I’ve been working on a review of a Ruger SFAR in .308. The rifle is humming along nicely—so well, in fact, that I’m picking up more magazines. In this review, I’m looking at the Lancer L7AWM 20 round .308/7.62. The Advanced Warfighter Magazine lives up to its name.
The .308 AR Mag
Finding the right magazine for the AR-10 isn’t half as easy as it is for the AR-15. Why is that? The most logical reason seems to be the demand. The competition for the best AR-15 magazine is fierce and has—ever since Magpul jumped into the game—made life easy for those of us looking for varieties of color, increased reliability, lighter weights, and differing capacities.
On the AR-10 side, though, or really any of the alternate caliber selections in the AR platform, finding a solid magazine is a bit more complicated. The brands that make AR -15 mags typically branch into the space, and this is where I’d recommend anyone looking for any kind of new magazine to start. If you’re ordering online and can’t judge the quality of a build firsthand, go to the brands that have built solid reputations in the space.
What Lancer Does Best
And that’s where Lancer comes in strong. While Magpul and others have pioneered plastics, Lancer has embraced a best-of-both-worlds approach and has kept metal parts in their plastic magazine bodies. This is an old-school AK trick from the Bakelite days when brittle plastics had to have some extra support.
Lancer’s use of steel prevents wear by covering high-wear areas in a robust piece of stamped steel. The feed lips are an area that sees abuse inside the action, but also on the way in and out of the gun as you slam them in or kick out the empties. The polymer may be robust enough for most uses, but steel is infinitely better.
Inside the mag, on the forward-facing edge of the mag, a steel insert keeps the form true. This is ingenious, as the steel here is on the inside. The plastic slides much better in an aluminum mag well than steel. It is slick and won’t drag in the same way. As this is the point of greatest friction when inserting a mag, and the part that is in firm contact inside the mag well when the latch on the back is engaged, this exposed bit of plastic makes mag changes that much easier.
Maybe I’m splitting hairs with that distinction, but I appreciate the Lancer’s attention to detail. The ones I’m working with are clear—which is something Lancer does well—and clear plastics are often more brittle than black or other colors. Having the steel is a solid support for the feeding end of the mag, and Lancer has used black polymer for the baseplates—adding some measurable strength there, too.
Let’s Be Clear
On the body, where the clear polymer really shines, there are adequate textures for easy manipulation. Like most magazine makers, Lancer has built-in rigidity through the use of ribs that provide strength to the design and also texture for the shooter. The L7AWM also has small sections of checkerboard that add grip surface.
The clear body will also help you keep track of your round count. As the rounds advance up into the gun, you will lose sight of five or six, but a quick glance will tell you roughly where you stand.
I don’t lose track on an AR-10 the way I do with a 30-round mag in an AR-15—counting to 20 is, for whatever reason, easier for me than counting to 30. So I’ve always been drawn to the clear mags and mags with windows.
If you want something a bit less flashy, Lancer makes these in a flat dark earth and black and even tinted clear colors. It all depends on how well you might need to be camouflaged.
Just one. And I chalk it up to experience. When I slap one into the mag well with the mag loaded and the bolt closed, it seats well. My son—15—doesn’t get the same results. He slams it in and it drops free when he levels the rifle.
Oddly, he doesn’t have this issue with the Magpul. He can stick that one every time. I’d not considered it an issue, but I’m more forceful with the mag than he is.
Otherwise, everything runs according to plan. There are no issues with feeding—no matter what variety of .308 we’ve used—and the mags drop free with a sideways flick of the gun.
Lancer’s magazines strike some as expensive. I get it. There’s a value, though, reflected in that price. The L7AWM is working so reliably that Sig has adopted them for the new Spear rifle in .277 Fury/6.8x51mm.
Many magazines don’t hold up. The plastics don’t age well, or the springs rust out when you neglect to care for them, or the feed lips get dinged up and won’t feed reliably. And magazines for larger rounds often feel flimsy, even when they’re not. That extra space inside—even when we’re still talking short-action rounds like these .30 calibers here—means more flex to the body.
Long-action mags are sometimes built out of thicker materials—namely heavier gauges of steel. This holds for some of the older .308 platforms, too, like the Springfield M1A (those mags are insanely robust). But this middle ground in the larger short action calibers, for those who are weight conscious but who really want something that won’t ever fail, the choices are limited.