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Update on Triple K S&W 52 mags

L. Boscoe
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Update on Triple K S&W 52 mags Empty Update on Triple K S&W 52 mags

Post by tomd999 Mon Apr 15, 2024 4:03 pm


It's been a while since I posted about the 3K mags for the 52 I received back in early March. You can thank Bruce Martindale for this update as he reminded me while we were at the Alan Cady memorial match yesterday that I hadn't updated my last post. So here we go...

Out of the box neither of the 2 mags would fit into either of my 52's without a great deal of effort and a hard rap on the base to lock in. Once in, the mag button was a 2 thumb press to release then once unlocked, a screwdriver was needed to lever the mag out by the baseplate. I dressed the mag bodies lightly with a mill file, this made them easier to insert but still way too hard.

I then tried them with live fire, total failure on both pistols and mags. The rounds wouldn't budge out of the mags without a palm slap on the rear of the slide, neither mag would lift the next round to feed for the second shot, so in the mag box they went until today.

I measured the external dimensions, both Triple-K mags measured between .004 and .008 wider than 13 original S&W mags I have on hand. I started out taking the worst fitting mag apart to the bare body, using a large mill file, I thinned the high spots on the outside until the body was an acceptable "snug fit" where it dragged slightly but with minimal finger pressure slide into lockup and pull out by hooking a fingernail on the baseplate flanges. The overall squareness of the mag body externally is acceptable however, none of the surfaces are flat, it almost looks like internal stress pulled the surfaces out of flat as they cooled from heat treat so more material was removed in some areas and none in others. 

Moving onto the follower slots, these had significant burrs on the inside from the punch press operation and sharp edges on the external. I radiused these with file then a 220 stone so the hollow follower guide pin moved smoothly, then I put the follower in place and removed material from the ID on the front and rear to allow the follower to move without binding. I also deburred the follower and radiused sharp edges. 

At this point I reassembled the mag and test fit in the pistol, it was acceptable for insertion, still dragged on removal but would lock the slide back properly now. I pulled it apart and removed more material from the external surfaces which made it easier to insert remove. I'm about 90 minutes into this one mag at this point. 

Next test was to load the mag with 5 rounds, I could get 3 rounds into it before the follower would not depress, back to filing the interior surfaces, the front had a burr from the punch operation for the mag catch that the follower would slide over on the way up but not when loading. Back together and time to test for a full mag insertion test, no good. The pressure on the feed lips and mag body from spring force swelled the mag so that it was back to forceful insertion and extraction. More mill file to the outside to make the mag thinner so it would fit when full. Once that was done and it was inserting and removing reasonably, it was time to try dropping the slide lock and more bad news, it moved about 1/8" and stopped.

Onto the stop and feed ramps. The forward guide lips were far too narrow to allow a cartridge to elevate as the slide pushed it forward, bend those out, load the mag again, can't insert into the pistol again, back to the file to thin the guide lips now that they aren't pushed in too much. I went at the cartridge stop and feed lips with various mounted points from cutters to stones and ending with rubber polish bits. The design issue causing the feed/slide movement stoppage is the cartridge stop lips. On original S&W mags, the rim of the case sits between the stop lips which are straight from the rear to front, on the 3K mag, the stop lips are slightly wider at the rear, making a "detent' for the rim to sit in that when the case moves forward. it has to move downward as it feeds so that the diameter of the rim will slide by these "detents", significantly increasing the resistance the recoil spring has to overcome as it comes forward. This downward movement also places the fresh round lower on the feed ramp which adds to the resistance for the slide to return to battery. I've polished the stop and feed lips and so far I can get 4 rounds to work by dropping the slide stop and hand cycling the pistol. The action of the slide is very jerky and almost comes to a complete stop as it strips the fresh round down around the "detents". I don't have a lot of confidence that it will run with live ammo.

At this point I have about 3 hours of filing, stoning, grinding, polishing, refitting etc into this 1 mag and it's maybe 80% functional. I'm debating seeing if I have an end mill that I could cut the stop lips to the larger measurement, thus eliminating the "detent" and making them more like S&W mags or I may have my buddy TIG in a small fill for the rear to do the same thing. I could never charge someone for this as the bill would be way more than the mag is worth so I can't tell you if these are worth the price but if I was in need of 52 mags, I would look for original S&W because at this point the Triple-K mags aren't "out of the box ready". 

I'm sure if these were 1911 or CZ-75 type mags they would work just fine but the 52 is more like a Swiss watch than a service pistol, the dimensions, finish and design of the Triple-K 52 mags are more like the watches that come out of the crane machines in arcades.

Picture of it at 80%, from left to right, S&W, Triple-K lightly filed, second S&W and rightmost the mag in this discussion.


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Post by fc60 Mon Apr 15, 2024 5:04 pm


For the cost of the magazines, filing, fitting, repeat, etc...

It makes the $200.00 eBay magazines a bit more attractive.

I endorse Made in America goods; but, your experience has put a black mark on Made in USA.



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Post by djperry2 Mon Apr 15, 2024 5:49 pm

Thanks for the update, Tom. I was considering purchasing one or two Triple K mags. Not now.


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Post by L. Boscoe Tue Apr 16, 2024 8:18 am

I bought 5 returned 3, the two remaining still need more work
Definitely not ready for prime time

L. Boscoe

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Post by Froneck Tue Apr 16, 2024 10:51 am

As I mentioned some time ago I was disappointed in Triple K mags. I got if I recall 4 maybe 6 of them new from Brownells to be used in my .22 homemade conversion. I do have a new never used Colt Ace mag and a used but in good shape Metalform Ace mag. First thing I noticed was the sheet metal used to form the 3-K mags was quite a bit thinner, when trying one the round was directed to the right of the chamber! When I attempted to tweak the lips I found the left lip was longer than the right. I put the mag back in the blister pack added it to the others and stored in a plastic container along with other .22 conversion items.


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Post by RTPMAN Wed Apr 24, 2024 7:32 am

Seems I made the right choice of buying 3 original mags on ebay for $120. They show their age but function perfectly.


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Post by rodnak Wed Apr 24, 2024 8:01 am

I had the same experience. But not the skill to remedy the problem. Thank God I only bought one! It’s in the safe in pieces right now. I couldn’t even get it back together! 😆


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Post by Toonces Wed Apr 24, 2024 10:53 am

Many years ago I bought a beautiful 107 High Standard Citation. It came with one HS mag, and one nameless aftermarket. Only the HS mag worked. I then proceeded to buy 5 Triple K mags. This was before “factory” mags were available again. I’m pretty handy, but tuning them into functioning mags was beyond my skill set. I was using them in an indoor bullseye league, and having a ton of failures. I normally shot a 208s and hadn’t had an alibi in years. Karl K., the older gentleman who ran the league in Racine, came over to see why I was having issues. In the course of the conversation I mentioned the Triple K magazine. His comment was “You got f!@ked.” When I confessed I had bought 5 of them, he said “You got f!@ked fiiive times!” I sold the 107 and mags shortly after that, with full disclosure. Life’s too short to deal with a glitchy gun. Live and learn…

Triple K is the same quality as ProMag:



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Post by machinist mike Fri May 03, 2024 1:21 pm

One thing you might try is a magazine from a Sig P-240 in 38 special.  you would have to cut a slot for the mag retainer, but the magazine should work, and you know the quality is there,

machinist mike

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Post by troystaten Fri May 03, 2024 6:50 pm

I think the S&W 52 mags work in the Sig P-240 maybe not the other way around.  You don't see a lot of mags for the Sig either.


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