Mag speculating

Remember when the stewardess gives you the speech about when the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling you’re supposed to put yours on first and then assist small children and others? Why is that? The answer is simple: if you put your mask on first, then you’re in a position to help more people.

Same thing applies with this post. Before you go buying magazines to resell to the unprepared masses, make sure you have your own needs more than taken care of.

For those of you who may not remember the great Assault Weapons ban of ’94-’04, you were limited to 10 round magazines unless your magazine was made before 1994. As a result, much like the ’86 machine gun ban, the prices of those items went up, up, and up as time went on and their availability went down, down, down. $600 (in 1999 money), was not unheard of for a Betamag. Glock mags were in the $75-100 range, ARĀ  mags could be around $30-40, and exotic stuff like Valmets, SIG, and HK were easily over a hundred bucks a mag. In short, it was like everyone was selling at Cheaper Than Dirt panic-prices.

Don’t believe me? Let me dial up the Wayback Machine and, lo:


That’s $119.00, in 1999 money, for a Glock happystick. And $80 for just a ‘regular capacity’ G17 mag. You thought you were the luckiest man on the planet if you found one for fifty bucks!

Who made money? Guys who were sitting on a bunch of magazines. I remember being able to buy M1 carbine mags from J&G Sales for $0.86 each in 1990-1991. Four years later those were $20+ magazines. Colt manufactured 20-rd AR mags were about $4-5 in 1989. Wasn’t long before they were almost $50 ea.


$45 for a Colt 20-rd mag. Even a Thermelt was going for twenty bucks.

.Is it going to happen again? I think so. Maybe not this election cycle, maybe not on a national level, but I do think it’s going to happen. I’d be thrilled to spend $100 for 30 G3 mags right now and sell them ‘afterwards’ for enough to pick myself up an ICOM-7200 or other expensive toy.


Here’s perspective: CTD was selling these HK mags for $0.97 a few years ago. At these prices, my stash of mags goes from being worth $600 to $30,000.

What would I buy to take advantage of the panicked masses yearning to be armed? Well, the smart thing to do is appeal to the most common denominator. Yeah, the Valmet mag you pay $45 for today is going to be worth $100 but by the time you sell it you could have sold a hundred AR or Glock mags. ‘Boutique’ and ‘niche’ stuff like the exotics will sell, and it will sell at a great price, but it won’t sell nearly as often.

What the most common rifle in this country for guys like you and me? AK-pattern and AR-style rifles. Sure there are guys with FALs, AUGs, HK93s, and the like out there…and those mags are worth a lot and will be worth even more…but you’ll sell a lot more of the common stuff. AR and AK mags are where I’d put my money for rifle mags. Magpul Pmags and known-brand GI aluminum mags (Okay, CProducts, etc) would be my choice. While you might get a good deal on Lancers and other stuff, they’re small enough people won’t recognize them and no one wants to buy the ‘off brand’ if they don’t have to.

For pistol mags its Glock, XD, and M&P. Beretta mags might be a good choice but there will be a lot of military ones floating around. Again, stick with the OEM stuff if you can. (Although I’ll probably go with the Magpul Glock mags). The 9 and 40 mags will be the most common and those would be where I’d focus.

In .22 magazines all you need to know is that Ruger 10/22 mags will outsell every other .22 rifle magazine combined. I’ve posted about them before…get the Butler Creek mags (or even the Eagle mags) and buy as many as you can. You’ll never regret a drum full of those things.

Interestingly, while pump action shotguns usually (though not always) skate around ‘assault weapons’ bans, there may be some forward-thinking statists who will want to see your 870 limited to five rounds or some such. While I wouldn’t go very deep on them, a handful of factory extended mag tubes and springs might turn a tidy profit later.

Of course, if a future ban doesn’t occur (and I wouuld be thrilled to be proven wrong) you still wind up with a nice amount of mags to last you the rest of your life…and you’ve traded opportunity cost against inflation in terms of what you might have to pay for the mags in the future. Win – win. But, as I said, you really want to make sure you have your own needs taken care of before you start ‘speculating’ in magazine futures.

Interestingly, as I was typing this up, this little jewel from MGE Wholesale landed in my mailbox:

MPMAG546-BLK(5)Go figure.

MagPul announces Glock happysticks

The PMAG 27 GL9 is a 27-round Glock 9mm handgun magazine featuring a new proprietary all-polymer construction for flawless reliability and durability over thousands of rounds. Meeting the overall length requirements for a 170MM competition magazine, the PMAG 21 GL9 offers additional capacity without the need for expensive extensions.

I haven’t tried Magpul’s new Glock magazines yet. I’m always reluctant to go anywhere for a pistol magazine except the OEM source. I’m especially concerned about Magpul’s magazines not being metal-lined like Glock’s. Way back in the dinosaur days, Glocks mags were all plastic with no metal liner. When loaded, the mags would swell a bit and as a result, many more-than-empty magazines would not drop-free. It’s my understanding that the European methods of mag swapping involve stripping the mag rather than letting it drop free, so perhaps that wasn’t an issue. However, for the American market…us crazy Yank cowboys like our drop-free magazine changes.

An original 33-round Glock happystick is always going to be my first choice for this sort of thing. However, from an investment standpoint, if the Magpul offering is less than $20@ it might make sense to throw a few dozen back. If I ever get around to getting the 9mm Glock-compatible AR that I want, a couple dozen might be just what the doctor ordered.

MTM’s can/box combo

From the Why-Didn’t-I-Think-Of-That department:

If you’re anything like me (and, really, let’s hope that you aren’t), you probably store a goodly amount of ammo in those handy little plastic 5- and 100-round plastic ammo boxes. They’re handy, cheap, and hold a useful amount of ammo. I usually then stack them up in ammo cans for long term storage. This works great in theory, but in practice there’s a problem – military ammo cans aren’t necessarily designed to perfectly accommodate those plastic ammo boxes. As a result, you get gaps, or the boxes aren’t arranged in the most efficient manner.

I was puttering around Cabela’s and discovered something interesting. MTM, the guys who brought such odd entries to the preparedness market as the Survivor, are now producing plastic ammo cans sized to fit the plastic ammo boxes. For example, the 9mm one lets you stuff 10 100-round boxes in it with a little room to spare for things like dessicant.

Also available in 45, 223, and 308, it seems a nice way to store ammo when you want something more than just a cardboard box on the shelf, but don’t need the overwhelming ruggedness of a .50 cal. military ammo can. I could see these being very handy for keeping ‘shooting/ready’ ammo on hand. Esp. if you keep your stuff out in the garage or something. I might have to get a few of these to play with.

2(??) Lifestraws for $16 on Amazon

$15.96 is a pretty good deal for a Lifestraw. However the description of the product here clearly says “Package Quantity: 2“, and if that is correct…well, thats an insanely good deal. Wonderful stocking stuffers. If it’s a typo, it’s still a good deal. Might wanna jump on ’em before they sell out.

I keep one of these in my Tromping-Around-The-Woods bag, and they should always be in your BOB/GHB type gear.

For the price, these are excellent pieces of kit for whatever cache of gear you’re squirreling away somewhere. I’ve a dozen or so in storage and scattered among various packs.


ETA: Wow, those didn’t last long. Link appears to be dead…musta sold out.

10/22 Mags: Steel Lips vs. Hot Lips

I’m in the market for some more Ruger 10/22 magazines. Having shot the Ruger 10/22 for, well, decades at this point…I’ve got some opinions on the magazines.

The factory 10-rd magazines are great. If you don’t mind being limited to ten rounds of ammo, they’re fine. They’re resilient, reliable, and pretty affordable for what they are. Having said that, I kept virtually none of them…I don’t envision a future where a 10-rd magazine is more useful to me than a 25-rd magazine.

The only two brands of magazine for the Ruger that I have had great experience with have been the sometimes-hard-to-find Eagle brand mags (which are quite good and usually quite cheap), and the ubiquitous Butler Creek mags.

When you get into the Butler Creek mags, you get two choices: Hot Lips or Steel Lips. Bother are very good magazines, no two ways about it. When the 1994 ban took place, the Hot Lips magazines I had were the last ones I could get. In 2014, ten years later, when the ban sunsetted, I retired most of the Hot Lips magazines. While they had served very well for those ten years, a few of them were starting to have the feed lips fray a bit. So…on that very informal bit of testing, I would say that with ‘average’ use a Hot Lips 10/22 mag will last you about ten years.

The Steel Lip mags, naturally, are going to last pretty much forever…the feed lips, anyway. And when you’re packing stuff away for the zombie apocalypse, where the magazine you have me be the only one you have for the rest of your life (however long that may be) it might be a good idea to spend the extra five bucks per mag and get the Steel Lips.

When the Hot lips are on sale, I can usually get them for around $8 ea, and if Fortuna smiles in my direction, I can sometimes find Steel Lips for about $12 ea. When Im off playing at the range, I play with the Hot Lips mags, saving the Steel Lips mags for the day they’re needed. (As much as one can need a .22.)

So…if you’re stocking up on mags these days, which i highly recommend, and you can spend the cash, get the Steel Lips. If you want more mags for your buck, get the Hot Lips. But….get something.

AICS Pmags available

This little bit of news from Jerking The Trigger has been a while in coming…

The PMAG 5 7.62 is an all polymer and extremely affordable alternative to metal AICS pattern magazines. It will work with the above Bolt Action Magazine Well or existing AICS bottom metal set ups. The capacity can be increased to 6 rounds with a simple follower modification.

The Ruger Scout Rifle, supposedly, uses an AICS-friendly magazine, so these should be a cheaper alternative to the godawfully expensive Ruger factory steel magazine, and a more reliable alternative to the affordable-but-questionably-reliable Ruger polymer magazine.

For those of you with the Ruger Scout, this might be an interesting compromise between the two choices of mag.

Pelican cases on Craigslist

Just can’t pass ’em up when I sees ’em on Craigslist.

20151023_133702A pair of Pelican 1650‘s without foam. $150 for the pair. Not a bad deal. They are an excellent size for keeping winter gear for the vehicle, stashing a minimal cache at a buddy’s place, or a host of other uses.

Craigslist does turn up a ton of useless crap, but once in a while it does turn up some cool stuff. I’ll probably use one of these for winter vehicle gear, and keep the other as a spare.

Politics, unfortunately.

Joe Biden announced that he isn’t going to run for President, which means that the choices in the Democrat camp are between Bernie Sanders (who I really hope gets the nomination) and Hillary Clinton. This is akin to choosing death by firing squad or death by hanging.

The Republicans, thus far, haven’t come up with anyone that sets the world afire, so I think the election will not be about voting for someone as much as it will be about voting againstĀ  someone.

In short, it’s panic buying season. I would be surprised if the Biden announcement, which seems to seal the deal for the Clinton camp, doesn’t tick the pricing algorithms at Cheaper Than Dirt and we see Pmags back at $50 per.

I could be wrong, of course, but if I am…so what? All that means is you bought a dozen Glock magazines this week instead of in three months like you planned. Best deal I’ve found today is Gun Accessory Supply selling OEM G17 mags for $19. I’ve found Magpul Glock mags for $12 but Im not willing to pull the trigger, so to speak, on them until I’ve had one to evaluate.