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Steel Galil magazine reconditioning and adjustment

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Many people here have bought steel Galil magazines and found that they don't exactly function 100% in the Saiga .223. Count me in on that group. The magazines are very well made, but fit a little loose in the rifle, and sit a little too low in the receiver to always function 100%.


There are a couple of problems with the average steel Galil mag when used in the Saiga .223:


1. Many of the magazines are worn out. A couple of the mags I bought look great on the outside, but upon disassembly, the spring looks like hell, and the anti-tilt legs on the follower are noticeably bent after some hard use.


2. The rear mag catch is not an exact fit to the Saiga .223. The rear of the mag doesn't sit high enough in the receiver as a result, and this can cause failures as the bolt may occasionally pass over the leading round instead of grabbing it and feeding it forward.


3. The anti-tilt follower of the Galil mag really isn't. The Galil mag is sort of a blend of AK and AR magazine designs, and the follower is very close to the older AR metal follower. However, the anti-tilt legs on the Galil magazine are shortened to achieve the greater 35rd capacity. In the case of some heavily-worn Galil mags, the follower exhibits some tilting, especially as the last few rounds are being fed. This can lead to feed failures when the mag is almost empty.


Fortunately, the Galil magazines are easily reconditioned using commonly-available AR magazine parts. They can also be adjusted to your rifle's exact dimensions, which will help eliminate play, and help the mag sit at the correct height within the receiver.


Replacing the mainspring:


The Galil magazine springs are very close to AR magazine springs, but are basically flipped around backwards. If your springs are beat up, bent, and worn out, you can replace them with AR springs. However, due to the increased length of the Galil magazine body, you need to either A. use a 40-round AR mag spring, B. use an "extra power" spring from a spring maker such as Wolff, or C. stretch out the 30-round spring a bit, which may or may not work reliably.


I simply purchased a set of Wolff XP springs. If you choose to do nothing else, AR springs need to be fitted to the baseplate and follower a little bit. The follower end has a 90-degree bend at the follower retainer clip, which is at the wrong angle to work with the factory follower. The required adjustment will be obvious - it just needs to be bent out to about 45-deg instead to allow it to clip into the factory follower


If you use an AR follower, the follower end of the spring does not need to be modified.


In both cases, the baseplate end of the spring simply needs to have the last spring leg bent inward a little bit, so that it will snap into the retaining tabs on the baseplate. This may not be the case for you, but it was for me with the Wolff spring. After adjusting the last spring leg, it clipped securely into both sides of the baseplate.


Worn-out, overstretched Galil spring at top, good condition factory spring at bottom:




Replacing the follower:


The Galil steel magazine will accept any standard AR magazine follower, including popular followers from Magpul and CProducts. I purchased a set of Magpul Enhanced Anti-Tilt followers. and installed them in several Galil magazines.


The polymer AR followers are a bit of a squeeze to get into the Galil mag. This is because the forward floorplate retaining leg is further forward than it is on an AR mag, and it blocks one of the two ribs on the forward-end follower anti-tilt legs. The solution is to press the follower a bit into the mag (make sure to install the spring into the follower first), but it will not drop into the mag at this point. Using a flathead screwdriver, slip the screwdriver between the follower and the wall of the mag. You should be able to spread the body of the mag outwards a small bit, enough so that you can press the follower past the retaining legs, and drop it into the mag.


Oddly enough, it's easier to get the follower out again afterwards. Getting it in is just the pain in the ass.


With the Magpul follower installed, the capacity is reduced to 34 rounds, but the Magpul follower tilts far less than the original Galil follower, and moves through the mag much smoother. Tilt elimination means that the last few rounds in the magazine will feed more reliably, as this is where follower tilt typically causes problems.


Two mags at left with Magpul followers, mag at right with factory follower:




Adjusting the original follower:


If you don't want to replace the follower, you can eliminate some follower tilt by adjusting the factory follower legs. On my Galil mags, the followers all had a large inward bend to the anti-tilt legs, allowing them to move in the mag body more than they should.


Adjust the anti-tilt legs outwards a small amount at a time, making sure that you don't bend them outwards so far that the follower now sits at the incorrect angle within the magazine body. Bending them too far outwards may also prevent the follower from traveling smoothly within the mag body.


They should be close to straight, with a very small inward bend:




Adjusting the Galil magazine for a tighter fit and higher rear seating height:


One of the big problems with the Galil mag is secure latching and fitment. The rear latch is largely the culprit here, as the Galil receiver/latch has slightly different dimensions than the Saiga does. Fortunately, there is some room for adjustment here, and the mags can be adjusted a bit to tighten things up.


Insert a flathead screwdriver into the space between the rear latching tab, and using the side-support of the mag as a backing plate, gently pry the latching tab outward. Repeat for the opposite side of the mag. What you're actually bending outward is the spot-welded rear rib of the magazine, so be careful and don't overdo it - though I doubt you're tough enough to break the spot weld by hand.


Check magazine fit into the rifle, and continue adjusting as necessary until the mag latches in at the rear as tightly as possible. Check specifically that there is no remaining up/down play at the rear. The mag should have zero up/down play at the rear once you've got the latching adjustment properly set. This will also help to eliminate some side to side play, though it's not possible to eliminate all of that at this single point


Adjusting the tab:




Mag at left has an adjusted tab - notice the small gap between the rear rib and the mag body. Mag at right has not been adjusted, and there is no noticeable gap. Notice that the latching tab on the left magazine has a slightly lower ramp angle now, and sits at a lower point. The difference may not be noticeable by eye, but when inserting into the rifle, you'll notice the difference immediately.






After reconditioning and fitting my Galil mags, they fit much better than they ever did before. Hand functioning with dummy rounds has been completely reliable, whereas before I would occasionally have a stovepipe with the mags even when letting the carrier fly forward.


Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to get out to the range and see if these are 100% reliable now. I should be able to do that this coming week. Hopefully this eliminates all malfunction problems with the Galil mags, as I really like them for their stout quality construction and additional capacity.


I hope this improves the condition of your surplus Galil mags, and improves their fit & function as well.



Edited by mancat
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the problem with the Galil mag is it sits too low. Bending the tab will not do it. the front and rear tabs/latchs have to be drilled to remove the spotwelds then reposition the tab/latchs and mig them into place to bring the top of the mag right up to the rail in the receiver where it belongs. now you will have a mag that will work 100%..i have done a few dozen of them, its extensive but the only way to make the galil mags 100%.

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both tabs have to be brought down bout .070. each mag is a custom fit. best to mig em right thru the hole u drilled to bemove the spot welds, then grind smooth..by bringing the mag body up to the correct height this will get rid of all that wobble nonsense too because the top of the mag will now be up again the rails the way there spossed to be.

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