is a wealth of information and you can learn more about his work at Forgotten Weapons.


Please note that all images were extracted from the video and are the property of their respective owner.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at [email protected]. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Video: Apex Gun Parts’ Croatian AK-47 Magazines Being Manufactured

While digging for videos on AK magazines, I found this one posted by Apex Gun Parts in 2016. It shows their Croatian AK-47 magazines being manufactured. While they don’t come right out and say they are being made by Zastava, I have a hunch that they are.

I would like you to compare this video to the one I previously posted showing Matra Group’s process. Matra is using older general purpose machines and there isn’t much attention paid to worker ergonomics and lighting.

Now, watch this video and not the differences. This video is showing a much more modern plant where there is also detail provided on their quality control processes and they show the jigs that they use.

The Video


I hope you find the video interesting. Apex Gun Parts is definitely a group that I buy stuff from and have no problems recommending them. I don’t have any experience with these mags so this video is really to let you see the differences in manufacturing.


Please note that all images were extracted from the video and are the property of their respective owner.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at [email protected]. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Video: Matra Group Manufacturing AK-47 and AK-74 Steel Magazines: From Sheet Metal To The Finished Products

The AK-47 rifle and it’s “banana” 30 round magazine are classics of rugged functional design. While I’ve posted many videos and how-to articles relating to various rifle and pistol variants, I’ve not really covered the steel magazines at all.

I was surfing around and found Matra Group located in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 2015 this small manufacturer produced a video showcasing their small facility that makes a variety of steel magazines for AK-47, AK-74 and even Lee-Enfield rifles. The Lee-Enfield may be due to those rifles being supplied to the Yugoslav Partisans in WWII to fight th axis armies.

In the video, they show employees starting with sheet metal and stepping through various steps including stamping, machining and spot welding. For the most part, you will see a very labor intensie process using older general purpose machines. If you like videos that showcase how something is made in and old-school fashion, you will find this very interesting.

Here they are cutting the initial sheet down into usable blanks.
Making the front piecee that will lock onto the front trunnion.
Spot welding the two body halves together.
Gettingg ready for final assembly.

Here’s The Video


I hope you enjoyed the video! I definitely found it interesting and informative. Just to be clear, I am not endorsing the magazines – I’m just showing their manufacturing process so I can then compare it to the manufacturing used to produce the Croatian AK-47 magazines that Apex Gun Parts sells.


Please note that all images were extracted from the video and are the property of their respective owner.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at [email protected]. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Assembling an AR Lower – Step 1 of 11: Installing the Magazine Catch Assembly

Just a quick note – when you get a bare receiver, you are literally getting a chunk of aluminum with nothing installed.  I really like Palmetto State Armory (PSA) lower build kits and they sell them with different types of components such as just the basics for rifles, for pistols, Magpul furniture, etc.  What I like is that the machining is very good and I think they have some of the best Mil-Spec basic triggers that aren’t gritty.  I’ve used Anderson and other brands of build kits and just think the PSA kits are superior.  Bear in mind that I say this as a customer – nobody paid me to tell you this.

With that said, let’s start building.  You’ll notice on any AR magazine on the right side there is a rectangular notch.  This is where the magazine catch engages to hold it in place.  Okay, so the first step is to install the magazine catch assembly.  It’s made up of the “L” shaped catch itself, the mag catch spring and the magazine button.

Now I grease everything that slides with Tetra Gun Grease.  Tetra has worked well for me but I also know guys who use all kinds of greases.  As a rule of thumb, if it slides, apply grease.  It it rotates  then apply oil.  So grease the shaft and insert it into the round hole on the right end of the recessed area for it on the right side of the receiver.  Note, be careful when installing the catch or you may scratch your receiver.

When you turn it over you will see the threaded end of the shaft and you put the spring down over it.

Next, you will screw the magazine button onto the threaded shaft.  Before you do, look at the button.  You should see that one end is smooth (that is the bottom) and the other has grooves (that is the top).  Carefully start screwing the button on but stop before you get near the receiver so you don’t scratch anything. Push the button in, and then turn the long lever arm to continue threading the shaft into the button.  Now stop before the lever arm scratches the receiver.

To screw the catch in the rest of the way you need to push the bullet button in all the way so the catch sticks out as far as it can on the other side so the lever arm can clear the parts of the receiver as the button is screwed on.  At this point, I use a small pusher tool made from plastic to push the button in even further so I can keep turning the lever arm until the screw is relatively flush with the top of the button.  Note, before I had the tool I would use a wood dowel.  Just use something non-metallic to protect the finish.  There is a model of the tool shaped just like the oval button but I don’t know where mine went so I used a takedown tool and got the job done ūüôā

The catch is now installed.  To function test, push the magazine button.  You should feel spring resistance and see the magazine catch’s lever arm push out.  When you ease off the button, the lever arm should smoothly go back into place.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at [email protected]. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



AR Parts Sources

There are a lot of reputable AR parts vendors online but beware of eBay and bargain basement dealers that sell airsoft parts and tell you they will stand up to firearm use – they will not. At any rate, here are my top sources of AR parts:



Sluggish Marauder Mag Fix: Try #3 – Change the Internal Spring Position – This is the best fix!

Please note that there are three posts in this series.  The method in the third post would fix just about any magazine while the other two helped some of the magazines:

  1. Sluggish Marauder Mag Fix:  Try #1 РLoosen the Center Screw
  2. Sluggish Marauder Mag Fix: ¬†Try #2 – Dry Film Lubricants – Not a Good Fix – But Avoid 3-In-1 Dry Lube Because It Isn’t Dry!
  3. Sluggish Marauder Mag Fix:  Try #3 РChange the Internal Spring Position РThis is the best fix!

Now on to the post:


Ok, in the first couple of tries, I had some success loosening the center screw on a couple of the sluggish mags. ¬†Marginal improvement with dry lube but that didn’t fix two. ¬†What resurrected the two worst magazines was to disassemble the magazines and move the spring’s anchor leg to the center hole. ¬† What this did was to increase the tension of the spring and boy, did that fix the problem in spades. ¬†In the future, I would try loosening the center screw and if that didn’t work, I’d go right to this spring adjustment:

Here are the steps:

  1. Note where the spring is at currently my looking in the holes in the back of the magazine. ¬†If you see metal, that is the leg of the spring. ¬†All of my mags have had the spring’s leg in the same place from the factory thus far:
  2. Remove the center screw and disassemble the magazine with a 1/16″ hex key. ¬†Pay attention to how it fits together and also look for any debris or burs that might be causing drag: ¬†¬†

    In this next photo, look at the spring.  The downward leg is the bottom and the sideways leg is the top and the center of the drum has a slot that the top part of that spring nestles into:


  3. Move the drum’s spring to the center hole in the track where the pellets are carried. ¬†. See the oily crap … I mean “film” in the mag? ¬†That is courtesy of the 3-in-1 supposed dry lubricant that I will never use again and got cleaned out right after I took this photo:
    If you aren’t sure what hole I mean, look at this next photo. ¬†Magazines PA2 and PA4 have the spring located to the new hole half way around the magazine track. ¬†PA1 and PA3 still have the springs in the original hole and seem to work ok. ¬†This is also a good example of how labeling your mags helps you keep track of what is going on. ¬†PA1 was the worst by far.
  4. Align the drum with the top of the spring and then carefully rotate the assembly clockwise slightly angling the long part of the drum so it will clear the part of the magazine that forms the start/end of the magazine area that holds the actual pellets.

  5. Install the top so the brass pin that is embedded in the clear magazine cover rides in the groove of the drum.  I slide the cover on upwards from the bottom while keeping the center secure otherwise it will fly out.
  6. Re-install the screw. ¬†Tighten it down until the cover can’t lift up and adjust the screw in/out until you feel the right amount of tension on the cover and it can move.
  7. Test by turning the top – you should feel way more spring tension now.

So in my testing, this worked great. ¬†If just loosening the cover a bit works for you, then great. ¬†If not, take it apart and move the spring. ¬†Note – I did try spraying the good Dupont Teflon dry lube in one of the magazines and I can’t say that there is a noticeable difference. ¬†You can if you want to experiment, but I’m not going to bother going forward.

I hope this helps you out!


idth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=ronin03-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B007RHD6ZA&asins=B007RHD6ZA&linkId=7d2a6ce8c4b935dbebd35e4bd36c5f1f&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff”]


 


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at [email protected]. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Sluggish Marauder Mag Fix: Try #1 – Loosen the Center Screw

Please note that there are three posts in this series.  The method in the third post would fix just about any magazine while the other two helped some of the magazines:

  1. Sluggish Marauder Mag Fix:  Try #1 – Loosen the Center Screw
  2. Sluggish Marauder Mag Fix:  Try #2 – Dry Film Lubricants – Not a Good Fix – But Avoid 3-In-1 Dry Lube Because It Isn’t Dry!
  3. Sluggish Marauder Mag Fix:  Try #3 – Change the Internal Spring Position – This is the best fix!

Now on to the post:


I just bought eight brand new .22 Marauder magazines for my BNM breach and about half of them were sluggish. In other words they didn’t really want to come back around and feed the pellets the way they should. In closer investigation, some had been over tightened during assembly. I simply backed the cover screw off with a 1/16 inch Allen key and that easy change did help a couple of the mags but not all. I would turn a little bit and test, turn little bit and test, etc.. I bet I backed off less than 1/4-1/2 a turn for the magazines that had problems.  It didn’t fix all of them.  Two were still sluggish.  This is quick, easy and worth trying if you have a problem:

Note, the allen screws uses a 1/16″ key:

The other recommendation I would make is to use a silver Sharpie pen and label your magazines so you can keep track of how they perform. I’m also experimenting with spring position some and will write that up in another post. I have started putting a silver dot on the factory spring  hole.  So far all eight were in the exact same hole.

Frankly, I think they went with a cheap design.  I still have two things I want to try – using a dry lube and changing the internal spring position.  These will be in my next two blog posts.

 


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at [email protected]. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.