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Magazine tube end of life?


Luckynumberslevin
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Hey guys,

I searched the forums with no luck so I thought I would ask the question here.  I recently purchased an older open gun comprised of a Tripp research double stack lower and it came with 7 older generation 1 STI mags that were worse for wear.  Most don't drop free from the DVC grips that I have on other guns or other guns that i have tried.  With some massaging I've gotten 4 out of 7 half ass haha but the tubes seem to not wanna hold shape.  So my question is, is there a point where you just replace the tubes? Or are tubes supposed to be a life long part?  The newer gen 2 mags I have seem to work well..

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Early STI tubes (the ones with several holes down the side) had somewhat variable geometry.  If they fit, they'll last pretty much forever until they crack.  I've had some in regular use since the early 1990s.  But if you get some that are oversize, it's rarely worth trying to make them fit, just get some new tubes and sell the old ones to someone that wants "pre-bans"

 

Also the STI grip got a bit tighter over the years as the mold wore...

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I have a Gen 1 STI 170mm that I just flat out dont use.  Compared to the Gen 2 STI tubes and my MBX 170mm, I just dont see the point in keeping the Gen 1 "up to date" to compete with the other mags I have.

Does the Gen 1 mag work? Sure, but for the sake of simplicity in ordering/keeping around replacement springs and whatnot I would rather just stick with the Gen 2's/MBX.  I would rather avoid the hassle of it possibly falling out in the middle of a match, and it needs a new spring so it just sits at home where I dont have to worry about it.  Since you're already having sizing issues, I would just say get it replaced and call it good.  Sell the Gen 1s to people who want/need them and call it a day, one less thing for you to worry about.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not to hijack your thread but what are the generations of STI mags and approximate dates of manufacture for each? I just found a box of “new” old stock tubes I bought years ago for an open gun I never built.  Bought them in 2008ish.   Just trying to figure out what is what.  

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IMO Gen 1 STI tubes are worthless.  STI Gen 2 tubes run fine after you fix the feed lips on some of them.  SVI Gen1 tubes and MBX tubes ran/run 100% in all my 2011s.  I currently run MBX any time I can.  I also have three STI Gen 2 with TTI guts and pads.  I use them for classifiers with mandatory mag changes, or any time I have to drop a mag in mud or dust.

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50 minutes ago, zzt said:

IMO Gen 1 STI tubes are worthless.  STI Gen 2 tubes run fine after you fix the feed lips on some of them.  SVI Gen1 tubes and MBX tubes ran/run 100% in all my 2011s.  I currently run MBX any time I can.  I also have three STI Gen 2 with TTI guts and pads.  I use them for classifiers with mandatory mag changes, or any time I have to drop a mag in mud or dust.


when did the gen 2 come out?

 

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Going from memory here, STI has had several generations of tubes... way more than 1 or 2. 

 

The very first ones had a row of holes down the side as in the above pic.  The sides had two reducer-rail indents depending on caliber.  38 Super mags had the linear indents both sides.  .45 mags had no indents (Hicap .45 was a thing when they started and nobody shot 9x19 for real).   As they were welded up from two side-shells, this let them add .40 without making new stampings.  Thus early .40 mags had one side with indents and the other with none since they were made with one .38 and one .45 shell.

 

The next version the .40 mags had less-deep indents on both sides and the number of holes in the side decreased to two across the board, maybe 3 on the big sticks.  IIRC this was in the mid 1990s.  Later on the stampings got more angular and less rounded especially at the top, but the 2 indents remained.  Recently they switched to tubes with just one large indent.

 

On any STI mags with two indents per side, you need to run spacers, short followers and springs to get 9mm to work reliably.  Yeah, there's probably people that can make them work without, but why bother.  They work well with spacers and halfway reasonable feed lip geometry.

 

The latest tubes with one large indent in the side don't need spacers anymore.  SVI's have been that way since the beginning so also don't need spacers for 9, but SVI has reportedly moved the mag catch slot around a little over the years so some may not work in some STIs

 

 

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On 4/1/2020 at 12:49 PM, shred said:

Going from memory here, STI has had several generations of tubes... way more than 1 or 2. 

 

The very first ones had a row of holes down the side as in the above pic.  The sides had two reducer-rail indents depending on caliber.  38 Super mags had the linear indents both sides.  .45 mags had no indents (Hicap .45 was a thing when they started and nobody shot 9x19 for real).   As they were welded up from two side-shells, this let them add .40 without making new stampings.  Thus early .40 mags had one side with indents and the other with none since they were made with one .38 and one .45 shell.

 

The next version the .40 mags had less-deep indents on both sides and the number of holes in the side decreased to two across the board, maybe 3 on the big sticks.  IIRC this was in the mid 1990s.  Later on the stampings got more angular and less rounded especially at the top, but the 2 indents remained.  Recently they switched to tubes with just one large indent.

 

On any STI mags with two indents per side, you need to run spacers, short followers and springs to get 9mm to work reliably.  Yeah, there's probably people that can make them work without, but why bother.  They work well with spacers and halfway reasonable feed lip geometry.

 

The latest tubes with one large indent in the side don't need spacers anymore.  SVI's have been that way since the beginning so also don't need spacers for 9, but SVI has reportedly moved the mag catch slot around a little over the years so some may not work in some STIs

 

 


thanks much

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I have Gen1 mags with two holes on the sides.  These things have been rock solid (knock on wood) for the last 2 years.  I disassemble and clean them periodically or after they are dropped in the mud and they continue to run like clockwork!

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