3rd Generation Blackdog magazines-Range Report

Discussion in 'SU-22' started by buzzsaw, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. buzzsaw

    buzzsaw Grand Poobah Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Georgia
    I got my box from JoeBob Outfitters today. In it were four of the new third generation Blackdog Machine .22 lr magazines with the metal feed lips. These hold 32 rounds and have a follower that you can pull down while loading. I took them to a local indoor range and loaded up three of them–one with Aguila Golden Eagle Match Rifle, another with CCI Blazer, and the last with Federal Auto Match.

    These are very easy to load, except for the last (33rd) round (actually got in 33, the first 32 were easy, it IS a 32-round mag, not a 33-round :-[) I thought it was supposed to hold 33 and managed to do this by tapping the mag to settle the rounds and pulling pretty hard on the follower to get the last one in. In the future I will load them with 32, as they were designed for. All three magazines that I used in my SU-22 performed flawlessly, with the exception of one round of the Auto Match which didn't chamber correctly. The gun just went click, and I thought maybe a bad primer, so I waited 30 seconds, dropped the mag and racked the bolt and a slightly dinged round fell out, with no sign of a primer strike. I reinserted the mag and continued firing with no other stoppages. My guess is it wasn't the mag that caused this, but maybe a weak round before the one that didn't chamber. Since it wasn't badly damaged, I loaded that round into a mag and chambered it. It fired just fine and the bullet hit a shotgun wad that was on the sand pile at the end of the range.

    New mags with my SU-22.
    [​IMG]

    Comparison of 3rd Gen 32-round mag with 2nd Gen 26-round and 15-round mags.[​IMG]

    Fully inserted 3rd Gen mag compared to entire length of 2nd Gen 26-round mag.[​IMG]

    Comparison with 50-round drum.
    [​IMG]

    Comparison of 3rd Gen (left) with 2nd Gen feed lips and follower.
    [​IMG]

    Pros: Flawless performance in my SU-22. 32-round capacity. Very easy loading, even easier than the drums. Seem lighter than the Gen 2 mags. Simple construction. Sturdy, I dropped one (accidentally) onto a concrete floor. It landed right on the feed lips with no apparent damage. Steel feed lips. Some have reported cracking and crazing of the polymer feed lips of the Gen 2 mags, though I have yet to see this on mine. (I avoid solvents on the polycarbonate bodies and feed lips of the Gen 2 mags. I just wipe them with a paper towel to clean them.)

    Cons: They are long and get in the way when shooting from lower rests. No bolt hold-open function (but judging from posts concerning the second generation magazines, this is mainly a matter of preference, and I don't really have one.) Interferes with the gun's manual bolt hold-open. When the mag is in place, pulling the charging handle back will not release the manual bolt hold-open, you have to drop the mag, or wiggle it around. This may wear down on its own or can be sanded. We are only talking 0.001” or so. I am being really critical. [smiley=evil.gif]

    I am very happy with these magazines and will likely buy more, though I have a bunch of Gen 2 mags and several drums. I would like to see models with the dimensions of the 26 and 15 round second gen mags, with whatever capacity that winds up being, for use from a bi-pod or rest.

    I have not yet tested these with my PLR-22 or AR-22's.

    buzzsaw
     
  2. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Moderator Supporter

    May 19, 2006
    Lexington KY
    I picked up my two mags today from another local KTOGger (who will probably be posting soon in this thread). I was impressed with the quality of the design and construction. These appear to be made of a material like Zytel, which is a glass fiber reinforced nylon. To achieve good stiffness and strength, the walls of the magazine can be thinner. Very nice! No issues with polycarbonate crazing and embrittlement from using solvents that aren't polycarbonate safe.

    In the order of ten, a couple had a tab on one side of the metal feed lips sticking straight up that prevented the mag from inserting into the SU-22. JoeBob reported that this variation was intended for the DPMS and was accidentally shipped with the SU-22 versions. The tabs will be removed with a Dremel. ::)

    A couple of the mags also had sticky spots when the magazine follower reached the screws about halfway down. The mags were disassembled and the magazine follower didn't bind with the spring removed, but when the spring was swapped with a spring from a working mag that appeared identical, the problem stayed with the magazine. Maybe there is mold flash in the inner spring guide in the bad mags that cause the spring to bind? Those will be disassembled and inspected, and in all likelihood, repaired.

    I'm impressed with Black Dog Machining design, but I'm underwhelmed with their quality control and customer service. I called about a hopelessly unusable binding skinny mag that I paid top dollar to use with my SU-22. Jam-O-Matic. I was told in a nonchalant manner that some of them do that and I should trim some of the plastic near the top. Excuse me? I didn't buy a magazine kit. I thought I was buying a magazine. They took no ownership of the problem after the sale. They discontinued the skinny mag, presumably because they didn't work.

    I'm glad to hear the Gen 3 mags are mostly good to go.

    Nice review, BTW.
     

  3. buzzsaw

    buzzsaw Grand Poobah Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Georgia
    I'm not sure whether this should go here, since it is a follow-up to my original post, or in Other Guns, since it is about the performance of these mags in an AR-15 with a Nordic Components .22 lr upper assembly.

    In short these Gen 3 mags did not work well at all in this gun. I loaded up all four of these mags with CCI Blazer (32 rounds this time not 33), since the Nordic Components chamber is supposedly tailored to the dimensions of this round, and I wanted to test the accuracy of this upper with them. This time it was a disaster—typically bang, click, usually failure to feed, sometimes combined with a stovepipe, sometimes not, though there were one or two 4 or 5 round strings. Rounds were nosing into the front of the mag making smileys on the bullets. Occasionally, one would be hung against the feed ramp. This, in a gun that has had no mag-related failures with either the Gen 2 Blackdog mags or the 50-round drums. All four mags had these problems. It looks like the bolt face is somehow driving the bullets downwards. The loaded and partially loaded magazines also seemed sluggish when pulling down the follower and releasing it. (This didn't seem to affect the SU-22, however.) I plan to disassemble the mags and check for flashing, clean them and lubricate them with some dry Teflon spray. When I do this to polycarbonate mags, I spray very lightly and have a fan or heat gun handy to dry the solvent before it has a chance to attack the surface, or spray the lubricant on a paper towel and rub it on when the solvent is mostly gone. I will do the same here. L4E, I think you're right about them being something like Zytel.

    The stovepipes indicate that the bolt may be dragging on the feed lips. There is a light polished line on the bottom of the bolt that might be where this is rubbing. I will investigate further tomorrow when I clean this rifle. All I feel like doing tonight is running a bore snake through the barrel and going to bed.

    These magazines are worthwhile for the SU-22 and probably the PLR-22, but so far, on this AR-22, they are a no go. Although this is the first time I have fired Blazer through this gun, I don't think the ammo is the problem. Blazer did work flawlessly in the SU-22. I will try it in this gun with a Gen 2 mag to be sure.

    On the bright side, the Blazer does group better than most in this AR-22, despite the constant interruptions to my shooting. The best-grouping round so far for this gun (and my SU-22, as well) remains Fiocchi SM340 Biathlon—3/8" 5-round groups at 25 yds. Unfortunately, this ammo is $10–11 per 50 round box.

    I think I will have to do some trigger work to the SU-22. The break on mine is pretty good, but that trigger spring needs to be lighter. The AR has a Geissele High Speed, which is a world-class 2-stage match trigger that costs as much as the SU-22–not really a fair comparison.

    buzzsaw
     
  4. okrIII

    okrIII New Member

    231
    Jun 14, 2010
    On the mags that had sticky spots I found out that if you just back out the front lower two screws a 1/8 to 1/4 turn the  sticky spots are gone.  Inside the molds are clean no flash to trim.  Just a case of over tighting and distorting the plastic.
     
  5. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Moderator Supporter

    May 19, 2006
    Lexington KY
    Ayatollah Yuso!
    :)

    Just like the PLR/SU magazine well. If the mags are too tight, loosen the screws that hold the two halves of the mag well together.

    I think Black Dog could maybe use a nice electronic torque limiting assembly screw driver, or even better, an electronic depth controlled screw driver. At the very least, someone should exercise the mags before shipping them. With the ability to pull down the magazine follower by hand, it takes 1-2 seconds to make this quality check.
     
  6. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Moderator Supporter

    May 19, 2006
    Lexington KY
    I had similar results but not quite as bad in my SU-22 yesterday. I never made it through a complete 32 round magazine. Sometimes I had three or four stoppages in a single magazine. It's good practice clearing jams! [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    I tried two of the new Black Dog magazines with the steel feed lips. Both seemed top notch prior to loading, because okrIII gave me the pick of the litter from his order. What a guy! When I loaded the first magazine, the magazine spring jumped out of its internal guide and spooled up on the bottom of the magazine. That obviously wasn't going to feed, and it didn't. The other mag loaded OK but was slow to feed rounds, and caused numerous feed problems, including nose dives, misfeeds hung part way into the chamber, and even a couple of attempts to feed sideways! I'll try dry lubing the magazines, but so far I am not favorably impressed by the performance, although they do look like good mags. The injection molding is top notch. I suspect the design is not. :(

    When will I ever learn not to be an early adopter of new technology? I was still upset after I called Black Dog a long time ago to let them know that my brand new Skinny Mag wouldn't feed at all and the rims were offset and binding horribly, and was told that they do that, and I might be able to fix it by trimming some plastic somewhere inside, near the top. I thought I bought a rather expensive magazine, but after that call I realized I bought a magazine kit! Black Dog discontinued the skinny magazine soon thereafter, presumably because the design was hopelessly flawed. So why did they sell the magazines if they didn't work?

    My 25 round polycarbonate Black Dog mags still work. I guess I'll just hang onto them, but I'm done being a Black Dog beta tester.
    >:(
     
  7. ktwm

    ktwm Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2004
    I have also tested these mags, and they seem to work OK.  The feedlips seem to be a little soft, and may open up. you can bend them back, but they may open back up. black dog may have fixed this and you might be able to get replacement feedlips that are hardened better, but I am not sure.
    -the follower grip is a nice feature but if you grab the mag as you are shooting, you could actually slow the follower down and cause problems.
    -Nylon construction is also nicer than the polycarbonate.


    I am waiting for the 4th gen mags which have a 1-piece feedlip design in either molded nylon or cast stainless steel. Should get samples soon. hopefully a version with the follower grips like in the gen3 will come out soon too.
     
  8. okrIII

    okrIII New Member

    231
    Jun 14, 2010
    I have not been able to get out and shoot with these mags yet. But by hand loading and unloading I found out that if I used the pull down when loading that I got several rim locks in a mag. By pushing one round down at a time I may get one rim lock around the 25 mark. And did get some complete mags to unload with no problems.
     
  9. ktwm

    ktwm Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2004
    OKR

    be sure to only pull down lightly on the tabs when loading. if you pull down and drop the rounds in without any tension on them, you will certainly get rim-locks. but if you just use the pull downs only to reduce the loading force, still pushing the rounds down with the next round, it should load up more reliably.

    These curved mags do not have the steep stacking angle like the small pistols have (buckmark, mark 1/2/3, neos...), so you can't pull the follower all the way down and dump rounds in like you can with those pistol mags or you will get rimlocks like you describe....use the pulldown more like a way to reduce the amount of pressure you use on loading.
     
  10. buzzsaw

    buzzsaw Grand Poobah Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Georgia
    +1 on both. I'm also waiting for the 4th Gen mags. I've seen them on Blackdog's site and they look promising with the most critical part replaceable. I have not had any problems with the 2nd Gen mags (and drums) with any of my guns SU-22, PLR-22, and two Nordic component AR-22's. I am concerned about their longevity and the possibility of a ban making them irreplaceable. In that event, I need something that can last "forever" with care, while actually getting used. Polycarbonate is tough, but it's not forever, being damaged by any number of chemicals and sunlight. Blackdog does make some billet aluminum mags which should last forever, but they are expensive and lack follower grips.

    I forgot to mention it in my AR-22 post, but the AR bolt was held open by the 3rd Gen follower. The 3rd Gen follower did not hold open the SU-22 bolt. If these mags continue to work well with the SU-22, and presumably the PLR-22, I won't consider them a big loss.

    buzzsaw
     
  11. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Moderator Supporter

    May 19, 2006
    Lexington KY
    Here's the Black Dog Machining video describing the Gen 4 mags.

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU9HAnc2UI8[/ame]

    Here's the comment I posted under that video... in the event that it doesn't stay under that video.

     
  12. okrIII

    okrIII New Member

    231
    Jun 14, 2010
    Got a chance to try 4 of my 3 gen mags today. I have number all of my new mags so I could identify problems with each mag. I loaded 30 rounds in mags 1 - 3. Mag 4 I had removed the feed lips to beveled the bottom edge of the insert and the plastic back of the feed lips. Mag 4 got loaded with 33 rounds. All mags where loaded with out using the pull down. Ammo was federal lightings. Mag 1-3 had failures to feed with the nose of the round stuck down in the mag. Mag 4 had one stopage on the 2nd round, a failure to extract. The rest of mag 4 dumped quickly. I think I am going to really like these mags after I finish manufacturing them. These are kit mags or at least the 10 I got are.
     
  13. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Moderator Supporter

    May 19, 2006
    Lexington KY
    How much would you charge to remanufacture mine? ;D
     
  14. okrIII

    okrIII New Member

    231
    Jun 14, 2010
    How much would you charge to remanufacture mine? ;D

    [/quote]
    Free to you or your money back. :cool:
     
  15. buzzsaw

    buzzsaw Grand Poobah Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Georgia
    Second range report...

    Yesterday, I tried my other Nordic Components upper (on a different lower) with the Gen 3 Blackdog magazines with the same result, maybe slightly better, but far from satisfactory. The mags did, however work beautifully with the Kel-Tec PLR-22. I can highly recommend them for the Kel-Tecs, even though there may be a fit issue as I discovered while writing this message. The bottom line is with my Kel-Tecs, they work perfectly.

    In the Nordic Components, the bullets are indeed hitting the front of the magazine resulting in a smiley on the bullet, not on the nose, but down on the side of the bullet. Sometimes, a chunk of the bullet is gouged nearly off. The tip of the bullet was touching the feed ramp, but the side of the bullet was hung up on the front of the magazine. Perhaps deepening the U-shaped cutout on the front of the feed lip assembly is all it will take to get these to work. The Gen 2 mag I brought worked perfectly.

    There does seems to be another problem, and this may be the cause of the malfunctions. The left feed lip is actually against the ejector, and when the case is being extracted, the rim actually hits the feed lips and not the ejector since the feed lips are in front of the ejector. The case rim might also push the next cartridge down, and it may not have enough time to come back up before the bolt catches it, but since it is out of position (too low) it gets driven into the front of the magazine instead of up the feed ramp. The 2nd gen mags have about 1.5 mm between the feed lip and the ejector. In the Kel-Tec, the feed lip of the 3rd gen mag is also touching the ejector, but the ejector is a bit closer to the front and is almost exactly even with the feed lips, so ejection is still taking place when it should. The 2nd gen mags have about 1 mm clearance between the lip and the ejector in the Kel-Tec. Using the magazine feed lips as an ejector is probably not a good idea unless they were designed to be used that way.

    It looks like the feed lips stick up too far and need to be filed down, and then bent in to tighten them to make up for filing down angled pieces of metal.

    buzzsaw
     
  16. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Moderator Supporter

    May 19, 2006
    Lexington KY
    Gripe #1
    The Black Dog videos demonstrate full mag ammo dumps in fully automatic AR conversions. That's a good test of the magazine itself, but it doesn't say anything about how well a magazine works in any other firearm.

    From a consumer perspective, it looks like the critical dimensions of a magazine should be well defined as a standard for that magazine type, but in the real world, I think mag designers and manufacturers make a mag to fit a weapon, and they twiddle with it until it works. That seems like a hit or miss method, but it'll eventually work... for that one weapon. Knowing the process was tweaked for a single weapon, I'd have no confidence selling the magazine for different weapons that nominally accept the same magazine, knowing the other weapon has a different bolt, different feed ramp, the components are arranged at different heights relative to each other, etc.

    Black Dog actively markets their mags to the large and growing community of PLR-22 and SU-22 owners. Is it too much to ask that they make mags that operate reliably with these Kel-Tec firearms? I don't recall any Black Dog videos with them testing a mag in an SU-22. Do they even own an SU-22?
    :(



    Gripe #2
    We waited a couple of months for the new Gen 3 mags to ship, and immediately after the first batch shipped they've suddenly been discontinued in favor of the Gen 4 mags. I feel like I bought a Blue Ray disc player, waited forever for it to arrive, and when I unwrapped it I learned that it's a Betamax video tape player... with misaligned heads.
    :(



    Maybe I'll bring my tools to the KTOG Nationals next week and we can all Dremel and file and polish our Gen 3 mags, trying to tweak the design to work in the Kel-Tec firearms.
    :(
     
  17. buzzsaw

    buzzsaw Grand Poobah Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Georgia
    It seems to me that the best all around Blackdog magazine is the second generation. Its dimensions seem to be forgiving of differences between guns and models of guns. I was on Blackdog's site a few minutes ago, and the 3rd Gen mags were listed as "out of stock" the implication being that someday they will be back in stock. You may know something that I don't know, as I haven't contacted Blackdog about my issues. The 2nd gens are still there, no indication that they are going on clearance. Since they seem to be the most reliable, maybe they will continue to make them. After all, Kel Tec, for their PLR- and SU-22, and several other companies selling AR-22 conversion kits, uppers, and complete guns (Nordic Components, Kies Firearms, Spike's Tactical, Tactical Solutions, and others) supply 2nd Gen Blackdog mags with their products. I see the 2nd Gen magazine as the de facto standard for this type of magazine. What I would like to see is 2nd Gen shape and dimensions fabricated out of glass filled nylon, or some other material that is more chemically stable than polycarbonate. (I may have to break down and order some of their billet aluminum mags.) It may be that their 4th Gen mags will be this, although some of the mag bodies are made out of polycarbonate. The black ones are glass-filled nylon. You have the option of interchangeable stainless steel or glass-filled nylon feed lips. The nylon ones, in particular would be amenable to modifications, and if you screw one up, they're replaceable, much cheaper than than the whole mag. I ordered some of these from JoeBobs Friday and he shipped them on Saturday. All he has now are the smoke colored (polycarbonate) with steel lips. I will post a range report as soon as I can.

    I, too, have some of the first generation mags which I bought on clearance for cheeeeep, but haven't used them much. They weren't very reliable. They need tweaking, and I'd rather spend my time shooting a reliable firearm than tweaking mags. If I'm going to be tweaking mags anyway, I'll dig them out and have a go at it. Incidentally, I bought some genuine Ciener mags at a LGS yesterday. I was getting stovepipes with them and found that the right feed lip was dragging on the bolt of the Nordic. I had to file them down to stop this and haven't tested them since. One thing they do have going for them is that they are all steel and should last forever. I thought they were scratching the bottom of my bolt, but on cleaning found that it was just making a track in the powder residue. Nordic puts some seriously hard stuff on their bolts. These mags won't even fully insert into the Kel Tecs, which is just as well, since I don't want that steel chewing up my polymer guns.

    I dare say that Dremel is not going out of business any time soon! I'd love to join y'all at the KTOG nationals, maybe next year!

    buzzsaw
     
  18. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Moderator Supporter

    May 19, 2006
    Lexington KY
    I'm formulating a theory. Black Dog magazines are like Star Trek movies. The even numbered are the good ones.

    I'll still wait for confirmation before ordering any Gen IV mags.

    Black Dog IV: The Search For Bump Fire... coming this summer to a range near you.
     
  19. buzzsaw

    buzzsaw Grand Poobah Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Georgia
    Well, that may be coming soon. I got home from work about a half hour ago, and guess what was in my mailbox--four Gen IV Blackdog mags with the stainless feed lips that more resemble those from the 2nd Gen...JoeBob strikes again with his amazingly fast delivery, assisted by the USPS. Yes, there are some things us Feds do right.

    Range report to follow soon, but fit in SU/PLR-22 is very nice, and also in my Nordic Components (cases might clear the mag lips and actually strike the ejector), insertion is very easy (there is a ramp for the mag catch). When the follower is not holding the bolt, they actually drop free, even from the Kel Tecs. I got to load 'em up and head for the range!

    My poor PLR-16 is getting so lonesome. :'(

    buzzsaw