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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Early production Plum 5.45x39 magazine

So I was looking various photos in books on the AK and other rifles, and I noticed that one of the plum magazines had a small ledge extending from the bottom the magazine. It reminded me of the Bulgarian polymer magazine design. So I began looking through my box of Russian plum magazines and came across two magazines with this ledge. The rest of my plum and true black magazines have this area between the ledge filled with more plastic. I'll upload some pictures in a little bit.

Also, these two magazines don't have angler reliefs near the feed lips which were added to possibly prevent unnecessary wear when the magazine is inserted into the mag well. Bakelite magazines and plum prototype magazines also don't have these angler reliefs. So I'd guess this was a vestigial leftover from earlier magazine designs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Some late prototype/preproduction plum 5.45 magazines had a more clover or club shaped ledge on the bottom front of the magazine before being replaced with a trapezoid-shaped ledge.
 

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Nice, I like those plum waffles. What do they go for? Want to sell one?
 

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Nice, I like those plum waffles. What do they go for? Want to sell one?
Roughly $1k and up depending on condition...5,45 is a bit more than the 7,62. Used to be able to get them a little cheaper but the last few I've seen that sold publicly were in the $1000-$1200 range. Surely not a cheap prototype and they are relatively scarce.
 

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That waffle with the Izzy logo on bottom is great, would love to have it, just when the mag costs as much as the rifle it fits in, it's getting out of my price range.
 

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Roughly $1k and up depending on condition...5,45 is a bit more than the 7,62. Used to be able to get them a little cheaper but the last few I've seen that sold publicly were in the $1000-$1200 range. Surely not a cheap prototype and they are relatively scarce.
It really does not seem that long ago when 5.45 mags were a dime a dozen. I remember AIM selling and Rapid Fire selling these for $9.99 a pop. Cool pics on these possible early examples though.
 

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Early production Plum 5.45x39 magazine

So I was looking various photos in books on the AK and other rifles, and I noticed that one of the plum magazines had a small ledge extending from the bottom the magazine. It reminded me of the Bulgarian polymer magazine design. So I began looking through my box of Russian plum magazines and came across two magazines with this ledge. The rest of my plum and true black magazines have this area between the ledge filled with more plastic. I'll upload some pictures in a little bit.
The lip on the 'toe' of the mag was a standard feature on the first two types of serial production Soviet 'plum' magazines. Basic breakdown:

Type 1: Izhmash only, toe lip, no circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves.

Type 2: Izhmash and Tula, toe lip, has circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves.

Type 3: Izhmash and Tula, no toe lip, has circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves AND has the 45 degree relief cut between the feed lips and front lug.

As far as the Bulgarians go, Arsenal mags are not perfect clones of any Soviet mag type:

Type 1: no toe lip, no circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves. Mold 1 only.

Type 2: no toe lip, has the circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves. Molds 2-4.

...but ((21)) and (25) are very close to a Soviet Type 2. They only made 1 type that I know of. It has the toe lip, and circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves.

Also, these two magazines don't have angler reliefs near the feed lips which were added to possibly prevent unnecessary wear when the magazine is inserted into the mag well. Bakelite magazines and plum prototype magazines also don't have these angler reliefs. So I'd guess this was a vestigial leftover from earlier magazine designs.
The 45 degree relief cut is a common feature on Soviet/Russian mags, starting with the Type 3 plum, and it's still there on the AK12 mags. It's not strictly true that AG-4C mags don't have this feature, Molot's Type 3 45-round bakes DO have the 45 degree relieve cut, as do their plum/true black 45 round mags.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The 45 degree relief cuts are for preventing mag lock issues upon insertion
There are possibly 3 production variants with toes made by Izhmash so 4 body types.
possibly 3 types of Tula plum.

The lip on the 'toe' of the mag was a standard feature on the first two types of serial production Soviet 'plum' magazines. Basic breakdown:

Type 1: Izhmash only, toe lip, no circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves.

Type 2: Izhmash and Tula, toe lip, has circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves.

Type 3: Izhmash and Tula, no toe lip, has circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves AND has the 45 degree relief cut between the feed lips and front lug.

As far as the Bulgarians go, Arsenal mags are not perfect clones of any Soviet mag type:

Type 1: no toe lip, no circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves. Mold 1 only.

Type 2: no toe lip, has the circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves. Molds 2-4.

...but ((21)) and (25) are very close to a Soviet Type 2. They only made 1 type that I know of. It has the toe lip, and circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves.



The 45 degree relief cut is a common feature on Soviet/Russian mags, starting with the Type 3 plum, and it's still there on the AK12 mags. It's not strictly true that AG-4C mags don't have this feature, Molot's Type 3 45-round bakes DO have the 45 degree relieve cut, as do their plum/true black 45 round mags.
 

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The 45 degree relief cuts are for preventing mag lock issues upon insertion
There are possibly 3 production variants with toes made by Izhmash so 4 body types.
possibly 3 types of Tula plum.
Yeah, the 'clover leaf' base on early Izhmash plums definitely adds a 'type' to the list. Hmmm. Does anyone know when that 'went away'? It's obviously a hold over from the AG-4C days. We know molds 1-3 had it at least. I have a mold 8 laying around and it has no clover leaf, but beyond that the upper limit is unknown, to me anyway. Who's got the scoop? Anyone have any mold # between 3 and 8?

Also, what's the 3rd type of Tula plum? I've only seen two myself or in Russian books.

On the 45 degree relief cut, we know from Russian sources that it's the final form-factor change of the plum series of mags. That said, sometimes it's seen on lower mold #s than ones that do not have the cut. I believe that this is caused by the fact that that top of the mag is formed by a separate piece of the mold (not all that surprising really, there's seams and it looks like it). Naturally, this causes some confusion, because you'll sometimes have 'late' features on an early mag body. My guess is that the mag body section of the mold lasts longer, for whatever reason, so the factory continues to use those molds as long as they last--meanwhile as the top of the mag evolves over time, that specific section of the mold is swapped for newer evolutions. I've never seen an image of the molds Izhmash/Tula/Molot used in the commie era, but I've seen American molds, and they are basically a collection of machined steel plates that are bolted together to form the cavity. Definitely doable to have some of those plates swapped in/out to change certain parts of the finished mag.

At any rate, one has to wonder if plum molds were similar in this way. I don't have photographic evidence, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if there were Izzy/Tula plums with the same mold # that have the 45 degree cut and don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yeah, the 'clover leaf' base on early Izhmash plums definitely adds a 'type' to the list. Hmmm. Does anyone know when that 'went away'? It's obviously a hold over from the AG-4C days. We know molds 1-3 had it at least. I have a mold 8 laying around and it has no clover leaf, but beyond that the upper limit is unknown, to me anyway. Who's got the scoop? Anyone have any mold # between 3 and 8?

Also, what's the 3rd type of Tula plum? I've only seen two myself or in Russian books.

On the 45 degree relief cut, we know from Russian sources that it's the final form-factor change of the plum series of mags. That said, sometimes it's seen on lower mold #s than ones that do not have the cut. I believe that this is caused by the fact that that top of the mag is formed by a separate piece of the mold (not all that surprising really, there's seams and it looks like it). Naturally, this causes some confusion, because you'll sometimes have 'late' features on an early mag body. My guess is that the mag body section of the mold lasts longer, for whatever reason, so the factory continues to use those molds as long as they last--meanwhile as the top of the mag evolves over time, that specific section of the mold is swapped for newer evolutions. I've never seen an image of the molds Izhmash/Tula/Molot used in the commie era, but I've seen American molds, and they are basically a collection of machined steel plates that are bolted together to form the cavity. Definitely doable to have some of those plates swapped in/out to change certain parts of the finished mag.

At any rate, one has to wonder if plum molds were similar in this way. I don't have photographic evidence, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if there were Izzy/Tula plums with the same mold # that have the 45 degree cut and don't.
Somewhere between mold 6 and 8 they changed the toe design.
Here is the 3rd type of Izhmash magazine. Maybe it would be considered a sub variant Mold #32
302795

302796

The 2nd Tula type of the 3 was similar to the Izhmash 4th type toe design.
Not certain about the molds, but I believe they would modify existing molds if possible.
 

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Man, I am so glad you posted that pic of mold 32....because I also have a mold 32 Izzy plum, and not only does it have the 45 degree relief cut, it has no toe lip. This certainly suggests that the Soviets reused mold #s. The feedlip area changing is one thing, it's a separate piece of the mold, but the toe of the mag? Gotta love commies. It's almost like they wanted to torment future collectors!

Also, thanks for the scoop on the mold # transition from cloverleaf to trap, very helpful info!

Anyway, the Tula toe shape is different than the Izzy, but it's pretty much the same idea. Sort of a slightly more rounded trapezoid on the ones I have. Seems like the same basic design, just slightly different execution compared to the Izzy.

I propose these types as a standardized nomenclature. Open to modifying it based on new info of course, but here's what I'm thinking. 5 total types, with Izzy making all 5, with mold #s from 1-59-ish, but Tula only making 2, with mold #s from 1-30-ish..

Type 1: Izhmash: toe lip, cloverleaf toe, no circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves.

Type 2: Izhmash, toe lip, trapezoid toe (continues through Type 5), no circular indent.

Type 3: Izhmash and Tula, toe lip, trapezoid toe, has circular indent.

Type 4: Izhmash and Tula, no toe lip, has circular indent, has the 45 degree relief cut between the feed lips and front lug.

Type 5: Izhmash, identical in form to the Type 4, but made with the modern 'true black' polymer material.

Fun thing is, with this nomenclature, you're mold 32 is a Type 3 Izzy, and mine would be a Type 4 Izzy. :D
 

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Got an early plum myself, and did some more image research, and I'm revising my list of Plum variants.

Type 1: Izhmash: toe lip, cloverleaf toe, no circular indentation next to the stripper clip adapter grooves. (Confirmed in mold 1 and 2 pics)

Type 2: Izhmash: toe lip, cloverleaf toe, no circular indentation, 10 ribs on each side(!!!!). (Confirmed in mold 3 pics and in the one in my collection).

Type 3: Izhmash, toe lip, trapezoid toe (continues through Type 5), no circular indent. (Starts at mold 5-7?)

Type 4: Izhmash and Tula, toe lip, trapezoid toe, has circular indent. (Starts around mold 12?)

Type 5: Izhmash and Tula, no toe lip, has circular indent, has the 45 degree relief cut between the feed lips and front lug. (Starts around mold 15, but there are exceptions)

Plums defining characteristic is the type of plastic used, so "true blacks" belong in their own group...but in form they are identical to Type 5 plums.

So, who has a mold 4, 5 or 6? I'd like to nail down when the changes happened if possible.

@Dr.Strangeloathe

What really blows my mind is the 10 ribs on the mold 3. I've seen pics of molds 1 and 2, and plenty of other plums and they all have 11...but not 3. Crazy stuff!
 
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