Favorite Mags for Bighorn TL3???

Dutch260

Online Training Member
Apr 10, 2017
170
19
18
Katy, TX
#1
I'm collecting up the last few parts for my custom build and was hoping to get some input from fellow TL3 (SA) owners on what magazine would best fit my needs.

Context:
- Rifle will be mainly used for hunting and shooting steel at the moment.
- Bighorn TL3 SA AW Cut
- Badger M5 DBM
- Looking for a magazine allowing the most COAL (just in case)
- Looking for a magazine that is relatively low profile. I don't need to have 10 rounds ready to fly as 5 would do just fine for my purposes. However, an extremely reliable 10 round mag that is low profile is definitely not off the table.

I'll admit I have not done a ton of research yet as I wasn't quite sure where to start but at the moment I am considering the Alpha Type 2 mags or possibly the ARC mags if I can find them.

However, I thought you experienced shooters would have practical first hand experience/knowledge on this so I wanted to start here.

Thanks in advance fellas!
 

padom

SuperMod
Staff member
Mar 13, 2013
6,803
773
113
Southeastern, Pennsylvania
#2
AICS, AW and ARC mags have all run flawless in my 2xTL3's in XLR chassis in 6.5cm and 6.5x47L.

In 223 I had issues with MDT mags in my TL3 but others have not. No matter what I could not get them to run. I was running Alpha 223 mags which wouldnt push the last 2 rounds up so the bolt was sliding over them. Stretched the spring out and that fixed that issue but still wasnt butter smooth.

Recently picked up new AI 223 mags from a Hide member which are discontinued and I was blown away. They run butter smooth and better than all the other 223 mags I've tested to date. No clue why they stopped making them

Hope that helps
 

MDT_Josh

Sergeant of the Hide
Apr 19, 2018
158
133
43
Chilliwack, BC
mdttac.com
#3
AICS, AW and ARC mags have all run flawless in my 2xTL3's in XLR chassis in 6.5cm and 6.5x47L.

In 223 I had issues with MDT mags in my TL3 but others have not. No matter what I could not get them to run. I was running Alpha 223 mags which wouldnt push the last 2 rounds up so the bolt was sliding over them. Stretched the spring out and that fixed that issue but still wasnt butter smooth.

Recently picked up new AI 223 mags from a Hide member which are discontinued and I was blown away. They run butter smooth and better than all the other 223 mags I've tested to date. No clue why they stopped making them

Hope that helps
Sorry to hear that you had issues with our mags, but we are working to replace a lot of the polymer mags with a more revised design that will work better in all actions. The AI's generally feed very smoothly for 223, and I've fun a few in my trainer rifles, but their biggest issue is that they have a split line in their plastic mould that runs down the centre of the mag. The downside to that is that the AI 223 mags tend to split after a few thousand cycles and will not hold up great when dropped.

As for a mag for your TL3 Dutch, give our metal magazines a try! We have the 10 rounders available now, which are shorter than the ARC and AI, but also have 12 rounders due to be on the site in the next few months!
 

christopher.dow

I can use measuring things
Apr 28, 2017
253
82
28
San Francisco, CA
#4
I’ve run AI, Accurate Mag, AW, Magpul, and ARC mags in my TL3 from an XLR Envy and a Manners EH-1A (but the latter has fewer rounds through it). I had trouble with failures to feed in Magpul with .308 (intermitant) and AW (feeds only six of the rounds) with 6.5 Creedmoor. I had a couple of problems (follower getting out of whack) with ARC mags, but since I put in the MK followers they’ve been 100% reliable. Neither the AI nor Accurate Mags have ever failed to feed a round of .308 or 6.5.
 

noisewaterphd

Burro Luchador
Feb 13, 2017
164
31
28
Wild West
#5
The TL3 has run every mag I've tried, AI, ARC, AW, MDT, Accurate, etc...

It's more about fitting the mags to your chassis, stock and adjusting mags as needed for your cartridge. I had to make adjustments to run some of those mags.

Whoever builds your gun will (or they *should*) set it up to run whatever magazine you want to run.
 

Sheldon N

Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut
Sep 24, 2014
2,816
720
113
Pacific Northwest
#6
Have AICS, ARC, MDT (223), Accurate (SAUM) and AW mags for my TL3. I'd say the simplest/easiest option is to get a 5 round and a 10 round AICS mag. They have been 100% for me. ARC's are nice for size but required follower modification and they won't run in dusty conditions. AW's are a more recent addition to my collection and may require a bit of feed lip tweaking to suit your action and chassis, but they are very smooth and compact. The MDT and Accurate mags are callber specific for my uses but have both been trouble free.
 
Likes: MDT_Josh

earthquake

Gunny Sergeant
Jul 30, 2009
1,620
92
48
Delaware, OH
#7
All (ARC, AICS, Accurate) have run great in my TL3's. I didn't have the same luck with Magpul plastic mags though. But that could have been a chassis issue rather than the action.
 

Dutch260

Online Training Member
Apr 10, 2017
170
19
18
Katy, TX
#8
Thanks for all the input guys! I guess I need to get my rifle and get a feel for what kind of COAL I'll be looking to load at to see if I'll even need the extra room the the ARCs and alpha type 2 mags offer.

I forgot to mention in my original post that this will be for 6.5 creedmoor.
 

bjay

Private
Oct 19, 2009
3,605
229
63
Aloha state HI
#10
Sorry to hear that you had issues with our mags, but we are working to replace a lot of the polymer mags with a more revised design that will work better in all actions. The AI's generally feed very smoothly for 223, and I've fun a few in my trainer rifles, but their biggest issue is that they have a split line in their plastic mould that runs down the centre of the mag. The downside to that is that the AI 223 mags tend to split after a few thousand cycles and will not hold up great when dropped.

As for a mag for your TL3 Dutch, give our metal magazines a try! We have the 10 rounders available now, which are shorter than the ARC and AI, but also have 12 rounders due to be on the site in the next few months!
Josh can share photos side by side with your 10rd vs arc 10rd..ive been wanted to try yours but judging from your web,they look tall :)
Tnx in advance
 

MDT_Josh

Sergeant of the Hide
Apr 19, 2018
158
133
43
Chilliwack, BC
mdttac.com
#11
Hey bjay,

I don't have any ARC mags on hand, but according to their website "10-round ARC Mag is the same length (vertically) as the 10-round mag AI AW, approximately". Below (from left to right): AI AW mag (roughly ARC length), MDT 10 round DSSF, AICS 10 round magazine. The key difference is that our magazines don't stack the rounds like the ARC or the AI, so we are more compact that the AICS, but way less affected by dirt/dust than the ARC.
 

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christopher.dow

I can use measuring things
Apr 28, 2017
253
82
28
San Francisco, CA
#13
Hey bjay,

I don't have any ARC mags on hand, but according to their website "10-round ARC Mag is the same length (vertically) as the 10-round mag AI AW, approximately". Below (from left to right): AI AW mag (roughly ARC length), MDT 10 round DSSF, AICS 10 round magazine. The key difference is that our magazines don't stack the rounds like the ARC or the AI, so we are more compact that the AICS, but way less affected by dirt/dust than the ARC.
I just (back)ordered the MDT 10-round mags. I’ll post a pic with them, AICS, AW, Accurate, and ARC when the MDTs arrive.
 
Likes: MDT_Josh

gconnoyer

Online Training Member
Dec 19, 2017
86
33
18
29
St Louis, MO
#19
ARC.
I had a few AICS's when I got my bighorn and no matter what they felt like they had 4 too many rounds in them when trying to run the bolt. I would have to really get after it to get it to run "smooth" if you can call it that.

Tried someones ARC out at a match and with 10 rounds in it, it felt just as smooth as running the bolt on an empty AICS.
I havent tried the AWs yet because the ARCs work so well.

Even with the standard follower, they feed my dasher perfectly.

(TL3 in a Manners stock and Gen2 chassis)
 
May 18, 2012
1,748
124
63
Boulder, CO
www.BisonTactical.com
#20
ARC.
I had a few AICS's when I got my bighorn and no matter what they felt like they had 4 too many rounds in them when trying to run the bolt. I would have to really get after it to get it to run "smooth" if you can call it that.

Tried someones ARC out at a match and with 10 rounds in it, it felt just as smooth as running the bolt on an empty AICS.
I havent tried the AWs yet because the ARCs work so well.

Even with the standard follower, they feed my dasher perfectly.

(TL3 in a Manners stock and Gen2 chassis)
I would really like to try the ARC mags, but I have seen so many people have issues with them at matches that I don't dare try them until I get a chance to run them at local matches w/o cleaning them. Occassionally people have issues with AICS or AW magazines, but its much more rare than the ARC mags I have seen running. From what I hear (hearsay since I haven't tried them), you need to keep them very clean to keep them working. When they fail, it seems to be the follower hangs and the rounds are loose in the magazine, resulting in dumped rounds when the mag is taken out to clear the rifle.

When the AICS mags or AW mags fail, it seems to be not releasing the round properly (for the Dasher), so people clear by pushing the round forward with a finger in the action.
 
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Temper

Sergeant of the Hide
May 29, 2011
610
50
28
FL
#21
ARC.
I had a few AICS's when I got my bighorn and no matter what they felt like they had 4 too many rounds in them when trying to run the bolt. I would have to really get after it to get it to run "smooth" if you can call it that.

Tried someones ARC out at a match and with 10 rounds in it, it felt just as smooth as running the bolt on an empty AICS.
I havent tried the AWs yet because the ARCs work so well.

Even with the standard follower, they feed my dasher perfectly.

(TL3 in a Manners stock and Gen2 chassis)
I'm running the same setup but with a 6.5x47 with no issues. My two ARC's are as smooth as the Magpul AICS mags.
 
Likes: gconnoyer

gconnoyer

Online Training Member
Dec 19, 2017
86
33
18
29
St Louis, MO
#24
I would really like to try the ARC mags, but I have seen so many people have issues with them at matches that I don't dare try them until I get a chance to run them at local matches w/o cleaning them. Occassionally people have issues with AICS or AW magazines, but its much more rare than the ARC mags I have seen running. From what I hear (hearsay since I haven't tried them), you need to keep them very clean to keep them working. When they fail, it seems to be the follower hangs and the rounds are loose in the magazine, resulting in dumped rounds when the mag is taken out to clear the rifle.

When the AICS mags or AW mags fail, it seems to be not releasing the round properly (for the Dasher), so people clear by pushing the round forward with a finger in the action.
I’ve probably got 10 matches on mine this year and havent cleaned them, and one was a used one I picked up from someone that was obviously never cleaned. I havent had any issues yet with them, but I’m going to leave one dirty and see how long and what happens (stock followers in them all)

There have been a handful of people in our local group that have issues with them but I dont know exactly what the issue was.

I have some videos running both mags I’ll have to put together to compare. You can see me struggling on every round with the AICS for some reason.
 

BWB

Sergeant
Mar 18, 2009
387
27
28
SD
#26
Get the MK Machining followers for the ARC mags, you won't regret it. I ran 2 at the Heatstroke in those dusty conditions (without cleaning) and didn't have one single issue either day...They are well worth the money, IMO.
 

Sheldon N

Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut
Sep 24, 2014
2,816
720
113
Pacific Northwest
#27
The arc issues I have seen have been on 6mm creedmoore, 6mm BRX and a few where I don't know the cartridge. Not sure if that makes a difference or not,
My ARC's ran good right up until they didn't. The dust at Quiet Riot on that side access road was what got me. Mags went into full lockup, even after wiping them out. It wasn't a follower issue, it was that the rounds essentially locked up against the side of the mag walls and refused to ride up in the mag. Cost me 2 stages worth of points.

I've since switched over to AW's with the HRD spacer kits. Those things feed like butter.
 
Feb 14, 2017
426
113
43
#28
My ARC's ran good right up until they didn't. The dust at Quiet Riot on that side access road was what got me. Mags went into full lockup, even after wiping them out. It wasn't a follower issue, it was that the rounds essentially locked up against the side of the mag walls and refused to ride up in the mag. Cost me 2 stages worth of points.

I've since switched over to AW's with the HRD spacer kits. Those things feed like butter.
How much cartridge length can you get with that set up?
 

lawofsavage

Full Member
Jul 13, 2012
1,059
45
48
29
Birmingham, AL
#30
Has anyone had issues with aics mags having a little resistance picking up a new round out of the mag? All my aics mags I bought used so I don’t know if that is the problem but picking up a new round definitely seems more difficult than it should be.

Its TL-3 AW cut in an Mpa chassis btw.

For the people that have tried a lot of different mags out with the tl-3 aw cut actions, what have y’all had the best luck with as far as smoothness?
 
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christopher.dow

I can use measuring things
Apr 28, 2017
253
82
28
San Francisco, CA
#32
I just (back)ordered the MDT 10-round mags. I’ll post a pic with them, AICS, AW, Accurate, and ARC when the MDTs arrive.
Here are the pics, minus AICS, which I couldn’t find. MDT is definitely shorter than accurate but a lot taller than AW or ARC. I’ll report on reliability this weekend.
 

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BWB

Sergeant
Mar 18, 2009
387
27
28
SD
#34
I've been running strictly ARC mags with the MK Machining followers, 2 with Area 419 Extensions and 2 without. All of them have preformed very well. Only small tweeks to the feed lips.
 
May 17, 2017
79
2
8
#35
I’m ineterested in this as well. I need to buy a mag, but not sure which one to get. So far I’m trying to decide between MDT, AICS, or Accurate. Anyone have any trouble with these?
 

christopher.dow

I can use measuring things
Apr 28, 2017
253
82
28
San Francisco, CA
#36
AICS and Accurate are GTG, from my experience. I did have to sort my Accurate Mag after the infamous dusty day at the first Mile High class, but everyone was buggered that day. Everyone’s mags went down and the only rifles that didn’t go down were the AIs and the one that had a Bix’n’Andy trigger. We had 16-18 mph winds blowing talcum-like sand into everything. As I wrote above, I’ll report on the MDT mags this weekend, but that won’t be match use and the range I’ll be at isn’t dusty.
 

christopher.dow

I can use measuring things
Apr 28, 2017
253
82
28
San Francisco, CA
#38
I’m ineterested in this as well. I need to buy a mag, but not sure which one to get. So far I’m trying to decide between MDT, AICS, or Accurate. Anyone have any trouble with these?
I ran 75 rounds through the MDT today. I prefer it to AICS or Accurate. It’s not as short as ARC/AW, but it’s a good deal shorter than The others. It’s also very well made. It feels like AICS/AW quality.

Of the three you listed, it’s probably the best choice if height matters to you.

I’ll update after I shoot a match with it or give it some otherwise rough use.
 

Sheldon N

Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut
Sep 24, 2014
2,816
720
113
Pacific Northwest
#39
@Sheldon N would you mind sharing how to set the AW mags up properly? I’ve tried them with & without the HRD followers and I can’t get them to reliably & smoothly feed 6.5 CM in my TL3 w/ an Envy.
I just did a little bending of the feed lips with an MPA feed lip adjustment tool, plus a tiny bit of bending of the follower spring.

The feed lip adjustment was to get the case head high enough so there was overlap with the bolt face to pick up a round. When I first loaded a mag there was little to no case/bolt overlap so it wouldn't pick up a round. With bending the feed lips it seems like the sweet spot is where the feed lip closely follows the line of the AW cut in the action. If I opened them too wide the mag wouldn't latch in the chassis. As I've got them now the mag latches in with firm pressure and there's no up/down play once it's seated. You can see in the picture with the red arrow where the feed lips line up with the action cut.

The other thing I did was bend the follower spring to make it a little more "nose down" orientation. In my mag the cases weren't popping up fully parallel with the feed lips and that would make them not feed. By tweaking the follower spring so that it pushes a bit more on the rear of the case it helped my mag to push the rounds up fully into position once the prior one stripped out. This might just have been a thing with feeding short cases like 6BRA, but it's something to look at as a possible tool to help fine tune feeding.

Hope this helps get you on the right path!
 

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christopher.dow

I can use measuring things
Apr 28, 2017
253
82
28
San Francisco, CA
#40
I just did a little bending of the feed lips with an MPA feed lip adjustment tool, plus a tiny bit of bending of the follower spring.

The feed lip adjustment was to get the case head high enough so there was overlap with the bolt face to pick up a round. When I first loaded a mag there was little to no case/bolt overlap so it wouldn't pick up a round. With bending the feed lips it seems like the sweet spot is where the feed lip closely follows the line of the AW cut in the action. If I opened them too wide the mag wouldn't latch in the chassis. As I've got them now the mag latches in with firm pressure and there's no up/down play once it's seated. You can see in the picture with the red arrow where the feed lips line up with the action cut.

The other thing I did was bend the follower spring to make it a little more "nose down" orientation. In my mag the cases weren't popping up fully parallel with the feed lips and that would make them not feed. By tweaking the follower spring so that it pushes a bit more on the rear of the case it helped my mag to push the rounds up fully into position once the prior one stripped out. This might just have been a thing with feeding short cases like 6BRA, but it's something to look at as a possible tool to help fine tune feeding.

Hope this helps get you on the right path!
That is some seriously useful information. Thank you, Sir!

I’ll give it a try (I’m shooting 6.5 Creedmoor) and report back. I already have the HRD followers installed.

Thanks again!
 
Likes: Sheldon N

MDT_Josh

Sergeant of the Hide
Apr 19, 2018
158
133
43
Chilliwack, BC
mdttac.com
#41
I ran 75 rounds through the MDT today. I prefer it to AICS or Accurate. It’s not as short as ARC/AW, but it’s a good deal shorter than The others. It’s also very well made. It feels like AICS/AW quality.

Of the three you listed, it’s probably the best choice if height matters to you.

I’ll update after I shoot a match with it or give it some otherwise rough use.
Glad to hear you're liking magazines @christopher.dow ! Keep the feedback coming, so that we can continue to keep making products that shooters want :D