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Hey everyone, think I may have found a way to test and prep cheap mags to get better performance from them. I saw an ad on some website (can't remember where) that sold magazines and they recommended loading them and unloading them 15-20 times before using them. I have some cheapo USA mags for both Mini-14 and AR-15 rifles. I thought I would give this a try, as these were brand new mags and have never been used.
I started by loading 5-10 rounds and checking to see how the mags fed. I used the blunt end of an ink pen to push the rounds from the mags while holding the mag firmly in an upright position, the way it would be positioned while firing the rifles. I noticed that the mags felt sluggish and sometimes very tight. They just simply felt like the feed lips were too tight to allow the cartridges to feed reliably. But as I loaded the mags the second and third times, it felt just a little better. By the time I had loaded the mags to capacity 10 times or so, they were allowing the rounds to strip out very easily and they felt really good.
I next decided to go outside, insert a loaded magazine into the rifle, and do a function test by manually operating the bolt by hand. I held my breath and started to cycle the action with quick and hard movements. I pulled back the charging handle all the way to the rear and allowed the gun to close on its own. To my surprise, all the mags worked well. I had heard horror stories about USA brand mags and actually expected them to fail. But they never. The only problem I had was that I once had two rounds fly from the mag and onto the ground from my Mini (double feed?) but I think that was my fault because I kind of hesitated while cycling the action.
Last, I placed the mags in the rifles and fired a few rounds from each. No problems from any of them. Now I would rather have quality mags still over these cheap ones, but if you fiddle with them a little, they will work. I would recommend testing every mag in your inventory and if they fail the first set of tests, get rid of them. But if they perform well through all the checks I listed, they are probably decent mags and would make excellent backups to your factory and high quality mags. Just thought I would post my results and ideas here so hopefully it might help someone else who questions there mags and maybe save someone some x-tra bucks. Hope this helps. Also, if anyone else tries this, let me know how the mags perform. Perhaps I am just lucky and got my hands on some rare mags that work well. Let me know and post your thoughts here.

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