Pumpkin Spice Magazine for the AR-15
Lots of AR-15 owners like to dye their magazines to match the color scheme of their rifle. In our case, the Springfield Saint that we are upgrading is a standard black - but we still wanted something that gave it that little bit of extra.
The most popular magazine for the modern sporting rifle is easily the Magpul PMAG, and the company once made a sand colored one that was perfect for dyeing with RIT dye. Unfortunately, Magpul has discontinued the sand colored PMAG's and are they are impossible to find now. We hope they bring 'em back, but we're not going to wait around for it to happen.
That's why we went looking for alternatives.
The lightest colored magazine we could find was the Hera Arms H3 Generation 2 in what they call their tan color. We ordered 4 total magazines from Rainier Arms so that we could check them out, including one in tan for our dye test. The first generation of magazines that Hera put out had some quality control issues which you can find plenty of comments about. We only have the gen 2's and so far, we haven't had any issues with them.
We were hoping to end up with a bright orange color, or as close as we could get. Using the color guide for PMAG's found here we ordered RIT dye in tangerine orange from Amazon since our local store didn't have it. Then we completely disassembled the magazine which was pretty easy. The clear window on the Hera magazine is non removable, but it's a hard plastic that didn't suffer any damage or warping and took on a little bit of the orange dye color in the process.
If you have never tried dyeing one of your magazines the process is pretty simple: bring a pot of water to a boil (enough to cover the magazine) then reduce the heat to a simmer. We used a wok and above you can see the low setting we used for the dye process. The magazine should be completely free of any gun or hand oil for best results. We removed the magazine straight from the package, and after disassembly wiped the pieces down with some alcohol.
Most suggest using an ounce or two of RIT dye, we ended up using half the bottle when after a few minutes it didn't seem like the color was absorbing enough. That was probably too much, but we did achieve a nice even color with no signs of the original tan color left behind.
It's also recommended to leave the magazine in the dye for 5-10 minutes. That was barely enough to allow the dye to penetrate and we ended up soaking the magazine for just about 20 minutes. Once it was done, there was plenty of dye left in the water making it obvious that we went a bit overboard. Half a bottle is probably enough to dye two maybe three magazines. You should monitor the progress and adjust accordingly.
Here is our final result above. The left image is without using a flash, and the right image with a flash. We think it looks a bit like pumpkin spice. Not quite what we were going for, but we are happy with the result none the less. One mistake we made was trying to scratch off something which floated onto the magazine in the pan with a spatula. With the plastic being so soft, we made a scratch mark on the surface which shouldn't be noticeable after some wear and tear from use.