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Troy
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Posted: 3/24/2002 2:25:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/8/2003 10:24:36 PM EST by Troy]
[img]photos.ar15.com/WS_Content/ImageGallery/IG_LoadImage.asp?iImageUnq=2876[/img] The original plastic follower design has a long center post, designed to prevent spring over-compression, and a short anti-tilt leg in the rear. It does not have any anti-tilt leg in the front, which means that the rear of the follower can tilt down and fail to push the rounds up to the feed lips. This results in both bullet-feed misalignments (jams) and in "bolt-over-bullet" fails to feed. The latter is especially common on the last couple of rounds in the mag, when spring pressure on the follower is the lowest. This happens whether or not mags are loaded to capacity or underloaded, and is completely independant of the ammo type used. It is simply a result of poor follower design. This problem had been an issue with the 30-round mags ever since they had been adopted. In the mid-80s, it was noticed that the problem seemed to happen more frequently with Sanchez-brand magazines, and so an investigation was started to try to determine the cause. It was assumed that the investigation would determine that Sanchez mags were not in-spec. This turned out not to be the case, and the final recommendation was to correct the design of the follower. Thus, new followers with a front anti-tilt leg were created, which used green plastic to make them easy to identify, and were shipped with new Sanchez mags starting in 1988 for field trials. The trial ran through 1990, and proved to be successful at eliminating the feed problems associated with the original followers, resulting in formal adoption of the new design in 1991. All USGI-contract 30-round AR mags were required to have the anti-tilt followers as of late '91. Existing black-follower mags were not upgraded. ... You have to decide for yourself how reliable you expect your mags to be. While millions of BF mags exist and have been used, there have been lots of feed problems that are directly attributable to the design of the BFs. GFs are known to significantly reduce or eliminate these problems. Upgrading costs $1.00-1.50 per mag, depending on quanity. Is it worth it? That's a question only you can answer for yourself. All of my USGI 30s have GFs. -Troy
Ammo FAQ: www.ammo-oracle.com
(Old) Mag FAQ: magfaq.tripod.com
Barrel? Go CHROME or go home.
Roughneck-2zero
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Posted: 9/4/2002 6:17:35 AM EST
DPMS & Bushmaster both sell mag rebuild kits, complete with new floorplates, for around $5.50. I think the Bushy floorplates are stamped BMI, and the DPMS one's are blank.
Lumpy196
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Posted: 9/8/2002 2:17:01 AM EST
I got my GF's from Brownells, along with Wolfe extra power springs. These have worked GREAT in both my older grey finish mags as well as some DPMS black teflon mags. I use moly Dri-Slide lube on the inside of my mags. They have been totally reliable. One mag even went bullets down into some fine Arizona dirt. All 28 rounds fed and fired thru my Bushmaster M4 Preban upper. I think GF's are essential gear.
Would John Wayne be having this conversation?


Romans 13:4



garandman
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Posted: 9/9/2002 3:50:27 PM EST
Troy, you ROCK man!!! This question JUST came up today, and you read my mind like six months ago. If I were in need of a religion (I'm not [:D] ), I'd make you like the Grand Smack Daddy of Magazinedom, and send you monthly offerings of 20 rounders. Pop quiz - What mag question will I have in Feb. 2003??? [:D]
gus
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Posted: 9/9/2002 4:10:44 PM EST
garandman, lemme guess: You tried out Troy's mag follower exercising with a ruler technique, right? Doing it can make bad mags good! Try it!
Were it not for the Brave, there would be no Land of the Free



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Troy
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Posted: 9/11/2002 2:44:54 PM EST
Originally Posted By garandman: Pop quiz - What mag question will I have in Feb. 2003???
Look for that FAQ coming soon! [:)] -Troy
Ammo FAQ: www.ammo-oracle.com
(Old) Mag FAQ: magfaq.tripod.com
Barrel? Go CHROME or go home.
kula223
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Posted: 11/8/2002 6:35:52 PM EST
Troy,I was in the Army at the time when we changed over to the M-16,I did alot of Full Auto fire,bursts,etc,and I NEVER HAD A MALFUNTION,using the Alloy followers..Of course at the time all we had was 20rnd mags,and only put 18rnds in the mag,I always snuck 1 in the Pipe,to at least have 1 more rnd..I was actually envious of the AK47 with their 30 rnd mags that never seemed to jam,but I did like the last rnd open bolt we had..Do you know how well the 30rnd mags that were first issued faired..Were there many FTF's??? I was out of the Army in 1970..Thank God..(just wondering)since I never heard of any problems,though I was busy hunting a differant Prey: heh heh!!
FnFal Freak..
Troy
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Posted: 11/13/2002 11:30:34 PM EST
Due to the thickness of the alloy follower in the 20-rounders, the follower tended to track pretty well in the mag. Plus, the mag body was straight, which also helped. There were problems with the first 30-rounders (the Colt ones with the dark green followers with white part numbers stamped on them), and some subtle changes were made to the mag body and spring to fix them. They SHOULD have modified the follower at that time to an anti-tilt design (well, actually, it SHOULD have been right from the beginning...), but didn't do so until the late 80s/early 90s. -Troy
Ammo FAQ: www.ammo-oracle.com
(Old) Mag FAQ: magfaq.tripod.com
Barrel? Go CHROME or go home.
Troy
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Posted: 11/13/2002 11:43:32 PM EST
Also, there was no GOOD reason to only load 18 rounds in the mag, but here's why it happened: In the beginning, M193 ammo was issued in boxes, loose. GIs would typically dump out the boxes into their ponchos and proceed to load their mags. Sometimes, they would overload the mags, as you can force 21 (and sometimes 22) rounds into the mag. This is BAD, of course, and can (and usually will) cause a failure to feed. This was eventually fixed by issuing the ammo on loaded stripper clips. 1 mag = 2 clips of ammo. The other problem was that GIs would disassemble their mags for cleaning and remove the follower from the spring. Because the spring connected to the follower in almost the center, it was easy to put the follower back on the spring backwards. You wouldn't notice a problem until you tried to load the mag. That's when you'd notice that it was difficult to put more than 18 rounds in the mag, and if you forced the last two in, it would bind the follower and you'd have no spring pressure to feed the ammo. This was "solved" by instructing GIs never to remove the followers from the spring (though of course I'm sure it still happened sometimes). By '68 or so, most units were correctly filling their 20 round mags with 20 rounds, and not having any problems. But some units, who were trained the "old" way and/or who believed all of the myths and mistruths that were spread about the M16, would still train the "18 in a 20" method. Some folks STILL underload their mags to this day, and there is NO reason to do so. Well, okay, there is ONE reason that makes sense: Underloading your mags by ONE (1) round will make it easier to to a "tactical reload", which is where you remove a half-empty mag and replace it with a full mag during a lull in the fighting. When you do this, your bolt will be forward on a loaded chamber, and if your mags are full, you have to give the mag a FIRM smack on the bottom in order to compress the spring enough to allow the mag to lock into place. If you fail to do this well enough, the mag will often fall out of the gun on the next shot. Underloading the mag will leave more slack in the spring, and make reloading with the bolt forward a bit easier. I still prefer to load to capacity. As long as you understand the big picture, this is no problem. -Troy
Ammo FAQ: www.ammo-oracle.com
(Old) Mag FAQ: magfaq.tripod.com
Barrel? Go CHROME or go home.
Quiet_Shoez
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Posted: 11/14/2002 9:36:23 AM EST
Originally Posted By Troy: Due to the thickness of the alloy follower in the 20-rounders, the follower tended to track pretty well in the mag. Plus, the mag body was straight, which also helped. -Troy
yeah, noticed that mydamnself. you can put your finger on the very front or rear of the alloy follwer and push straight down to full compression without binding, try to do THAT with a 30 and ANY follower.
W-W
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Posted: 11/15/2002 4:17:46 PM EST
Originally Posted By GreyRider: I am unsure how to rebuild my mags. What is the best way to go about it? Are there special tools? It seems the logical way to do it would be to bend the retainer prongs/tabs on the bottom of the mag so that the plate can be removed, but I can see those tabs breaking off when bent.
IMHO, You need a flat thin screwdriver or knife plus... A green follower, and some Wolff Springs
imcoltsguy
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Posted: 11/28/2002 5:13:37 AM EST
For anyone joining this thread on the 2nd page ---DO NOT BEND THE TABS---. They will break off. Read earlier posts to see how to do this.
Q-Ball
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Posted: 12/8/2002 7:22:48 AM EST
Troy What about loading 18 in a 20 or 28 in a 30 to prevent spring fatigue? Is that practice based in fact or is it yet more AR bunk? Regards Q
Troy
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Posted: 12/18/2002 2:03:53 PM EST
With USGI mags, it is absolutely NOT necessary to download mags for the purpose of either preventing spring set or to ensure operational reliabiliy. However, some folks will download by one round to make tactical reloads (reloads where the bolt is forward on a live round) easier. A full mag doesn't have much slack space, and takes a firm smack on the bottom to ensure it is fully seated when the bolt is forward. Downloading by one round reduces the force necessary to seat the mag. Myself, I just prefer to use a firm smack and have fully loaded mags. Neither method is right or wrong. -Troy
Ammo FAQ: www.ammo-oracle.com
(Old) Mag FAQ: magfaq.tripod.com
Barrel? Go CHROME or go home.
KillZone
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Posted: 3/5/2003 12:27:07 PM EST
Does anybody make a short true 5 round mag for hunting? I have found some but they look like 20's blocked to ten's then blocked to 5's. Can you help me rate the Bushmaster,MWG and John Mason 5 rounders? Which of those are the shortest? Any help will be much appreciated.
IamtheNRA
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Posted: 3/15/2003 11:19:12 AM EST
I have several Sanchez 30-round mags with black followers, and have fired many hundreds of rounds from them with ZERO problems. Just my .02... Steve
yuukoo
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Posted: 3/26/2003 1:28:45 PM EST
Kinda new to ar15 getting one soon. Where is the Pushrod in the riffle? and how does this affect "new" rifles. Is this something I will want to look into changing out (ie Aftermarket fix?) Thanks in advance.
JIMBO55
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Posted: 5/9/2003 7:31:54 PM EST
Troy--have you tried any of the orange followers?? i had purchased 20 of the greens and replaced the black followers in my 30 rd mags---i noticed that they seemed to be tight and still did some tilt--to make a long story short--i just recieved my first 12 pcs of the orange followers---as i started to switch the orange for the green, i noticed that the orange fit alot better in all my mags, including my british mags. On closer examination i noticed that many of the dimensions are smaller on the orange units--if you have any, take a look at them compared to the greens--also as i cycled the mags with the orange units i did not have any "tilts" like i had with the greens--let me know what you think-----JIMBO
Troy
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Posted: 5/10/2003 6:06:05 PM EST
Where did you get your GFs from? The green and orange followers *should* be identical, but there were some cheapie aftermarket GFs going around that people had problems with. -Troy
Ammo FAQ: www.ammo-oracle.com
(Old) Mag FAQ: magfaq.tripod.com
Barrel? Go CHROME or go home.
gs430
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Posted: 5/20/2003 7:20:58 PM EST
Do you guys have any opinions on SAW Sales (Ken Elmore) "extended life" magazine springs (the reddish colored ones)? And is there a way to tell the "cheap" GF's from the good ones? I have installed a few of them and they seem to work fine (but then again, I've never had problems with my BF's either...I have 99% Okay or Colt mags...and I think the Colt mags are all made by Okay..along with a few Sanchez, Cooper, and some mystery mags that look milspec)
benneli
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Posted: 8/11/2003 9:24:07 PM EST
I have a few of the british sa80 parkerized steel 30rd mags, I took the black follower out to replace it with a green follower. The black one says england on it and is exact in size and shape as the usgi green ones............is this the uk's version of the green followers and should they work the same?
FudgieGhost1
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Posted: 8/12/2003 2:11:04 PM EST
Yeah, those British mags----I have a few of them and could not get them to load from stripper clips. Was going to sell them, but someone suggested I replace their black followers with some green ones. Did that last night. I still can't get them to load rounds from the strippers, plus they still bind, tilt, and generally don't run smoothly at all, especially at the very front of the follower when it meets the very top of the mag. This is all with pushing down the followers with a pencil, screwdriver, etc. Haven't shot them with the GF's yet--who knows maybe they shoot fine? I did notice the followers that came with these mags were identical in shape to the green ones I put in as replacement. So what's with these mags? Why can't I get them to load from strippers and why do they seem to bind so bad?
1001001
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Posted: 8/17/2003 10:13:22 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/17/2003 10:20:25 AM EST by 1001001]
Regarding Troy's comments on the pseudo green followers he's definetly correct on them. I made the mistake of purchasing a few at one of the larger gunshows in my area off a dealer's table. To a one, every single one I installed in five 30 round magazines would cause failures about every round to every second round. I discarded them after testing and then ordered two packages from Brownells. When I received them the packaging was marked DPMS and these have worked great in conjunction with the Wolff extra power springs. I would advise people wishing to purchase these to order them from a verifiable source as to their origin. Fudgie, I was interested to read your comments as I purchased one English steel magazine yesterday to test and evaluate. One thing I noticed right off on examination is that the top of the back of the mag, the cut out that the stripper guide fits over seems to be spread slightly further apart than on the USGI mags I have stocked. I'll test it out this week and maybe we can get together on info and see what develops with these items.
Lord_Grey_Boots
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Posted: 8/30/2003 7:56:09 PM EST
This is a very useful thread. I always wondered what was special about green followers, and I had the exact failure this is supposed to fix several times today. None of my mags have the green follower. Now off to Brownells website....
drofnas
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Posted: 7/23/2004 8:30:52 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/23/2004 8:31:41 AM EST by drofnas]
20 rounders.

I just ordered some Colt 20 rounders.

Does the whole "green follower" issue apply here? Should I just leave the old ones in? Obviously they are likely to need a rebuild anyway.

(I ordered some GF's when I ordered my 30 rounders.)
sungunner
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Posted: 7/26/2004 1:15:21 PM EST
I have thoroughly enjoyed this topic, which would ordinarily sound scary (like I have no life), but I am absorbing the data and the experience on AR15 mags.

I am hoping that you guys can point me to the right info, in case it was asked before:

Does anyone have experience in blocking mags down to a lower capacity, or know of a link, measurements, descriptions, actual photos or details that teach the same. I may wind up in an area that would require it, and want to know what AR15 and M1A mag work I should plan. I don't suppose someone has productized this already. I do have a small supply of GF Bushy 10rd mags, but would want to know how one could reduce some Colt 20rd silver-metal follower units (very smooth) down to 10- or 15-rd., so I don't have to divest myself of them. Purely for academic study only.

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