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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ordered a handful of these earlier this week, and wanted to point them out to you all.

They can be found at several on-line retailers for under $11 each. I got mine from AIMsurplus, but there are other retailers competing for the price point:

Croatian Steel AK47 Magazines 30rd 7.62x39
https://www.apexgunparts.com/product_info.php/cPath/50/products_id/4519
AK-47 30 Round Mag New, Steel, Made in Croatia

Croatia was part of the former Yugoslavia, and just like the Yugo mags of old, these are built as bolt-hold-open magazines.

These magazines seem to be fantastic. I have not yet had a chance to live-fire from them, but a loading and unloading with a mag-LULA worked quite well.

These come individually wrapped in VCI plastic, and are coated in a light oil inside the bag. After removing from the plastic, a simple wipe-down of the outside with a cloth is all that was needed.

The construction is very good, and the welds along the spine are uniform. There are fewer spine welds than most surplus AK magazines (see below for more in-depth assessment). The stamping is crisp, and the bluing is pristine (though a few insertions into a Saiga AK did scuff the bluing near the feed lips). Upon initial insertion, it took a tiny bit of extra effort to get the locking lug to be engaged by the mag release; nothing too bad, just initially unexpected, and it got easier after about 10 mag insertions. It locked up TIGHT in the rifle; absolutely no wobble or wiggle. Better in that respect than any other magazine I own (2010 Bulgarian, Chinese, various surplus)

The bolt-hold-open feature worked as any Yugo magazine would; these are a great, affordable alternative.

Here is an in-depth comparison against an excellent condition surplus Yugo mag that I have:

Weight:
Yugo - 13.5 oz
Croatian - 12.8 oz

Front:
Yugo - 9 front welds
Croatian - 8 front welds
Yugo mag has greater overlap of the two side plates in the front. Yugo welds are about 50% larger.

Back:
Yugo - 12 spine welds
Croatian - 9 spine welds
Croatian spine welds are more neat/circular/uniform. Yugo welds are only larger because they are oblong, not circular. The rear hole on the Yugo mag has grinding marks around its periphery, where they polished off burs; the Croatian hole is pristine.

Sidewalls:
The tooling that stamped the side plates is similar, but it is not exactly the same. The side ribs on the Yugo are slightly wider/thicker. The stamping of the Croatian mag is slightly more crisp than that of the Yugo, in all respects except one; the “trench” indentation that runs the length of the mag right where the mag width steps down at the front is more crisp on the Yugo mag.

Yugo wall thickness:
Front sidewall: 0.030 inches
Rear wall: 0.0275 inches

Croatian wall thickness:
Sidewall (all locations): 0.030 inches

Locking Lugs:
The Yugo rear locking lug is longer on the upper plane than that of the Croatian. Where the rear lug abuts the back wall of the mag, it is a crisp right angle on the Yugo; the Croatian has a slight curve at the corner of the right angle, like the rounded corner on the inside of a piece of tupperware.

The rear lug of the Yugo mag is a broad piece, fully the width of the mag, milled thinner on the sides, with six spot welds attaching it to the magazine body. The thinner full width part of the Croatian locking lug (the part with the six spot welds) is actually a SEPARATE piece from the locking lug itself. There is a small gap in the rear walls of the magazine body (all mags have this) which is covered by the six-welded plate; after disassembly this allows me to see that the locking lug has two "prongs" that mate with two horizontal rectangular cuts in the six-weld plate (the cuts together look like an equals sign, with one of the dashes placed far above the other). There appears to be a weld between those prongs/slots, but it is flat, not a dimple, and the bluing makes it hard to tell for sure. One would assume there HAS to be a weld there.

The front locking lug visually doesn’t seem as robust or as well attached as that of the Yugo; i.e. - the mating of all the metal pieces isn’t as tight. No side spot welds are visible on either magazine (as is typical of Yugo mags). Only time will tell if this is really just a minor difference, or if it will really matter.

Lastly, I loaded one of the Croatian mags up to 30, locked it into my rifle, and then proceeded to hand-cycle the rifle, stroking each move of the charging handle as fast as I could. This is not truly indicative of how the magazine will behave under live fire, but it’s the best I could do this evening. I had three failures to feed out of thirty rounds. I will be curious to see its function while actually firing.

Firing Update: So I took one of these on a very short trip to the range a few weeks ago. I fired two full mag loads through a Draco pistol. I had one failure to feed out of 60 rounds. Could possibly have to do with it being a pistol, not a rifle, and the oddity of absorbing the recoil while holding it out in front of me (it's a range toy, and completely impractical for anything other than chucking US Quarters down range for giggles.)
I will have to put it through its paces a bit more, in a rifle, the next time I make it out to the range.
 

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Good review. Dunno what the hell all that is supposed to mean other then you are impressed with a commercial AK mag that has a useless bolt hold open feature that releases the bolt as soon as you take out the mag unless you notch the selector for it. Then it adds one more step to mag changes. The BHO selector and mag feature disappeared from Yugo AKs. it came back with Zastava hitting the commercial market. All the BHO stuff was for was grenade launching. Easier to load a single round in the chamber.
 

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Thanks for the review of the mags. I have been looking at them, but just hadn't bought any yet.


I personally like bolt hold open followers. I have them in several different originating countries.

My favorite reason for liking them is the way they feel lets me know when I'm out.

I don't mind that it drops the bolt once I drop the mag, and therefore doesn't technically add any steps to the process, other than to just let me know when to grab another mag.

It doesn't save a lot of time, but it does save me some time off a mag change and having cut my teeth changing mags in an AR and Fal, the whole process behind the AK mag change is woefully slow if making an honest sincere comparison, so any reduction in mag change time is still an improvement.
 

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Thanks for the review of the mags. I have been looking at them, but just hadn't bought any yet.


I personally like bolt hold open followers. I have them in several different originating countries.

My favorite reason for liking them is the way they feel lets me know when I'm out.

I don't mind that it drops the bolt once I drop the mag, and therefore doesn't technically add any steps to the process, other than to just let me know when to grab another mag.

It doesn't save a lot of time, but it does save me some time off a mag change and having cut my teeth changing mags in an AR and Fal, the whole process behind the AK mag change is woefully slow if making an honest sincere comparison, so any reduction in mag change time is still an improvement.
I guess. If you're in the moment, you don't know when the bolt locks up till you pull the trigger and nothing happens. Same way as with an AR. That is why you see people look and see if the bolt is back or if they have a malfunction. I see what you are saying, but chinese followers are the same shape and on common steels, you grind off the rivet or hump in the mag and it does the same thing as long as the follower has a square back. The follower just sits higher in the Yugo mag because it doesn't have a travel limiter.

When I was in the Balkans, they hated those mags.
 

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I have heard that you can make regular followers hold the bolt back by grinding the detent, but there are so many different kinds out there, sometimes that's not really the case. And not to mention risk causing the front of the follower to raise up too high and maybe get the feed angle too wrong.


Here are a few different regular followers just as an example.




I have 3 different factory mags that have high back bolt hold open followers, and they are considerably different from a regular follower.


Here's bolt hold open followers. I'm sure you've seen them though, but the Chinese are the "hollow" followers







 

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Yep, those look like the ones I have too.

Except for the yugo follower that isn't hollow where the bolt would strike it (seen in one of the pics above).


Wish I could find about a dozen of the falcon followers, or even a good copy of any of the real high backs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wish I could find about a dozen of the falcon followers, or even a good copy of any of the real high backs.
If I'm taking your meaning correctly, there is some new polymer replacement follower that hit the market in the last month or so, that purports to be just that. The raised part of the follower goes REALLY high, and has a metal piece on the back, so you can turn any ol' AK mag into a bolt-hold-open mag.
 

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And why I was looking for an all steel bolt hold open follower. I can't trust or don't want a plastic follower of that design.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
FYI - I updated the end of the review with information about a short range trip. I'll have to put this one through a few more paces before I trust it for sure, but it seemed to work alright.
 
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