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Thread: AR-15 Preban Magazine Identification Guide

  1. #1
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    Default AR-15 Preban Magazine Identification Guide

    Between the data that is available and my own personal knowledge gained from having gone through over a thousand preban AR15 magazines there are three common ways to identify 30 round preban AR-15 magazines.
    The first of these methods and most reliable would be an external date stamp. The external date stamp will appear in a format of “xx/xxxx” representing the month and year of manufacture. This is the ideal magazine you would want for identification purposes. An externally date stamped magazine will look like the following:




    The second method to identifying preban magazines, and the second most reliable method, would be an internal date stamp. Internally date stamped magazines are about as easy to find as externally date stamped magazines but the floor plate must be removed to verify a preban internal date stamp. With an internal date stamp it is common for both side of the magazine to be stamped with a code. These codes usually look like the following, “K4 87” on one side of the magazine and then “04 87” on the opposite. The “K4” represents the month of manufacture, the number follow the “K” will be the month, so in this example the “4” represents a magazine manufactured in April. The “87” stamp represents the year of manufacture, so this magazine was manufactured in April 1987. These stamps can appear horizontally, vertically, or even upside down when stamped inside the magazine so if you were to see a date stamp code of “K11 98” this is mostly likely a November 1986 date of manufacture due to the fact that the 86 can be stamped in any direction. Some externally date stamped magazines will also feature an internal date stamp, this is how I have verified that the internal date stamps do represent the dates of manufacture as well as confirming that the internal date stamps are stamped in multiple directions (vertically, horizontally, upside down, etc.).




    The third way to identify, and the least reliable is by the lack of a date stamp. Since 1994 manufacturers have been stamping their post ban magazines with stamps that say "LEO/MIL USE ONLY", etc. along with an external date stamp. Do note though that there is a magazine manufacturer who currently produces post ban magazines that lack the MIL/LEO warning and also lacks any date stamp. Do not purchase these magazines because they are illegal regardless of whether they look identical to preban magazines or not. There are people here in NY on other forums that will tell you these magazines are preban, if they look brand new and have a damaged baseplate chances are the magazine is a postban magazine that has had a preban floorplate put on it by someone to make the buyer think they are getting preban magazines in excellent condition with just a worn base plate.

    However, the majority of preban magazines lack a date stamp so 90% of the preban magazines in existence will not have any type of marking and these are legal preban magazines so don't hesitate to buy these if you get the opportunity.

    If you have any questions about any of this stuff just ask.
    Last edited by Rich; 08-14-2009 at 04:45 AM.

  2. #2
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    good reference point - there are a few pre ban FAQs out there too on google

  3. #3

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    can someone give any definitive answers about using pre ban magazines in a post ban ar. Is it 100% legal for sure? ive been trying to research and have seen nothing but mixed advice. It seems a little iffy and maybe not worth taking any chances if it is left to interpretation. Many people have said dealers have said that its illegal and i would assume since they are in the industry and deal with these issues and are expected to know the state laws that they would know whats legal or not. but at the same time others say its perfectly legal and quote the wording of the law which is very vague. Does anyone have a definitive answer. I would really like the pre ban 30 mag but if its legality is questionable then its not worth it. Any advice or info is greatly appreciated, thanks

  4. #4

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    also the ones i am thinking of buying are pre ban Colt and the seller says the only markings are internal and say K1 which he says mean (1971) or K2 which mean (1972). Does that sound correct for a pre ban colt mag?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjny1 View Post
    also the ones i am thinking of buying are pre ban Colt and the seller says the only markings are internal and say K1 which he says mean (1971) or K2 which mean (1972). Does that sound correct for a pre ban colt mag?
    Yes that does sound right. The floor plate should look like this

    and not have the usual restricted markings.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjny1 View Post
    can someone give any definitive answers about using pre ban magazines in a post ban ar. Is it 100% legal for sure? ive been trying to research and have seen nothing but mixed advice. It seems a little iffy and maybe not worth taking any chances if it is left to interpretation. Many people have said dealers have said that its illegal and i would assume since they are in the industry and deal with these issues and are expected to know the state laws that they would know whats legal or not. but at the same time others say its perfectly legal and quote the wording of the law which is very vague. Does anyone have a definitive answer. I would really like the pre ban 30 mag but if its legality is questionable then its not worth it. Any advice or info is greatly appreciated, thanks
    It is DEFINITELY completely legal to use preban mags in any gun. The dealer who is giving you your advice doesn't know what he's talking about. You would think that since they work in the industry that they would know what they're talking about but that is usually not the case.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjny1 View Post
    also the ones i am thinking of buying are pre ban Colt and the seller says the only markings are internal and say K1 which he says mean (1971) or K2 which mean (1972). Does that sound correct for a pre ban colt mag?
    That is not correct from my experience and knowledge. I have had over 1000 preban mags in the past 3-4 years. The K# from my experience is the month in which the mag was produced (i.e. K2 = February).

  8. #8
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    Actually, take a look at the pic at the top where it says K4, that mag has an external stamp of 04/87. The K has nothing to do with the year of mfg.

  9. #9

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    This is the sellers description: "I have some NOS Never Used 1970ís Colt 30rd PreBan mags for sale - These Colt mags are inside body date code stamped either ( K1 - K2 - K3 - K4 or K5 ) which equals - 1971 - 1972 - 1973 - 1974 and 1975 - per the 1970's date codes The factory Colt shipping box these mags came out of is date marked 11/76 The mags all have insertion marks from the Mil Spec quality control insertion test And they all have the factory black followers that were being used in the 1970ís"

    the pic of the floorplate he sent me looks just like the pic FREEK posted above. Is it easy to remove the floorplate? I want to see exactly what markings are on the inside when they arrive. and he shows a pic of the box which is dated 1976. I know a box doesnt mean much but is there a way to tell based on the floorplate or any features or markings on the mag?? Also what if there is a lack of markings on the mag does that mean they are pre ban? I know alot of post ban now have no markings on them but does anyone know any specifics on Colt Mags specifically does this sellers description sound accurate? Rich and Freek thanks for the quick responses

  10. #10

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    The floor plate is just slid off. I'd assume the seller is Blackgun or 1Blackgun or something similar? If a magazine has no markings it is most likely preban, I would say 99% guarantee its preban.

    How many mags are you looking for? I have a line on some externally date stamped mags I'm working on sealing the deal on.
    07 FFL

    For the quickest response, send an email to info@roguemanufacturing.com

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