AR15 Magazine Upgrade

We are huge fans of GI Aluminum magazines, but we often find some of our old ones in the pile need a little help.  Rather the toss them, we like to salvage the magazines with good feed lips and upgrade them into a reliable configuration we can use.  Additionally, shooters in states that still have magazine bans that limit them to magazines made prior to 1994, can upgrade their old magazines to newer standards.

If you’ve never had a magazine follower tilt or bind, you are lucky.  It can be an exercise in patience and the level of frustration and doubt it creates is nauseating.  Back in the day it was a much more common occurrence, but technology has progressed and it happens less and less with the newer follower designs, such as the Magpul Generation III used here.

In addition to upgrading springs and followers, we like to install Magpul Ranger floorplates.  The Ranger floorplates allow easier manipulation of most magazine carriers we use and well as protect the bottoms of the magazine when they drop on hard surfaces like concrete.

Since the followers and floorplates are supplied in quantities of 3 and the springs in quantities of 10, we often upgrade our magazines in lots of 9.

For our upgrade we use the following parts from Brownells:

Our donor mag, a good old pre-1994 GI Aluminum magazine.

We carefully inspect the body for defect and the feed lips for deformation and cracks. If it looks good we will use it. This magazine had previously had a follower upgrade.

These are the parts we are going to use, Magpul Ranger floorplates, Magpul Generation III self-leveling followers, and stainless steel springs.

We start by using an allen key to pull off the original floorplate. A punch or small piece of round bar stock will work fine as well.

Next, we attached the new magazine spring to the new follower.

The follower and spring are slid into the magazine body.

The Magpul Ranger floorplate is then slid onto the bottom of the magazine.

Make sure this tab is locked in place as shown. To disassemble the magazine, the tab is depressed and the Ranger floorplate is slid out of place.

Upgraded magazines ready for service. We always take the time to vet our magazines after they are upgraded to ensure proper function.