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Posted: 2/24/2006 5:29:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/26/2006 10:14:30 AM EDT by SJSAMPLE]
Gentlemen,
I have, for some time, been a big fan of the British steel SA80 mags.

From the very start, I have appreciated the difference a quality steel mag makes:
1. When I first picked up my batch of 10, I measured the rear of the feed lips and notice how uniform (and tight) that rear gap is. Compared to the rear of my USGI aluminum mags (new), I immediately noticed the difference.
2. Steel vs Aluminum: No contest. I'm not sure I could crack the rear lips or the bottom tabs if I tried. I've got seven inop USGI mags with various defects/damage.
3. The SA80 mags come with a no-tilt follower that's comparable (identical) to the USGI green follower, only in black.

The combination of the above made each of these mags feed and function flawlessly over the course of dozens of mag dumps.

The biggest drawback of these mags is that steel rusts and, like my SIG P226, these mags proved that without fail. I first noticed surface hazing and then what appeared to be a finger-sized rust spot from where I last held them.

Several people here (and on other forums) recommended that I GunKote them myself.
They gave me too much credit, as I have neither the time, the tools nor the skills to do it properly.

I sent all 10 to Mac's Shootin' Iron Restorations for the full Tuff-Gun I treatment: Zinc parkerizing and a coat of KG GunKote. I'm pleased to report that the results were very nice (below):





I figure I spend $20 in shipping ($10 there and $10 back) and $60 for the mag refinishing.
That works out to ~$8 a mag.
Add that to the $20/each that I spent for the mags, and these are now $28 quality steel mags.

I disassembled the mags and sent in the body and floorplate, as springs would be problematic.
I probably would have wasted that much if I tried this myself, so I'm very satisfied with the money invested.

Mac has also done other excellent work for me in the past.
I've also had my AR lower, my rusty P226 and my old SIG magazines GunKoted by Mac and I couldn't be happier.

Gentlemen,
If you have the need, I would highly recommend MAC and his Tuff-Gun/GunKote treatment. Do yourself a favor and, at the very least, visit his site.
Link Posted: 2/24/2006 7:41:19 PM EDT
wow! they came out looking great. I'm glad you posted this I have some steel England mags that I want to refinish and I might have to go with this stuff. Thanks!
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 7:33:18 PM EDT
FYI those are not UK SA80 mags they are Singapore contract mags but still very good

The original (other than the 30 round colts that were issued because the SA80 mag could not be produced in enough quantity) SA80A1 mags have a plastic floorplate with a large button on them normally marked RG and not as good follower as you have in yours the new SA80A2 mas are the HK high reliability.

But nice job on the mags
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 10:13:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By pedro66:
FYI those are not UK SA80 mags they are Singapore contract mags but still very good

The original (other than the 30 round colts that were issued because the SA80 mag could not be produced in enough quantity) SA80A1 mags have a plastic floorplate with a large button on them normally marked RG and not as good follower as you have in yours the new SA80A2 mas are the HK high reliability.

But nice job on the mags



They came with a tag that said "England" on them?
Either way, these feed and function flawlessly.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 10:17:02 AM EDT
Try them and see how well the finish holds up in the mag catch area. Also, look for chipping of the Gunkote on the feedlips.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 12:55:12 PM EDT
Look again at the followers in these mags -

They LOOK like the US green followers but are almost as soft as rubber. They flex easily by hand.

If you dump their followers for green US ones or the even better Magpuls, then I agree with you that these are good mags.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 1:48:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/26/2006 1:59:12 PM EDT by metroplex]
They are Singapore SAR80 mags. I have a few from Adco and other than possibly weak mag springs (thin wire, out of spec), they work fine with Magpul followers but can be tight in the mag catch area. Overall, you can get USGI alum mags for less money nowadays.

Take a look through the mag catch hole and compare the wire diameter with a USGI mag. if its really thin, replace the spring. That is about the only real problem I have with new SAR80 mags other than the follower (ditch the black plastic follower and get a Magpul or USGI 30rd green).
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 3:27:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sovereign:
Try them and see how well the finish holds up in the mag catch area. Also, look for chipping of the Gunkote on the feedlips.



I had my P226 mags refinished years ago and they haven't shown any wear, other than slight marks.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 3:28:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By p-dog:
Look again at the followers in these mags -

They LOOK like the US green followers but are almost as soft as rubber. They flex easily by hand.

If you dump their followers for green US ones or the even better Magpuls, then I agree with you that these are good mags.



They did feel soft.
When I re-inserted them, I could bend them.
I've been testing one of the early Magpul followers for about a year, I suppose I should finally pony-up and buy 20 or so.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 3:31:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By metroplex:
They are Singapore SAR80 mags. I have a few from Adco and other than possibly weak mag springs (thin wire, out of spec), they work fine with Magpul followers but can be tight in the mag catch area. Overall, you can get USGI alum mags for less money nowadays.

Take a look through the mag catch hole and compare the wire diameter with a USGI mag. if its really thin, replace the spring. That is about the only real problem I have with new SAR80 mags other than the follower (ditch the black plastic follower and get a Magpul or USGI 30rd green).



I've got 10 NIW USGI mags, but GI mags crack and separate at the rear of the feed area.
When I priced out the refinishing, I contemplated spending the cash on new aluminum mags, but I wanted a set of mags that I knew wouldn't crack or bend. I've tested all ten of these and they fit beautifully.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 3:40:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Originally Posted By metroplex:
They are Singapore SAR80 mags. I have a few from Adco and other than possibly weak mag springs (thin wire, out of spec), they work fine with Magpul followers but can be tight in the mag catch area. Overall, you can get USGI alum mags for less money nowadays.

Take a look through the mag catch hole and compare the wire diameter with a USGI mag. if its really thin, replace the spring. That is about the only real problem I have with new SAR80 mags other than the follower (ditch the black plastic follower and get a Magpul or USGI 30rd green).



I've got 10 NIW USGI mags, but GI mags crack and separate at the rear of the feed area.
When I priced out the refinishing, I contemplated spending the cash on new aluminum mags, but I wanted a set of mags that I knew wouldn't crack or bend. I've tested all ten of these and they fit beautifully.



Which mags did you have that cracked at the rear of the feed area?
I have some very old 20rd straight USGI mags that are fairly dented and beat up (0% finish) and they are just fine. I'm guessing most are 10-15+ years old.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 4:28:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By metroplex:

Which mags did you have that cracked at the rear of the feed area?
I have some very old 20rd straight USGI mags that are fairly dented and beat up (0% finish) and they are just fine. I'm guessing most are 10-15+ years old.



It happens. I had some old 30-round Colt mags that had cracks at the base of the feedlips (near the back). Generally, USGI's are good mags, but cracks in the feedlips have been known to happen. I'm watching for the Creative Products stainless mags. If those show to be reliable, then they would be a very good alternative to the USGI aluminum mags. Stainless steel feedlips should be less likely to crack than alumnum feedlips. SA80 steel mags would also be less likely to crack in the feedlip area, but they're more prone to rust.

Link Posted: 2/26/2006 5:12:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By metroplex:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Originally Posted By metroplex:
They are Singapore SAR80 mags. I have a few from Adco and other than possibly weak mag springs (thin wire, out of spec), they work fine with Magpul followers but can be tight in the mag catch area. Overall, you can get USGI alum mags for less money nowadays.

Take a look through the mag catch hole and compare the wire diameter with a USGI mag. if its really thin, replace the spring. That is about the only real problem I have with new SAR80 mags other than the follower (ditch the black plastic follower and get a Magpul or USGI 30rd green).



I've got 10 NIW USGI mags, but GI mags crack and separate at the rear of the feed area.
When I priced out the refinishing, I contemplated spending the cash on new aluminum mags, but I wanted a set of mags that I knew wouldn't crack or bend. I've tested all ten of these and they fit beautifully.



Which mags did you have that cracked at the rear of the feed area?
I have some very old 20rd straight USGI mags that are fairly dented and beat up (0% finish) and they are just fine. I'm guessing most are 10-15+ years old.



Labelle and O'Kay, for starters.
I've had other mags from different manufacturers.
This is a well-known issue with aluminum USGI mags.

You are 100% right about the followers.
I just compared to my green followers and the black ones are like rubber.
Anybody know where I can get a good deal on new (Gen II) Magpul followers and some +10% springs?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 1:16:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 1:16:29 AM EDT by metroplex]
I looked at my DH Mags and compared it to the SAR80s. The spot welding on the USGI mags are larger, while the spot welds on the SAR80s are smaller but more in quantity.

Couldn't you just weld yours back together again? Put them in a vise and weld the top and then grind off the excess.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 4:27:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 4:40:58 AM EDT by SJSAMPLE]

Originally Posted By metroplex:
I looked at my DH Mags and compared it to the SAR80s. The spot welding on the USGI mags are larger, while the spot welds on the SAR80s are smaller but more in quantity.

Couldn't you just weld yours back together again? Put them in a vise and weld the top and then grind off the excess.



Not worth the effort to fix a crack on a cheap magazine, even if I did have the patience.
In addition, the pressure from a loaded spring (30rnds loaded) causes the aluminum feed lips to bend outward, changing the geometry over time. USGI mags show this type of deformity after a relatively short period, which I'm sure steel will resist much better.

Some of my USGI mags only show five spot welds, where these steel mags have eight.

ETA: I've just ordered 10 new USGI mags from Bravo Company USA as a hedge against future mag bans. This will put me over 40 NIW mags.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 4:41:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Originally Posted By metroplex:
I looked at my DH Mags and compared it to the SAR80s. The spot welding on the USGI mags are larger, while the spot welds on the SAR80s are smaller but more in quantity.

Couldn't you just weld yours back together again? Put them in a vise and weld the top and then grind off the excess.



Not worth the effort to fix a crack on a cheap magazine, even if I did have the patience.
In addition, the pressure from a loaded spring (30rnds loaded) causes the aluminum feed lips to bend outward, changing the geometry over time. USGI mags show this type of deformity after a relatively short period, which I'm sure steel will resist much better.

Some of my USGI mags only show five spot welds, where these steel mags have eight.



Yes, but those are 8 smaller spot welds FWIW.
Again my old 20rd USGI (straight) mags are at least 10-15 years old and aren't even close to cracking.
A 2 second spot weld with a MIG could probably save most of those old mags you have. Is it worth it? Probably not if you can get more USGI mags for a fair price. But I wouldn't go out and buy SAR80 mags, spend the money and time to get them refinished. I'd probably try to fix the old mags first.

Also the area you mentioned isn't exactly reinforced with the SAR80 mags. There are more spot welds but they're spread out through the length of the mag. We're interested in the spot right behind the feed lips. +10% springs would only increase the outward pressure IMHO. I like your idea though.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 5:25:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By metroplex:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Originally Posted By metroplex:
I looked at my DH Mags and compared it to the SAR80s. The spot welding on the USGI mags are larger, while the spot welds on the SAR80s are smaller but more in quantity.

Couldn't you just weld yours back together again? Put them in a vise and weld the top and then grind off the excess.



Not worth the effort to fix a crack on a cheap magazine, even if I did have the patience.
In addition, the pressure from a loaded spring (30rnds loaded) causes the aluminum feed lips to bend outward, changing the geometry over time. USGI mags show this type of deformity after a relatively short period, which I'm sure steel will resist much better.

Some of my USGI mags only show five spot welds, where these steel mags have eight.



Yes, but those are 8 smaller spot welds FWIW.
Again my old 20rd USGI (straight) mags are at least 10-15 years old and aren't even close to cracking.
A 2 second spot weld with a MIG could probably save most of those old mags you have. Is it worth it? Probably not if you can get more USGI mags for a fair price. But I wouldn't go out and buy SAR80 mags, spend the money and time to get them refinished. I'd probably try to fix the old mags first.

Also the area you mentioned isn't exactly reinforced with the SAR80 mags. There are more spot welds but they're spread out through the length of the mag. We're interested in the spot right behind the feed lips. +10% springs would only increase the outward pressure IMHO. I like your idea though.



The cracking does not occur on the back webbing. It's occurring on the back of the feed lips, to the right and left of where the bolt slides through to strip the cartridge. I will try and take a picture of several of these.

While spending $8 a mag doesn't make sense in bulk, I wanted one really good set of steel mags. I paid $9.17 (with shipping ) for each DH mag I bought from Bravo Company. I will try to run more and more rounds through these just to proof them.

All in all, though, I've been impressed with the KG GunKote moly treatment.
After my AR lower, my entire P226 and all of the magazines, this finish has been very nice. Now that it's being applied on top of parkerizing, I'm hoping for an additional level of toughness and rust protection. I didn't just want to slop Rustoleum over the steel.

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