Magazine markings???

I have a question concerning SA80 A2 mags. I appericiate there are bigger isssues but this one has picqued my interest.

I have just handed some magazines back into the armoury and noticed that in the slot where the magazine release catch sits and holds the mag in place (I don't know what it is called) there is a biogram. All 6 of the mags have different ones starting from AA through to AF.

Again, I realise this isn't a huge deal but it is, to be frank, doing my head in, in that I don't why. Any Arrsers out there who can shed some light on it???

P.S. My SQMS wasn't even slightly useful when I asked him but would like to know anyway.


Not having an A2 mag to hand i pulled out my trusty bible which says bugger all about letters atmped or otherwise in the magazine catch rebate.
I would offer either of two explanations in that they are either inspectors stamps or identification for which pressing machine stamped the steel body.
The picture I have doesnt show any markings.
At an educated guess they are Lot markings that identify the period that they were manufactured. The magazines will no doubt have an assessed shelf life and should be replaced after this period has expired. If this is the case it bloody stupid that this is not widely known as it is importantant to change this kit at Shelf Life Expiry.

The original SA80 magazines did not have this marking because originally the concept was that the magazine would be preloaded with 5.56mm and issued as such, once these mags were expended they would eventually find their way back to Radway Green where they would be checked and reloaded. Due to financial (shock!) and logistical problems it was deceided to issue the magazine and SAA seperately. Unfortunately the magazine was not designed with this in mind and was not robust enough. And as we know the old magazine was one of the main problems with the original SA80.

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