The Great Sportsman’s Guide AK Magazine Lottery of 2006

Someone left a comment about my casual use of a stamped Chinese AK magazine in my little Krink build, and it prompted me to consider where that magazine came from. I got that magazine as part of what really was a magnificent treasure trove of AK magazines that were imported by Sportsman’s Guide back in 2006/2007. They apparently found a warehouse full of AK magazines in Sarajevo, stuff that had found its way into the former Yugoslavia during the wars in the 90s. Sportsman’s Guide bought them all up and imported them into the US, where they proceeded to dump them on the market without any sorting or organization.

The magazines were packed 6 per bag, and you could get either 6 or 12 at a time, for something like 6 bucks per mag (less if you were a member of their loyalty program). Opening those bags was like buying collectible playing cards; you never knew what you would get, but you were always hoping for something rare and exotic. The cache was largely generic European mags, but also included Russian steel, Russian bakelite,, slab sides, aluminum waffles, Egyptian, Yugoslav bolt hold-opens, Chinese roll-backs, Chinese stamped, Croatian 2-ribs, Bosnian single ribs, and (the one I really wanted but never did get) Bosnian Fleur-de-Lis mags.

Ah, good times…


  1. I never knew that such a trove of AK arcana had come through the Twin Cities. SG is in a southern suburb of St Paul, and I wonder how hard it would have been to go to the warehouse and slip someone either pictures of rare mags, or just a couple twenties to look through the crates for the rare ones.

    The outlet attached to the warehouse is a fun store; you never know what’ll be there. I visit several times a year.

  2. Croatian 2-ribs, Bosnian single rib ….. what what? Talking about niche collecting! I never knew there where so many different types.

  3. I was fortunate enough to buy several bags during both rounds of the Sportsman’s Guide “Mag Lottery.” For many weeks my garage smelled of mineral spirits as I soaked the cosmoline off of the disassembled magazines. I too got quite a few Yugo mags with the bolt-hold-open followers and others with both round and triangular witness holes.
    I got a couple Chinese all-stamped mags, a Russian waffle, Croatian 2-rib, and one Bosnian single-rib (with the flat leaf spring). I had to buy my single-rib FDL mag from a collector a year or two later. Good thing I did too – they are going for crazy money now!

  4. thanx for the salt into wounds. they just went above and beyond eu(SSR) demands and got us fluffed in germany about mags. registrate them or deal with 10rd mag bodies for longarms or 20 (specific glocks) rounders for fact deadline 1st sept. ask permission to use from the feds and registrate with police or get outlawed. not much reason to go for a semi unless shotgun or sks or something. sorry for a bitter tone but we all know.. they want to get us to zero round mags for zero autoloaders, don’t they.

  5. As one of those younger folks you referred to in the video, I am most appreciative of this fascinating little tidbit of firearms collecting history, even if it is well within living memory. I’ve heard fascinating stories from some of the older guys at my local range about the “Golden Age” that came immediately after the expiration of the AWB in 2004, but I’ve never heard this one. Guess it’s a good reminder that we all are living what someday will be considered history…

  6. I love Ian playing Fudd collector.

    “Back in my day…” LOL

    Yeah, back in my days of cruffling, I wish I’d coughed up for a few cases of GP11, HXP or SA .303, and $69 Cz-52 pistols.

    After all, that stuff is no big deal and will last forever, because it’s all cheap in every add in Shotgun News, right? Until… it’s not.

    • I recall seeing SKS rifles with bayonets brand new in the crate for $99 each. Was never interested in 7.62×39 so I passed.

      Have kicked myself a few times since.

    • I’d have happily sold off a crate of CZ-52s, but I don’t recommend owning one. The safety mechanisms have a tendency to fail. A friend of mine was shot by one as a result. Narrowly missed his kneecap. He was 2cm from never being able to walk normally again.

  7. Way back when, you know those days – when going to school was uphill and, oddly, so was going home… Well, maybe not that far back. 1993 – it was pre-AWB, I had to travel around and one Sunday we saw a sign for a gun show and had a few hours to kill, so… The show had an unusual amount of nazi paraphernalia, but there was a guy selling nothing but M16 mags, all kinds, even weird plastic ones from Canada. Ewww… (Little did we know in 25 years all AR mags would be plastic.) I needed some for personal use and did not wish to get caught um, “re-appropriating” any, so I bought a few new 30 rounders. The guy then offered a 55 gal drum full of Vietnam era 20 round mags for some ridiculous amount, $200 if I recall. Being young, dumb and… not with a full wallet, I politely declined. Later, post AWB, I regretted not buying that drum. Now I see collectors paying more for one than I would have paid for the entire drum, I still regret it.
    BTW, I found an old receipt (2000) from WalMart and a brick of .22s was $6.98.

    • I got tired of having to scrounge enough magazines to run ranges with, while in the Army, and bought a crate of magazines at a gun show. Used those bastards for years as “filler” for whenever I had to get something going, range-wise, and didn’t have the ability to get them “officially”. From about 1990 on into the War on Terror, mags were not priority things for units to buy. Oddly enough.

      Anyhoo… There were some seriously “odd” magazines in that crate. I have no idea where the hell they came from, or how the seller got his mitts on them, but there were some companies I’d never heard of before marked on some of the 20-rounders, along with a bunch of weird variants on the 30-round magazines. Also, some brand-new in-wrapper issue magazines, which I found even stranger.

      I’m sure a magazine collector could have made something of some of those variants, but all I wanted was “float” to run ranges with, and I didn’t pay a lot of attention to things. Once the AWB was past, I realized that I probably could have sold most of that crate for reasonably big money on the civilian market, but since I needed it to run ranges with…? Yeah, the idea never occurred to me. Just like selling my collection of full-size Glock magazines didn’t. If I had sold all that stuff at the top of the market, I could probably have cleared several thousand dollars in pure profit, but since I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to replace any of it…? Opportunity lost. Woulda, coulda, shoulda…

      • These magazines are a study in mass production techniques. Cold drawing, welding, plastic molding, stamping, riveting. I might have missed some.

  8. One great overlooked and untold story is AK magazine – I would like to know its design phases and quirks. It contributes to reliability in no small amount.

    They put something about it in that big AK book from iirc L. Vickers, but very scarce of real firsthand info.

  9. LOL, now you have me wondering what the different types of AK mags I have are. They look like ‘standard AK mags’ as far as I can tell, except my favorite is obviously older and has seen much service, so it has a nice patina on it. The others I always assumed were some cheap US or Chinese made aftermarket polymer waffle mags, but now I wonder. I got them for $10 each from some lady at the range. The steel mags I think all came with the rifle.
    On the other hand I just realized that the Yugo SKS I bought 10 years ago (really?!) for $200 so I would have at least one semi-auto, is now worth more than twice as much, more like 3-4 times as much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.