Working Box Magazines

Critical for function, here’s how keep magazines in peak condition.

by RK Campbell

When a self loading firearm comes into the shop with a complaint concerning feed and cycle reliability, the first thing I look to is the magazine. Magazines do not last forever and are a replaceable resource that may be repaired, refurbished, tuned or discarded. In most cases magazines are the cause of feed and cycle related problems, perhaps over half of them. A good bet for a second leading cause is poor quality ammunition. Anything from a worn magazine locking cut out to a worn or aged spring is the cause of feed difficulty.

Magazines are simply a box made from metal or hard plastic with a follower, spring and floor plate. The springs are especially important for longevity and proper function. When magazine springs become worn with age they do not supply sufficient tension to feed the cartridges into the chamber or onto the feed ramp. It is asking a lot for a magazine to feed from full compression with a load of fifteen cartridges to almost no compression with only a cartridge or two. The best designed magazines work with excellent consistency and longevity. When a problem manifests itself then the problem is usually related to feeding the last few rounds in the magazine. There is no set rule for replacement nor an easy prediction of spring life, however, when the springs have lost an inch of length then they need to be replaced. Obtaining good quality springs from ISMI, Wilson Combat, Wolff is the route to go.

Read more in our May 2013 issue. Back issues are available.

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