this report may be submitted in segments due to a lighting storm in the area.
today i received a PROTOTYPE mag lula loader specifially designed for the ak-47 (NOT the ak-74) magazine.
the purpose of this device is to aid the shooter in the rapid and painless loading and unloading on box magazines.
LOOK MA! NO THUMBS!!!
i have used the m16/ar-15 version for some time, and am quite familiar with the benefits of the lula. fellsa that only onlly shoot a thousand rounds a year find it "handy". i find it "indespensible". (power outage!)
the new loader was first tried on various ak-47 magazines. it fit every country of origin and capacity in my collection...yugo 20, russian bakelite, bulgarian waffle, east german steel, etc. a function check of every third magazine showed perfect results.
the only comment i have is that the rear catch/release tab has a difficult time engaging a burred ak mag rear tab as the lula is pressed in place. it definitely points out a mag that needs deburred! i found myself lifting the lula's tab over the mag's tab to help seat the lula into postion.
once the mag tab was stoned down/chamfered, there was no need to lift the tab on the back of the lula device.
the physical appearance of the new ak-47 lula and it's method of attachment to the magazine differ from the m16/ar-125 type unit. still, in the excitement/confusion of a wild range session (or bulletfest!), user may accidentally mix the incorrect loader to a magazine.
well, no ak magazine will fit into the m16/ar-15 lula unit...and while you definitely can insert an m16/ar-15 magazine into the ak-47 lula unit, the magazine will not come close to locking in place and will fall out of the lula. no worries there!
ok...so far so good! now, on to the part of the review i was asked to investigate...how does the lula do on ak-74 magazines???
first...the measurements. take these as close enough for talking points, but not representative of every mag in the world.
front to rear, an ak-74 magazine is larger than it's ak-47 predecessor...approximatey .100" longer.
side to side, the ak-74 magazine iz more narrow than the ak-47 magazine. in this case .980" and 1.032", respectively...a difference of .052".
the ak-47 mag lula varies from .987" in width to 1.031". this is measured across the inside 6 locating ribs and reflects a common injection molding condition where the part has drawn in as the resin solidified (production parts may not have this as a different polymer formal may be used, different/refined die, altered cooling, setter tooling and a dozen other things i can think of that effect the part dimensionally).
ON TO THE NITTY GRITTY...DOES IT WORK ON AK-74 MAGAZINES???????
in a word...yes. in my opinion, it works just as well on the ak-74 magazines i tried (and again, i tried one of everything i own) as the ak-47 magazines it was designed for!
oddly enough, despite the fact that '74 mags are longer front to rear, the lula exhibed more front to rear play on them than on '47 magazines. i cannot explain this, but it does not affect function in the least.
the lula actually went on and came off my various '74 magazines easier than my '47 magazines...go figure. not only that, i just 'felt' it had a better fitup on the '74 magazines...it reminded me more of the seating i get with my m16/ar-15 lula.
shaking the lula while installed on a magazine, in a twisting fashion, seemed to yield about the same amount of play/slop. in other words, no matter how i forced the issue, the fitup was just about equal on both calibres.
i can only hope this translates into the finalised production model!
i pronounce the protype as fully functional on east german/russian bakelie, bulgarian polymer and romanian steel ak-74 magazines. i found absolutely NO usage issues with this lula unit and rate its' function as: just as good as the original m16/ar-15 version.
ak-74 guys...we are IN!
now, for the die design engineer's eye view of the product...
sharp edges...break corner more on bottom/outside edges (probably a die insert)
my one request for beefing up the design:
i would not take the rear catch tab slots so close to the top of the body, and i would thicken/add material to the top corner of the "hinge" area of the tab. my concern is that constant pressure of removing the lula from the magazine (lifting the lula's locking tab over the magazine's rear tab) will eventually weaken this area.
but then, again, i'm sure your injection molding house has run a stress analysis on the material/design and determined an acceptable service life for the hinge. i could be asking for a bigger footer be poured under the pyramids!
all said, a great product! my for one order stands!!!
i will be returning you the protoype marked sample tomorrow, and i can't wait to get my hands on a production unit.