19 September 2018


When the '94 Assault Weapon Ban hit I was ill prepared.

I'd just ditched my Mini-14 and a huge pile of working USA Brand 30-rounders for a home-built L1A1.

The good news about an inch-pattern FAL is the magazines are useless in a metric gun, so most of the magazine sellers at the gun shows had a couple.

But then I decided I needed 5.56 back in my life.

The Daewoo DR200 seemed to fit the bill.  Affordable, good pedigree, uses M16 mags and the 1:12 rifling wasn't a problem since 55gr FMJ was plentiful.  The only down side was the thumbhole stock.

Did I say "only"?

Finding M16 magazines in 1996 was getting tough.  They were around, but the prices in Iowa were stupid.  Still, I managed to get a stash of about ten and I called it good.

When the AWB was gone and I discovered build-your-own AR-15's I also discovered that only three of my magazines still worked in an AR.  They worked just fine in the DR200, but not in an AR.

Happily, everyone and their brother had brand new USGI style AR magazines for sale, so no problem.

But I'm a tinkerer.

The problem magazines were all ancient black-follower USGI mags.  Several were literally ex-GI because I got them from a friend who was "disposing" them from his Guard unit.

They fed fine until the last three rounds where the follower stopped raising their little noses past the top of the magazine.

I'd been reading about Magpul's self-leveling follower and the Army's battle with tilt; so I ordered a 3-pack and new springs.

Suddenly I had three functioning magazines.  So I ordered more followers and springs.

I even started ordering new magazines with the Magpul followers already installed.

I strongly suspect it was the springs and not the followers, but better safe than sorry.


  1. Hi McThag,

    I'm an engineer who has designed springs for close to 5 decades now. Have you ever had to replace suspension springs on your car? It happens because springs slowly lose their force when they sit under load. Gun springs do the same. I replace recoil springs and magazine springs about every decade. If you use the gun a lot and the magazines sit loaded for extended periods, replace them about every 5 years. Your guns will love you for it.


    1. I'm pretty sure these magazines date from the mid-70's so they had a lot of use before The Iowa National Guard got rid of them.

      Also, before I learned about springs I was an advocate of periodically unloading magazines and letting them "rest" to prolong spring life. In truth, all I was doing was adding duty cycles and thus weakening them.

      Thag Lurn!

      I have had to replace car springs! Cars that sit don't really get lower and lower like cars that are getting miles put on them. The springs on cars that sit seem to get odd rate changes over new springs. Like they took a set in the rest spot and resent being made to do what they were made to do up to a point then act normal past that. Makes autocrossing unpredictably fun!


You are a guest here when you comment. Be polite. Inappropriate comments will be deleted without mention. Amnesty period is expired.

Do not go off on a tangent, stay with the topic of the post.

If you're trying to comment anonymously: Sign your work.

Anonymous comments must pass a higher bar than others.

If you can't comprehend this, don't comment; because I'm going to moderate and mock you for wasting your time.