Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 50 - Pre-Ban, Hi-Cap, Magazines - It's A Chore To Find Them but...

...they are still a necessary requirement in places like New York State where if you want to own a high capacity magazine it still has to be pre-ban as per state law. (Don't even think of owning one in New Dork York City though or Bloomberg and the boys in blue will lock you up post haste.) As for the rest of New York State (and I think this applies to all of it but some other cities may have total bans on hi-cap like NYC, so check first) I am fairly confident that you can legally own high capacity magazines that were manufactured prior to September 13, 1994.

Now, if you are at all familiar with firearms that are capable of using high capacity magazines you probably realize that there used to be a similar federal ban on high capacity magazines that went into effect under Commeraden President William Jefferson Clinton. That one is no longer in effect because there was a sunset provision built into that law. It arrived at its sunset under President George W. Bush and was never brought back into law (at least not yet but I am pretty sure the Obama Administration would like to do so). Good for us that is was allowed to sunset - well for most of us - because as I said NY State still requires you to use only pre-ban hi-cap mags for them to be legal. Finding them nowadays is not always easy.

Take for example my two visits to gun shows since I have been on temporary assignment in Phoenix. The first time around I picked up two so called 'pre-ban' 30rd AK magazines from a dealer at said show. He assured me they were pre-ban. I never shopped for these mags before except maybe once and knew little about them. These were the best looking ones he had, in almost pristine condition. I have seen military surplus like that before, and I figured why would this guy lie to me to make a $30.oo sale and take a chance of investigated later on if I had problems because of them. So I bought them after telling him I would be bringing them back to NY and they absolutely had to be pre-ban mags. As it turns out, I cannot find any reference on the Internet to magazines that look like these as being pre-ban. Maybe they are and maybe not - but I have seen similar ones sold as post-ban. Whoops. That is okay for now because they are legal in AZ even if they are post ban. If I find out for sure they are post ban or even if it remains very questionable about them being pre-ban or not, I will not bring them back to NY. I will sell them here before I leave.

Sadly, I did not realize that those magazines might be post-ban until after this past Sunday. You see on Sunday, I went to my second gun show here in Phoenix and guess whom I bought two additional pre-ban AK 30rd magazines from this time. Yep, the same guy. These were different magazines and are blued steel. They were labelled as:


He said they were pre-ban. Other dealers had the same exact ones on sale, all hawking them as pre-ban magazines. I bought two of them. They were only about $14.00 each. With tax - $30 plus small change. Not bad. In NY these might go for as much as $40 to $50 each from a gun store. As I walked away from his tables with the mags, I realized he had given me two ten dollar bills as change from $40 I had given to him. I went back and told him, he thought he had given me two fives but I was sure he had not since I only had one five and that was my change from my admission fee. Otherwise I had all twenties and the two tens he gave me. He took one back and said thanks looking at me like I was a jerk but i felt okay about returning the excess to him.

I went online yesterday, simply interested in finding out more about pre versus post ban hi-cap magazines. I found a few interesting descriptions of AK magazines - not much about post versus pre but some. The best piece I found was on a site called Glock Talk - go figure! You can see it
here. Well from what I can make out - the first two mags I bought are not listed there but his is not an all inclusive picture guide to AK mags. The second, the blued steel ones that I bought, are not as questionable as the gray ones. What makes them somewhat questionable is that although marked Romanian they do not appear the same as this guy's Romanian mags. Of course, I realize there are probably production differences throughout Romania. Being more confused than ever, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, I figured I would get some more knowledge and go to the source for these mags. Well, at least I would go to the US distributor. So I contacted Century International Arms by email in the wee hours of this morning. I was quite surprised they replied to me later this same day. That was quick. First they told me they did not know when they were imported and could not really help with legal issues. I clarified in a second email to them saying all I wanted to know was the manufacture date because I already knew that pre-ban are legal in NY State. They got right back to me again saying they were uncertain of the date of manufacture but that they were issue magazines and most likely pre-ban. Okay - so the dealer maybe got it right this time but is maybe good enough?

In the same wee hours of this morning, I also searched out pre-ban hi-cap AK mags for sale online. I actually found two places selling them at what seem fairly reasonable prices. I contacted the place that had them for less (a buck apiece less is a buck apiece less after all. That was
KeepShooting.com, the online sales division of BTP Arms. I asked if they would deliver the mags they advertised as pre-ban 30rd AK mags to me in NY State. Their reply also came later today and was a simple: "Yes we do". This evening, after reading their reply, I ordered two of those magazines. I know that $17.95 each is not a great price, but these are being sold as pre-ban (shown as such on their website) and are being offered by a regular dealer with a business - so I figure that is good enough for me and ought to be good enough in NY for any authorities who might question me at a range or wherever. I also know that the price was not terrible. I would rather have paid what they are probably worth - about $10-$14 apiece - but you have to take em as you can find em and I found em at a decent enough price to take em - so I took em! I may buy more if these arrive as promised. I limited myself to 5 mags for the first purchase because I have never before dealt with this company. Time will tell if they are reliable.

As for the five magazines I ordered from
KeepShooting.com, they are slated as European manufacture, metal (hopefully steel and they look to be blued steel), 30rd, AK, pre-ban magazines in excellent condition. You can see the web page for them here: http://www.keepshooting.com/firearmaccessories/magazines/ak4730rdmag.htm. Maybe you live in NY, or in another state, with similar Draconian laws. If you do, and if you need some pre-ban hi-cap AK mags now you have a potential source.

Now to find pre-ban hi-cap AR magazines for my son's new rifle. Something tells me this new task may not be as easy.

All the best,
Glenn B


BadIdeaGuy said...

Wow Glenn, that's quite a post. I hope I never have to deal with that (but fear I will have to someday prove when I bought what I have).

If getting the AK mags was hard, I'll bet it might be easier to move to a less anti-gun state than find AR mags! :)

ParatrooperJJ said...

Aren't you exempt from the mag restrictions in NY?

Glenn B said...

It is not hard finding the magazines, just hard finding ones that a dealer will actually vouch for as pre-ban and then document as pre-ban either in an ad or on a receipt. I am willing to bet the mags I ordered online will be virtually the same as the 2nd two I bought from the guy at the gun show. At least I can document the ones I am buying online, as being sold as pre-ban, to cover my derriere.

As for being exempt on magazine restrictions, I am but only if I am using the magazines for official duty as far as I understand. Does not matter either way though as these mags are for my son.

NY gun laws blow!

All the best,

Anonymous said...

There seems to be two schools of thought with preban mags. One is if it is not marked with a LEO stamp or year, it is considered preban. “How will anyone ever prove otherwise?” I was asked by a dealer peddling them at a recent gun show. However, the mags he was pushing looked pretty new – some from manufactures that probably weren’t even making magazines before 1994.

When I buy preban mags, I go with the second school of thought. I make sure that the mags are either stamped pre-94 or come in sealed USGI bags with the manufacture and date on them. You pay twice as much ($30 instead of $15) and they are a little harder to find. However, the peace of mind is worth it. And I have never been to a gun show where I wasn’t able to find at least one sealed or stamped magazine.

Before using the mag, I take pictures of it in its sealed container. Then I print out the pictures, staple it to the bag and put in my fire safe. I then yank off the base plate and replace the follower with a magpul anti-tilt follower. This is completely legal and makes the magazine function much better. As long as the body is kept the same and you have your documentation, you can rebuild all moving parts legally.

So I guess you could get away with unmarked magazines – but is it really worth working in the grey area? Might as well make sure they are real preban and keep good documentation.

ParatrooperJJ said...

I don't know how NY law defines preban, but under the now expired federal law, unmarked mags were considered preban unless there was evidence to the contrary.

Glenn B said...

Pre-ban mags are descibed as having been manufactured prior to September 1994, but I forget the exact date.