Friday, February 17, 2017

M-14 magazines. Your stash of weapons, ammo and accouterments can never be too large.

Watching the evening news, thinking "I need to order a couple more cases of ammo."

Would you buy a used car from this man?

Before the reign of William the Leecher circa 1993- 2001, you could buy Chinese produced weapons. Clinton banned the importation of Chinese produced arms and ammunition in 1993, ostensibly because the SKS was being used by Hispanic gangs to wreck havoc in California. In reality, it was just another Democratic subterfuge to keep arms out of the hands of citizens.  Clinton's ban should have gone away (it was part of a 10 year larger gun ban) in 2004. But Bush the Bumbler banned Chinese arms and ammunition by executive order as soon as the Clinton ban expired. Again, the reason given was bogus. The press was told this was because China had sold Silk Worm missiles to the Iranians. The Iranians had possessed the Silk Worm for some time, which rather detracted from the credibility of the rationale put forward, but it kept Bush the Bumbler out of the NRA limelight.

The late 1980's and early part of the 1990's was the hayday of Chinese imports. The Chinese products were good, despite a lot of rumors floating around the gun community at the time, largely promulgated by people who mixed up the "Great Leap Forward" with Chinese industry of the day. I had people tell me, with straight faces, that the Chinese were producing SKS rifles in mud furnaces in their back yards. In reality, Poly Tech and Norinco, both owned by the Chinese Army, were turning out high quality firearms in modern factories, as well as excellent ammunition. These same factories supplied the Chinese Army, and since the punishment for fobbing off bad gear on the People's Army was and is a bullet in the back of the head, the quality of the goods was excellent.

I went through several cases of Norinco 7.62X39, 1200 rounds per case, myself and never had the first problem.

I bought a Chinese M-14 . This was the rifle I used to shoot in NRA high power matches. I enjoyed the tournaments. At the time, if you wanted to get a rifle or ammo from  the CMP ( Civilian Marksmanship Program) you had to go through all sorts of hoops and wickets, and shooting in at least one high power match was one of those.  (Now veterans don't have to do all that, it's a lot simpler.)

I would estimate I put about 2000 rounds of 7.62X 51 through this rifle in the late 1980's and through the 1990's.  People would see me with it at the range and say "Oh My God! Don't you know that rifle has a soft metal bolt.!" Maybe so, but it functioned without a hitch.  The proof of the pudding is in the eating. I noticed that the doom and gloom sayers never owned one of these themselves, but they all knew somebody who knew somebody who heard that somebody else had been told........

The only problem I ever had with my Chinese M-14 was that I took it apart so often to clean it, the trigger guard started coming unlocked if the rifle got very, very hot. I fixed that by bending the tang on the trigger guard a fraction with a pair of pliers, and that was that.

The reason this came to mind, is that magazines for the M-14 rifle are not that easy to find. As always, they come in two variations, actual U.S. military surplus, and "after market."  "After market" just means they were not U.S. government property and may or may not have been made to stringent government specifications. The general consensus, which I subscribe to, is that real government surplus is the most desirable. There are exceptions. The initial run of magazines for the Beretta M9 have a bad reputation. But I bought some of these and they worked fine for me. Maybe because there's no sand blowing here.

"After market" magazines run the gamut from as good as the original, (Meg-Gar) comes to mind, to really "execrable, get yourself killed using them, bad." For instance, just before the Clinton / Feinstein Gun Ban of '94, there was a huge rush on full capacity mags. I bought a bunch of magazine for different guns from USA Mags (now defunct, I think.)  Some of them worked fine, but those for the Browning High Power were not so hot. They would function well in one High Power, but not at all in another. I wound up marking the individual magazine to an individual pistol with an electro-pencil. Not ideal.

 Back to the M-14. Today, an unissued government surplus M-14 magazine runs about $30.00.

But Lo!  Sportsman's Guide is offering an aftermarket mag for $9.00 right now.

Remember the old saw, "if it sounds too  good to be true, it probably is?"

I ordered several of these magazines, and I've now tested them with my Chinese M-14. I used Russian 7.62X51 steel cased, copper washed, berdan primed ammo that I bought a case of 20 years ago. The magazines (3) all fit in the magazine well of the rifle no problem. They all locked and unlocked no problem. They all cycled the ammo no problem and the weapon fired as expected.
note: I did not try the magazines out in my Springfield M1 (which is the civilian version of the M14, not the M1 Garand.)  I didn't see the point in cleaning two rifles, but I thought I'd caveat this post with that fact.

I ordered 8 more this morning. I have found, over the years, that when a good deal comes up on ammo, guns, or accessories, you need to buy a hell of a lot of whatever it is. Because it will all be out of stock before long, and you'll probably never see it again.

Back a few years ago, when the television show "Doom's Day Preppers" was all the rage, I saw a similar program on National Geographic. It was about Preppers in England.  You will remember that "Doomsday Preppers" was a reality show, and  they looked for the weirdest, most bizarre people they could find. They also rigged the show.  If you remember the episode about the young woman who would go out at night in a city and practice her bug out route, the producer of that episode offered her $10,000 to kill and eat her cat on screen.  She declined, but that was the kind of show it was.

Sometimes, though, there were some straight shooters on the program, so I watched it.

I saw a two episode spin off from England during the same period. The situation for the folks over there was grim.

First, they were a lot further along the Islamization process even then than we  are now.  The first rule of the survivalist is that it doesn't matter what you have, if someone else takes it away from you. The situation in the United Kingdom on personal ownership of firearms is dire, so bad that the Dims (or Democrats and  their ilk) hold up the UK as the very model of where  they want to take us. So, if the fewmets hit the windmill on a global scale, the British are going to have a large, violent, and organized horde out taking whatever they want in the name of Allah. Not a very happy situation.

The two guys I remember best  were out in the countryside practicing with crossbows. They were really pretty good, but I remember thinking how strange it was that they were reduced to using medieval weapons to defend their families. They had swords, and were learning to use those. I think, though I'm not certain, that swords are banned in the UK now as well, but I wouldn't swear to it.

There was a really good post apocalyptic science fiction series called "Survivors" that came from the UK. In one episode, the bad guys are fighting the good guys. The best weapon the good guys have is an over and under 20 gauge skeet gun. The bad guys have some kind of single shot thing I don't recall the details on. I remember thinking , "good luck with that" when the horde is pouring over the barricade shouting "Allah Akbar!"  But you do what you can, with what you have. To be honest, I haven't seen a lot of concern about self defense in the European blogs I read, but maybe they can't talk about it.

Thought for the Day:


  1. My experience with USA mags in the HiPower was exactly the same as yours. There is just no benefit to saving ten bucks on a magazine when you can't trust it. I either go with original factory mags for my guns, military contract mags, or *heavily* vetted aftermarket ones.

    I remember getting an SKS and a case of ammo for $150 from SOG back in the early 90's. And that was the steel-core ammo that you cant get anymore. The only reason I even got an AK and SKS was because the ammo was so cheap.

  2. In the aftermath of the '94 ban, you kind of had to take what you could get. It wasn't supposed to pass the Senate. The night before the vote, I watched the news and they said the Dems did not have enough votes to pass it, then the next morning it transpired that enough Republican Senators turned their coats to make it law. Then there was a wild scramble to lay hands on full capacity mags and some of the most atrocious crap ever made was sold at exorbitant prices. It was not a good ten years for gun owners or for conservative Americans in general. I still shudder when I hear the name "Janet" because of Janet Reno.

    Yeah, ammo and firearms were SO much less expensive in the late 80's and early 90's. If I were to start trying to build my collection today, I could not have afforded even a fraction of what I got back then. Cases of surplus ammo were under $100, in the spam cans, in the wooden case, including shipping if you could buy from outfits like Zanders wholesale.

    Much that was good has been lost. The good old days really were the good old days.

  3. Another great post, Harry!

    I always wanted an M14, but never got one.

    I now own a "Special Grade" M1 Garand I bought form CMP, along with a "metric shit ton" of ammo and clips for it. Some of the 30-06 I bought from the CMP (most excellent quality Hornady match-grade stuff), and the rest I've bought as "surplus" from the various on-line places. Some came preloaded into the clips, and a lot of it is bulk. All of it was emoved from the clips, wiped down and inspected, and reloaded into the clips.

    All the bulk ammo I bought was wiped down, inspected, and loaded into clips.

    Since I still have a couple of hundred empty clips, I guess I'll have to get some more bulk 30-06!

    If the SHTF, I'd rely on the Garand as my my "reach out and touch someone" rifle. Otherwise I'd use my Marlin 336 in 30-30, or my AR type rifle.

    And my wife is well versed in using my Marlin 1894C in 357, which is just about my favorite rifle out of the ones I own.

    And the Remington 870 loaded with 00 buck is always by the bedside!

    1. Dr. Jim, when I went through OCS, the M-14 was still the issue rifle there although the M16 had been in the Fleet Marine Force for a long time. I got to know the rifle intimately at OCS of course.

      I bought the Chinese M-14 as a shooter, and it certainly turned out to be that. Bought the Springfield later, as a fluke. I used to work part time on weekends at the gun counter in our general store. Every year, the full time guy would go to Shot Show. I'd always tell him if he saw something really nice and bought one, to get one for me too. That's how I got the Springfield.

      I have some CMP 30-06, packed in boxes, in spam cans, in a wooden case. Most of my M-1 Garand ammo is South Korean surplus, and came in the clips. I have two M-1 Garands, the CMP gun I got, and a South Korean re-import that was in a lot of about 21 guns I bid on to get three in particular, and my bid won.

      Nothing at all wrong with the M-1 Garand if you have enough clips,and it sounds like you do.

      I've got a Remington 870, a long barreled version. Nice gun. The Marlin 1894 should be good indeed in .357. I don't have one of those. I do have three Winchesters, two are the standard 30.30 and one is chambered for .45 Long Colt.

  4. What I don't get is why we can't have the Norinco labeled products but we do have the Norinco made US labeled shotguns like the Pardner Pump by H&R that is made by Norinco.
    Meanwhile the Canadians can have 200$ reproductions of Colt Woodsmans, and 500$ reproductions of the M1 Garand that work just as well as the originals.

    1. I can't understand the convoluted laws about this. For instance, one of my M1 Garands is a South Korean re import. I got it in a lot of guns I bid on and my bid won. I wasn't after the M1 but you had to take the whole lot.

      Now, how did that get re imported into the U.S., when there are thousands upon thousands of M1 Garands waiting in Korea for the permits to import them. Originally the Bush administration had issued the permits but Obama cancelled them. I am guessing my gun came in back in the 80's or 90's when import licenses for firearms from overseas were not hard to obtain, but I don't know that.

      The Canadians have always had some good gun deals. I remember when they were able to get the Walther P-1 for half of what Americans had to pay.

      I wish they'd lift the ban on Chinese guns. Norinco makes a great Browning High Power and a sweet Sig P226. Sure, they are unlicensed knock off's, but as good as the original according to everything I read.

  5. Chinese M-14's? How did I miss this in the 90's? My local gun shop had SKS by the crate, all out on the floor. But I never saw any M-14's. Oh well.

    Too bad about those Brits. Too stingy with the ammo is never a good thing. --Troy

    1. Troy, I don't know how you missed them, the Poly and Norinco M-14 rifles were big news. In fact, there were so many of them in the country that Rock Island had a package you could upgrade with. For a few hundred, they would hand lag a U.S. bolt to fit your Chinese M-14. There was a story going around , and maybe there was some validity to it, I don't know, that the bolts would fail because the metal was too soft. Don't know enough to say it "never" happened, but my gun hasn't had any problems, and I have put at least 2000 rounds through it. I'm sure that's on the low side.

      I feel for people like Duncan, Kev, and Tricky Wolf. They are good folks, and they ought to be able to protect their families. Tricky Wolf moved to Spain with his family, so maybe they are better off now in that respect. But the idea of having to defend myself against intruders with a sword, or a cross bow,is not comforting. Especially in a country already overrun with Moslems. That's not going to end well in a crisis of any kind.

  6. That little Marlin 1894 is a tack driver! I was stunned at how easy I could "ring the steel" on the 100 yard steel range just using the iron sights on it.

    And 357 Magnum coming out of a 20" barrel picks up quite a bit of muzzle velocity compared to a 5" or 6" pistol barrel!

    I sure wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of it.....

    1. I don't think I have any of the old lever guns in that chambering. Strange, because it would be a great gun for a small man, young teen, or woman. I know I got all three of my Winchester Model 1895 rifles while I was working at the general store, at the gun counter. People would come in with the 30.30 versions to trade, and I'd buy the trade in because they were so cheap. And the 1895 Winchester in .45 Long Colt came in new one day. I bought it on the spot because I have about six of the Colt SSA clones (mostly Vaqueros) that chamber that round.

      I have one Marlin rifle, it's a lever gun. My Aunt gave it to me, and I can't remember the nomenclature right now. I don't believe I've ever fired it, but they have an excellent reputation and Marlin has been around a long time.

  7. back in those days , norinco m1911s were sought after to be the base for match guns. other guns were too brittle to survive the tightening process. i always heard it was the receiver of those chinese m14s that was soft and stretched too far. i take care of 1500 m14s, yet i don't own one myself. i prefer the fn fal. i never will forget turning down a case of 20 sks rifles for 49 bucks each. just like the tokarev and makarov, formerly 69 bucks now 300. got a closet full of ar15s i can't give away now. no body knows which way the winds of gun-dom will blow.

    1. I have two of the Norinco M1911's. I got a call at work one day, from a little gun shop in a town near where I worked. He had gotten in some MAK-90's. I went down there to buy two of them, and while I was there he showed me that he had two Norinco M1911's so I bought them too. They are really nice guns.

      I got a Tokorev SVT-40 by trading my Fedex driver a complete set of Lee's Lieutenants for it, I think that was in about 1989. Then I bought another one from Southern Ohio Guns for $250.00 using my C&R, back around 1995. I don't have a Tokorov pistol. I keep meaning to get one of the Polish ones, but they made the importers put safeties on all the Tok's coming into the country, and I really don't like modified classic guns. Just haven't done it yet, but I have two CZ-52's in that chambering.

      I like the FAL. I have an STG-58, an Imbel, a Century International Arms sporter that I sent out to California to Entreprise Arms to be legally converted back to stock condition. I'm sure I have one more but I can't visualize it right now. Mostly they stay in the safes.

      I know what you mean. Aztec Arms down in Florida was selling cases of reconditioned to as new Mosin Nagant rifles, with slings, stripper clips, oil bottles, bayonets and ammo pouches. 10 rifles to the wooden case, for $620 including shipping. But at the time, late 80's I think, nobody liked the Mosin Nagant and I turned my nose up at them, just like the rest, and didn't buy a case. Now I could kick myself for my short sightedness. Remember when you could go into just about any hardware store and find a big round wooden barrel full of the Mosin Nagants for $49.00 plus tax each?

  8. oh yeah, same issue with browning mags and any other cut rates. only buy factory or meggar now. got took after sandy hook on some fn fal mags. should have known better but got caught up in the hysteria. maybe with some smithing they will work but i'll never trust them with my life. that's what gets me about folks scrimping on mags. how much is your life worth to you ?

    1. The only time I can remember that I ever bought some shaky mags was in the weeks just after the Clinton gun ban sneaked through. That really was hysteria, since I already had large quantities for all my weapons. But at the time, in the shock of how the bill passed, it seemed like we would never have access to standard capacity mags again. I have a Para Ordnance P-14 and a Para Ordnance P16. I remember before the ban, the mags for those guns were about $40.00 retail. But after the ban, within 24 hours, they went up to over $100 a magazine, if you could find them at all. I still bought several more mags for each gun. Now, today, the same mags can be had for about $29.00 if you keep an eye on CDNN and a few other good sources.

      What's wrong with the FAL mags? Could it be that inch/metric thing?

    2. roger that harry, inch mags even though they were advertised as metric. i think i can take some material off the front protrusion to make them fit. i have a couple dozen correct mags but i panicked and bought these thermolds off of gunbroker. supplies went from plentiful 4 dollar mags to scarce 20 dollar mags over night and f.a.l. mags have never come back.

  9. It seems like all the reality shows are rigged somehow. I guess they feel the need to do that for ratings, and what is acceptable for TV. I never got into too many of the reality shows. Possibly because I don't have cable, nor do I have Netflix. I do have Amazon Prime. The only reality shows I've seen, but haven't liked are: Survivor, The Bachelor, Shark Tank (it's ok), Wife Swap, and Wipe Out (if that's called a reality show). options are limited. I usually only watch TV, while I'm blogging. I'm 1/2 paying attention to it anyhow.

    I can see being a gun enthusiast that you should pick up things when they have it in stock. Gotta get things, while you can.

    1. Some of the survival shows have been appallingly bad because of the producers trying to be more outrageous than the competition. "Naked and Afraid" was probably the worst example of that. I doubt anyone in a survival situation would ever find themselves stark (well, maybe Kymber and J but they could handle it).

      Survivorman was the best of the survivor shows and it wasn't a reality show. Dual Survival WAS a reality show and came to grief because of it, when Cody Lundin didn't want to go along with the production company's fake scripts.

      I have never watched any of the shows you mentioned. "Wife Swap" must sure as hell be interesting though. Is that one of those late night shows? ;-)

      Anytime I see something I use on sale, I buy a lot of it. Especially with firearms related things, and food. For instance, if I drive all the way to Murphy North Carolina to the "scratch and dint" grocery store, I just about have to fill the entire back of the Cherokee with cases of food or it isn't worth the trip.

      At Christmas time, there's a kind of old fashioned chocolate drop that a store in an adjacent county sells. It's only there at Christmas. So I buy a full case of 25 bags, and eke it out through the year.

    2. Wife Swap was a later show on one of the main stations. It hasn't been on in awhile. It was interesting. Esp. when they switched up a conservative with a free spirit thinker. It was crazy entertaining. Back in the day I liked watching Super Nanny. I agreed with her getting on the parents for the most part. There were kids that had no bedtimes. The kids usually walked all over the parents. Often the parents weren't on the same side. I can't imagine living my life like that. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was interesting. I heard that people couldn't afford there home's upkeep when it was all said and done. I can believe that.

    3. I never saw any of those. Maybe I didn't get the channels they were on. Super Nanny sounds interesting. If the parents had to bring in someone to control the kids, they were in a bad way already...

      I know my wife watches shows about renovating homes, because she has done some of that in our place, and she said she got the ideas from television shows. I don't know which ones though.

  10. Hey Harry,


    Yeah' the good old days are over.

    I have some of the CMI mags I got some decent deals on for the M1A. I also have some of the 'Import mags' and I had problems with those so I stick with the CMI mags.

    There is just no way Americans can be disarmed now. Too many guns, too much ammo and too many lawful gun owners. I don't think any LEO would want to do house to house searches for firearms. The military would certainly not do a good job. I think a lot of stuff will be reported as falling in the river on hunting trips.
    If we ever got to that point than America has truly fallen apart and there will so much anarchy and disorder that no one will be in control. I hope by then I am living on my own island in the Carribean:)

    1. I thought you were going to West Texas. That seemed like a pretty good idea to me. Decent people, not many people, and land out there, as you were telling me once awhile back, is pretty reasonable.

      I like to read "Joels Gulch". The guy lives on very little and it seems like a tough life he leads, but he and his dog are content. The desert can be a good place.

      Do you remember what brand the mags were that didn't work in your M1A? I'll steer clear of those.

      I'm not so worried about the Gun Grabbers now that they are out of power. But I do worry about the Democrats and Turn Coat Repubicans (like one my own Senators from Georgia) so clogging up the government that essential functions don't take place. You know what will happen when the "where my check?" crowd does't get their dole. Remember that video of the woman with eight kids, who lived in government provided housing , and who's latest "baby daddy" was in jail for drug charges. When her welfare check didn't come , she gave an Atlanta news station an earful. "Where my check! Somebody got to come down in here and be responsible!" Turn that crowd loose, let them get out of hand and don't nip it in the bud, and there won't be any trucks rolling through the cities on the freeways. That will mean no new supplies up in my area. We have trouble getting enough of everything even when nothing is up. I'm used to going to the store and being told they are out of this or that until the next truck comes, and there's just a blank space on the shelf where what I wanted was supposed to be.

    2. Hey Harry,


      I bought the M1A mags used in a stack at a gun show. I got a bad deal but I only lost $20.
      I will try and find out their manufacture.

      If I was rich. I would probably buy and island. Since I am not rich., Maybe the desert?

      I really like Joels Gulch too. I have not checked it out in a whilem but I like how he's using pallets as firewood. Bravo Zulu on breaking pallets down with a sawzall and burning them all winter.

  11. Yep - we don't lock the doors at night because we hate the people outside. We lock the doors at night because we love the people inside.