The Art And Science Of Magazine Maintenance

Magazine function is critical to the operation of all repeating firearms. Here’s how to make sure yours isn’t rendered a single shot.
by George Harris

Magazine maintenance is one of those concepts that most gun owners will agree should be done on a regular basis. In fact, I recommend that duty magazines carried by armed professionals be serviced every time the duty weapon is. In practice, it seems to be a different story.

Every firearm produced leaves the factory with an owner’s manual. In this manual there is a section on care and cleaning or preventative maintenance. Great effort is made to explain how to field strip, clean, inspect, lubricate and function test the firearm. Little attention is paid to the magazines associated with the firearm except for the cursory wipe down to remove rust, dirt or firing residue and perhaps disassembly. If your life depends on the uninterrupted operation of your firearm or if you are a shooter that doesn’t want to experience a malfunction or a stoppage that is magazine related, read on. What you will learn may not surprise you but it will enable you to get closer to a trouble free shooting experience with your magazine-fed firearm.

Magazines come in a variety of shapes and sizes but they all have the same purpose. They carry ammunition and are spring powered to facilitate feeding of the ammunition into the host weapon as it works its way through the cycle of operation. A clip carries ammunition but has no spring. A clip and a magazine are not the same thing. Generally speaking, a clip feeds a magazine and a magazine feeds a firearm. We will focus on the removable box-type magazine found in modern pistols and rifles. Both single column and double column magazines are maintained similarly. In fact, many of the maintenance features mentioned in this article apply universally to all magazine-fed firearms.

Read more in our March 2014 issue. Back issues are available.

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