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The Big Stick

2788 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Tom Freeman
I shot the Michigan State Championship match last weekend. There were a couple stages that were 28 rounders, begging for the use of a 170mm "big stick" magazine. Some of the guys I shoot with refuse to use them, claiming they are inherently unreliable. Others aren't afraid to use them. What do ya'll think about the 170mm? Tom?
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No fear....

they need to be tuned, springs need to be good. But there are generally no problems..I have had three caspian ones made years ago. that were great..I got three SV and STI ones that is really all I use now...A long time ago I had one for a Springfield P9 that was very sensitive to OAL, but once that was solved no problems...
My wife and I both have 170mm STI tubes with Arredondo +1 followers, Dawson +1 basepads, and ISMI springs. We get 27+1 rounds of Super and both mags are totally reliable. If I messed with the springs a bit I could probably get 28 rounds in the mag.
My Caspian 27 rounder has always functioned flawlessly.

Can you tell me how your Caspian mag is setup? I just went over to the dark-side. I have one big stick coming. I think it only holds 25 though.
There are two ways to go on this (that I know of).

Fred Craig, and maybe some others as well, made Caspian big sticks by cutting and welding two caspian 19 round mags. The Craig versions of these that I have seen seem to work well.

Craig is also selling mag replacement parts for both 19 and 27 round mags. I have both, and both work well.

I had one of the early 27 rounders (not a cut and weld) that had problems with the rounds nosediving. Sent it back, and got a replacement that has always funtioned perfectly. 27 rounds fit easily, and I have never had a malfuntion with that mag.

I have two big sticks. One with an SV tube and one with an STI. The SV easily holds 28 and the STI is tight with 28. Both run 100% with Super and TJ brass. I use a standard Wolf 170mm spring, Arrendondo purple followers and Dawson pads. I was cracking too many Grams pads.

I think the biggest problem with big sticks is that people are cheap and won’t replace their springs often enough. Lifting 28 rounds of ammo combined with the high slide velocity of an open gun can make for problems in a hurry. That and people try to put too many rounds in. If a big stick won’t run with 28, quit trying to make it happen.

The new Arrendondo insert for 140mm tubes and a long pad seem to be a real good choice. I think they are holding something like 25 rounds. Max and Adam have been using them since the Europe IPSC match back in August.

One last thing that helps is roll sizing your brass. That seems to make 20 rounds in my Limited mags a lot easier. Now I just do it to all my brass.

AF Shooting Team
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Can you please describe roll sizing for me? I am unfamiliar with the procees. Thanks!

Roll sizing rolls the empty case between two plates and completely resizes the case and cleans up the rim.


The machine that does this is no longer made. They were pricey at $465 and different calibers at $195, but worth it in my book. I roll size all my brass now. 9x19, 38 super/TJ, 40, 10, and 45.

AF Shooting Team
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