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Basic Magazine Extension Question(s) for an M4


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First off, I am thrilled that I found this forum. I just bought my M4 a few days ago and am waiting for it to get to my FFL, and have been combing this forum for information and has helped tremendously.


However, I keep reading about the Different Magazine extensions that some of the guys on here provide to M4 owners and I unfortunately know absolutely nothing about them.


Can someone explain fundamentally how they are different from the stock Magazine? Obviously they have more room, but do they extend the overall length of the weapon? As in, do they go past the end of the Barrel? I know its a dumb question, but I am clueless on this one. I only ask because I see various tube sizes (+2 extender, 5, 7, even 10.) I personally would like to get the largest magazine available and legal in CA that is within reason without f'ing up the integrity of the weapon system and only plan on doing this once.


This is the only upgrade I plan on doing besides the enlarged Bolt Release, and possibly a Red Dot sight after I become proficient with the Irons and truly learn the weapon. Any advice on the difficulty of the Bolt Release swap is also appreciated. I am a former Infantry Marine, but am certainly no Gun Smith or Armorer, I Just like to shoot :) thanks Gents.

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The overall length of the weapon is unchanged.


You are going from this to this:




Up top is a stock 5 round tube with a 2 round limiter on the end ... your options are either a +2 extension (replaced the 2 round limiter that comes on the gun), or a full length 7 round tube as you see in on the bottom.


No m4 holds 10 rounds in the tube, you need a different weapon for that.


I highly recommend a full length tube over a +2 extension. It is stronger, looks better and cleaner, and if you get a +2 you will end up wanting a full length tube down the road anyways. If you only plan on doing it once, as you say, get a full length tube and be done with it. The weapon was designed for a full length tube, the 5 round tube is a neutered version and a blasphemous act as far as I am concerned, a +2 extension is merely a bandaid covering up that blasphemous act, while a replacement full length tube replaces the evil part all together.


If I had to do it over, I'd buy a SOCOMguy or Carriercomp tube ... probably a carriercomp, as it's lighter (titanium) and comes with a proper full length spring, which is excellent.


I'd say you should also get the enlarged bolt handle, made by progressive machine and tool (now called design concepts?) ... I've used all the bolt handles available, and this one is by far the best.




The GG&G large bolt release pad is the best available, but its pretty annoying to install, as there are no directions and it really takes 3-4 hands to do. It's the same as any other gunsmithing mod ... you have to hold 2 springloaded parts in place, while also holding a pin in place and trying to drive that pin through the parts with a hammer without knocking stuff out of alignment.


Both the bolt release and the bolt handle are huge upgrades ergonomically ... here is my gun, for what it's worth:



Edited by Duggan
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I appreciate the thorough feedback. I am glad you provided those links, because I actually have both of those options already on my short list, so its good to know I am on the right track! Unfortunately the Charging handle is out of stock, but I will keep monitoring. But I am totally a fan of anything Titanium because of the weight and strength.


Regarding the tube, I see exactly what you mean. Not only is a one peice tube a "must" upgrade, the cosmetic effect is very fluid and completes the weapon quite well. I was totally confused about the Tube Sizes because I saw the 10 round one on Dave's Metal Works, but I appreciate the clarification since those arent for the M4.


Would you reccomend having a gunsmith swap out the Tubes? I dont want to shy away from it, but I dont have a Vice Grip (or access to one) or a heat gun. But, I am torn between being afraid someone may F' up the receiver with an open flame while heating up the bottom just to get the job done quickly, and just attempting to do it myself to use some TLC. What do you think?


You got a Nice Weapon; the flat release button was something I was considering as well. I saw those pix on some other threads and wanted to do it, but was a bit discouraged only because of the difficulty you had. There was also some guy that used a 1911 Safety switch that looked pretty good, but again, I dont have access to Machinery, and dont know any local gunsmiths personally (yet.) The Charging Handle and One Peice Titanium tools are non negotiable upgrades that I intend to get ASAP.

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Change your tube yourself ... it's really not hard at all. You don't need vicegrips, and a heatgun won't hurt the receiver ... just heat the receiver until the tube breaks free, it will take 5-10 minutes of heating to get the loctite melted so the tube will break free. It's silly to give such a simple task to a gunsmith, or someone else who may or may not do it slowly and carefully.


Yes, the release pad was a ***** to install, but totally worth it.

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