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Paraordnance Magazine - Old Versus New


Flatland Shooter

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I did a forum search and was not able to answer several questions that have come up.

I'm doing a little research on ParaOrdnance magazines and trying to determine how other shooters are able to get 21 rounds into their magazines and are able to use magwells on their Paras.

If this is very elementary, please forgive my ignorance. I've just started shooting again after a 10 year absence from the sport.

All my mags are original prebans acquired in the early to mid-90s. With 9x21 their capacity is 20+1. Several of the old basepads are no longer functional and needed to be replaced.

After installing new aftermarket basepads, the magazines fail to seat. Even though I do not have a magwell installed on the gun, the new basepads will not allow the magazines to go far enough into the pistol for the magazine catch to latch.

I went to the local gunshop and measured a new production magazine. I found the new mag body was 0.09" longer than my old magazines. Not much but maybe this little bit is all I need.

Will the extra length of these new magazines allow the use of Dawson basepads in a ParaOrdnance? And if so, (now I'm really pressing my luck) will it also be long enough to allow me to install a magwell on this gun?

Thank you for any assistance you can offer.

Also a side note to Brian for giving us this forum and to the many contributing members out there, THANK YOU. After finding this forum last February, it was a significant factor in getting me out there shooting again!

F.S.

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A quick check of a 14-45 that has a gunsmith cut S&A magwell attached, I would say that your original magazine bases probably will not fit with an add on magwell. At least mine didn't which is why it has the gunsmith fit S&A. I tried cutting down the original base pads & I tried adding Dawson base pads but neither worked. Oringinal bases bases fit flush in my S&A & 10 round mags will not always release. Hi cap or now original cap mags with Dawson pads have an 1/8" of mag body visible when latched & always release.

I would say call Dawson tech support & ask for their help. They gave me a refund on the mag well I had.

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Mr Patterson,

Looking at their online catalog, the S&A ParaOrdnance full Magwell requires replacing the mainspring housing and trimming a little off the bottom of the frame for fit. To keep the integrity of the mainspring pin holes on the frame, it looks like the bottom of the frame forward of the mainspring pin holes is the only metal trimmed by approximately 1/4".

To enable magazines to fit, is the frame with the S&A Magwell now shorter than an original pistol frame? And did your gunsmith open up the bottom of the mag well and the bottom of the gun frame as part of the magwell attachment? On my gun, the metal near the bottom of the frame is mighty thin and could not be opened up much.

I guess that shoots down my theory that the new factory ParaOrdnance magazines are a little bit longer than the original magazines and allow aftermarket basepads to fit with no pistol modifications and, as a bonus, allow 1 additional round to be fed into the magazine.

And per your advice, I think I'll give Dawson a call in the morning and for their advice.

Thanks for your response.

FS

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There are old, and newer tubes of different length. Your tubes might be old enough to be the short ones. If so, new tubes should fix you right up.

Most of the posts talking about 21 rounds in a mag, are in .40.

.38 cal mags should hold one or two more. See the posts about tuning .40, and .45 para mags. The .38 mags work the same. You will need inserts like the Arrodondos with the .38's

This post has some Mag length dimensions, and some info on a mag well that should work.

http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=30533

Consider selling your old prebans, if you can't use them. There are still some states that need them.

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Thank you Wide45,

Good job locating exactly what I needed. I've gotta hone those search skills.

I have the "old" short magazines (all six measure a very consisent length of 4.590").

I also downloaded Dawson's catalog. It has a lot more information than found in their website. I plan on giving them a call tomorrow. An increase from 20+1 to 23+1 will be well worth the effort and expense.

FS

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Mr Patterson,

Snip...

To enable magazines to fit, is the frame with the S&A Magwell now shorter than an original pistol frame? And did your gunsmith open up the bottom of the mag well and the bottom of the gun frame as part of the magwell attachment? On my gun, the metal near the bottom of the frame is mighty thin and could not be opened up much.

Yes the magwell part of the frame is cut to allow the mainspring housing to fit flush & then the grips were cut flat to match the magwell. With Dawson basepads I can now get 18 rounds in the mags. For reloads I download to 17 because I sometimes get a little weak slamming the mag home.

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I have both old and new length para mags. The old short mags, I use dawsons mag pads. My gun has a S&A magwell. Any other mag pads will not seat in the gun with the short tubes. I only get 20 rounds of both 40 or super to work reliably in the short tubes.

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I went with S&A magwells on all 3 of my Paras because everyones base pads will clear. I got tired of being limited to using one kind or another basepad. I know some other magwells are a bit faster but I have had problems with tweaking basepad to fit. Sometimes they crack.

With my P14-45 and Grams pads, I get a reloadable 18 in the mag.

With my P18-9mm and my Open Para 9mm, I get 22 reloadable with Dawson basepads. I haven't messed with springs or followers so there may be room for another round in there with some work.

And I have a couple of basepads made by Ammosmith that I have had about 10 years. They will let my Para mags hold 27 reloadable. I plan to experiment with springs to try to get that to 28 in the future.

Craig

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Thank you for your response Craig.

Are you using some of the older "pre-ban" Para mags or some of the newer and longer Para mags? All of mine are the short (by 0.09") "pre-bans".

At this point I'm leaning toward the S&A magwell and Dawson basepads.

How much hassle is the installation of the S&A magwell. I have not seen their directions but it looks like I'll need to hacksaw about 1/4 inch off the bottom of the pistol grip and dress it up with a file. Sounds correct?

I "googled" Ammosmith with no luck. I guess they are no longer in business or now operating under a different name. A 27 or 28 round magazine would have its benefits. :)

Again, thanks for your response.

Bill

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Bill,

They are 45 ACP from 1993, 38Super/9mm from 1996, and 9mm from 1999.

I haven't measured them but they consistantly worked with certain basepads and consistantly didn't work with others when using the same magwell. So I am guessing they were all the same length.

Once I went to the S&A, all of them worked with all the base pads. By ALL, I mean Dawson, Grams, Arrendondo, CPI, and 3 different styles of factory Para basepads.

Yes, about 1/8" is cut from the bottom of the frame and then blended. My gunsmith did all of mine but I think instructions came with it. I don't think it's that hard if you take your time.

A guy at my local club said he contacted Ammosmith and they were still around. The last contact info I have is

Rick Scallen

Gillette, WY

307-686-6004

Here is a pic of my Open Major 9 Para with the Ammosmith basepad inserted.

Craig

post-2451-1156654776.jpg

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How much hassle is the installation of the S&A magwell. I have not seen their directions but it looks like I'll need to hacksaw about 1/4 inch off the bottom of the pistol grip and dress it up with a file. Sounds correct?

I installed one on my P14 in about 45 minutes. The magwell comes with a small gauge that you use to scribe a line around the portion on the frame to be removed (everything except the mainspring housing gets a bit of material removed). I then used a small coping saw to cut close to the line and remove the bulk of the material. Fit, adjust with a file, repeat as needed - you're done.

*By accident, I left a little extra material at the bottom of the front strap. It turned out to be the a very good thing to do. If that portion of the frame is cut too short, the front of the magwell won't be supported and rocking could occur. By having that dimension long, and using it to make a final, tight fit, it's rock solid.

HTH...

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Thanks for the picture Craig. Now thats what I call a base pad.

And thank you HTH for the information on adding a S&A magwell.

Looks like I get to do some shopping Monday morning.

Bill

No sweat, Bill. If you're interested, I believe S&A still makes or at least has some of their aluminum versions available if you call them directly. I don't think they're still available through the normal distribution channels (Brownells, etc.). I used one since I had a light-weight alloy frame and wanted to keep the bottom-end as light as possible.

...Mark

(I should have explained that HTH is internet shorthand for "Hope That Helps") :)

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I don't know if this is the same problem,

I just started shooting a Para P16 TJ. The gun came with 5 mags, 2 standard and 3 with Dawson base pads and the gun has a Dawson magwell.

Two of the Dawsons do not fully seat in the gun. The mag release is not flush when a mag is inserted and the mag is very tight in the gun. The third base pad seats fully and has little wiggle to it when it's in the gun.

I ordered 2 more base pads from Dawson this week and they work great. The seat fully in the gun and have a slight wiggle when inserted.

I think perhaps Dawson has changed it's Para base pads at some point or these may be mislabelled or mispackaged.

At least now I have 3 good mags, don't know what I'll do with the other 2 base pads.

Dan

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I don't know if this is the same problem,

I just started shooting a Para P16 TJ. The gun came with 5 mags, 2 standard and 3 with Dawson base pads and the gun has a Dawson magwell.

Two of the Dawsons do not fully seat in the gun. The mag release is not flush when a mag is inserted and the mag is very tight in the gun. The third base pad seats fully and has little wiggle to it when it's in the gun.

I ordered 2 more base pads from Dawson this week and they work great. The seat fully in the gun and have a slight wiggle when inserted.

I think perhaps Dawson has changed it's Para base pads at some point or these may be mislabelled or mispackaged.

At least now I have 3 good mags, don't know what I'll do with the other 2 base pads.

Dan

It is not the same problem. Talk to Dawson about the two pads that don't work.

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I have a Dawson magwell on my P14 and works great with Dawson basepads. It does not allow any other basepad to work, not even a stock 10 rounder. However the installation simply consisted of pushing out the mainspring housing pin and replacing it with the longer pin that comes with the magwell. If you are comitted to Dawson basepads this might be a good option for you. It seemed like the easiest thing for me to do.

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I see on Dawson's website that their ICE magwell comes in two flavors. One that fits on the stock ParaOrdnance receiver and one that retrofits to to a ParaOrdnance receiver modified for the Smith and Alexander magwell (this makes the required magazine length approximately 1/8" shorter).

Can you advise which magwell you have and if your magazines are the shorter "old" style mags sold back in the early 90's?

Bill

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I see on Dawson's website that their ICE magwell comes in two flavors. One that fits on the stock ParaOrdnance receiver and one that retrofits to to a ParaOrdnance receiver modified for the Smith and Alexander magwell (this makes the required magazine length approximately 1/8" shorter).

Can you advise which magwell you have and if your magazines are the shorter "old" style mags sold back in the early 90's?

Bill

Mine is part number 009-005. This magwell is made to work with factory stocks. My pistol came with some thicker stocks that I had to trim above the magwell in order to make it fit. They also made the grip too big for me. After trying some factory stocks I noticed that they fit my hand and the magwell.

I'm sorry, but I don't know for sure what type of magazines I have. I bought the gun used about a year ago. I would assume that they are not the older style.

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