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  #1  
Old 05-11-2012, 1:04 PM
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Default Polymer vs Steel AK-47 magazines

I'm trying to figure out if Polymer AK-47 magazines are worth the extra cost vs the old trusty steel magazines. I'd like to hear what some of the true AK guys that really shoot have to say about this and not someone that has had 500 rounds through their AK.

One another note if I'm not mistaken most AK-74 magazines are polymer I wonder why they made the switch does it mostly have to do with weight and not reliability?
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Old 05-11-2012, 1:50 PM
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I have both, and they run flawless. What i like about the steel magazines is the distinct click when the magazine is locked in, with the polymers (i have a tapco and Cproducts) they do not have the metal insert on the locking tab, so when you lock the magazine in, it makes no noise, when you are used to hearing the feedback, it makes to check twice to see its really seated. nothing really that big a deal.... my 2 cents.
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Old 05-11-2012, 2:00 PM
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The steel mags are hard to beat when it comes to price and reliability. If i do buy polymers I stick to Eastern Euro stuff like the Bulgarian waffle mags which are steel reinforced.
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Old 05-11-2012, 2:01 PM
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Ive got both..Never had a problem with either. I actually like the US Palm mags..pricey but good. Go for steel reinforcement
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Old 05-11-2012, 2:34 PM
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I agree with AKSOG, never found an American poly mag that was worth while, but former combloc ones are GTG. Only reason I have purchased poly mags is for looks. Bang for your buck steel cant be beat
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Old 05-11-2012, 2:44 PM
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I just bought some steel mags since for $20 vs about $32 for the Arsenal waffle mags. Since I'm making a few into 10/30's I figured most of the kits would work better with the original anyways. I was tempted to get some of the Tapco's for $12 but I'm just not sold on them and ProMag forget about it.
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Old 05-11-2012, 2:47 PM
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Never had a problem is about 5k rounds through tapcos. And you can get them for about 6 bucks online.
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Old 05-11-2012, 2:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhena81 View Post
I'm trying to figure out if Polymer AK-47 magazines are worth the extra cost vs the old trusty steel magazines. I'd like to hear what some of the true AK guys that really shoot have to say about this and not someone that has had 500 rounds through their AK.
I don't know what a "true" AK guy is - does that mean you own more than one and actually shoot them?

Quote:
One another note if I'm not mistaken most AK-74 magazines are polymer I wonder why they made the switch does it mostly have to do with weight and not reliability?
Steel magazines for the AKM platforms (AK47 is a common if incorrect term for the most common AK type) are my favorite for the simple reason they are inexpensive and if you ding them are usually easily repaired. I pulled a dent out of one of my Yugo magazines using the piston end of the bolt carrier with the empty magazine body resting on top of a table while I worked the metal. With a polymer magazine, they don't dent of course and are quite tough and about half the weight, but they do crack if you smack them around hard enough. The up side for polymer is they don't rust and they are self lubricated with no need for cleaning and then dry lubing (if you go that far, most do not).

For AK74 types and their variants, the majority of magazines are polymer as part of the modernization program, which also made them lighter. There are metal inserts in there where the steel is needed. There are steel AK74 mags, they just aren't all that common and fetch a good dollar amount at auction.

Since weight probably isn't a critical issue for the average shooter that wields their weapon on the weekends at the range on on BLM land, steel milsurp mags for AKMs and for cost and availability reasons, imported milsurp polymer mags for AK74.

However, this is Cali, so unless you are already in possession of mags that you are rebuilding, you are stuck. I wouldn't covert my legal magazines into 10 round configuration and the law doesn't say you have to if you owned them prior to 2000. The only realistic options in these scenarios are 10 round polymer magazines and there are a few choices, most of them decent performers.

R
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Last edited by Richard Erichsen; 05-11-2012 at 3:42 PM..
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Old 05-11-2012, 3:01 PM
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For ak's I just think the steel ones go well. Polymer ones are reliable as well.
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Old 05-11-2012, 3:19 PM
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Russia dropped the steel mags long ago for good reasons. Steel mags are great to chrome or gold plate or for historical collecting purposes. If quality (not aftermarket junk like Promags) factory AG-4 or polymer mags are available, they are the best to use. They weigh less, have less follower drag, will not get dented or rusty. If using the older AG-4 (sometimes mistakenly called bakelite) AK 7.62 mags, the better ones are the later type with steel reinforced inner feed lips. Even the older non steel reinforced ones will last a long time. All the 5.45 AG-4 AK mags use the steel reinforced feed lips.

Don't take my post as knocking steel AK mags. I've got hundreds of them including a bunch of Chinese ones new in the cool military packages. Every AK collection should have at least one steel mag from the different countries. Most steel mags have unique markings along the spine. That said, if I had to use my AKs to run around in a SHTF scenario, it would not be with any steel mags. The cheapest ammo I bought was $79 for a 1320 round case of 2 660 round tins of steel core copper washed FMJ on SKS stripper clips. Back in the day it was normal to blast thru a case in one shooting session. It's sad to think about how much that ammo would be worth today. Bump firing the $20 75 rd & $30 100rd (when they would feed OK) Chinese drums with cheap ammo was a lot of fun back then.
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Old 05-11-2012, 3:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Erichsen View Post
I don't know what a "true" AK guy is - does that mean you own more than one and actually shoot them?

Precisely

Steel magazines for the AKM platforms (AK47 is a common if incorrect term for the most AK types) are my favorite for the simple reason they are inexpensive and if you ding them are usually easily repaired. I pulled a dent out of one of my Yugo magazines using the piston end of the bolt carrier with the empty magazine body resting on top of a table while I worked the metal. With a polymer magazine, they don't dent of course and are quite tough and about half the weight, but they do crack if you smack them around hard enough. The up side for polymer is they don't rust and they are self lubricated with no need for cleaning and then dry lubing (if you go that far, most do not).

For AK74 types and their variants, the majority of magazines are polymer as part of the modernization program, which also made them lighter. There are metal inserts in there where the steel is needed. There are steel AK74 mags, they just aren't all that common and fetch a good dollar amount at auction.

Since weight probably isn't a critical issue for the average shooter that wields their weapon on the weekends at the range on on BLM land, steel milsurp mags for AKMs and for cost and availability reasons, imported milsurp polymer mags for AK74.

However, this is Cali, so unless you are already in possession of mags that you are rebuilding, you are stuck. I wouldn't covert my legal magazines into 10 round configuration and the law doesn't say you have to if you owned them prior to 2000. The only realistic options in these scenarios are 10 round polymer magazines and there are a few choices, most of them decent performers.

R
I'm not converting any of my legal mags to 10/30 I would never do that

However I wanted to give the tool that directly attaches to the magazine and activates the BB device to release the magazine a try. This requires a 30 round body though I'm not 100% who makes what I'm talking about I think its Parallax Tactical but their site is down.

Thanks for the reply
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  #12  
Old 05-11-2012, 3:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ClarenceBoddicker View Post
Russia dropped the steel mags long ago for good reasons. Steel mags are great to chrome or gold plate or for historical collecting purposes. If quality (not aftermarket junk like Promags) factory AG-4 or polymer mags are available, they are the best to use. They weigh less, have less follower drag, will not get dented or rusty. If using the older AG-4 (sometimes mistakenly called bakelite) AK 7.62 mags, the better ones are the later type with steel reinforced inner feed lips. Even the older non steel reinforced ones will last a long time. All the 5.45 AG-4 AK mags use the steel reinforced feed lips.

Don't take my post as knocking steel AK mags. I've got hundreds of them including a bunch of Chinese ones new in the cool military packages. Every AK collection should have at least one steel mag from the different countries. Most steel mags have unique markings along the spine. That said, if I had to use my AKs to run around in a SHTF scenario, it would not be with any steel mags. The cheapest ammo I bought was $79 for a 1320 round case of 2 660 round tins of steel core copper washed FMJ on SKS stripper clips. Back in the day it was normal to blast thru a case in one shooting session. It's sad to think about how much that ammo would be worth today. Bump firing the $20 75 rd & $30 100rd (when they would feed OK) Chinese drums with cheap ammo was a lot of fun back then.
Looks like I missed the boat on unissued imported magazines. I was at the Ontario Gun show and German 74 Circle 10's were 50 bucks a piece and I hear guys claiming they were getting them for 8 bucks a piece a couple of years ago. Learn something new everyday thanks for the info.
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  #13  
Old 05-11-2012, 3:35 PM
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I think you mean Bulgarian Circle 10' or E German Bakelites. I just picked up a couple mint izzy bakelite rebuild kits for the same price.
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Old 05-11-2012, 3:35 PM
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polymer/bakelite mags are reinforced at the lips, lugs and base of the mag. Buy Circle 10 or East German/Russian mags if you can.
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Old 05-11-2012, 3:48 PM
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As far as quality, Bulgarian circle 10s are hard to beat. The us palms were promising but the magazine catch lugs can give out(personally tested). But for the price steel can't be beat.
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Old 05-11-2012, 3:49 PM
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I built my AK74 to the point where the rails have extremely tight tolerances. The Tapco magazines fit nice and snug with absolutely no side play. Try one mag. If there is some side slop, there might be feeding issues. However, I have heard most AKs (if not all) have the same play and there usually aren't any problems.
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Old 05-11-2012, 4:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bedpan Bandit View Post

As far as quality, Bulgarian circle 10s are hard to beat.
+1

I have boxes of Norinco & Poly Tech AK47 mags, but I only shoot with my circle 10s.
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Old 05-11-2012, 5:08 PM
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Originally Posted by AKSOG View Post
I think you mean Bulgarian Circle 10' or E German Bakelites. I just picked up a couple mint izzy bakelite rebuild kits for the same price.
Your right they were E German 74 mags I'm still a Noob to AK stuff. I knew they were the mags I keep hearing about because of the color, price, and origin.
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Old 05-11-2012, 5:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Bedpan Bandit View Post
As far as quality, Bulgarian circle 10s are hard to beat. The us palms were promising but the magazine catch lugs can give out(personally tested). But for the price steel can't be beat.
Can you disassemble the us palms?
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Old 05-11-2012, 5:40 PM
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Your right they were E German 74 mags I'm still a Noob to AK stuff. I knew they were the mags I keep hearing about because of the color, price, and origin.
Yeah the Bakelites fetch top dollar these days since they are no longer made and people like the looks.

If you have a friend or family out of state that can send you rebuild kits.

http://whatacountry.com/ak-74magazineandpouchset.aspx
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Old 05-11-2012, 7:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Dhena81 View Post
Looks like I missed the boat on unissued imported magazines. I was at the Ontario Gun show and German 74 Circle 10's were 50 bucks a piece and I hear guys claiming they were getting them for 8 bucks a piece a couple of years ago. Learn something new everyday thanks for the info.
Don't feel too bad it's a matter of timing. Besides Chinese mags brought in during the 1980's, there was not too many AK mags to buy until the Wall & then the USSR fell. The best times to buy cool AK mags for cheap was just before & a few years after the 1994-2004 Clinton AWB. A lot of good stuff came in during the AWB, but the prices were high because no one knew if the ban would be made permanent in 2004. I've got a bunch of mags stored in NV that I can't bring into CA intact, as I got them post 2000. Guys like K-Var made life a little better during the dark Clinton days, by bringing in cool stuff.

The East German AK-74 AG-4 mags sold for as cheap as $3 each used if bought in bulk. New in the bag 4 mag pouch sets with accessories sold as cheap as $15 each. There was no 5.45 guns or ammo then, so the mags were just about worthless. I bought a lot, but should have got more.

The Bulgarian black poly waffle AKM circle 10 mags were never $8 that I ever saw. Most of the time they cost between $55-$40. IIRC they were as cheap as $20. Doesn't K-var still sell them now or are they different?

If you get into the surplus gun parts market, you will find that today's cheap & common junk can become tomorrows treasure. Parts dry up & turn valuable. Laws & regulations change. Who knew barrels would be banned by a Republican. Buy stuff you like & if you can afford it, get some extras. It's hard to say what gun stuff that is cheap now will be a good investment. Parts kits will some dry up world wide & many parts would be too expensive to make in the US.
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Old 05-11-2012, 8:25 PM
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I've had nothing but issues with the Poly mags, they don't always fit quite right and some times you need to seriously slam them in. The steal ones click and are far more forgiving.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:54 PM
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I've had nothing but issues with the Poly mags, they don't always fit quite right and some times you need to seriously slam them in. The steal ones click and are far more forgiving.
Factory OEM Poly ones like Russian, Finnish, Bulgarian, etc or the cheap aftermarket ones like Tapco & Promag?
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:22 PM
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Excellent info about AK magazines
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:44 PM
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I have had no issues with steel or polymer milsurp mags for the AKM or AK74 (except when I put in plastic US made followers, which weren't quite the right size).

I haven't had any issues with the Tapco mags feeding reliably in my rifles. They are harder to get to catch or release with the mag lock than the milsurps. The real problem I have with the Tapco mags is when loading them. The round under the one just loaded tends to slip forward and catch the tip of the bullet on the front edge of the mag, so I'm constantly having to push it back to continue loading. Good enough for target shooting at the range but I wouldn't use them for anything else. Fortunately they're cheap.
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Old 05-12-2012, 1:56 AM
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Where are Tapco Magazines 6 dollars?
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Old 05-12-2012, 2:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClarenceBoddicker View Post
Factory OEM Poly ones like Russian, Finnish, Bulgarian, etc or the cheap aftermarket ones like Tapco & Promag?
the million dollar question!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClarenceBoddicker View Post
Factory OEM Poly ones like Russian, Finnish, Bulgarian, etc or the cheap aftermarket ones like Tapco & Promag?
the million dollar question!

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Originally Posted by bighead View Post
Where are Tapco Magazines 6 dollars?
who cares, they suck! I have a couple, they are great if I want to induce failures on my AK (which otherwise has never had a hicup)
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Old 05-12-2012, 5:20 AM
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who cares, they suck! I have a couple, they are great if I want to induce failures on my AK (which otherwise has never had a hicup)
That sucks. I have quite a few, never had an issue through my saiga or Draco.

As for where they are 6 bucks...area51 tactical, circle10ak, ctd, and a shop local to me has them for 5.50.



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Old 05-12-2012, 9:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhena81 View Post
Can you disassemble the us palms?
The 10/30 US palms can't be opened. I've never seen a US palm rebuild kit. They are the coolest looking of all the AK mags. If they only used full steel lugs like the circle 10's.
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Old 05-12-2012, 1:32 PM
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There is some great info in that thread thank you sir
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:32 PM
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Thats a good thread. Basically, Us made mags aren't worth the time. The cheapest steel russian mag is good. If we were to make new steel AK mags in the USA of that quality they would probably be 30 bucks. The expensive bulgarian 47 polymer mags are awesome, but they cost 3x as much a steel mag, almost.
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