M1911.ORG Tests the new Metalform Extended Magazine in .38 Super

Metalform Joins the Battle in the Magazine War

Reviewed for M1911.ORG by Joe Proto, with Harwood Loomis

Those readers who have been involved in the world or 1911s for any significant length of time probably know that, historically, (aside for war-time manufacturers for military M1911s and M1911A1s) there have been three major manufacturers of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) magazines for Colt 1911s and for many of the other 1911 pistol makers. Within the bounds of recent memory we have seen many other makers also enter the 1911 magazine market, along with specialty vendors such as Wilson Combat and Chip McCormick. Even more recently, others have joined the action; Brownells introduced their own brand of 1911 magazines a couple of years ago, and even Sarco (the New Jersey/Pennsylvania parts vendor) now has their own “house” brand of 1911 magazines. And that’s not the end.

It’s getting crowded, and it seems that many of these magazine manufacturers have their own ideas regarding how John Browning’s classic design can be improved on. We now see extended tubes, extended base plates different follower designs, different spring designs, and even polymer followers. Metalform, considered one of the “go to” suppliers as recently as a decade ago when M1911.ORG was founded, seems to have largely fallen off the radar for 1911 cognoscenti. Metalform decided to up their game and get back into the action, and they came up with some improvements of their own. Awhile back the folks at Metalform sent M1911.ORG a box of magazines and asked us to put them through their paces. The first one we wanted to try was a new, extended, 10-round magazine for the full-size 1911 pistol, in .38 Super. Having recruited an experienced .38 Super shooter to put the new magazine through its paces, we can report on how it performed.

What is it?

For starters, the test magazine is Metalform’s model 38-747 … and it isn’t on their web site. It’s an extended stainless steel tube with Metalform’s removable polymer “Ultra Mag” base and a round-top follower. The exterior finish is a natural, unpolished stainless steel. Witness holes are staggered down each side of the magazine body in a classic pattern, with the uppermost hole located at the position of the third round rather than at the second round as with Metalform’s (and Colt’s) conventional, flush-fit 9-round .38 Super magazines.

Metalform 38-747 flanked by a pair of factory Colt .38 Super magazines

The polymer base is a two-piece assembly, like many removable magazine bases. The outer base fits around the outside of the magazine tube and has two rails that engage slots cut into the sides of the magazine body. Inside, there is a polymer shoe at the bottom of the spring. A button on the inner shoe engages a hole in the base, locking it in place. So far, nothing out of the ordinary.

Aside from the extended length, the big story about the Metalform 38-747 is the round-top follower. Rather than the conventional flat, dimpled follower as designed by John Browning for the M1911, this magazine has an arched or round-top follower without any dimple. About a quarter of an inch short of the front, the top of the follower bends over to be almost parallel to the bore axis of the pistol, and then bends down again to form a skirt that extends down into the front of the magazine tube. Inside the tube, the skirt is shaped to follow the contour of the magazine body. The result is a follower that fits snugly and virtually cannot tip forward, even when feeding the last round.

Colt .38 Super on the left, Metalform 38-747 on the right

In use, not only the polymer base but also part of the magazine tube extend beyond the grip frame of the pistol. Although there is a short expanse of exposed metal, over-insertion is prevented by the turned-up nose of the polymer base, which engages the notch at the bottom of the pistol’s front strap and limits the extent to which the magazine can be inserted.

Does it work?

Yes, it does. To provide a fair workout, M1911.org enlisted the assistance of Joe Proto, one of the top shooters in the area, who conveniently happens to shoot primarily a Colt 1911 in .38 Super. We turned the test magazine over to Joe and told him to drive it like he stole it, and tell us how it worked. Here’s his analysis:

Let me start by staying thanks for taking and trusting my input.

I've been using this magazine for a few weeks and, after testing the first full magazine, I put it in with the rest of the competition mags. I'm using a Colt series 80 38 super race gun and as far as ammo you caught me at a good time. With the shortage of powder I've been using anything I can find. I started with Star 125 grain lead round nose; SNS casting polymer coated 125 grain round nose; some leftover Bull-x 147 grain flat point; and, to finish it off, Bayou bullets 125 grain polymer coated flat point, totaling about 250-275 rounds. All feeding was very good, the only problem I was able to see was the rounds feed a bit slow, which caused a couple of hiccups. It’s not the first time I've come across this problem. To fix this problem in the past, I put the magazines in a commercial vibratory tumbler with polishing stones, seeing that finish is a bit rough.

I wouldn't have a problem purchasing these magazines and polishing them myself, it's all part of the fun of the game.

Please go to this thread on the M1911 Pistols Organization discussion forum to discuss this pistol and this review: http://forum.m1911.org/showthread.ph...325#post983325

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Metalform Company
55 Service Avenue
Warwick, RI 02886
Tel: 401-739-0740
Fax: 401-732-5784

Email: khoffman@metalform.us
Site: http://www.metalform.us

Note: Metalform does not sell direct in consumer quantities.
Their magazines are available through Brownells, Cabela’s, Midway, and local gun shops.