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-   -   YooHoo....got 3 different mags to work with Belgian Browning pistols (https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=429654)

IPSC 01-19-2012 11:36 AM

YooHoo....got 3 different mags to work with Belgian Browning pistols

Elsewhere in this forum, using a word-search using my "IPSC" name, "Browning magazines", "TripleK".... "M2HB"... "Chim"...or like-kind terms...you will see postings related to finding alternatives to the horrendously-expensive factory magazines for Browning Nomad / Challenger / Medalist.

M2HB and Chim speak to modifying Colt Cadet mags. In essence, one needs to grind-down the follower hold-down button to a lower "height", and sometimes bevel the lower-back edge of the floorplate to allow better engagement of the gun's catch.

Colt "Woodsman" mags seem to be nearly identical to Cadet .... but are blued-steel (not stainless like Cadet), and also has a metal follower (Cadet has a "humped" follower made of plastic ... more on this later).

Beretta Neos U22 mags are nearly identical to Cadet ... but have an extended, hard-plastic floorplate. They have the same "humped" plastic follower as Cadet.

M2HB mentions that his modified Cadet mags work maybe 98% of the time ... with an occasional jam at round #9 .... where the mag wants to pick up round 9 and 10 at the same time. I have found the same problem with BOTH Neos and Cadet mags, but more routinely. Also this--> when the mag is first inserted into an empty pistol ( slide locked back), and then you flip the slide release, this first round sometimes hangs up on the feed ramp.


I've got all mags to work nearly 100% in my Belgian Browning Challenger. Here are the details.

-- For all mags, make sure the outside/rear of the floorplate has a slight bevel that duplicates the factory mags. Makes the gun's catch work easier and with more certainty.For the Beretta, this will result in an awfully skinny and narrow looking piece of plastic ( part of the floorplate) .. that engages the catch. BUT...this plastic is SO strong and hard... it has proven not to be a problem in my tests. Just "looks" skinny and weak.

-- Test fit your particular gun. The shape and geometry of all these mag bodies is correct... but some may show tight fit into your particular gun's grip-frame. A small amount of mag body grinding or sanding on "high-spots" may be necessary. Maybe a slight "squeeze" with padded vise. Oddly ... some mags just slip right in.

-- Take the gun's grip off.. and insert the test mag of choice. Notice that the Cadet follower hold-down button is "too-tall"...and the Neos button is "much-too-tall". Remove mag and grind down button (only a few thou's)....to match the height of the gun's installed hold-open lever. Basically, flush with the internal workings of the gun surface.

-- For Neos and Cadet....take the mag apart by removing the floorplate, and take it down to component pieces. Bring the follower "down" so the hold-down button lines-up with the larger hole near the bottom of the mag case...and remove the button. Now, remove the follower and file-down the "hump" on top. This hump is what causes the first round Failure-to-Feed, and the round-9/round-10 pick-up problem.

-- Reassemble...and enjoy buying $15-$25 mags instead of $150 factory mags. !!

Below are some file photos before the mods were made...

This one below shows Woodsman, Cadet, Neos...left to right.

The next 2 pics below shows differences in followers (notice Neos and Cadet "hump" that needs to be removed on the forward portion)... and the hold-down button heights that need to be shaved.



Next one down is other side of mags


M2HB 01-19-2012 09:19 PM

The only issue with a Cadet mag is the open back end of the mag. The factory mags are smooth. The open back requires you to "rock" the mags slightly to insert it. There is an aluminum filler that can be used to fill the back so that you don't have to rock the mag, but I haven't found it necessary to do it since I'm used to the Cadet mags and I don't do any kind of "timed" shooting with it. If I did do timed shooting I would put the filler on the back of the mags.

IPSC 01-20-2012 07:01 AM

M2HB.... first of all...thanks for the idea in the first place...you were one of the first to do this. Also...this was my way to also communicate to you the need to level-out the top of the "humped" follower ( Cadet and Neos)... to avoid the round9/round10 pick-up issue.

As to the rocking necessary upon removal....it does sometimes happen and I've minimized the effect by altering my finger position slightly when removing. I use a bent forefinger to pull down on the extended floorplate sticking out the front of the gun.... all the while holding back the catch with the thumb. Just before the end of the "pull", keep thumb pressure on the catch...or again repeat applying thumb pressure on the catch, if you've let up during the "pull" ( don't let the catch rest on the backside of the mag).... and it comes out cleanly.

Deaconblue 01-22-2012 11:12 PM

I have an observation and a question with the interchangeability of the Colt Woodsman and Browning magazines. I have an early second series Woodsman manufactured in 1949 for which I purchased an extra magazine manufactured by Colt about ten years ago. It is a blued mag with the humped plastic follower so I figured it should be a good candidate for experimenting with my Challenger. It will slide all the way in the Challenger with some effort - it gets tight towards the end. So I got out the micrometer to check the dimensions between the two different magazines and can see that I need to remove about 0.010 or so from the width, thickness and from the face of the follower button to get very close to the Browning dimensions. I checked the hold open while it was in and it worked when I cocked it so it doesn't look like there is a problem there. So then I was thinking "why not check the original series two mag for fit" ? Lo and behold it slid right in without the tightness I experienced with the later Colt mag. Maybe this is due to more wear to this magazine but I don't think so as it retains much of it's blue and hasn't been shot often in the last forty years. What's interesting is that it didn't operate the hold open on the Challenger. The button on this mag is not round. It is identified as "C" on this page http://www.colt22.com/wmmagazine.html I think this may be because the follower button is not as tall as the round one. There are some subtle differences between the Colt mags but they both work in the Woodsman but won't in the Challenger. So here is my question - With the quality issues surrounding the TripleK magazine for the Browning seen here http://www.gunclips.net/brchm.html has anyone ever tried the TripleK magazine for the Woodsman seen here http://www.gunclips.net/cowolamogunm.html ??? They shouldn't be all that different but the differences may be such that they address some of the complaints. Being able to use the Colt mags may make it a moot point but I am curious if anyone has tried this approach. Maybe someone out there has one laying around and would describe it and or post pictures?

Deaconblue 01-31-2012 08:13 AM

So I decided to do some "surgery" on my spare Woodsman magazine last week. I took it to work and took it apart and used the upright sanding belt lightly down both sides to reduce it to .365" compared to my Browning mag which is .355". I sanded the plastic follower hump to match the angle of the back section. I then reassembled the magazine. Then I went down the backside until the front to back measured .975" where the Browning was .980" and rounded the heel slightly- most of that material was from the floorplate. I turned my attention to the follower button. I sanded it down until the overall thickness of the mag was .500" give or take a couple thousandths to match the Browning design. I cleaned up everything with a little hand file and the wire wheel. It now slides in and out of my Challenger slicker than snot and no rocking is required on insertion. The slide holdback works fine as well. Then I loaded up some some dummy rounds and all worked well until the last round. No go. It wouldn't budge. So I removed the mag to seee what was wrong and it appears that the rim of the cartridge gets caught in the space between the back of the follower and the inside back rib of the magazine. I couldn't slide it out with my thumb either. So I am going to fashion a metal top piece and attach it to the follower with epoxy that will go almost to the rib and that should solve that problem. I saw this pilot pen on my desk with a stainless shirt clip and... well you know the rest. I ordered up three stainless cadet mags here http://www.progunsports.com/colt-man...-10rd-mag.html Nice stuff - cheapest new ones I could find on the net and real fast shipping too. Now I have enough to last my lifetime I suppose and the other upside is that the first mag still worked in my Woodsman after modification as well.

IPSC 01-31-2012 09:41 AM

DeaconBlue...... thank you for your own follow up report. It warms my heart to see that this is successful for others too !! .... good show!!!

Look at the original set of pics I posted on this thread. The Colt Woodsman model I used is as shown. If you look closely, we can now start talking about some subtle nuance differences that shouldn't make any difference.... but as you found out... maybe DO make a difference in some guns.

I am surprised you say the Woodsman has a humped follower. Mine has a stamped-steel follower, folded over onto itself, and it has a small, vertical "post" at the very back of the follower, that I RETAINED ( see picture with toothpick pointing on top of the follower,...kinda dark photo....and the other photo without the toothpick, but it's a bit brighter and can still be seen).

This "stand-proud" post in the back....prevents the loaded cartridge from being pushed too far back on this round that touches the follower. If you look closely at my pics comparing the stainless Colt Cadet and Beretta Neos.... notice that the Neos backside of the back of the mag body.... bends slightly forward at the very top...and accomplishes the same thing. The Cadet... in contrast.... does not bend forward in this area. But it still seems to feed 100% like the orhers that were modified..and didn't need any special work to prevent this last round from hanging up its rim. Odd that yours did. You might be better-off trying to bend the rear of the mag body forward on top ( a la Neos)..or even drill a hole for a small machine screw on the backside of the mag body, with the blunt-end of the screw facing forward. I would be fearful that an epoxied piece on the follower may come off.

As to removing the "hump" on the Cadet and Wodsman plastic followers.... to be clear, I am talking about the forward portion of the plastic follower where it angles up to a new, higher level. That area needs to be ground down to match the core follower height...making it flat front-to-back. This then avoids the first round FTF when closing a slide on a freshly inserted magazine....and avoids the round 9 / round 10 pick-up problem.

Deaconblue....thanks to to the link for the great price on Colt Cadet mags for about $18-$19.. but look here....the same site has Neos mags for even less...about $15. ---->


I like the Neos bottom plate as it sticks out a bit more from the grip, allowing a firm seating pressure to be applied, and looks like a 45 Colt mag bottom bumper. The only "gotcha" is that the modded mag ends up with a thin slice of plastic in that area that engages the gun's hold-in clip. Looks flimsy...but so far this plastic has proven to be VERY durable.....just looks weak.

By the way....I wanted to add "better" mag springs to my 2 ( modified) TripleK mags. One of the KKK's has a stout spring to activate the slide hold-open...the other does not. So I ordered a few Woodsman springs from Numrich. What came-in were mag springs that were about 2/3 the free-length of the Colt Woodsman I have. Anyone here have an idea why? I see that nice link from you, Deaconblue, about the various "Woodsman" guns.... could I have gotten the wrong one? The order confirmation from Numrich says "for Colt S frame".

remnar 01-31-2012 08:55 PM


Originally Posted by Deaconblue (Post 3842045)
So I decided to do some "surgery" on my spare Woodsman magazine last week. ... Then I loaded up some some dummy rounds and all worked well until the last round. No go. It wouldn't budge. So I removed the mag to seee what was wrong and it appears that the rim of the cartridge gets caught in the space between the back of the follower and the inside back rib of the magazine. I couldn't slide it out with my thumb either. So I am going to fashion a metal top piece and attach it to the follower with epoxy that will go almost to the rib and that should solve that problem.


I solved this problem the same way when I modified a Cadet mag. Here's the thread that I posted whith some pics.

Thanks for your additions to the topic of magazine conversion. I'm always interested in learning more about possible options for my Challenger.


IPSC 01-31-2012 09:57 PM

Strange.... I had no such problems with my modded Cadet or Neos mags. Notice that the Neos mag has the backside that curves gently forward at the top/rear of the mag body, .....possibly preventing the last round to hang up its rim on the short follower with the gap in the back. See my pics posted in this thread.

I would suggest rounding the follower on the back...or sanding the rear area to form a forward-sloping "ramp" to prevent a "hard-edge-hangup" of the last round rim on the follower. Seems to me this is the easist way and also avoids "adding" anything that needs to be glued-on or JB Welded-on. It's at least worth a try if this is a recurring problem. I have done a number of range tests with my setup and have ( to date) not experienced this....but will continue to fire and test and report back any new findings.

Blue Ridge Reef 01-31-2012 10:39 PM

Would any of you guys be willing to sell modified mags? I'd pay you for your time, it'd probably be cheaper than the first several I'd destroy!

Deaconblue 02-01-2012 12:35 AM

I took a real hard look at the four different magazines that I have- the Browning and the three Colt models. I didn't (and won't) disassemble the vintage Woodsman magazine and I am pretty sure that the spring length is comparable. The followers appear to be about the same length and the springs both extend to the base of the disassembly/spring retainer pin and their preloaded spacing appears to be the same so I can't explain a 33% difference in free length you report with the Numrich part. Perhaps they were mislabeled at some point? Ok so that is where the similarity ends... The follower on the vintage mag is from cast aluminum or "pot" metal and has a step up on the back to position that round and extends all the way back to the concave rib like the Triple K has. Another thing- I can't find a seam on this thing. It appears that it may have been stamped from a rectangular tube. It has an extra set of lips on it as well. I can see why they changed the design in the early 50's. So much for that mag as it belongs in a different thread. I noticed that both your Colt mags have the S series cutout as does my blue mag. I am not sure if you noticed the difference on the side opposite of the follower button (your picture 4) there is a difference in the contour above the slot. I am gonna go out on a limb and guess that that is there to operate a mag disconnect safety on a Cadet. It wasn't necessary for the Woodsman so it's not there on the older magazines. I think that your blue mag is older than mine as it has a metal (more expensive) follower. I would guess it's a backward compatible third series Woodsman manufactured between the 60's and 80's or even older. I was considering looking for the metal followers as that would be the easy fix for my problem... or is it? How does your follower button attach to the metal follower? I think that the button is probably different as well and would need to be replaced. I believe Remnar is correct that the button is a wee bit taller on the Cadet as well. I listed the measurements that I used as it should help along with all the good pictures that you and others have posted. I have to start a photobucket account so as to be more helpful I guess...

IPSC 02-01-2012 03:33 PM

Deaconblue.....thank you for staying engaged on this topic and also for your detailed responses. Here is a pic I posted on another thread that shows the 3 unaltered mags side-by-side....on the "other" side of the mag--->


The toothpick points to the "C" section area on both the Beretta U22 Neos mag...and the Colt Cadet mag, that ( as you say)....is not present for the older Woodsman. It may be there for some other "modern" function like for a mag-safety lever or somesuch.

The Woodsman I have disassembles by pressing the hold-down button down low to a point on the mag body where the slot beccomes a hole...and then unscrewing the hold-down button. Not only does the hold-down button have a groove that captures the "slot" ( as it rides up-and-down the mag body)....but the washer on the other side that it screws into... is also "stepped" such that a flange rides under the slot and the screw engages above the slot...kinda. Hard to describe, but it is a "captured" nut arrangement on that side.

By the way.... here is another post of mine comparing various dimensions...as I was able to determine amongst these mags and some recent-purchase TripleK's. My micrometer skills aren't all that great and I noticed some variation based on how "tight" I got the calipers--->


@BlueRidgeReef.... I'm torn how to answer you. On the one hand I love to help my fellow gun friends here..and I "give-back" by offering modification hints and advisories as I've done here. It took a lot of R&D to get the mags to work for me...and as you see....there is enough variation that one cannot guarantee proper functioning in another-person's gun. I'm glad I ended up with a few that work for me. Also....what would be a "fair"price? If I did this, I'm not going to get rich doing this...nor will I do this routinely as a side-line . That all said, I feel your pain, as the original Browning mag costs ($$$) drove me to do this in the first place. Give me a PM ...and maybe we can work something out. The mods aren't all that hard... if you have even a modicum of carpentry skills. Just go slow !!!.... :)

IPSC 02-01-2012 06:39 PM

UPDATE..... as I load-up the Cadet and Neos mags... I now also see and realize that the last round "hangs-up" on the too-short follower. Hadn't noticed this before.


In actual range firing ....this has not been a problem
. Also this-->this is one area that remains unchanged from how Cadet pistols or Neos pistols function. We are not introducing a mod or "change" here....this is how Cadets and Neos' operate. Why isn't it a problem for these guns?

Possible answer....it might not be functional problem at all. It might only show up when we try to strip a round "by-hand" or "by-thumb".

Going to the range tonite.....last range report showed 100% functioning. Will look more closely at this aspect and report back.

Deaconblue 02-01-2012 09:15 PM

I haven't had a chance to try my mag under firing conditions yet- I only cycled it with dummies to check for function several times with the same result so that is one of the reasons I brought it out to the forum. Remnar was nice enough to point out a link to his post and that at least eased my mind a bit that I wasn't the only one to experience this problem. I have been kicking around a couple possible fixes if it doesn't work out when I go to the range but they keep me pretty busy at work and I don't have the proper tools at home so we'll see what happens then. I have been thinking about that short spring as well. Try to compare it to the blue mag with the metal follower. I wasn't paying that much attention when I had the one with plastic follower apart to see how far into the follower it is seated but that could explain the difference. Numrich may have the Cadet spring if that is the case and may be a better fit for you. Never the less, McMaster-Carr carries a very large selection of springs, many in long lenghths that you can cut to size. When I take mine apart again I will check it and post a part number if anyone is interested. I was pretty sure that button on your follower was threaded and that's a clincher that it's an older mag.... Can you imagine assembling those for 8 hours a day?

To BlueRidgeReef
I too have a little apprehension about offering this openly unless someone out there can assure me that I am not putting myself in a legally precarious position. It took me about a half hour to do what I did but I am still not sure about the follower issue and what that might entail time and material wise. I actually asked if anyone was interested in doing this about a month ago and all I heard was crickets LOL...

92lowrider 02-01-2012 09:43 PM

I don't get it. Why would I want to buy cadet or neos mags and have to spend my time modifying them to work when I can just shove a buckmark mag in and start shooting. :rolleyes:

remnar 02-01-2012 09:56 PM


Originally Posted by 92lowrider (Post 3845619)
I don't get it. Why would I want to buy cadet or neos mags and have to spend my time modifying them to work when I can just shove a buckmark mag in and start shooting. :rolleyes:

You're using Buck Mark magazines in your old Belgian Browning pistols?


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