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Modifying the Pro Mag .

223 and
Bulgarian 5.56mm Magazines
To Function Reliably in a SAR-3
The following tutorial concerns the Pro Mag .223 and Bulgarian 5.56mm magazines. What started this was the
high cost and limited availability of Wieger metal .223 magazines, which from my understanding/experience
have always worked reliably in the SAR-3.

PRO MAG .223 MAGAZINE

The first magazine that we will deal with is the Pro Mag .223 magazine. As I received mine, it fit into the SAR-
3 easily. There was some side to side wobble and fore/aft movement also, but this had happened on my Wieger
magazines also.

The problem I discovered was that the Pro Mag .223 magazine would not feed the last 2 rounds (bolt over
cartridge) when manually operating the bolt/carrier assembly. Some have stated that I should have test fired the
magazine before attempting any modification. To me this is like saying that when testing the FCG (Fire
Control Group) for correct operation, and the hammer is not captured by the disconnector, to go and test fire the
rifle before making any corrections. It just doesn’t make any sense. I have never had a firearm that I couldn’t
load and eject all rounds from the clip/magazine by manually operating the carrier/slide.

Before we start, I want to emphasize that the modifications outlined here are what I needed to accomplish to
ensure the Pro Mag .223 magazine functioned correctly and reliably. For some, additional work may be
needed.

Apply all safety measures when performing any checks using live ammunition. With that said, let’s start…

1. First, to ensure that modification to the magazine is necessary, load the Pro Mag .223 magazine with 30
dummy cartridges, which are available from Brownell’s (if you can’t make your own).
2. If dummy cartridges are not available, live ammunition can be used but is not recommended. Remove the
firing pin from the bolt assembly. Refer to AK-47 Build CD, file #22, Fire Control Group Removal and file
#27, AK Bolt Disassembly. Ensure that you have a clear area (outdoors) to perform this test.

3. Insert the magazine into the rifle. With a consistent smooth action, operate the carrier charging handle back
and forth to feed and eject all 30 rounds. If all 30 rounds feed and eject successfully, modification to the
magazine is unnecessary. Go to Step #13 for live fire testing of the magazine. If cartridges fail to feed and
eject, proceed to Step #4.

4. If a failure to feed occurs (bolt over cartridge), perform the steps below. The pictures below are the result of
unmodified .223 Pro Mag magazines. All .223 Pro Mag Magazines tested resulted in the last two (2) rounds
failing to feed.
5. There are 2 areas that need to be corrected, 1.) The cartridge feed lips. 2.) Left Hand Rear Follower Support
which is inside the magazine that causes the head of the cartridge to shift outboard. We will deal with each of
these issues.

Cartridge Feed Lips –


Left Hand Rear Follower Support –

6. Modifying the cartridge feed lips: This requires the use of a Dremel tool and a rotary file. You will be
reducing the thickness of both left and right cartridge feed lips. The first measurement on the unmodified feed
lips was approximately .105”.
7. The modified feed lips measured .074”.

8. Modifying the Left Hand Rear Follower Support: This also requires the use of a Dremel tool and rotary
file. The follower support must be filed flush with the magazine wall and have an OAH of .350”
9. With both areas modified the angle of departure for the un-modified and modified magazine is easily seen.

10. Functional checkout of the magazine. There are 3 ways to perform a functional check of the “now”
modified magazine.

Functional Check Using Action Proving Cartridges

Functional Check Using Live Ammunition (not recommended)

Functional Check Live Fire Testing

Each method will be addressed separately.

11. Functional Check Using Action Proving Cartridges: Load the magazine to capacity (30 rounds) with
Action Proving Cartridges (available from Brownell’s) or dummy cartridges. Insert the magazine into the rifle.
Place the selector lever to the “Fire” position. Pull back the charging handle on the bolt carrier and release (do
not ride the carrier forward). This has loaded one dummy round into the chamber. Pull back on the charging
handle (this will eject the chambered dummy round) and release the handle again (this will have chambered
another dummy round). Continue doing this until all dummy rounds have been chambered and ejected (see
picture in Step #3).

12. Functional Check Using Live Ammunition (not recommended): Removal of the firing pin is necessary
to perform this operation. Refer to the AK-47 Build CD file #22 Fire Control Group Removal and #27 AK
Bolt Disassembly.

Load the magazine to capacity, insert the magazine into the rifle. Move the selector lever to the fire position
and pull back the charging handle on the bolt carrier and release (do not ride the carrier forward). This has
loaded one round into the chamber. Pull back on the charging handle (this will eject the chambered round) and
release the handle again (this will have chambered another round). Continue doing this until all rounds have
been chambered and ejected (see picture in Step #3).
13. Functional Check Live Fire Testing: This is what I do only after Step #11 or #12 have been completed
successfully.

Load the magazine with 2 rounds, insert the magazine into the rifle. Move the selector lever to the fire position.
Pull back the charging handle on the bolt carrier and release (do not ride the carrier forward). This will have
chambered one live round. Select your target and fire, the empty case should have been ejected and the second
round chambered. Again, select your target and fire. Pull the charging handle to the rear and check for an
empty magazine and chamber. Release the carrier charging handle, place the selector lever to safe.

Load the magazine to capacity, insert the magazine into the rifle. Move the selector lever to the fire position
and pull the bolt carrier charging handle to the rear. Release the carrier (do not ride the carrier forward) which
will load one round into the chamber. Select your target and fire until the magazine is empty.

10. This completes the modification and functional testing of the .223 Pro Mag magazine.
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BULGARIAN 5.56MM MAGAZINE

The work required to have the Bulgarian 5.56mm magazines function correctly is by far, easier than what was
needed to have the Pro Mag .223 magazine operate.

The information below is applicable to all Bulgarian 5.56mm magazines, regardless of capacity.

1. Make the rifle safe for maintenance, remove the top cover, recoil spring assembly, carrier and bolt. This
information can be found in the AK-47 Build CD file #22, Step #1 through #10.

2. Try to install the magazine into the rifle, you will notice that the magazine will not fully install and that the
back of the magazine hits the center support.
3. Remove the magazine from the rifle and using a fine tooth file, carefully remove material from the back of
the magazine. It’s easier to start with a 45 degree file cut, then round off the angles. Only remove material that
is needed to allow the magazine to fit into the rifle. Remove a little material test fit, remove a little more
material, test fit.
4. These pictures show the difference between the unmodified and modified magazine. Not much material is
needed to be removed.
5. After removing what material is needed the magazine will snap into place.

6. Once the magazine is capable of being snapped into place, remove the magazine and re-install the
bolt/carrier assembly, the recoil spring assembly and the top cover. Information concerning this can be found in
the AK-47 Build CD file #22.

7. Functional checkout of the magazine. There are 3 ways to perform a functional check of the “now” modified
magazine.

Functional Check Using Action Proving Cartridges

Functional Check Using Live Ammunition (not recommended)

Functional Check Live Fire Testing

Each method will be addressed separately.

7. Functional Check Using Action Proving Cartridges: Load the magazine to capacity (20 or 30 rounds)
with Action Proving Cartridges (available from Brownell’s) or dummy cartridges. Insert the magazine into the
rifle. Place the selector lever to the “Fire” position. Pull back the charging handle on the bolt carrier and
release (do not ride the carrier forward). This has loaded one dummy round into the chamber. Pull back on the
charging handle (this will eject the chambered dummy round) and release the handle again (this will have
chambered another dummy round). Continue doing this until all dummy rounds have been chambered and
ejected.
8. Functional Check Using Live Ammunition (not recommended): Removal of the firing pin is necessary
to perform this operation. Refer to the AK-47 Build CD file #22 Fire Control Group Removal and #27 AK
Bolt Disassembly.

Load the magazine to capacity, insert the magazine into the rifle. Move the selector lever to the fire position
and pull back the charging handle on the bolt carrier and release (do not ride the carrier forward). This has
loaded one round into the chamber. Pull back on the charging handle (this will eject the chambered round) and
release the handle again (this will have chambered another round). Continue doing this until all rounds have
been chambered and ejected (see pictures in Step #7).

9. Functional Check Live Fire Testing: This is what I do only after Step #7 or #8 have been completed
successfully.

Load the magazine with 2 rounds, insert the magazine into the rifle. Move the selector lever to the fire position.
Pull back the charging handle on the bolt carrier and release (do not ride the carrier forward). This will have
chambered one live round. Select your target and fire, the empty case should have been ejected and the second
round chambered. Again, select your target and fire. Pull the charging handle to the rear and check for an
empty magazine and chamber. Release the carrier charging handle, place the selector lever to safe.

Load the magazine to capacity, insert the magazine into the rifle. Move the selector lever to the fire position
and pull the bolt carrier charging handle to the rear. Release the carrier (do not ride the carrier forward) which
will load one round into the chamber. Select your target and fire until the magazine is empty.

10. This completes the modification and functional testing of the Bulgarian 5.56mm magazines.