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Hey y’all, simple question in the title. If mold numbers were only used for QC and to label the batches and not much else, why do I see people searching for certain mold numbers when buying Bakelite magazines? Thanks!
 

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Collectors like variations, it can be very insignificant to one and world of difference to another leading to some paying absurd prices for items.
 

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And of course there is the thrill of the hunt to find that elusive item.

Having been raised in a family antique business I had learned to value a good deal. Always with an eye on what one could make a profit on to be rolled into another deal.

A few things were kept but most turned over to fuel the hunt for the next deal. I fully took advantage of being a kid and could talk down prices with most any dealer. Some I suspect were helping me with a wry grin on to bigger things.

Sure do miss those times.
 

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If you insert a mag, make sure you tape it up as to not tank the value of it. Once inserted into rifle. It’s not longer a collector item.
 

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lol, some items are more collectible when used.

In any case, I collect mags but never really got the infatuation with specific mold #s either. To each their own but I generally look at that as a) it's their money and b) kinda the unsophisticated thing to collect. There are many physical variations of Soviet mags, and I collect the different types. Most buyers really only know that there's a couple type of 762 bakes. Long top, ridge back, steel lined v. not. In total Izhmash made something like 10 variations of 762 bake, and many of them are subtly different than the others...and those are the ones I look for. Long top etc. is the most basic kind of identifier...it's like car, truck, SUV. There's more to it than that, and that's where the interesting history is, to me anyway.
 

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More to it then most of you realize. More variations of the AG4 mags than most know of too. Think I'm up to something like thirteen variations now - don't quote me on that though. Depends a lot on what you call a variation, and the more liberal you are the greater the number. I personally collect the highest and lowest mold# I can find for each variation. Mold#s were not exclusive either - I have several collections of four or more examples of different variations all with the same exact mold#. Was working on finding out how many variations it was possible to find with the exact same mold# - my guess would be 6-7. It was an expensive hobby to have back when I was paying $30-35 ea. Now its an insanely expensive project. But heh - my collection is now worth 3-6 times what I paid for it. Also hopefully it will enable me to do a follow up on my article on IDing them.
 

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More to it then most of you realize. More variations of the AG4 mags than most know of too. Think I'm up to something like thirteen variations now - don't quote me on that though. Depends a lot on what you call a variation, and the more liberal you are the greater the number. I personally collect the highest and lowest mold# I can find for each variation. Mold#s were not exclusive either - I have several collections of four or more examples of different variations all with the same exact mold#. Was working on finding out how many variations it was possible to find with the exact same mold# - my guess would be 6-7. It was an expensive hobby to have back when I was paying $30-35 ea. Now its an insanely expensive project. But heh - my collection is now worth 3-6 times what I paid for it. Also hopefully it will enable me to do a follow up on my article on IDing them.
@TomM

We should make a quick list to establish standards. From what I have seen there are a lot of variants of 762 AG4C mag, but if you consider a Tula with the same form factor as an Izhevsk to be a variant because it was made in a different factory then the number definitely goes up. Elsewhere in this subforum we established the criteria for the 5 types of Soviet plum, we can do the same here! I'll start:

1-6 Izhmash...

Type 1: AG4C rear lug
Type 2: identical, but steel rear lug
Type 3: front hump extended down to what becomes the norm
Type 4: 4 indentations on front of mag added, flat top of hump
Type 5: idents move down, smooth top of hump transition
Type 6: transition between hump and mag sides smoothed

Type 7: very similar to Type 4, but with indents closer together, Tula only

All the rest made by both Izhevsk and Tula...

Type 8: like Type 6, but "short top" (spine, no steel lips)

Type 9: Type 8 but with steel reinforced lips

Type 10: Type 8 but flat back and no steel

Type 11: Type 10 with steel (starting point for 545 proto bakes, BTW)

Type 12: final version, flat back, steel lips, smooth transition at bottom of hump. (Inspiration for production 545 bakes, only difference being related to cartridge geometry.)
 

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Just off hand I can think of 15-16 variants of mags, if I include experimental/trial models, having the Izzy Factory Mark. That does not include unmarked or Tula produced examples, and changes in mold#s. Total is probably more like 20 if you include the unmarked protos and Tula exclusives. I personally own one Longtop I have never seen another example of.

I've spent twenty years studying them, and thousands buying them (granted re-selling brought the cost factor to zero in the end) - so not really eager to blurt the info out. I've been working on an article detailing this info for years as well. Problem is I kept finding new variants of AK magazines! Unfortunately the political situation looks like it will completely cut of my collecting info - so if I can find the time to sit down, and lots of space, I might just get around to finishing that project.

Just to prove my point"

I would add Border Guard variants to your list. I have in mind 2-3 variants for those. I worry about fakes so I hesitate to nail down a precise number for these.
Add - the "Partical Board" variant (my name) too.
And the below variant which surprisingly few people know of (not my pics, although I own several examples).
 

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Info hoarder! lol. It's entirely subjective but I don't count protos as variants, or identical mags with different size factory logos either. Production stuff only, and only mags with a different form factor and/or body material for me...saves a lot of $, lol.

Also, are you the guy with the border guard green AG-4B 545 mag? lol
 

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Production. Was still looking for examples when my supply was cut off. Have 5 or so of them. All seen are Izzy, but I was desperately searching for a Tula.. Don't own any Border Guard AK74 mags - not that rich (or that connected).
 

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Is the 'partical board mag' the same form as a type of AG4C mag, just a different material, or is it different in form as well? Hard for me to tell in the pics...
 

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The three pics I posted are of the same magazine with what appears to be strips of polymer reinforcing the feedlips - instead of steel. If you have purchased and used the mags with steel re-inforced feedlips you probably found one-or-two with a steel Follower rusted in place. Was this an attempted solution? My guess is the solution to that problem was the aluminum Follower (which is probably another variant).

The "Particle Board" is my name for the variant usually called "Glass-Filled" by others.
 

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Think I misunderstood your question on the Particle Board? They basically just represent a new type of fiberglass filler. Betting it did require changes in the molding process though, but for all purposes the body is not unique. Just a very distinctive look worthy of being called a variant. The Particle Board variant is a particular favorite of mine because it can also be used to show the use of mold#s was not a linear progression. Much more random progression was used - probably LIFO and/or the reworking and re-use of older molds.
 

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A different material type other than AG-4B / AG-4V? That's the only other "bakelite" material I've seen the Soviets use beyond the much more common AG-4C. Some day I really hope we learn the true reason the Soviets temporarily made 545 bakes from AG-4B. I think most mag collectors agree that they got rid of it due to durability issues, but there's no documented evidence I've seen that tells us why they bothered trying it in the first place when AG-4C had been used to good effect for so many years. Was it just cheaper? Did a Politburo member's brother supply AG-4B and sent some kick backs? Did they really think it was superior to AG-4C? Who knows, but it's a mystery that demands an answer at some point.

Yeah, the Soviets seemed to have been fast/loose with their mold numbers. In the thread about plums, there was a guy that posted an Izzy plum of a certain mold number that had features of a certain type...and I also had a mag with the exact same mold number but it had different features in both the 'toe' of the mag and the feedlip area.

One thing I think that raises some of that confusion though, is that a mag mold is made up of a bunch of machined steel plates that are basically bolted together and then injected with the goods. I think it was likely common for certain parts of a mold to wear out faster than other parts, or for certain plates to be replaced for a newer/better design, but they would continue to use the rest of the plates as they were. That would explain a lot of the inconsistencies we see in that linear progression that we would otherwise see. Just the other day there was a guy selling a Mold 1 762 bake on Reddit that clearly had very late mag features, and yet, mold 1, lol. Those wily Soviets.
 
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