Home - Volume 1 (2006) - Issue 2 (Fall '06) - Magazines Review: Metalform Magazines

Metalform Magazines

Reviewed by John Caradimas (John, )

Some of the most highly-recommended magazines are tested

Metalform Company, Inc. is one of the oldest magazine producers in the business and their products are recommended by some of the most experienced on the 1911 people. So in Spring 2006, when a member of our Forums Site started a group-buy, I thought I should give them a try. Since no one bothers to import these magazines in Greece, and since the price was attractive, I had to put my hands on them, to formulate a personal opinion.

It took some time until the ordered magazines arrived in at my mailbox, and by that time Metalform has offered to send me two of their newer magazines, the Elite. So for this test, I had six magazines, two 7-rounders, two 8-rounders and two 8-rounders Elite.

Both the 7-rounders and the 8-rounders I had, were stainless steel, with the flat Metalform followers with the dimple.

The dimple on those followers is a preventive measure. It is supposed (and it does) keep the last round in the magazine, in its proper place (all the way to the rear), so that it does not move forward due to inertia, and create feeding problems.

Metalform magazines can be head in either carbon steel or stainless steel. I typically have no preference on the material (Greece has a dry climat which does not create many issues with carbon steel parts), but when I ordered mine, I asked for the stainless steel ones. When I received the magazines I was surprised to see that both the 7-rounders and the 8-rounders are exactly the same externally. For production savings Metalform is using the same magazine tubes for both magazines, which can be a minor problem for the shooter who has both (you do not know what magazine you are loading, until you have it filled). So I marked the magazines I received with a permanent marker, in order to be able to distinguish them.

I also opted for the welded base magazines, again for reliability issues, although I never had a magazine with a removable base go bad on me.

Upon closer examination of the magazines, I noticed that the quality left something to be desired. The bases were not welded uniformly to the body, as can be seen in the picture above and ....

... while the rear body weld looked quite pronounced in two of the purchased magazines, it was relatively smooth on the other two.

I wondered if this is typical of the Metalform quality in our Forums Site and from the answers it looked as if I got magazines from a bad lot. I brought this matter to the attention of the guys at Metalform, who were kind enough to suggest sending me some replacements. Since I hadn't shot the magazines at that time, I suggested that we wait for the actual test (fire them) before we do anything. After all those problems were cosmetic and I do not care for cosmetics that much.

Eventually, I got to test fire those magazines on the 18th of November, 2006. The test consisted of 200 rounds of .45 ACP ammo fired in groups of 5 shots, so each of those magazines was tried out at least 6 times. The results were mixed and are summarized below.

  • All magazines worked OK, as far as feeding was concerned.
  • Both the 8-rounders and the Elite magazines failed to lock the slide back repeatedly.
  • The 7-rounders worked flawlessly with the exception of one failure to lock the slide back.

As you can see at the picture above, the engagement of the slide stop is minimal and since the follower could move a little to the right, the slide stop just skipped over the elevator ledge. Since it is a well-known fact that no two 1911s are equal, and since the problem of not locking the slide back can be easily corrected by slightly adjusting the follower, I used a screw driver to slightly pry the slide stop ledge of an 8-rounder, so that it had more contact area with the slide stop. Bang! The follower snapped!

Now, I am no stranger to the 1911 and its magazines, I've adjusted several magazines with the folded metal follower over the years and I have never had a follower snap on me. It looks as if the stainless steel followers used in the stainless magazines is too brittle, as can be seen here in a discussion we had about this issue in our Forums Site.

I couldn't believe my own eyes. So I took the second 8-rounder, and being extra-very-careful this time, I tried to open up the elevator part of the follower, to provide some more engagement with the slide. This time, I heard the metal breaking before I see it happen.

OK, so I had two broken 8-round followers and two useless magazines in my hands, so I didn't dare to even touch the 7-rounders. These things are going back to Metalform, if they want them, to figure out what's wrong with them. If not, they go in the garbage can.

Time to check out the new Elite model. When I first looked at the Elite magazines, I was puzzled for a moment. They are stamped with the Metalform logo on the side, and they say "Elite", and metalform on the one side of their removable base pad....

but on the other side, they have a strange logo and on the base pad they say "COBRAMAG HV".

There is nothing wrong with companies working with each other to come up with a product, but I sure would like to know who makes these magazines, Metalform or Tripp Research.

Here are the internals of the Elite magazine, which as you can see is a removable base one.

The plastic part which locks the base pad in place is also stamped "Tripp Research Inc.".

As you can see the base pad has eight detends, which you can fill with some paint, so that you can immediately tell which Elite magazine is which, if you have more than one.

The follower of these magazines is made from sheet steel and it is bended and welded in place.

Now, these mags were send to me by Metalform, when I complained about the quality of the welds in their 7- and 8-rounders magazines I've got. I've been told that these are the top of their line magazines, and that welds were supposed to be polished etc. Still on one of the two samples I received, the rear weld was quite apparent, a cosmetic issue I assume but still not up to the level of quality I would expect.

As I said before, these magazines failed to consistently lock the slide back, after the last round was fired. And given my previous experience with the 8-rounders, I was very reluctant to try and adjust them. Given the difference of their followers though, as compared to the split followers of the standard magazines, I got brave and bend the follower area where the slide stop gets engaged at. With this adjustement, the Elite magazines worked reliably, for a couple of mag-fulls each, but by that time I was running low on ammo and my time was over, so I couldn't test them any more.

Summarizing, I am not sure what to think about those magazines. When the group-buy was run, I was eager to get them, because of all the good words I've heard about them. The ones I've got, didn't impress me at all. The two 8-rounders are now paper-weight, I am afraid that if I touch the followers on the 7-rounders they will snap too, and the Elites although at the end they worked OK, I still can't trust them, but that is not their fault, I need to test them more. I am very interested to hear what Metalform has to say about these problems. One thing that was positive about those magazines however, is that they've never failed to feed properly. Maybe the blue steel ones, with the blue steel followers (which are supposed to be less brittle) are the answer.

You may discuss about this product, ask questions or in general discuss about this review, in this thread in our Forums Site:




Metalform Company, Inc.
555 John Downey Dr.
New Britain, CT 06051

Phone: 800-618-3318

E-Mail: sales@metalformcompany.com
Web site: http://www.metalformcompany.com/

Home - Volume 1 (2006) - Issue 2 (Fall '06) - Magazines Review: Metalform Magazines