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View Full Version : Mag Tactical upper receiver quick review


Junkie
08-19-2014, 6:42 PM
I've always liked lightweight rifles and am in the process of building a featherweight AR right now. I bought a couple Mag Tactical lower receivers shortly before New Years and have been happy with them, so I decided to buy a couple matching uppers.

I've liked them on Facebook for a while, and recently Josh has been posting good deals on various products. At one point he offered a deal on complete uppers, but I wanted to DIY so I messaged him about buying assembled (meaning with forward assist and dust cover) uppers and he gave me a reasonable discount on them. They were still significantly more expensive than a typical aluminum upper, but I was willing to give it a shot - partly because the colors match my lowers well (they're Cerakoted so color is a little different than anodized). These are standard uppers, not blem.

The uppers showed up on Friday. I've taken the following pictures without any use of them. There are two, one black and one FDE, it should usually be easy to tell which is which. None of the photos here are altered in any way, they are simply uploaded to imgur and I'm letting imgur resize them. Sorry the quality isn't better, all I have is a couple year old P&S.

http://i.imgur.com/B4ugJblh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/9bNRJYsh.jpg

First, I looked in them and found what looked to me like significant pitting on the inside, where the shell deflector is. I emailed Josh with the 2 photos above and this was his response ​​Our uppers and lowers are cast then machined so at times pitting does happen but It doesn't effect the durability of the product. You can send them back and they can dig through the pile to see if they can find one without it but I can't guarantee they will find one without any pitting at allI replied asking about any corrosion issues, as one of these will probably be on a 5.45 gun firing a lot of 7N6, and got the following reply ​There shouldn't be any issue as those pits got cerakoted as wellIt doesn't quite look to me like the pits have the same coating, but it's difficult to tell due to angle etc.

Luckily, none of my guns are safe queens. I clean 5.45 stuff right away after shooting, but I'm not too concerned if it gets a little beat up. As long as it's functional, and not showing issues that make me think it will fail (such as any flaking around the porosity), I'm not too concerned. Considering there appears to be spotty Cerakote coverage in the charging handle channel as well, I'm not so sure that I believe him but I think it's extremely unlikely that a failure would be quick and catastrophic. Their web site claims that before the Cerakote there's a nickel coating, which I suppose would include the barrel nut threads (which aren't Cerakoted), so that may be adequate.

Today I finally had time to look over them a little more, and I'm certainly none too happy with the finish on them. I don't see anything that really concerns me other than the pitting, but the quality of the Cerakote job is lacking. If these were blems I'd be ok with it, but they aren't. Still trying to decide if I should keep them or return them, I really like the idea of a featherweight AR and that's the only reason I'm thinking of keeping them. They claim 4.8lb for their rifle with their barrel (which I have on the way) and low mass BCG (which I need to look into) and that isn't feasible otherwise. I don't need it but I want it...

http://i.imgur.com/GlH9UbCh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/Tu3ehQ3h.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/rrIQczEh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/2wwVCMZh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/3yq805qh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/RiJmdBeh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/2ttALbwh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/PMHwaqLh.jpg

TruEdge
08-19-2014, 6:49 PM
Sorry to see such bad quality control. After I read your post I saw your sig and I remember your other thread about the spikes barrel. Sucks to hear they didn't replace it. You have some bad luck with your builds my friend. As far as the mag tactical stuff goes I would send it back for sure. Not sure how much you paid but if I paid good money for something that is not what I want to receive. I understand you want lightweight but that doesn't mean they can shaft you quality wise. Those coatings are most definitely lacking. Keep us posted.

Junkie
08-19-2014, 8:00 PM
Wow, that's very light. Details? What barrel is that? I'd kinda like an aluminum gas block to go on the barrel I have coming from them, which is .625 at the gas block. Don't know if that's a reasonable idea though.

Press Check
08-19-2014, 8:21 PM
Wow, that's very light. Details? What barrel is that? I'd kinda like an aluminum gas block to go on the barrel I have coming from them, which is .625 at the gas block. Don't know if that's a reasonable idea though.

I have a BCM ELW-F barrel, which is a mid-length 14.5, and an SLR Rifleworks adjustable gas block. As the rifle sits in the picture above, it is currently 3.55lbs and counting.

Not entirely sure who manufactures an aluminum gas block, or if that would even be a good idea (bad idea), but if you're not going with an adjustable gas system, I would recommend one of V7's titanium gas blocks. If you intend to use a light weight bolt carrier, I would recommend use of an adjustable gas block.

By itself, the completely assembled lower only weighs 1.5lbs.

http://i60.tinypic.com/t0knc4.jpg

Junkie
08-19-2014, 8:40 PM
Wow, 3.55lb and it functions properly? That's impressive. What does the barrel itself weigh, if you happen to know?

I might have to go Ti rather than Al, just know that Al is a little over half the density of Ti so if it works it's nice (and costs less).

What BCG are you running?

Press Check
08-19-2014, 9:08 PM
The barrel weighs 1.28lbs, and is Cerakoted. As far as functional, the rifle is no where near complete, so there have been no function tests.

I have a Boomfab bolt carrier, which is not included the 3.55lbs.

SlickmisterN
08-19-2014, 9:44 PM
Nice, but ltw bcg's dont usually come with forward assist serrations and thus no FA provision is necessary. Just adds extra oz.'s to an ideal featherweight concept... id send those back.

Press Check
08-19-2014, 9:58 PM
Nice, but ltw bcg's dont usually come with forward assist serrations and thus no FA provision is necessary. Just adds extra oz.'s to an ideal featherweight concept... id send those back.

Nope, most do not have the FA serrations, but I purchased a FA from V7, which only weighs 9 grams. If anything, it leaves the option to use a bolt carrier with FA serrations in the future. To be quite honest, in all these years, I have used the FA once on a brand new rifle.

Junkie
08-20-2014, 7:37 PM
A lot of people on reddit are giving me a lot of **** for this. Is being unhappy with the QC on these being a whiny *****, or is it reasonable? If these were cheap generic $50ish lowers I probably wouldn't say anything, but at close to 3 times that it's a little different.

AreWeFree
08-20-2014, 10:26 PM
That cerakote job is nasty... How much they cost would determine how badly I'd want them replaced. If you paid top dollar for the extra quality control then yes, talk with them and ask for a replacement, but it's going to cost you more time and money and from the posts above, it sounds like you'll get identical quality in return.

These past 2 - 3 years I have seen and received many poorly finished firearms, especially regarding ARs, so I've had to lower my expectations on fit/finish. :(

Car83
08-20-2014, 11:19 PM
The custom dust stuck to paint look. AWESOME!

ConcealedKalifornia
08-21-2014, 7:49 AM
A lot of people on reddit are giving me a lot of **** for this. Is being unhappy with the QC on these being a whiny *****, or is it reasonable? If these were cheap generic $50ish lowers I probably wouldn't say anything, but at close to 3 times that it's a little different.

I think its crap. Especially the dust under the cerakote thing. It looks worse than when I rattle canned my Toyota when I was 17 hahaha.

I mean seriously. It looks like the guy took two saw horses and a chunk of particle board and sprayed it in his driveway.

Id try and return it personally.

Press Check
08-21-2014, 10:11 AM
A lot of people on reddit are giving me a lot of **** for this. Is being unhappy with the QC on these being a whiny *****, or is it reasonable? If these were cheap generic $50ish lowers I probably wouldn't say anything, but at close to 3 times that it's a little different.

At $165.95, I believe your concerns have merit, but my opinion is one of many that will differ from others. Obviously, you have the tool-commandos who believe pistols and rifles are tools exclusively, and absolutely no interest should be taken in the appearance of said tool.

If I were a cop, maybe.

2zero9
08-21-2014, 10:49 AM
Is it me or are there fingerprints on the uppers? You can even ID the culprit!!! Lol

Junkie
08-21-2014, 11:06 AM
Do you mean in the charging handle channel? Those are machining marks. Not the best machining, but I wasn't gonna complain.

Junkie
08-23-2014, 6:55 PM
To add a few more details:

For their lowers I've always had some trouble getting the pins in/out with the uppers I've used. With their uppers it's a little tight but can be done by hand. The fit between the "matching" (meaning both mag) lowers and uppers is quite good. It seems a little tight in front, the gap in the back is as far as it'll go down without force, but it's easy to get everything lined up. I'd rather have everything a little tight than a little loose.

How they sit unpinned:

http://i.imgur.com/NspSfhQh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/6wijdRWh.jpg

How they sit pinned:

http://i.imgur.com/sqMo1w5h.jpg

Press Check
08-23-2014, 7:04 PM
That anomaly was the basis of my original request for a new upper. The second one was identical, and had a finish that was worse than the first. My initial thought was some sort of binding going on with the front lug, but of course, Josh said they are ALL like that.

Junkie
08-23-2014, 7:31 PM
It doesn't take a lot of force, I imagine it may even be due to the paint.

I just tried one of them on an Anderson lower and it doesn't do the same thing, and goes together easily. However, I like that it's a fairly tight fit - it means there's no reason to use an Accu-Wedge or similar that I can think of. In contrast, the fit of their lowers to a standard upper (the two lowers and two uppers I've tried) is tight enough to make it difficult to field strip without tools.

Junkie
09-13-2014, 6:39 PM
I finally got around to assembling the upper this morning and I must say the paint quality is HORRIBLE. It came off (at the front, where there's dust under it) from putting it in the vise block to tighten the barrel nut. It also came off from putting a scope on it etc.

I haven't tested it yet, but I guess I should've expected the paint to have other problems based on the dust under it. In comparison, the paint on the lowers is pretty good - not as durable as anodizing, but an order of magnitude better than the uppers.

AFuddyduddy
12-11-2014, 2:28 PM
Well, I just got my upper in today too. Ready for a nightmare?


http://i.imgur.com/W35aOmk.jpg


http://i.imgur.com/rVBbUxR.jpg


http://i.imgur.com/zEUt3KQ.jpg


This is just unacceptable for a $150 stripped upper. and now I understand that they are saying, "They are all like that"

Well, if they are all like that, you have no business being in the AR parts.... business.

I was very happy when they said they were in stock again, and I was finall yready to buy. And then I get this complete piece of crap. As deep as that pitting is, I question the integrity of the upper itself. And as it's the upper taking the most beating, that concern is completely valid.

I've contacted them via email, facebook, and called them. I've gotten no response except, "We're understaffed".

I'll be talking to my bank about a charge back if they don't contact me by monday.

Press Check
12-11-2014, 2:34 PM
Without doubt, that is the absolute worst I have seen. Ouch!

REDdawn6
12-11-2014, 2:38 PM
Looks like **** dude!

dune870demon
12-11-2014, 2:44 PM
Who are these uppers by? Mag tact? So i know to avoid them.

Chewbaca
12-11-2014, 4:47 PM
Dam if you cry that much about stuff like that deff never shoot them or your brass deflectors are going to gain some really bad dings where your 7n6 ammo corrosion will eat right thru leaving you with a Swiss cheese ar15

Press Check
12-11-2014, 5:12 PM
Dam if you cry that much...

C'mon now, Chew. If you cared nothing about a nicely finished AR, you wouldn't have a Burnt Bronze AR in your Avatar.

RECCE556
12-11-2014, 5:25 PM
Man, those all look terrible. I understand the "just shoot the dang thing" mentality but when you're paying top dollar for stuff, the products should look like the company actually cares. I would definitely want my money back. I've seen better quality stuff from items sold as "blems".

That upper posted by Fuddyduddy looks particularly bad. I have a WWII P38 that sat in a puddle in blood with less pitting than that!

C'mon now, Chew. If you cared nothing about a nicely finished AR, you wouldn't have a Burnt Bronze AR in your Avatar.Lolz...