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Posted: 1/19/2006 10:01:35 PM EDT
(Note: I've posted almost the same thing over on calguns.net, too)

MGI Interchangeable Mag Well Lower

In an initial response to my inquiry about getting a stripped version of one of these in CA, MGI said "not yet, but we're looking into it". Well, I got an email from Mack at MGI today saying that they've decided that it's OK for them to ship a stripped lower to CA, and that it'll cost $469 with one AR mag well. An AK mag well will cost an additional $150 if I remember correctly, but that part should not need to go through an FFL. He said that this lower in stripped configuration will include the trigger/hammer and so forth, but does not include the stock or pistol grip (thus, a magazine can be pinned in place before the grip or stock is installed). The stock was also removed because their standard stock is collapsable.

I talked with Mack for a while on the phone, and it sounds like I should be able to easily set one of these up in a fixed-magazine configuration just like a conventional AR lower; the magazine catch helps to retain the mag well on the trigger pack, so it remains to be seen whether the exact same kits/techniques will work without modification. I won't know for sure until I have one in my hands... but I have one on the way to my FFL, and I expect to DROS it and start the 10-day wait on Saturday. Mack said that if it gets declared Evil before I start the DROS, it can be sent back for a refund of the purchase price less shipping costs.

My plan for this lower (as well as my others) is to pin a Bushmaster 10-round magazine by shortening the threaded portion of a regular mag catch, drilling out the threads from the original mag catch button to use it as a spacer, and then securing the mag catch in the locked position with an allen nut that's roughly flush with the surface of the receiver, much like a modification of the Sporting Conversions fixed-mag kit that I saw in another thread over on calguns.net:

Sporting Converstions "upgrade" ?


It may grow one of their quick-change barrel uppers in the future, after my bank account has recovered.

Now that I have my lower lined up, I'm posting this to help the rest of y'all get these into your hands before it's too late.

Mack at MGI gave me the green light to post about this on the boards. For the record, I have no affiliation with MGI other than my status as a new customer, and I've never seen one of their products with my naked eyes or held one in my hands. My own gut feeling is that these lowers are unusual enough and late enough on the scene that there's a good chance that they could get overlooked in the threatened AR roster update, but I think that even in a pinned-magazine configuration this still looks like an interesting AR variant to drain my wallet with.

So, if you want to try to get one of these lowers, find a cooperative FFL first (I'm using the same one that processed my group buy lowers), have them FAX their FFL information to MGI, and then call up MGI to order. Here's their contact information:

Mack Gwinn
MGI
102 Cottage St.
Bangor, ME 04401
(207) 945-5441
(207) 945-4010 (fax)
MGI@adelphia.net
www.MGImilitary.com

BTW, it was interesting to learn that these lowers weren't made from scratch from brand new forgings/billets; they actually cut regular lowers in half, build up the dovetail area with weld, and then machine in their new features. As labor-intensive as that sounds, I guess it's still cheaper than making new forge tooling for something that's a niche market item (at least for now). Mack acknowledged that issues may come up in the initial units, so they definitely want feedback from their customers if any problems occur.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 10:05:26 PM EDT
Damn it.

They look really interesting, I like gadgety stuff. But the lower buys this month have wiped my gun funds out......for now.

Maybe next month.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 10:07:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By operatorerror:
They look really interesting, I like gadgety stuff. But the lower buys this month have wiped my gun funds out......for now.

Maybe next month.



Isn't that what credit cards are for?
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 6:24:08 PM EDT
or selling your firstborn?????



jk
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 6:47:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/20/2006 6:48:01 PM EDT by snobordr]

Originally Posted By ldivinag:
or selling your firstborn?????



jk



I am selling two of my "firstborn".

Two 6.8 Stag lowers, but for the MGI its worth it. The MGI should be here Monday

Link Posted: 1/21/2006 10:30:08 PM EDT
PICTURES!


I took several pictures of my new MGI Interchangeable Magwell Lower when I went in to DROS it today. Click the small thumbnails to see the full-sized pictures. I'm sorry that the markings didn't show up better, but I'm not a great photographer, and I snapped these right on the FFL's front counter while we were doing the paperwork.



I've blurred out the last three digits of the serial number (in the 7xxx range), but the photos are otherwise un-doctored.

The magwell and trigger pack fit together snugly, with just a little bit of wiggle. I think the two halves will be nice and solid with an upper attached, as TWL has stated. The magwell slides down onto the trigger pack, and is retained by the back edge of the magazine catch. The magazine catch needs to be depressed pretty deeply into the receiver body (i.e., with a tool; see how far the mag catch is depressed in the picture where the magwell is not fully seated) to free up the magwell. I won't know for sure until I pick up my lower in 10 days and try it out, but it looks like it should be possible to pin a 10-round magazine into place with the same method as is used on conventional lowers, and the magwell will also be fixed in place onto the trigger pack by the pinned magazine catch. I expect that this lower will work just as well as any conventional lower in a pinned-magazine configuration, i.e. it won't fall apart when the upper is hinged open for reloading, and neither the magwell nor magazine will be removable without a tool once the mag catch is modified in the conventional manner.

I am guessing that MGI took one of their completed lowers off the shelf and removed the grip and telestock to form this stripped lower. All of the lower parts other than the grip, stock, and the detent pins which are retained by the grip and stock are present, and there's grease on the buffer tube threads which suggests that a buffer tube was properly installed with moly grease or a similar anti-seize compound. I hope that MGI knocked some bucks off the price for the missing telestock!

The markings are really interesting. As previously mentioned, this first run of lowers includes Stag markings in addition to the MGI markings. The magwell has the regular Stag logo on the left side, but the serial number is not present there. The trigger pack is marked on the left side as a Stag Arms model STAG-15 lower, with the serial number below the safety selector. All of the MGI markings are on the right sides of both pieces, but the right side doesn't include any serial number or model number; it's just marked as being "manufactured for MGI". Since the lower is clearly marked as a model STAG-15 by Stag Arms, that's the way my FFL logged it in (actually, he might have recorded the manufacturer as "Stag/MGI" or something similar). I think that for legal purposes, this lower will be treated as a STAG-15 and should be considered an AW if the DOJ adds the STAG-15 to the roster. I think that I recall statements indicating that later production will have different markings (i.e., just MGI markings without the Stag stuff). It'll be interesting to see how MGI marks their next run of lowers. I can imagine a scenario where the first batch of lowers could be declared to be AWs in the anticipated roster update, while the next batch might not be restricted initially due to different manufacturer and/or model markings.

Overall, I'm pleased with the fit and finish of this receiver (with the caveat that I obviously haven't assembled an upper on it yet or fired it, since I just started my 10-day wait). There are some gouges in the metal on the left side behind the trigger which are visible in the picture; they appear to be under the anodization, so they must have been made before the final finishing of the modified lower. Since this is presumably a very-early-production unit in a brand new family of rifles, I'm certainly not complaining or considering sending it back!

I'm looking forward to building this bad boy up, whether it remains a pinned-mag lower or gets to turn into something else later. I plan to put an MGI QCB upper on it after 1) they're available again and 2) my credit card has recovered from this whole AR thing. I'm really afraid to look at that next statement! I just bought an AR magwell with this order, but I expect to order additional magwells later. This'll be my Frankenstein rifle for playing around with different calibers and configurations, while one of my conventional lowers can be a nice, conservative, run-of-the-mill SHTF rifle.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what other interesting things develop from this concept!
Link Posted: 1/21/2006 11:03:23 PM EDT
nice pics...did you DROS at BSP today?
Link Posted: 1/21/2006 11:06:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GTKrockeTT:
nice pics...did you DROS at BSP today?



Thanks! Yup, I was there.
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 4:42:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/22/2006 4:46:12 AM EDT by twl]
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 5:55:31 AM EDT
MGI is great!

When I called to place the order, I spoke to Tom directly, when I called back with a question on shipping, I spoke with the founder of MGI!

I look forward to many more innovative products in the future. Bank accounts be aware....
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 11:17:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/31/2006 11:18:19 PM EDT by 383green]
I picked up my MGI lower today!

I've now verified that it uses normal magazine catch parts and a "Sporting Conversions style" pinned-mag modification works just fine, retaining both the magazine and the magwell on the receiver. I rolled my own pinned-mag kit, and probably ended up spending more than if I had just bought an off-the shelf kit. I'm just that way.

Here's how I pinned new Bushmaster 10-round magazines into my MGI lower, as well as my LCW lowers from one of the group buys:

1. I drilled the threads out of a regular magazine catch button with a #12 drill bit so that it will slip over the unthreaded portion of a magazine catch. I used Birchwood Casey Aluminum Black to blacken the exposed aluminum, even though it won't show after installation. The magazine button will be used as a spacer.

2. I cut off part of the threaded portion of a regular magazine catch with a Dremel, dressed the end with a file and a #10-32 die, and then used cold bluing stuff to re-blacken the end. I suppose I should have measured the new length to help y'all out, but I just marked the first one at the desired length and then cut by eye.

3. I took a #10-32 Allen nut, machined off the knurled portion so it would fit in the magazine button hole on the lower, and then re-blackened it with cold bluing.

4. The drilled out magazine catch button drops down into the bottom of the magazine button hole in the receiver (without the spring), and makes the Allen nut end up roughly flush with the receiver surface after installation. I secured it with purple Loktite (the green kind should work, too).

Here's a picture (click on it for a full-sized version). The bottom row includes an unmodified magazine catch, magazine catch button and Allen nut. The middle row includes the unassembled modified parts, and the top row shows how the modified parts go together.



This picture of the end of the MGI magwell shows how the modified magazine catch stacks up inside the receiver. It needs to be loosened to install the magwell on the receiver, because the exposed end of the magazine catch locks the magwell onto the receiver dovetail.



Here's the finished MGI lower along with a pair of LCW lowers modified exactly the same way.



Here are a couple more pictures of the "dovetail" area. Note the two roll pins on the top which keep the magwell from sliding down off the receiver before the mag catch and trigger guard lock it into place.



My FFL showed me another pair of MGI lowers which just arrived today for another buyer, presumably from that new production run that TWL mentioned. I noted that they were also marked as Stag Arms model STAG-15. Thus, I expect that they will be included on the anticipated roster update even if the DOJ doesn't explicitly name MGI, because they're marked just like some of the most common off-list lowers.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:35:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 6:38:20 AM EDT by twl]
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 3:31:22 PM EDT
As usual, I'm late to the game.....

I had my FFL place a call to MGI today (they were closed?) to order a lower for me.

I sure hope I can beat the DOJ to the deadline!

Anyway to push CA purchasers to the head of the line?

Please?
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 3:52:41 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 10:05:06 PM EDT
Does MGI offer retrofitting my existing stripped lower? If so, what would the cost of that be?
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 4:14:55 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 7:48:07 AM EDT
Can't wait! Any plans of making a magwell for duty sidearms, such as the Beretta 92FS?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 8:30:11 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 9:39:54 AM EDT
Well, darnit, it looks like I'll be spending some $...

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 6:26:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By twl:

Originally Posted By JWC6:
Can't wait! Any plans of making a magwell for duty sidearms, such as the Beretta 92FS?



Yes, magwells for duty sidearm mags are planned.
They will come a bit later on, as we have some of the more basic magwells yet to produce for the 308 kit, and SMG mags in 9mm and 45ACP.

No decisions made on the duty pistol magwells yet, but it is likely that Glock and Beretta will be in the mix.



Any idea of which SMG mags you will most likely choose?

Thompson, Uzi, Grease gun for .45ACP?

Uzi, Colt, STEN for 9mm?

Others?

I know that your .308 prototype was set up for a M14 mag. Is that still the plan?

Man I am looking forward to this system.
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 3:59:15 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 3:04:06 PM EDT
What upper does this take? Can I slap on my Colt as easily as my M1S?
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 6:54:58 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 9:33:15 PM EDT
Can you direct me to an FFL in the San Diego area that will accept your lower for me if I were to purchase one?

I'm interested in a .308 configuration with getting a second upper in 7mm-08 for it also. Can this be done? About what would the cost for a .308 lower and a couple AR type mags run?

I get the feeling that AR's are such a sensitive issue in California that most FFL's don't want to even come close to touching them and getting their license in trouble.
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 12:31:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/1/2006 12:36:24 PM EDT by twl]
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 1:41:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/1/2006 1:43:34 PM EDT by operatorerror]
Is the previous model QCB upper relieved for the AK mags? How about the M14?

It sure would be inconvenient to have one of your old uppers that wouldn't work with this system.

ETA or will you offer a retrofit or modification to facilitate this?
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 2:17:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/1/2006 2:20:30 PM EDT by twl]
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 2:19:14 PM EDT
Personally, I'm holding out for the new-style upper with whatever mods are necessary for the .308 stuff, even if it means I need to wait for a few more months for the details to be ironed out. I'd love to be an early-adopter/beta-tester of the .308 kit when it's ready, so long as I will be able to legally do so at the time (i.e., either it can be set up in a CA-legal pinned-magazine mode like conventional .223 rigs, or my lower is registered and the dust has settled over the feature OKness on newly-listed AWs thing).
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 2:31:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By twl:
Originally Posted By operatorerror:
Is the previous model QCB upper relieved for the AK mags? How about the M14?
Since about last October, we began internally relief-cutting the QCB receivers in anticipation of the release of our Modular Lowers. Previous models are uncut, and will not be compatible with the AK or M14 mags.



Okay, so there are older model uppers out there with the proper relief cuts? Or is it only on the new style uppers revealed at SHOT show

I mean, it is about $500.00+ for the old and $800.00+ for the new.

It makes a difference to some of us.

I ordered an old style from Brownell's. They put it on backorder for me. Then y'all released the new uppers. Am I gonna' get an old style upper with the relief cuts or am I gonna' be forced into a new style upper?
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 2:45:12 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 7:09:18 PM EDT
Wow! That is very nice of you! I appreciate it.
Link Posted: 3/3/2006 3:02:21 PM EDT
How much are the additional magwells?
Link Posted: 3/3/2006 3:05:31 PM EDT
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